Color Options: Women’s – Blue/Yellow/Silver, Light blue; Men’s – Yellow, Black/Red, Silver
Weight: 7.0 oz
Drop: 0 mm
Other: 9 mm stack height (13 mm with insole), adjustable X-strap system, Ortholite sockliner, REALFIT last offers anatomical fit
When I first found Skoras online, I have to admit that my reaction to them was not necessarily positive–it was a mixture of excitement, skepticism, and jealousy. My excitement was because they are one of the coolest looking minimalist shoes out there. The skepticism was due to being unsure if they could possible be worth the significantly higher price than many of their competitors (the Base was originally $125 and the Form was originally $195, now $185). Finally, the jealousy was because there were originally no women’s models! And of course, after Steven received his pair of Forms (and fell in love with them), and my fears about Skoras not being worth their higher price were assuaged, I was content to dissolve into an ever-growing green haze of jealousy. As you can imagine, then, I was thrilled when I found out that I would finally get my own pair with the release of women’s models in early August, and I am happy to report that, after spending a few months with the Skora Base, they have, for the most part, lived up to their reputation of being one of the best-made minimalist shoes on the market.
I’ve put about 80 miles on my Skoras, making them one of my most-worn pairs of running shoes. I did the majority of my half-marathon training in the Base and wore them on race day, which, in itself is a great commendation for this shoe, since it was very difficult for me to find what I felt like was the “right” shoe to run my race in. Overall, I would say that I’m satisfied with the performance of the Base. I think its real strength performance-wise lies in the design of the outsole, which, in addition to being very aesthetically pleasing, actually (and how it does it is a mystery to me) does a great job of encouraging a midfoot strike, whereas many minimalist shoes just accommodate it. It is also incredibly durable. Both my Bases and Steve’s Forms show essentially no wear, yet, and people have reported getting upward of 1000 miles without seeing significant wear on the sole.
That being said, I have a few problems with the performance of the Skora Base. Because I have a somewhat narrow foot, especially at my heel, I struggled some with my foot feeling like it was not staying in place in the shoe. It felt like it was sliding forward and/or my heel was lifting out. Unfortunately, the strap arrangement really did little to help secure my foot. The more I tightened the strap on the top of the shoe, the more I felt like it was squeezing around the ball of my foot, which lead to some uncomfortable rubbing on the inside edge of my foot. The strap around the back of the shoe helped in a small way, but couldn’t be pulled tight enough to make any major difference in the fit around my heel. An improved strap design that is focused more on securing the foot at the mid foot, or having laces such as those featured on the Form are the only solutions I can think of to solve the problem of my foot not feeling secure enough in the Base.
My other issues with the Base are comparatively minor and both are related to the design of the sole. Because the edges of the outsole are rounded, the shoe does not corner as well as I might like. They also do not have a very aggressive tread. When combined with the harder nature of the rubber used to make them, this makes them a bit slippery on wet pavement. So, if you go around a sharp corner on blacktop when it’s raining, watch out!
The Skora Base features the same outsole and insole as the Skora Form, so, in terms of the barefoot feel of the shoes, the two models are virtually the same. This is important to know if price is an issue for you, as choosing the Base over the Form will save you $75. As Steve mentioned in his review of the Form, the Skora sole is much less flexible and also does not offer as much in the way of ground feel relative to some of its major competitors (e.g. Merrell Barefoot). Of course, we recognize that Skora’s intention was to make a minimalist shoe and not a barefoot shoe, and I do not feel that the reduced ground feel and relative stiffness of the Skora have had any negative effect on my natural running form. One thing I should note is that while the Skora does feature a wider toe box than a traditional shoe, it is a bit on the narrow side in the world of minimalist/natural running shoes.
The real difference between the Base and the Form is in the construction of and materials used to make their uppers. The upper of the Base is very comfortable. It breathes well, and is very sock-like, so it is fine to wear with or without socks. Although I haven’t tested this shoe in extreme cold, yet, I think it works well over a range of temperatures. My feet stayed comfy in 85 degree weather, and although it was 45-50 degrees and raining the day of our half-marathon, I had no problems with the shoes feeling waterlogged or my feet getting cold.
The Skora Bases are a very futuristic looking shoe. As far as running goes, I think they look really snazzy, but they are a little too sporty for me to ever wear them casually. I still have the text message I sent to Steve after I put them on for the first time saying that I thought I wasn’t cool enough to wear them (I’m old, ok?). If you’re looking for a shoe to wear for both running and for casual use, I think the Form would be the better option, and it being a more multi-use shoe certainly justifies paying the higher price for it.
- High quality materials and construction
- Extremely durable soles
- Encourages proper running form (midfoot strike)
- Comfortable over a range of temperatures and distances
- Strap configuration does not provide much security for narrower feet
- Rounded edges of outsole creates instability when running around corners
- Somewhat slippery on wet pavement, especially blacktop
- A little too sporty looking (for my taste) to be worn casually
I think what is all comes down to is that yes, the Skora Base is a very nice shoe. However, while I like my pair, I don’t really love them. Primarily, this stems from the fact that the fit is a little bit weird for me with my narrower feet, and the straps do little to help with this. Yet, I do feel that they live up to Skora’s reputation for having some of the best craftsmanship of any of the minimalist shoe companies. The fact that these shoes actually encourage a midfoot strike, but also offer a little more padding, makes them a great option for minimalist running beginners or experienced minimalist runners interested in longer distances. We all know how easy it is to get tired and get lazy with your form, but the Skora sole design discourages this. So, if you have feet that are more of an average width, I think the Skora Base would work well for you. If your feet run narrow, or you are interested in a more multi-purpose shoe, it might be best to save up and spring for the Form. As always, if you have any more questions, feel free to ask in the comments!
Use the following code to get 15% off your purchase of your own pair of Skoras through November 24, 2012: