Hello Skora, Good-bye Altra

skoraI’ve been a longtime fan of Altras for a number of years, but lately they have seemed to lost their way. They seemed to change their focus from a minimalist style to how much cushioning can we add. This started with the Instinct 2.0s and on from what I can tell; I have, or had, a pair of 1.5s that lasted a good 2000 miles, but finally had to retire them. I did briefly have a pair of Torins, but they had too much cushion (for my taste), were not wide enough and actually injured my left foot last summer that put me out of [running] commission for approximately 2 months. Even the Instincts weren’t wide enough, as was evidenced by the weak material that my 4E wide feet broke through within a couple of months of wearing them.20150301_142120 In case you’re wondering, a 4E wide foot is like 5 inches or more wide. My problem has always been finding a wide running shoes; the usual suspects (Nike, Brooks, New Balance, ASICS, etc.) can’t seem to grasp this concept, or if they do, it’s not in my size (12). And while the Altras do have that (what some would view as ugly) “natural foot” design, they’re still not wide enough for me. I mentioned the weak material earlier, so I won’t go over it again, but the other main gripe I have (and a common complaint by others too) with the Altras is their sizing. Seems like ever model (and iterations thereof) has different sizing guidelines and they are not “standard”. I normally wear a size 12, but need to get 13s if I’m getting Altras or my toes will look like someone smashed them with a ball-peen hammer. OK, that’s enough bashing of Altra; maybe if they get their act together by using some quality material, make a wide enough shoe (for us giants that like to run too; I’m only 6’4″) and stop making Sketcher like shoes, I might give them another go.

In comes the Skora. To be honest I sort of discovered Skoras by accident looking for winter running gear; somehow these showed up in the search results. After reading about them and doing some research, I pulled the trigger and got me a pair of Cores.20150301_145458 First off, Skoras are a bit on the pricey side, but I have to say, they are best constructed running shoes I have ever seen. The upper is not some weak fabric that other shoe manufacturers use but instead goatskin. One might think they don’t breathe well, but you’d be incorrect on that could. They have a 11mm sole and are zero-drop. And, most importantly, are wide. As far as minimalist shoes go, these would probably fall in between the Altra Instinct 1.5 and Vibrams; Altras having a bit more cushioning and the Vibrams having almost none ( just enough sole to keep from ripping your foot apart). The Skoras have just enough cushioning to protect your foot but not so much that your feet can’t feel the ground beneath them and react and adjust accordingly.

And that’s all I have to say about that; time for a brisk, 30 degree run in the mile-high country.

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