Prepare yourselves for an exciting spring because, like most other shoe companies, SKORA has updated their line with some brand new color-ways and two brand new models, the CORE and the PHASE. This brings SKORA (the Bentley, Apple, Rolex, or whatever-other-analogy-you-can-come-up-with-to-convey-a higher-level-of-class/design) up to a total of four models including last year’s FORM and BASE.
I was lucky to be able to test out the FORM back in August and found them to be exactly what my feet had ordered. I fell in love with my SKORA FORMs so much so that they became my preferred shoe for our half-marathon. Since then, I’ve read plenty of stories regarding their amazing durability and have experienced something similar myself. My SKORAs have well over 200 miles, and, if I washed the dirt off of the soles, they would look brand new!
The FORM’s upper is made from a goat-skin upper and a sheepskin lining, which offers both sweat and water resistance. The sole is composed of three parts (what SKORA calls the R01 System): the outsole, midsole, and insole, which all contribute to help to give the FORM its flexibility and durability. It is their quality design that has allowed the FORM to become such a powerful player in the zero drop shoe market. This design makes the FORM an attractive, extremely durable, lightweight, breathable, flexible, and water resistant shoe. The FORMs come with a fairly substantial price tag of $185, but, it is a price that becomes much more reasonable when you consider the quality of the materials used to construct them and their fantastic design.
At $100, the SKORA BASE is now the least expensive shoe in the SKORA line, but that does not mean SKORA sacrificed on quality. They are built on the same RO1 sole platform as the FORMs, but feature a very different upper that lacks both leather (it is made of a very breathable mesh-like material) and laces (it has nylon straps instead). Meagan thoroughly enjoyed her experience with the SKORA BASEs (they also made an appearance at the same half-marathon my FORMs went to), but found that she had a little trouble with the strap system used to tighten the shoe. It was difficult to get the strap system tight enough to keep her feet from sliding around in the shoe without squeezing uncomfortably around her forefoot. If you have narrow feet as she does, you may want to consider choosing one of the other options in the SKORA line so that you can use the laces to more comfortably secure the shoe to your foot.
The CORE steps into the SKORA line-up as another higher end model. The CORE, like the FORM, touts the goatskin upper, sheepskin liner, and no-tongue design. From what I can tell, based strictly off of their website’s information, the biggest differences between the CORE and the FORM are as follows:
- Stack height: The CORE has 1mm less from the outsole/midsole and 1mm less from the insole making the overall stack height 2mm thinner than the FORM.
- The 4mm ortho-light insole of the FORM seems to be absent from the CORE. Instead, the CORE has a 3mm antimicrobial insole.
- Agion microbial technology: New for the CORE, Agion fights against the build up of mold, fungus, or bacteria which keeps your SKORAs smelling and looking good for years to come.
- R02 system vs. R01 system: The R01 is the original sole on the FORM & BASE models which used a combination of 3 pieces (outsole, midsole, and insole). The R02 is the new sole on the CORE & PHASE models which combines the outsole and midsole into one unibody frame.
- Price: The CORE has a slightly lower price tag of $155.
I think the major design change between the old and the new models is the construction of the sole. The R01 system of the FORM is likely to have a slightly longer lifespan considering it uses a high abrasion rubber in it’s sole, while the R02 system is geared towards using lighter, less dense materials (specifically Injection Blown Rubber, or IBR) to eliminate weight and increase control, ground feel, and flexibility. SKORA does state that the IBR is highly abrasion resistant, but I’m curious to see if the CORE will have quite the same lifespan of the FORM. If it’s anything like it’s big brother, the CORE will be well worth the larger price tag.
Last, but not least, the PHASE is the second addition to the SKORA line-up for this season. The PHASE has a price tag of $110, which is in line with most of its competition, but still offers some of the technology of its higher priced family members. The relation of the PHASE to the CORE appears to be similar to the connection between the BASE and the FORM. It is basically a lower quality version of the CORE. That isn’t to say it’s a low quality shoe, just that it isn’t at quite the same level in terms of the materials used to construct it as the CORE. The PHASE uses more modest fabrics (no goat or sheepskin at this price point) and you’ll lose that anti fungus, mold, and bacteria technology called Agion. SKORA also indicates that there is “No midsole. No compromise.” in the PHASE. The midsole is a liner put between the outsole and insole to absorb shock, so a lack of one would likely increase the flexibility of the shoe. It is unclear if the midsole has also been removed from the CORE, which, if not, would make it slightly less flexible. That said, I still think that if you can swing it, you should spring for the higher-priced CORE to get the comfort and durability of the goatskin upper.