Barefoot Shoes

SKORA BASE & FORM (Real) Running Shoes First Look

SKORA is a brand new company entering the minimalist running shoe arena. Just don’t call it minimalist. SKORA’s tagline is “Run Real” as the company goes on to explain in their marketing material, “We reject the terms “minimal”, “natural”, or “barefoo…

SKORA is a brand new company entering the minimalist running shoe arena. Just don’t call it minimalist. SKORA’s tagline is “Run Real” as the company goes on to explain in their marketing material, “We reject the terms “minimal”, “natural”, or “barefoot-style” when it comes to running. We believe there is only one way to run that respects our bodies—simply put, it is Real Running. Nothing more, nothing less. SKORA cites 10 “REAL” differences in their shoes:
  1. Zero-Drop. Zero-Drop means the heel on the same plane as the forefoot, which keeps your movement natural and biomechanically correct.
  2. Minimal Cushioning. Minimal cushioning ensures better ground-feel and allows your foot and body to work together.
  3. Asymmetric Lacing. Your foot is asymmetric, so is our lacing and strap systems. This provides a better, more comfortable fit.
  4. Stitch-Down Construction. Eliminates extra seams and stitching inside the shoe for improved fit and comfort with or without the sockliner.
  5. Anatomical Last. Asymmetric last shape with curved bottom profile, wider toe-box and larger ball girth volumes provides a more natural fit.
  6. Curved Outsole Forefoot Profile. Mimics foot shape and encourages natural medial to lateral roll.
  7. Curved Outsole Heel. Encourages natural heel movement (medial to lateral) in running and heel roll in walking.
  8. Concave Outsole Forefoot. Fits natural foot shape and provides a more natural ground feel.
  9. No Heel Counter. Lack of reinforcement allows for optimum fit and comfort in all degrees of motion.
  10. Elastic Heel Strap. Enables personal fit and customization for maximum comfort and performance.
Video, photos after the jump! Here we’re taking a first look at SKORA’s only two offerings (as of Spring 2012), the SKORA BASE Silver (lace-less with a cycling shoe look to it) and the SKORA FORM Black (traditional laces with a funky asymmetric angle). They both share the same zero-drop, naturally arched sole with uppers that are constructed to provide an anatomical fit from the toebox to the heel cup. By my count, there is 13mm of padding (4mm tread, 5mm midsole and 4mm removable sockliner/insole) between the ground and your feet, so they are far cry from the thin-soled Vibram FiveFingers many of us are used to running in, but place the Skoras alongside recent minimalist footwear releases like the New Balance Minimus Zeros or the Merrell Barefoot Bare Access. We’ll take a look at these in the coming weeks and be back with a full review. See below for a first look video tour of these shoes along with some more photos: And photos! For more (for now), check out

By Tim

I’m am a bicycle advocate by profession and an Ironman triathlete for fun which keeps me healthy and fit. I got into minimalist footwear during the summer of 2009 after dealing with injuries resulting from running in “normal” running shoes. Check out what’s going on in my life through photos at [url=][/url] or follow me on twitter: [url=]@TimKelleyDotNet[/url]. Get to know Tim better via [url=]his interview here[/url].

23 replies on “SKORA BASE & FORM (Real) Running Shoes First Look”

I was following the production of these very closely, and one of the things that had me excited the most was that they were to be affordable and competitively priced. Then they were released…at $125 and $195.

Not a chance I’ll ever try these on let alone buy them at that price, which is a shame because the silver base model looks sharp.

I wonder why minimalist running shoe companies continue to mold toe spring into their lasts. We don’t walk around barefoot with our toes pointed into the sky. I’d be curious to hear Skora’s reasoning behind having toe spring in this shoe. Altra running does not have toe spring in their Adam or Samson shoes. We know a shoe can be made without toe spring. I’d just like to hear why they did it on these shoes. I look forward to the follow-up review. Thanks for the sneak peek. I’ve been waiting years to what these shoes were going to look like.

“real running”? And “only way to respect your body”? That sounds gimicky and self-important, like they’re trying to distinguish their brand by making up a new name for how to run. Call it what you will – they’re targetting the same market as many that have come before. As to the shoes themselves, the looks don’t appeal to me, but they do appear to be well designed, functionally speaking (insofar as one can say that based on some pictures and descriptions).

