Skora Core running shoe review #runreal

I recently realized that the Core is the only shoe in Skora’s lineup that I own and haven’t posted a review on. Ironically, it’s my favorite. [Note to Alanis Morissette: you’re probably sick of hearing this, but this is like, actual irony, i.e., a situation that is strange or funny because things happen in a way that seems to be the opposite of what you had expected. To wit: this is a blog where I write about minimal shoes and running in them. You would expect me to write about my favorite ones. The fact that I hadn’t yet done so is funny, or at least strange. Not like a traffic jam when you’re already late. That’s just inconvenient, not funny or even strange.]

I call the Core “the shoe that fits like a glove.” Have you ever put a shoe on and immediately said to yourself: “Self, if I could only have one pair of shoes….”? To put it another way, I wish I could wear this shoe at all times when I need to have a shoe on. I am a distance runner who runs in minimal shoes. I have sampled over a dozen minimalist offerings from various manufacturers and this shoe is by far my favorite. There’s a reason mankind has been making shoes out of leather for thousands of years. Quality leather conforms to the shape of your foot. The shoe is so strikingly well-designed that it’s the only shoe I’ve ever worn where complete strangers will ask me “what kind of shoe is that?” It’s MOMA-worthy.

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These, with the neon heel, are this season’s model. I’m still kind of babying them with only casual wear. But that’s because I also have these:

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These are my go-to shoes for all kinds of purposes. I wear this shoe while running – road, track, trail; at the gym while cross-training; and casually (like, if the weather isn’t nice enough for the purty ones).

The shoe is light – the leather is not that thick leather on your dad’s white New Balance “cross-trainers” (sorry, Dad). It’s goat leather. Light, but durable. It dries quickly too. The toe-box is roomy, but not cavernous. I have long since purged my closet of all the shoes – running and casual – that are too narrow in the toe box despite being the right size everywhere else. Skora’s anatomical design is refreshing and has eliminated the few foot problems I had as a minimalist runner.

These have about 100 running miles on them. However I don’t keep track of all the other miles they have on them – the gym, walking, hiking. I wish I knew how many “hours” I’ve had them on. I’m going to show you some pictures of the soles, which are holding up great for how many hours I’ve put on them. (The wear on the heel is entirely from casual wear on hard surfaces – virtually nobody heel-strikes when they walk, even barefoot).

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I haven’t yet mentioned that all of Skora’s shoes are HIGHLY reflective. Especially the new Phase-X, but they all are. As I said, I’ve sampled a number of minimalist offerings in the last few years, and I was shocked to find that a lot of manufacturers – even the “big” ones, apparently don’t think that minimalist runners ever run in the dark.

As a certain very famous racecar would say, KA-CHOW!

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I love the Core.

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I’m reaching for what I cannot. #runreal #Boston2014

I have been running with renewed joy since discovering Skora shoes halfway through 2013 and becoming an ambassador. I’ve been a minimalist and barefoot runner for several years, but bounced from shoe to shoe – always knowing what I wanted but never quite finding that ideal realization of a shoe that allows my body to run efficiently and naturally as it was designed. My first four marathons were run in 3 different shoes. My last two have been in Skoras, and my only choice will be which Skora model to run Boston in. I ran my two fall marathons in the Base and Phase, and loved both. But, I hadn’t yet tried the Form, which effortlessly carried me through my trail Ultra pacing experience. Despite obliterating my previous annual mileage high of just over 900 miles by running almost 1400 miles this past year, I have been injury-free.

While I was on vacation a few days ago, I received my first e-newsletter from the BAA. I had already started training, but somehow that email put the spurs to me. It also coalesced a thought that has been taking form in my head ever since I found out that I’d be running Boston.

I am just an amateur runner. Very few people will take notice when I cross the line. However, I feel a unique responsibility to this great race. I want to give it my best. Yes, I will be both a participant and a spectator. I will marvel at what promises to be the greatest celebration of running I have ever taken part in.

I will not chase the elites – a group of professional runners whose combination of genetic gifts and will to succeed make them the best in the world. They will be running at a pace for just over two hours that most of us cannot keep up for more than a few minutes.

I will chase the clock. I will chase my personal goal to be my best. My goal setting has always been unconventional. Recently I realized that the modern Greek philosopher Nikos Kazantzakis has expressed my method: “Reach for what you cannot.” I always seem to set my goals just a bit further out than I can achieve. However, by reaching for what I cannot, I achieve what I otherwise would not. If I had conceived that qualifying for Boston was a bridge too far, it would have become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead, I set my goal at a BQ – 5:00. I haven’t achieved that goal yet, but I have BQ’d twice.

My new goal is an ambitious one: to run a sub-3:00 marathon. I believe that I can achieve it with the right physical and mental training. I’ve set my training program up with that goal pace in mind: 6:51. It is a furious pace.

The point at which “the wall” (or the central governor, if you prefer) kicks in and seduces you to slow down comes at a cruel place in the marathon – but that’s why your mind is doing it – it senses the end. You are close to the finish – 6 miles or less. In the six marathons I have run, this has always come at a point in the race when no one else is looking. No competitors are near me – we are strung out along the race course. The crowds are thin or nonexistent. This will not be the case in April. Although the physical challenges of the Newton Hills begin at mile 17.5, followed by Heartbreak Hill at mile 20.5, I intend to draw on the power of the cheering crowds and my fellow runners. The crowds won’t be cheering for me in particular, but they will be cheering for me and the men and women running with me.

If I don’t achieve a sub-3:00 in Boston, I will have already signed up for the Chicago marathon in October. Flat. Fast. Cool. No excuses. I have also heard the siren song of the Ozark Trail Ultramarathon in November – 35 miles of pacing last year have me believing I can do it.

I’m reaching for what I cannot.