The West Coast counterweight to New England–based running shoe brands like Saucony and New Balance, Skechers doesn’t have the traditional, 100-year-old running roots of some of its East Coast competitors. Although Skechers is still a baby of a company (relative to others) and its influence on the running shoe market is even newer, the company has made itself into a contender in the race for running shoe dominance.
Best Skechers Running Shoes
- Best for Long Runs: GOrun Ride 9
- Best for Shorter Races: GOrun Speed Elite Hyper
- Most Cushioning: GOrun MaxRoad 5
- Best for Speedwork: GOrun Speed Freek
- Best Trail Running Shoe: GOrun Razor Trail
- Most Versatile: GOrun Razor Excess 2
- Best Stability Shoe: GOrun Forza 4 Hyper
Skechers launched in 1992 and leapt headfirst into the grunge era with, of course, a big black combat boot. Its popular line of Roadies sneakers, which were a simple, everyday wear-around shoe, helped the brand gain prominence in the mid-90s. The company’s innovations for runners have come more recently; Skechers created its GOrun line of running shoes in 2011, and a number of remarkable kicks have come from the line since.
Skechers’s Rapid Running Success
Skechers made its commitment to high-performance running shoes clear with the lightweight GOrun lineup. The company was no longer making athletic shoes that you could run in—it was making running-specific shoes designed for your daily miles. In 2011, four-time Olympian Meb Keflezighi signed a professional contract with Skechers, and he helped the company refine its racing-flat design by giving detailed feedback on his shoes. The collaboration between Keflezighi and Skechers led to the GOmeb racing-shoe line, and in 2014, Meb won the Boston Marathon while wearing the GOmeb Speed 3.
The Latest in Skechers Running
Skechers created a ton of buzz with the release of its Hyper Burst foam on the GOrun Razor 3 Hyper in late 2018. Essentially, Hyper Burst is EVA foam that has been exposed to supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2 gas that’s heated under pressure until it turns to a liquid). This creates irregular-shaped pockets in the foam, making it lighter and bouncier than normal EVA while keeping its durability. That durability extends to Skechers’s outsoles as well, which use high-traction Goodyear rubber.
Skechers has also experimented with rocker soles on most of its latest models. The first iteration of this design is called M-Strike, and it uses a curved sole shape that promotes a midfoot landing and a quick transition to toe-off. Skechers refined that rocker design into Hyper Arc, which uses multiple curves along the sole to roll you smoothly through your stride—regardless of whether you touchdown on your midfoot or heel. For even more propulsion, Skechers has joined the ranks of brands installing carbon fiber plates into its racing-ready shoes, like the GOrun Speed Elite Hyper.
How We Tested and Evaluated
We’ve tested many of the shoes below, and the others we’re in the process of testing. That means getting feedback from our Runner’s World staff and team of over 250 wear testers, as well as analyzing the shoes in our lab. We’ve performed a battery of mechanical tests to assess the energy return of Skechers’s Hyper Burst foam, the traction of its Goodyear rubber outsoles, and the breathability of its knit and mono-mesh upper materials. For pairs we haven’t personally laced up, we rely on our own extensive research, experience, and consultation with product engineers.
—BEST FOR LONG RUNS—
GOrun Ride 9
Weight: 8.4 oz (M), 6.8 oz (W)
Drop: 6 mm
The Ride prioritizes cushioning and efficiency for neutral runners, which makes it a good option for recovery days and long runs. The latest version comes with even more Hyper Burst foam (adding about a millimeter to the shoe’s stack height) for an even more cushioned ride, but that also makes it slightly heavier than the Ride 8. Even so, the bouncy foam and rocker sole shape keep you from feeling bogged down, and the Goodyear rubber outsole provides excellent durability for high-mileage training. “Initially, I was a little suspicious because I’ve never worn Skechers for running prior, but I was super impressed by the Ride,” one tester said. “It has a very quick turnover without sacrificing any softness underfoot—I even raced a marathon in this shoe and it never felt sluggish. As a runner who likes a cushioned shoe, I found the Ride has just the right combination of comfort and speed in a moderately-priced daily trainer.”
—BEST FOR SHORTER RACES—
GOrun Speed Elite Hyper
Weight: 6 oz (M), 4.9 oz (W)
Drop: 4 mm
When Skechers looked to add a carbon plate to its fastest shoe, it did so with the goal of increasing rigidity without adding weight. To do it, the company designed a “winglet” system using a carbon-fiber polymer that’s 40 percent lighter than a full-length plate. Banana-shaped wings at the edges of the forefoot allow your foot to flex laterally then direct forces forward as you go through your stride. Everything else on this shoe is stripped to the bare minimum, including the see-through mono-mesh upper and the thin layer of Hyper Burst foam underfoot. The trade-off is durability: In only 185 miles, one tester wore away nearly all the foam under the lateral winglet. “This shoe is the answer for someone seeking a carbon-fiber racer with springy responsiveness but a more minimal feel,” he said. “The stack height is much lower than Nike’s 4% or a Hoka.”