195 bucks for a minimal shoe is ridiculous,that would be expensive even for Asics astronaut shoes. 125 is ok though.

I like both of these shoes. I would want to wear them for everyday uses not just running. That being said. The price of the laced version at $195 is EXPENSIVE! I can’t really justify the price for them. I also think I would prefer the model with the laces over the strap.

I wish the model with the strap also had the Velcro adjustment on the other side and not just one one side. From what I can tell one half of the strap is secured to the side. The other one is the adjustment band with the Velcro. I wish that they both had Velcro adjustments. That way you could tighten it down from both sides of the shoe. That would allow you to keep the strap even across the top of the foot. Instead of pulling one tighter which causes the other to be brought further over your foot.

These look very promising but there’s no way I’d pay $195 for the form shoes when I can get the Altra Delilahs for $90

i remember getting a response from the company when i responded to their price unveiling…
they didn’t seem to like it when i said that they were far more expensive….heck, you could almost get 3 pairs of vibrams that would last 3 years minimum depending on how you use them, compared to one pair of their shoes….total let down…oh well, i prefer barefoot…except college won’t let me go barefoot due to me being a liability apparently…so…yea…my point, these are expensive

Given the value of the dollar is always dropping, I think of costs in terms of other things that are fairly stagnant.

For $195 I could buy:
1 pair of Merrell Barefoot $90-120ish or New Balance Minimus Zero $110 on sale and/or with cash back
1 pair of Vivobarefoot Ra ($130) or Dharma ($130) on sale for 25% or more , and/or with cashback
1 or more pairs of Injinjis with the remainder

You can’t get sales on a shoe that isn’t available at more than one retailer so it’s unlikely to find any sale on these.

So unless the shoe is absolutely amazing I don’t think $195 for the laced model (Form) is smart. There’s nothing amazing about it. The asymmetrical lacing is neat, but nothing completely out of the ordinary that enhances proprioception or performance by a large margin. The velcro thing is a copy of VFFs but it isn’t that useful unless your shoes are very loose or you buy a size larger and need to shorten your shoes. A shoe size is 1/3 of an inch.

On to the clinchers: The sole tread seems to be more for design than function. There’s toe spring. There’s 5mm of midsole and 4mm outsole and then 4mm of cushioning on top of that (not so minimalist when you have 13mm stack height with insole or 9mm without). They’re pretty heavy (7.9oz for Base, 8.2 oz for Form). The sole isn’t that flexible either.

The Base model isn’t anything spectacular but it’s $125 which gives it a fighting chance, so it really has to compete with New Balance Minimus, Merrell Barefoot, and Vivobarefoot ($115 MSRP Aqua lite or evo/neo you can find for ~$50 easily despite the MSRP) on being better aesthetically/design wise , with a cost that is above all of them. The asymmetrical lacing and the velcro elastic rear strap are basically the only thing setting Skora apart. Every single road offering seems to float around 6oz so 8oz is basically putting it in a hard to compete position. That spells death for a brand when its shoes are both moderately expensive and don’t offer massive tangible advantages over competition.

These are definitely not for me. Too high priced and nothing special about them. I too am struggling to figure out why they have toe spring.

The shoes are indeed nicely designed. But, the marketing gimmick, eschewing established market terms like “minimalist” and “barefoot”, could use a revision. Saying they reject those terms in favor of their philosophical preference for “REAL Running” is one thing. But, turning around and using well-known qualities of minimalist shoes to “differentiate” Skora shoes is a little off putting.

I mean, it was cute when Fig Newtons used the slogan “It’s not a cookie, it’s a fruit newton” several years ago. But, that rationale doesn’t really fly in the case of running shoes that cost $195.

Does any one else find it funny that SKORA does not want to be called a minimalist shoe, yet in their 10 reasons why they are “Real”, they site minimal cushioning as their number 2.

So I guess it is not a minimalist shoe it just has minimal cushioning. Makes sense

Regarding the Form and reaction to the cost. In my opinion the Form is worth every penny, they feel incredible. What might not be clear is what the shoe is made of. The upper is made from Goat leather and the inner lining is made from lamb, yes its a leather lined leather shoe. Both leathers are from the Pittards company. The leathers are premium premium quality, think of italian leather driving gloves or bespoke dress shoes and you’ll appreciate just how high end the materials are, unheard of in running footwear to date.

