This article first appeared on shoegeeks.in
I first heard about Skechers as a running shoe brand from a physio, who recommended me to use either Asics or Skechers trainers for my runs, as I wasn’t actually using a running shoe. I was quick to pick up the GoRun 400, considering how light the shoe was, and most importantly the price tag. I thought I’d be loyal to Skechers then, but I couldn’t be when I moved to a more versatile Pegasus series. Felt they went off track for a few years and then never earned at least. I was wrong!
I’ve got a chance to run in Skechers GORun Ride 9, sent to us by Skechers India. As much as my intention was to put a disclaimer here, I’m glad they sent us one for a review. That said, rest assured about a neutral review since this is neither a sponsored post nor Skechers India got any say over the review. Unboxing the Ride 9 felt like a throwback to my first Skechers trainer, pretty nostalgic, so light, yet again from Skechers. So read on to understand my experience with the shoe in-depth. Spoiler alert, both the shoe and the review are worth your 10 minutes.
The Skechers GOrun Ride 9 is a lightweight neutral daily trainer. The shoe features the brand’s proprietary Hyperburst midsole, a rocker for quicker transitions and Goodyear’s rubber on the outsole for durability. Ride 9 is the lightest trainer sitting on my rack, weighing barely 237g for US9.
The trainer is available for ₹10,999 MRP in India, in par with other daily trainers.
Skechers GOrun Ride 9 features Skechers’ proprietary HyperBurst foam on the midsole. This is the second time Skechers has featured HyperBurst in the Ride series, moving on from the Flight Gen cushioning. The midsole is created using Skechers trademarked “supercritical” foaming process, where a smaller form of EVA is expanded to a defined shape. Unlike the traditional injection moulding process, their proprietary process is believed to make the foam both lighter and responsive.
We have measured the softness of the midsoles of a few popular daily neutral trainers with a Shore Durometer. In terms of midsole softness, Ride 9 is softer when compared to the competition and yet doesn’t feel cushion heavy. The softness also varied throughout, the midfoot area being softer than the heel.
The shoe has a stack height of 34 mm on the heel and 28mm on the forefoot with a 6 mm heel-to-toe drop. The midsole additionally features M-strike technology, commonly known as a rocker, to promote a midfoot strike and for a quicker transition from heel to toe.
The upper is another softer aspect of the shoe and yet another thing I love about the shoe. The upper here features a multilayered engineered mesh, which feels soft and light and yet manages to lock in the foot pretty well. The upper feels more clothish, as against a rigid mesh is more flexible. The tox box is a little wide and it is a blessing for those with wider feet. However, not so great for those with narrow feet like me. The tongue is mildly padded non-gusseted and is attached in between the laces and the midsole. You’ll see a diamond pattern on the upper meant to provide ventilation, overall making the Ride 9 a good contender for a highly breathable daily trainer.
The standard laces are long enough for a triple knot. Some reflective elements are present in the pull tab and in the lateral front part of the shoe to help you safely run through the dark.
I’m indeed falling short of the checklist to keep praising the Ride 9. The heel counter is moderately padded. Unlike the Hoka Clifton 8 which irritated my Achilles, I had no such problem with the Ride 9. The scope for heel slip is largely reduced courtesy of high lacing on the upper. The pull tab is also attached to the heel counter. At the bottom, the long heel bevel is there to help progress you forward, something which is more common in new-age daily trainers.
The outsole of the Gorun Ride 9 makes use of the Goodyear Tyre’s rubber. The rubber almost covers the major of the forefoot and only the edges of the heel. It is probably an intentional decision to manage the overall weight and it makes sense. The rubber is thick enough and is well placed in high-impact areas. Like the tyres, they are tough and grippier.
Straight out of the box, the Gorun Ride 9 is a neutral daily trainer. The shoe is meant for clocking miles after miles, regardless of the distance one is training for. I was surprised to see how soft and yet extremely lightweight a trainer can be. There are generally a lot of sacrifices to keep a shoe lightweight and Skechers has found a magical balance to not sacrificing any important features required in a daily trainer. Since a lot of daily trainers are also placed in the same price range, Ride 9 would be a good choice for someone who’s planning to clock in a variety of miles using a variety of trainers.
