Then there was this:
and also this:
I remember thinking, “Oh, Joe! Oh, Wayne! How the mighty have fallen. Did you manage to mismanage your finances so badly that you have to shill for what is so obviously a ridiculous, lame product?”
The FTC realized it and Skechers was forced to pay $40 million in refunds. To me, that is where the “Skechers as an athletic shoe”-concept would have come to a grinding halt, never to be attempted again…at least I would have thought so…
But then a couple of Monday’s ago, THIS happened:
Meb Keflezighi WON the Boston Marathon, becoming the first American to do so in decades.
Here’s a closer look at his feet…more specifically, his shoes:
Yes, those are Skechers.
Skechers on the feet of one of the fastest long distance runners in the entire world.
Wrapping my brain around that concept was, well, difficult, because all I could think of when I kept hearing that Meb won in Skechers was Joe Montana and those ridiculous Shape Ups.
But it wasn’t just Meb.
Then in an online conversation, New England Ultra Marathoning Queen Maddy (you may remember she helped pace me at the end of my 100 last June) said, “everyone who’s worn them on the TWB [Team Wicked Bonkpro0f] team…LOVES them and raves abt (sic) em”
I was inching closer.
The deal was sealed when Pete, aka Runblogger, a runner and scientist I highly respect wrote this, “Luau, try them, you will be pleasantly surprised! Great people behind the shoes, been working with them for a few years now.” If you have spent anytime on Runblogger.com, you know that Pete KNOWS running shoes.
That was it. I was sold.
Even better, I found them on Zappos for only $79.
Upon their arrival, I was surprised at just how light they felt. At just under 7 ounces, we’re talking a very light shoe. For comparison, my Kinvaras weighed in at 9 ounces, while my VFF Bikilas come in around 4 ounces. I was also a fan of the 4mm heel to toe drop – which is similar to the Kinvara.
You may be wondering why I didn’t just buy a new pair of Kinvaras. After enjoying much success in the original Kinvara and the Kinvara 2s, I found the 3s to be extremely uncomfortable. I ran a 200 mile relay in them, along with a marathon and a few other races, and they never provided the same comfort or support as the 1s or 2s. To a degree, the 3s became a barrier for me to “get to” my run. That being said, I will probably check out the 5s when they come out later this month to see if they have made any positive changes.
Putting the Go Mebs on my feet, they felt light and fast…for someone who hadn’t run a lot recently, this was actually not a good thing:
I was gassed by the fourth mile and I blame the shoes…because they are light and fast! The fit, as mentioned in many online reviews, was a little tight in the toe box, but not so much that I felt constricted. I’m not sure whether it was the suggestion on their website that Go Mebs promote a mid-foot strike, but honestly, it felt like I was hitting that mid-foot strike with every stride. The chassis on the Go Mebs feels sturdy but flexible. If you are looking for a full support, cushiony shoe, the Go Mebs are not for you; but I will say that, to me, I didn’t feel like I was running in a minimalist-type shoe. My feet felt protected while maintaining a sense of being close to the ground.
This sensation of being “close to the ground” is something that I feel has kept me relatively injury-free. I have no scientific data to base this opinion on, but I have always felt that the closer my feet are to the ground, the more I can “feel” through my shoes, the more likely I will be able to react quickly should my feet hit a pothole or rock. That being said, and despite not being a cushiony shoe, I never felt like my feet were “hitting” the ground. Perhaps it’s the mid-foot strike the Go Mebs encourage, but my footfalls, whether going uphill, downhill or on the flats, felt soft.
A second run, at a purposely slower pace allowed me to focus on traction, which was just as one would want in a road racing shoe -neither slippery nor sticky. I was also able to focus a bit on how my feet felt from heel to toe as I ran…or rather, how I didn’t have to focus at all. Much like my experience with the original Kinvara, and exactly the opposite of my experience with the Kinvara 3, I didn’t think about my feet during my run. THAT to me, is a sign that you are running in a shoe that is right for your feet. If you aren’t thinking about your feet, you are better able to focus on breathing and pace, but even more importantly, you can focus on your race or training run. Running should shoes be like the offensive linemen of running. You only hear about offensive linemen in football when they give up a sack or blow a blocking play. It’s the same with running shoes – as soon as your run starts, you shouldn’t have to think about them at all, despite their importance.
As mentioned in the Facebook post above, these shoes are growing on me. I think the thing that’s holding me back, preventing me from saying that I absolutely love these shoes is Joe Montana and the fact that they’re, you know, Skechers.
Time to get over it.