“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo da Vinci
The essence of today’s minimalist running shoes is “less is more.” By designing running shoes that remove all of the non-essential features found in traditional running shoes – heel counters, stability control, extra cushioning, and weight – runners will be able to rediscover their natural running from, enabling better, more efficient performance while reducing the risk of injury.
For runners seeking to rediscover their natural running form, SKORA has introduced the Form. A low-profile, zero drop runner designed with an anatomical last, the Form offers a barefoot-like feel without wearing those funny finger-like foot gloves. Wait, what? You have never heard of SKORA Running before? Allow us to make the introductions, because if the quality and performance of this shoe is any indication – you’ll want to get to know them up close and personal.
Founded in 2008, SKORA is a Portland, Oregon-based company that was started by self-proclaimed “ordinary” runners tired of the injuries caused by traditional running shoes. SKORA’s philosophy on natural running is summed up on their website:
At SKORA, we look at things differently. We believe that running shoes should be built to encourage running performance that is as biomechanically correct as possible, with minimal interference. Our footwear lets people run naturally. Run Real is our philosophy and we stand by it.
True to their philosophy, the SKORA Form strips away all of the obstructive and unnecessary materials, added cushioning and extra support leaving only that which is necessary to support the natural running gait of its wearers. SKORA was kind enough to send us the Form to preview before their mid-February 2012 debut.
Initial Impressions … Wow!
Slipping on the Form for the first time was akin to sliding into a luxury sports car on the showroom floor. The striking lines give the shoe great visual appeal, while the soothing smell of new leather gently satisfies the senses.
Like the interior of that luxury sports car, the Form uses leather – goat leather in the upper and sheepskin to line the interior – which stretches over time to form around the foot creating a sock-like fit. While the breathability of leather could be problematic, the folks at SKORA tell us that the perforations in the outer and inner lining help to increase the shoes breathability in cold and warm weather alike.
Aesthetically, the Form looks sleek and fast. SKORA designed the Form using their REALFIT™ last that features an anatomically correct toebox, a zero-drop heel-to-toe differential, and a curved outsole forefoot and heel. The outsole provides a more natural heel movement in running and heel roll when walking. And since there is no heel counter allowing for a better fit and comfort through a broad range of motion. SKORA believes that this design encourages a more natural foot strike, making a runner more biomechanically efficient while reducing the risk of impact injuries.
Personalizing the Form’s fit is a cinch. SKORA incorporates into the Form an elastic/Velcro heel strap to loosen or snug the runner’s foot into the shoe.
While our Gumption Runner has only worn the Form for a few weeks one thing is apparent, these shoes are made for advanced minimalist-to-barefoot runners. Depending on your level of proficiency with barefoot running, these shoes require a definitive transition period.
Bottom Line …
Even for the largest of companies, entering a contender into the minimalist shoe category would be a challenge. Being a relatively new company trying to standout in an already crowded minimalist running shoe market will require a shoe (and a company) that performs well above the rest. Over the coming weeks, our Gumption Gear Runner will put plenty of hours and miles testing SKORA’s Form to see how much gumption they really have.