The first shoe review I’ve written with multiple OJ Simpson references. Please forgive me.
I remember the OJ Simpson trial like it was yesterday. One of the main pieces of evidence against the former footballer was the shoeprint left behind by a Bruno Magli loafer. The prosecution contended that since the shoes were so expensive, the number of suspects could be narrowed down to just a few wealthy gentlemen. I remember thinking, geez, a thousand bucks for a pair of shoes…I wonder how those are any different from the regular shoes I’m wearing.
I’ve been running in the new Skora Form for a month now, and I now understand how a high-end boutique shoe differs from all others. Wow. The supple goat leather. The fine stitching. The “little things that make a difference.” The smell. This is a zero drop shoe that blurs the distinction between form and function, as it looks just as good as it performs. This shoe fits me perfectly. Designed for the barefoot/minimalist enthusiast, the toebox is a bit more voluminous than I’m used to, but I love the roominess. There’s no arch, no cushioning, zero support, and no extra stitching inside to wear at my feet. A wonderfully designed, asymmetric lacing system rides the ridge of my foot ensuring a tight fit, and an ingenious Velcro strap on the heel is there to tighten things up. The glove may not have fit OJ, but this supple leather shoe fits me perfectly. Where a Vibram has a tremendous amount of road feel, I don’t have the experience of feeling every single rock and pebble in these shoes. I feel connected to the ground and natural on my feet, but don’t have to think about foot placement one bit. The Forms have a 9mm sole without the removable insert, 13mm with, which is still pretty thin. I’ve only put a few hundred miles on them so I can’t talk to their long-term wear.
Let’s be honest, OJ was able to afford the best defense money can buy, and these shoes run an analogous route. Legal defense is expensive for a reason and you see results. Ask OJ. Lightweight Patagonia jackets are expensive for a reason. They’re designed better and built with better engineered materials than other inferior jackets. The Skora Form is designed better and built better, and with that, comes a $195 price tag. Justifiable? Coming from the cheapest guy I know? Yes, very. After trying another expensive ($160) minimalist shoe from a big European shoe company last month, you’ll notice we didn’t review it. The shoe was an unmitigated disaster. Skora (from Portland, Oregon) is a true success story. The guys from the northwest set out to create the best barefoot shoe from the ground up, and from my perspective, they came out winners. Back to OJ. He took off down the highway in a big fancy SUV that really wasn’t equipped for offroading, and the same could be said here. Without any real traction, the Forms are meant for the road. Sure, you could hit the trails with them, but I’ll stick with some XC flats for anything that requires grip. Besides, they’re just too damn prettyto get dirty. Sorry.
The uppers are crafted from a fine goat leather then tanned with a treatment that provides water protection, while the inside is lined with sheep leather, making the Forms one of the few shoes with a 100% leather upper. I’ve gone sockless on a few runs and my feet have breathed fine (thanks to the perforated leather) while the shoes retain a really, really sweet leather scent. Skora uses a “stitchdown” design that eliminates possible errant threads that could rub or bother feet on a long run. To the little things: The designers included a heel strap that allows the wearer to tighten a Velcro strap around the heel, ensuring a custom fit. Another minor detail, though an important one, is the quality of the laces. They’re strong, secure, and hold a knot well.
Finally, and certainly of minor importance, is how good these shoes look. My wife thinks they’re “cute”, and I have no problem wearing them out with nicer, non-running clothes. The things are sharp. If you’re a minimalist runner who values form and function, give these shoes a try. Though I’ve never had to use it, they’ve got a liberal return policy if the shoes don’t work for you. Check them out. http://skorarunning.com/
Reviewed by Eric