GOrun MaxRoad 5
Weight: 8.3 oz (M), 6.3 oz (W)
Drop: 6 mm
The Maxroad is optimized for covering long distances quickly. It contains plenty of Hyper Burst foam (enough for it to earn a spot in the 2022 RW Shoe Awards), and the fifth iteration also comes with a carbon-fiber “H-plate” for a snappier feel underfoot and some additional stability. Large grooves cut into the sole allow the shoe to flex with your foot, and the sole has a rocker shape that promotes a smooth stride. Although it has gained a bit of weight over its fourth version, the Maxroad 5 is designed to be light and fast—with enough cushioning to keep your feet comfortable for a weekend long run. “I’m excited about the future of Skechers, and this shoe is one of the reasons why—Hyper Burst feels like a lighter version of Adidas’s Boost foam with a little more pop,” one tester said. “This a lively, responsive, and fun shoe to run in.”
—BEST FOR SPEEDWORK—
GOrun Speed Freek
Weight: 7 oz (M), 5.8 oz (W)
Drop: 4 mm
Although it doesn’t match the Speed Elite’s feathery-light weight, the Speed Freek is a solid option for speed training (as you might have guessed from the name). Like the Speed Elite, it’s equipped with “winglet” plates made from a carbon-fiber polymer embedded in the midsole. They help amp up the energy return and add some support, too. The Speed Freek also features a thicker layer of Hyper Burst foam for a cushier ride, and the sole uses Skechers’s Hyper Arc rocker shape to promote a smooth, efficient stride. Plus, it’s topped with a breezy mono-mesh upper to keep the weight down and your feet cool. “The Speed Freek has a great ride. Between the carbon plate, lightweight, and Hyper Burst foam, it is fun to crank out fast runs in the shoe,” one tester said. “It has ample cushioning but also feels peppy, making it easier to have a higher cadence and less ground-contact time during my runs. The higher amount of cushioning never felt unstable, but it was enough that my feet felt protected. The responsiveness was really clear during a fartlek workout when I did several two-minute hard, two-minute easy intervals and was able to shift gears quickly.”
—BEST TRAIL RUNNING SHOE—
GOrun Razor Trail
Weight: 8 oz (M), 6.3 oz (W)
Drop: 4 mm
Adapted from the GOrun Razor 3, the Razor Trail is built for speed-focused trail runs. It features a full-length Hyper Burst midsole for a cushioned, bouncy feel and a rocker sole for quick transitions. Unlike the company’s road shoes, however, the Razor Trail comes with a generous Goodyear outsole studded with nearly 100 triangular nubs for dependable traction in the dirt, and the shoe’s wider sole shape adds some stability on uneven ground. A mono-mesh upper saves weight, and the shoe’s comparatively low stack height gives it a zippy, responsive ride. “The Skechers GOrun Razor Trail is a shockingly fun and fast trail shoe,” one tester said. “Typically, I find that with speedy trail shoes you give up some level of cushioning for a firmer, lighter ride. The Hyper Burst foam is stiff, but there is a little give when pressure is applied. Running over roots and rocks takes out most of the bumps, but you still get a little ground feel. It’s hard to run slow in these shoes with the ample push-off you get. The only quirk: The outsole lugs are so soft that there is a slight squishy sinking-in before you push off of firm surfaces.”
GOrun Razor Excess 2
Weight: 7.2 oz (M), 5.7 oz (W)
Drop: 4 mm
The Razor Excess 2 is Skechers’ take on a do-it-all shoe. The latest version received a thorough reworking from top to bottom: It sports a new hybrid upper (a mix of thin, breathable mono-mesh and thicker polyester knit fabric), a roomier toe box, a carbon-infused H-plate in the sole, and a thicker layer of Hyper Burst foam. The responsive foam and the H-plate create a snappy ride at all paces. Especially for runners who prefer a firmer feel, the Excess 2 can handle speedwork and longer efforts with aplomb. “I like a relatively firm shoe, like the original Razor, one that is protective but doesn’t feel mushy,” RW Deputy Test Editor Jeff Dengate said. “The Excess maintains that characteristic. It’s not overly plush but feels a little softer.”
—BEST STABILITY SHOE—
GOrun Forza 4 Hyper
Weight: 9.1 oz (M), 7 oz (W)
Drop: 6 mm
The Forza 4 is Skechers’s take on a stability shoe. The main support feature is the dual-density midsole, which uses a combination of responsive Hyper Burst foam and firmer Ultra Flight foam under the arch to counter overpronation and keep your feet aligned. It also features a full outsole made from Goodyear rubber for added grip and stability, and the lightweight mesh upper comes with a built-in heel counter for a secure fit. “I loved the traction the Forza provided on wet roads—it’s my go-to shoe for rainy days now—and I was surprised by how light it was for a stability shoe,” one tester said. “I usually run in a neutral shoe, and the weight difference wasn’t noticeable. The cushioning is resilient, as well, and doesn’t lose its bounce by the end of my 17-milers.” Skechers is discontinuing these shoes, so act quickly if you want to grab a pair.