Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Skora Phase and Core Coming Soon: Will 2013 Be the Year of Skora?

Skora Running will release new shoes into the world fairly soon. And, yes, it's okay for you to be excited. In fact, you may have already sneaked a peek at the Phase and Core. But, that was a while ago. So, I'm going to remind you about them. Skora 2013 Base, Form, Core, Phase

But First...

Let's go over a couple of things about Skora before we get into those specs and pics of the Core and Phase. (Sure, this post only needs to consist of a few words, the names of the new shoes, and some photos. But, if you wanted brief, you'd be looking at another site)

When the creative people at Skora introduced their rather unique interpretations of running shoes, the Form and the Base, to the public towards the end of 2011, shoe geeks reacted with interest. And, as 2012 progressed, Skora shoe reviews punctuated relevant media steadily.

More importantly, Skora's running shoes inspired shoe buyers (you people) to demonstrate a significant range of responses, from curiosity to enthusiasm to skepticism. The dominant opinion across the web, as far as I can tell, is that both Skora offerings are fantastic as long as the fit is commensurate with the wearer's feet, which makes perfect sense.

And, indeed, I am happy to reiterate my own satisfaction with the very comfortable Skora Base, one of my weekly go-to shoes for road running.

But, of course, if you've read anything at length about Skora's shoes, particularly the Form, you've undoubtedly been subjected to the debate over pricing and perceptions of luxury. And, unless you are comfortable spending more on a running shoe than you're used to, it's highly likely that you've decided to wait and see how Skora's shoes continue to be received by your running peers.

Understandable. It takes a lot of moxie to take a chance on a relatively new brand. But, really, is trying a new shoe from, say, Mizuno any less risky than trying a new shoe from any other shoe company (Skora)? You read shoe reviews. You look at the pictures. And, you make an educated guess when you click the "submit order" button. Return shipping is more and more hassel-free everyday.

Anyway, I'm not a brand loyalist. I'm standing on this press-release-covered soapbox for Skora, because I like to foster open mindedness and encourage people to try new things. There are lots of different shoes out there for us. And, the more we try, the more competitive the market becomes. And, a competitive shoe market is good for us, because shoe makers pay more attention to our requests and price products more affordably.

So, as someone who enjoys running in the Skora Base and believes that the shoe is very well made, I am encouraging my fellow runners to read up on Skora's shoes and consider them (again). Don't think of them as being the [elitist brand] of running shoes. Because, that's not actually what they're all about. That's what others have written without really thinking about the metaphor. Skoras are tools for running. And, they may or may not be the right tools for you. You won't know until you try.

And, with that, let's see what's coming out this Spring (word on the street is "March-ish") from Skora:

Skora Core and Phase Specs, Pics, and PR Verbiage

Skora 2013

Skora Phase

  • 7.2oz Men’s / 5.8oz Women’s
  • minimal, single-layer mesh upper
  • asymmetric lacing system
  • unique unibody IBR outsole
  • Zero-drop, 8mm forefoot/heel stack height
  • $110 MSRP
Skora 2013

Skora Core

  • 8.1oz Men’s / 6.7oz Women’s
  • perforated Pittards® Armor-Tan® Goatskin leather upper
  • combination lining with WR100X® leather and antibacterial Agion mesh
  • asymmetric lacing system
  • unibody IBR outsole
  • Zero-drop, 8mm forefoot/heel stack height
  • $155 MSRP

The star feature of the two new SS13 (Spring/Summer 2013) Skora models is the "revolutionary new R02 unibody outsole platform". Yes, it's a whole 'nother last. This new last is comprised of IBR (Injection Blown Rubber), which "provides the function of both midsole and outsole".Skora outsole

If you've been reading this blog for a while, that sole composition might seem similar to the "Fusion Sole™" that's part of another lightweight shoe. I'm not saying the sole construction of that shoe and the Skora R02 last is the exact same, of course. But, I'll bet they're similar, conceptually speaking. And, the extra grippy things on the new Skora outsole will be most interesting.

The PR verbiage goes on to describe the IBR material like this:

Pushing the boundaries of material technology, IBR offers better abrasion resistance, grip and compression-set than injected EVA, at a much lower density and weight than rubber. This provides runners with an ultra-supple ground feel and outstanding durability, longevity and running comfort in a flexible, lightweight single unit. The new PHASE and CORE are zero-drop for the perfect blend of feel and function, featuring an 8mm forefoot/heel stack height for incredible ground feel with needed protection.

Sounds cool, right?

K. Kranz running in Skora PHASE 2013
Not me running in the Skora Phase

Skora Phase Black and whiteDavid Sypniewski, Founder/CEO for SKORA, INC. describes the new additions to the collection as "an evolution of our philosophy, founded on challenging the status quo and building running shoes that not only enable natural running, but do so by seamlessly combining design and performance."

