After looking at this shoe for a while, I finally received the Skora Phase (click here to go straight to the product page) and I can now lay claim to all current models of the the Skora family, giving me a shoe in each of their models: the Form, the Base, and the Core. I received a sample of one of their new color schemes, available online from Skora on October 1, and have found the shoe to be put together quite well.
First off, the shoes look awesome. As I mentioned in my out of the box comments, the synthetic material allows Skora a platform to display vivid colors and a sense of style. They have bright neon colors (look for the orange and blue one coming out at the same time or the current black model if you want something more timid), something great for night running and also stylish by current market color schemes. They are bordered in a black material reflective material, that when hit with a bright light, is highly reflective. In fact, when you take a picture of the phases with a flash, they seem to be a different shoe (and to almost glow).
In terms of fit, the synthetic material is flexible and has a great give to it. Unlike in the Base, where my feet sometimes felt trapped, the material here is more conforming—it doesn’t depress, squeeze, or agitate. The toe box is spacious, not Core spacious, but roomy enough to avoid smashing your toes together like in conventional shoes, thus they allow for a natural feel. They are a roomy shoe, but much more snug than the Core, tightening up easily and reminding me of the Form. Breathability is high, whether sockless or not, and they shed water quickly and efficiently in the rain. These are not slosh around shoes, none of the Skoras are, and my feet while damp were not in the puddle of water Nikes would have provided.
In terms of platform, they are zero drop and neutral in style, with an 11mm stack height. Lacking a midsole and with the same injection blown, RO2 platform as the Core, they have a ton feel. Rocks, pebbles, pieces of rubber on the turf—you feel it all. While I know people that run extreme distances in them, as of now I have limited them to recovery runs and workouts sub 8 miles, runs where I want to focus on form, regenerate the legs, and work to connect with each and every step or 400m style intervals where form is a focus as I push for more and more speed.
- Synthetic materials are great in Florida. While I love the leather Skora models, a more breathable shoe is a godsend in the humidity.
- You feel everything, with or without the insole. You can walk and run the way you are intended to, with full sensation.
- Flexibility. These shoes bend every which way, and they do so with little to no effort. They are neutral, they are light, they can run fast even though I tend to stay slower in them. As of late I've used them to do more and more speed based running though, so time will tell.
- This shoe is sexy. They are synthetic versions of theCore, we get colors, improved breathability, and an overall good looking shoe.
- As I noted with my review of the Core: the heel is fixed. On the Form, it tended to sag, now it is a bit more rigid and hangs where it should.
- You feel everything. I love this fact, but many people may not. Understand that Skora’s motto is run real. You will run real in this shoe. Expect to feel the run, but in the process you will run lighter, more efficiently. You will adapt in the way that you need to, but if you are used to an overly padded shoe, you will not like this fact.
- Padding. This is an elaboration of con one. If you want to run on a pillow, don’t buy this shoe. If you want to run real, it has sufficient padding for speed workouts, trail runs, and road runs.
- The heel piece is a bit tough. I have tender Achilles tendons so I notice this fact each time I put the shoes on. During my first couple runs it bothered me a bit on my left foot, rubbing and making me feel as if it might blister. I’ve only noticed this rubbing once, so perhaps it was a onetime deal for me, but it happened so I’m putting it down.