I think once the full review comes out there will be a statement as to how amazingly comfortable they are. The best description I can offer regarding the level of detail is “what would an APPLE design look like if they made shoes?”

Apple would make running shoes out of high-end synthetic materials. They would be sleek and available in silver, black, or white.

Shoe laces, insoles, and detachable outsoles would be sold separately for no less than $49.99 each.

And, a new, improved version with a slightly wider toe box would be released three months after you buy the first pair.

I’ve run in just about everything – from Evo’s to Bikilas (got the second pair in my city) to Merrell’s. I’ve put about 60 miles into my Skora Base’s.

Here’s my take on the Skora Base:
9mm is perfect for long runs on concrete. It definitely has more protection than Bikilas (which I’ve run two marathons in) but not as much as a flat. I think it’s a good trade off.
What I love about the shoe is the fit: wide toe box; soft elastic heel and upper are far superior to many others like the Evo.
What I don’t like is the weight and the fact that the fit is optimized for the insoles, which make the shoe far too squishy (I removed them right away). For all it’s fault this is my favorite closed-toed minimalist shoe right now for road running (beating out the Evo, Merrells, New Balance Zero, and Soft Star which I have all tried)

Got a chance to try these out recently. I tried to Base and a coworker tried the Form. To clear up the $195 price point, the Form’s upper is made of goat skin and the inside of the upper is sheep skin. The shoe is worth the $195 price point for the quality of the leather if you can appreciate it for what it is. It is the same principle of the Merrell Tough Glove. Normal minimal shoe that is expensive due to the leather quality.

The Base is hardly minimal (or real) in my opinion. I liken it to a bulky Road Glove with a rounded heel. The strap and velcro do nothing unless your foot is about 6″ tall. No adjustment is possible which leaves me to wonder why it is there. In the end, both shoes will serve as a transition shoe for that small market out there looking to go slow into less shoe.

Overly hyped in my opinion but all we can do is let the brand do it’s thing and see what happens.

In response to Jordan, with the insole removed I find these about on par with the Merrell Road Glove regarding road feel. If anything maybe a tiny bit more minimal than the Road Glove. All around, the Road Glove is superior but the arch support of the Road Glove killed it for me (like running with lumps under my feet). The Skoras also have a softer, superior heel cup.

I agree that the velcro isn’t great, and can create a hot spot. However, if the shoes fit you well they will serve their function – allowing great adjustment in fit.

Compared to the Minimus Zero Road, I prefer the Skoras due to the road feel supplied by the rounded sole, which feels like it allows more natural movement. The Skora also has a wider toe box. The Zero is lighter with a better upper, but they just don’t feel as natural on the road.

I’ve put A LOT of miles inot my old TP Evos, but the stiff heel cup just killed it for me. I would have to wear socks AND use Body Glide and I would still sometimes get blisters. It’s like they borrowed a heel cup from a soccer cleat. Ridiculous. (for the record I’ve run two sockless marathons in Bikilas with zero blisters).

$125 isn’t bad for a start up, and 7.9 oz isn’t bad for a minimal shoe. Add the fact that Skoras don’t have the arch support of the Road Glove, or the small toe box of the Zeros, or the stiff painfull heelcup of the Evos, and you have a good minimal shoe. Still doesn’t beat my Bikilas, but when I’m out for 14 miles on pavement these are a good alternative.

Thanks for the comments everyone. Kyle Kranz from Skora here. Last year I was a wear tester for the shoes, doing a 100 mile and a 50 mile ultra in them. My blog is at I’ve done about 4500 miles BF or in minimalist shoes and I’ve recently been lucky enough to join the team at Skora.

I hope I can address all of the comments appropriately.

First about the price. We understand that some people cannot buy a $195 pair of shoes, or even a $125 pair. No one is forcing you to, and complaining is not terribly helpful to either party. We feel that the Form is the best possible shoe we could build, that was the goal. From the Pittard’s goat and sheep leather, to the R01 platform, etc. Same with a $500 running jacket or a $100,000 car. I can’t afford those, so I buy something else.

The Base, at $125, I feel is very well priced. It is in line with the minimalist shoes that are a bit higher on the cost spectrum.