Design and performance, people!

Aside from these brand new shoe models to consider, Skora will update the classic Form and Base with new colorways. So, the company has essentially doubled your options with this Spring's new products. How about that?

Will these updates and color upgrades be enough to grow the Skora fanbase dramatically this year? I think so. Does that kind of growth make 2013 the year of Skora? Well, I don't know about that. But, the phrase has a nice ring to it.

Now, here are a couple more pictures.

Skora 2013
Skora Core in grey (mens)
Skora 2013Skora Core in black and yellow (mens)
Skora 2013 Core outsoleSkora Core outsole (mens)
Skora 2013 Core womensSkora Core in light grey and light blue (womens)
Skora 2013 Core womensSkora Core in black, purple, and blue (womens)

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

5 Best Top-Shoe Lists from 2012

Making lists of things as we transition to a new year seems like the thing to do. No doubt you've seen a few already. They started showing up online a couple of months ago. There were so many top-this and best-that lists, in fact, you were probably overwhelmed by the ranking extravaganza.Bestest Top Best Lists

Declaring the best shoes of the year is about as relevant as ranking the best top 20 pop songs of the year. But, it's entertaining and interesting for various reasons, the most obvious of which is finding out whether the ranker shares the same taste as we do. So, we click to the lists and read.

But, who has time for all those lists? Or, if you've skimmed a bunch already, you might be mixing them up! What if you're confusing one list's number two shoe with another list's number 5 shoe? Oh crap!

So, I've aggregated my favorite 5 just for you. These are important for one reason or another. (But, you should know that most of them contain shoes I would otherwise never wear)

Number 5: The 100 Best Running Shoes of All Time
(by Sneaker Report)

I actually hated this list when I first saw it. For one thing, I couldn't believe that I was taking the time to skim through this 101-page slideshow.

Moreover, the list of shoes seemed to be suspiciously based on brand popularity or sales data rather than design, quality, innovation, etc.

And, most appalling for me, none of my favorite shoes appeared on it. (Several appearances by the Brooks Pure line, but nothing from Inov-8? WTF?)

But, you gotta hand it to the folks at SneakerReport, this is a fairly grand endeavor as far as best-of lists go. And, the brazen title indicating that these are the best running shoes of all time is wonderfully obnoxious. Well played, SneakerReport.

Number 4: The Best Running Shoes of 2012
(by The Rogue Run Down)

Once again, I'm giving points for content style rather than selection. I mean the people at Rogue Running have a marvelous flair for finding entertaining similes to go along with shoe descriptions. And, I certainly know how challenging that can be.

So, despite the fact that I'd ignore all but one of the shoes on their list, I highly recommend that you give this best-of 2012 post a read. And, prepare to laugh, or at least snicker.

Number 3: Wear Tested 2013 Top 7 Minimalist Running Shoes Picks
(by Wear Tested [aka. MinimalistRunningShoes.org])

After seeing a few best-shoes-of-2012 lists appear on my rss reader, I thought about how funny it would be if someone went ahead and declared the best shoes of 2013 before the year even started. Then, Nick's team of wear testers posted this piece for us! Ha!

That's right, this modest list of shoes predicts what will be the top minimalist running shoes of 2013. These predictions are "based on early prototypes and test samples [they] have early access to."


But, oooh! Pictures of forthcoming cool shoes! How could you not look at this list?

Number 2: Believe in the Run 2012 B.I.G (Best in Gear) Awards
(by Believe in the Run)

I'm a sucker for sensibly stylish web pages that have a practical interface. And, this awards roster at Believe in the Run doesn't disappoint in that regard.

The clean, simple layout features bold color on a white background with clear product photos. And, the graphic-rich presentation at the top of the post provides a quick rundown of the winners and runners up before we get to the lengthier text descriptions below.

It's a very efficient, easy-on-the-eyes site, which serves as a pleasing way to display a group of things on a list. This list will take so little time to process, you'll wish there were more categories.

Number 1: Top 3 Most Disappointing Running Shoes of 2012
(by Runblogger)

Yes! Folks, if you ignore the previous four lists mentioned on this post, please, at least, click through to this one. Pete's honest remarks about three popular shoes from 2012 are refreshing.

Why do I like this list of disappointing shoes so much? Well, you may suspect that shoe reviews on the web have a tendency to be overly positive most of the time. Wear testers and reviewers might gloss over an otherwise significant fault of a shoe. They don't do this to be deceitful, or anything. They're just being positive. This list is the opposite of that.

There are only three shoes mentioned. So, you won't have to read through a bunch of blabber like you would if this work of genius were on my own site. And, they're all shoes that you've either considered or heard a lot about already.

Definitely check this one out.

And, thanks for reading!


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