We all know about pugs — they’re so ugly that they’re cute.
We like to think of Skora’s Base minimal shoes as the pugs of the running world.
Our testers can’t even count how many double-takes they got while hitting the trails in these minimal running shoes with a design reminiscent of bike shoes.
But double-takes from fashion policing strangers are not what’s important. What’s important is that like the most loyal wrinkly-faced pup, the Skora Bases have been there for us over hundreds of miles during the past year. Even though it was two separate pairs for one of our testers, the second pair is still going strong after a few hundred miles.
Our lady tester fell for these shoes during her time as a wear tester for the company in early 2012, back when the Portland, Ore.-based brand didn’t yet have a women’s version. So she ran a solid 225 miles or so in the men’s Base, using them only for running and not for any other activity as specified by the wear-testing program.
Over the three months, January 2012 to March 2012, she used the minimal shoes on icy conditions, only falling once (a feat given her track record for clumsiness), proving the traction of the high-abrasion rubber outsole was satisfactory.
During her wear testing of the men’s shoe, she ran both with and without socks, noticing that she didn’t suffer from any blisters. The shoe features a criss-cross Velcro strap on the upper, and one horizontal Velcro strap on the heel to tighten or loosen the shoes if they didn’t fit quite as snugly as you wanted. The heel strap came in handy during the female tester’s time with the men’s Base, as it was just a touch too long for her foot.
The upper straps come in handy for quick adjustments during long runs when your feet start to swell up.
Though she didn’t experience any blisters using the men’s Base, there were a few blisters she encountered while using the women’s shoes. The reason for this could be the longest run she did in the men’s version was 10, whereas she was using the Base for longer runs for 50K training.
Our male tester isn’t a huge fan of minimal shoes in general, and said he liked the experience of the shoes for shorter runs and only if he used them only sparingly between the more cushioned counterparts in his running shoe closet.
Our female tester has run in several types of minimal shoes, preferring those with slightly more cushion at the midfoot. While the ground feel isn’t what the hard-core minimal runner would want in a shoe, there is the option to take out the insole to get that optimal ground feel. It’s a great choice for both cushion camps in the running community.
The shoes are lightweight, comfortable and help runners more easily practice good running form. However, they’re somewhat tough on the calves if you’re running more than 10 miles or doing any sort of cumulative fatigue training (multiple long runs back to back). Our testers mostly used them on city trails and some well-groomed dirt trails.
If the design of the Base isn’t for your customers, Skora does have some other options that could suit their palette, such as the Forms, a $185 premium goat- and sheep-skin, lace-up option. The Forms come in black and white but have prominent flashy colors like lime green laces or pink outsoles in the women’s offerings.
SNEWS® Rating: 5 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection.)