About the toe spring. There is a small amount of it during the run gait, even in bare feet. Prior to foot-strike your toes do lift, as well as during toe off. Your toes are not completely flat while running, so our shoes are not either.

I wear them around casually as well and due to the flexibility of the shoe, they flatten out very well and not once have I noticed it. I’ve worn Brooks in the past. Now they have some toe spring in a few of their shoes.

“Run Real” is simply about allowing the body to move how it should. We hope the shoes allow athletes to be real to how the body moves and works.

@Robert – the strap pulls from both sides pretty equally.

@A C C about the stack height – I generally run with my insoles taken out, giving me 9mm. I’ve done over 3000 miles in VFF classic, and it took that long before I realized that I needed a bit more to my shoes. If you want less than 9mm, these shoes are simply not going to work for you. We understand our shoe is not a perfect choice for everyone. If I do a trail run I will often put the insole back in, for some extra protection.

Weight – Coming from very light VFF Classic, I have never noticed the additional few ounces, however some may. Like I said above, it just took me a few thousand miles to realize ultra minimalist was not ideal for me to do so much of my training in.

@David about insoles: I did all my wear-testing and the two ultras with the insoles in . However this year I took them out and have never looked back. Like I mentioned above, I keep them around for when a bit more protection is appropriate, such as rocky trail runs.

@Jordan – I transitioned from BF and VFF into the Skora line of shoes. I do not feel the market is small at all. For some runners it may be a transition shoe. For others (like myself) it is the shoe I transitioned into, and will probably stay at.

Thanks for the discussion everyone, I will keep my eye on the page for further posts.

-Kyle Kranz

there’s too much hype but the promise wasn’t delivered. i hope they ain’t calling this a barefoot shoe. there’s zero ground feel and its heavy

Also Daves- We are not calling our shoes Barefoot shoes, as there is no such thing as a barefoot shoe.

The midsole/outsole of the shoe is high density, providing solid protection yet good firm ground feel. If you look at a bottom view, you will see flex points built into the sole to provide amazing flexibility and range of movement for the runner’s foot and for the shoe.

Why is the shoe heavier than a 5oz shoe? Simply because the material in both the Base and Form is not a super thin, super flimsy material, as in many other extremely lightweight shoes I have ran in. I would rather have a slightly heavier shoe that will not have the upper ripping out too soon, than a super lightweight shoe with a paper thin upper. That is purely personal preference.

Kyle Kranz
Outreach Coordinator / Skora

I bought the form approx a month ago and was dissapointed. I have been running in vibrams for over 2 yrs and was looking for a different minimal shoe to run on both trails and ashphalt.
It really does lack that barefoot feel even though it is a zero drop shoe. It felt weird almost like my feet was needing more feedback from the ground in each stride even without the foam inserts. Probably from running in vibrams so much and this is more like a traditional shoe than any of the vibram model i have. They are stylish and sharp if that’s your thing but not a good minimal experience it terms of running for me.

Thanks for giving them a shot Mike 🙂 They are definitely not quite as minimal as many Vibram models. They have worked well for me, but of course may not be ideal for every runner.

Thanks for the feedback!

In the car business they have a saying which reads: There is an ass for every seat. In anyone’s instant gratification.

Well I guess that is true in the shoe business too, which should read: there is a big toe for every shoe…
Especially when there are hundreds of ” Fake ” wholesale china scams out there who prey on people giving them $ 200.00 for fake labeled shoes made from ” Pleather ” and look cheap; that will break apart- that’s if you ever receive anything.

I’m going to buy both the Skora ” base ” and the ” form “, and I’m not even a runner…and I’m fat!! I weigh 220 lbs. ( But I’m losing weight exercising and walking 6 miles a day )
I’m saving my money ( I’m not rich ) and I will have in my opinion ” The best looking shoes from the highest quality materials.

One last comment. I read some of the other name brand running shoes out there costing near $ 200.00 mark.

Some look flashy and cheap with colors made for a clown… or to use with a hook as a glow in the dark fishing lure to catch monster fish. Others just made me want to tie the shoe laces together and throw them over electrical lines on the street to piss people off.

Go buy good shoes for your feet. Wear them till they have holes on them and enjoy life!!!

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