I have run a variety of test runs on Ride 9. Kicked off it with a recovery run, followed by an easy run the next day. The recovery run didn’t actually feel like a recovery one since the midsole was offering me some bounce, as much as soft it is. The pace almost became like an easy run and the next day’s easy run was no different. The ride was pretty comfortable. You got to compliment the midsole for offering such a ride.
Skechers uses its proprietary HyperBurst foam in the midsole of the Ride 9 and pairs it with M-strike technology to offer a smoother transition and a propelling ride. The HyperBurst is light and soft, a perfect ingredient for easy-paced runs. HyperBurst also offered some bounce on the midfoot, further making it a perfect easy-paced run trainer. The deep flex grooves on the midsole gives plenty of flexibility for the foot to move naturally. As much as M-strike’s role was to encourage midfoot landing, I felt the Ride 9 is more efficient and enjoyable landing on the heel. The high heel bevel helped the momentum to set-going.
Since there’s a rocker as well, so why not test it out on well paced runs. So took it on a short tempo ride, the rocker midsole aggressively tries to propel me forward, but since the overall structure is flexible and soft, the feel of propulsion is mild. I wished the midsole was a bit firm but that would beat the purpose of the speed trainer from Skechers, the GOrun Razor Excess 2.
Finally, the long-run. This was the ice in the cake. Took it on a 16KMs run, exactly where I understood how fun it is to run on these. Right from the 1st KM to the 16th KM, I was able to enjoy every stride of it. The ride felt fresh until the end, courtesy the softer and the midly responsive midsole. The mildly soft and responsive midsole is the strength of the Ride 9.
Fit & Comfort
The Ride 9 is not easy to slide on since the tongue area is quite narrowish than the toe box. But once you lace them on, they fit quite snug on the midfoot in contrast to a roomy toe box. The trainer fits true to size and can be a go-to for wide feet runners, but doesn’t really bother narrow feet runners like me. As much as I appreciate the flywire mechanism like the one in the Pegasus series for lock-in, Ride 9’s narrowish midfoot worked aptly. The trainer also offers some arch support in the underfoot for more comfort.
During the runs, the lighter and softer engineered mesh with good ventilation offers breathability. Even in Mumbai’s hot-humid summer, the shoe barely got warm unlike a lot of my trainers. The mesh upper is flexible and would no doubt benefit broader feet runners.
For the stack height and the softness the Ride 9 offers, it’s a no-brainer neutral trainer. The wide midsole and a rigid outsole aided with a rocker might offer some stabilisation, otherwise, the trainer is genuinely not meant to offer any stability. If you are someone who trains a day in and out on neutral trainers, this one deserves to be on your watchlist. Ride 9 will also work well if one only requires mild stability provided they are broad feet runners, unlike me.
The grip in the Ride 9 is the best out there, courtesy of the rubber from Goodyear tyres. I genuinely felt the Pegasus series had the best outsole, but the one here beats it. It’s tougher and equally grippier as Pegasus. I wouldn’t hesitate to take these out on a rainy day but will prefer the Pegasus series for the urban trails considering the structure of the outsole. That being said, Ride 9 is a prime example of how durable a daily trainer should be.
Genuinely not exaggerating here, but don’t be surprised if your fellow running mates come to you and compliment the shoes. In a week’s time, quite a few of them reached out to me with compliments for them. I have the sky-blue and optic orange colorway, which is the best in the range. I have not really appreciated any trainers from Skechers for aesthetics, but this one is just above the box. I can certainly give it a 10 on 10 for its aesthetic.
Rotation - Ride 9 is best for daily training with easy to moderate paced runs. From Skechers line-up, one can consider GOrun MaxRoad 5 for runs longer than the half marathon mark, and GOrun Razor Excess 2 for more versatile training, especially for speed workouts. To consider other brands for rotation along with Ride 9, I use Hoka Clifton 8 for recovery runs, and Asics EvoRide 2 for up-tempo.
Karthik is a business analyst by profession and a long-time volunteer contributor to Wikipedia. Apart from his enthusiasm for running and photography, advancements in mobile & wearables technology are of utmost interest to him. He is co-founder of Mumbai-based Tilaknagar Running Club.