SKORA FORM ReviewApril 9, 2012
- Goatskin leather is rugged and durable.
- Sheepskin interior lining comfortable against skin.
- Outsole adequate for on or off road use.
- Only available in men’s sizes 8-12.
- Forefoot excessively roomy when insole is removed.
- Curved heel outsole may be problematic for pronators.
The FORM provides a nice combination of performance and comfort features in a solid general-purpose trainer. Its high price tag reflects the use of high-quality leather uppers, which are very comfortable and durable, but don’t fully justify the cost from a performance standpoint.
SKORA’s slogan is “Run Real,” referring to the natural form associated with barefoot and minimalist running.
The company’s shoe design precepts are familiar to minimalist footwear users: anatomic last, zero-drop platform, wide toe box, no heel counter, minimal cushioning, and seamless interior construction for sockless use. They also include a few unique tweaks to optimize mechanics, fit, or comfort—some of these are helpful, others maybe not so much.
The underside of the FORM features a combination of EVA and high-abrasion rubber, and is carved slightly concave in the forefoot area for enhanced ground feel on foot strike. Outsole traction is great for roads, even in wet conditions, and there’s enough grip to handle gravel or fire roads without difficulty. Unless you’re tackling extremely technical trails, the SKORA outsole is very nice for hybrid road/trail use.
One design tweak is a curvature of the heel, intended to encourage a medial to lateral roll of the foot in stance phase. If you contact the ground in an excessively medial position (as I do), this construction creates a somewhat unstable feeling underfoot in my testing.
SKORA’s midsole platform has a stack height of 13mm, unless you take out the 4mm removable insole for a resultant 9mm height. However, I ended up leaving the insole in when testing both models, because the forefoot area feels excessively roomy with it removed, particularly on steep hills or irregular terrain. Although the FORM reportedly runs true to size, my suspicion is that the SKORA last is just a shade large compared to conventional shoe sizes. The burrito-wrap tongue and asymmetric laces allow you to cinch the upper down a bit, however I still experienced some forefoot movement, even when tied tightly and the insole in place. If I were buying a pair of FORMs to start over, I’d size down one-half size and remove the insole for everyday use.
Obviously, the most distinctive feature of the FORM is its deluxe upper made of Pittards armor-tan goatskin. This variety of leather is very soft and supple, and extraordinarily durable compared to standard mesh. When perforated (as it is on the FORM), it breathes much better than you’d expect. Interior comfort is further enhanced with a Pittards WR100X sheepskin lining, which feels soft against bare skin, and provides a combination of added breathability as well as water resistance.
From a performance standpoint, it’s hard to recommend the FORM over other high quality zero-drop shoes currently on the market, especially for 85 to 100 bucks more. However, there is definitely a luxury feel to the soft leather FORM that you simply don’t have with a standard running shoe upper. In that regard, it’s the same decision-making you use to justify purchasing a luxury car over a reliable Toyota or Honda: your overall mileage will probably end up the same, but some folks are willing to pay a little more to enjoy those miles in style.
SKORA shoes are currently available in men’s sizes 8-12, with a wider range of men’s sizes as well as women’s styles coming later this year.