Skora Form- A Review.

It is obvious I love this shoe.

Why, is a good topic and also what I would want to improve in my favourite shoe?

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In limited edition blue CAMO.

I first saw this shoe online at the beginning of my minimalist adventure. It fit the bill, zero drop, low stack height and with a focus on natural running. What I noticed most was the look. How cool could it be? Goat leather and sheep lining, hello! I was a keen cyclist still at the time and Rapha make gloves from the same material, I knew it was good.

I read a few reviews and it was obviously a premium product from a fledgling company. Even better. The cost was steep for running shoes but nothing on anything in the cycling world and I am not easily put off by cost.

The order was placed.

Of the three Forms I have bought since, none have disappointed me.

I love the supple leather, the design and the very natural feel they give. You are essentially running with no gizmos and the shoe is just protecting your feet from abrasions and a little impact.

This is not an insult, but it’s like running in Dunlop Volleys, except they are flexible, fit and wont give you blisters.

Who else has sheep skin lining??? Huh???

Who else has sheep skin lining??? Huh???

The tongue and lacing is very cool, off to the side and one of those design features that ‘disappear’. A good thing.

The sole rubber is  long wearing and even a person like me gets at least 400km before I start to think about a worry, they can be worn some more, 400km more! Some others get 1000+ km a pair. I have a nasty habit of scuffing the lateral aspect of all my shoes.

Sole matters.

Sole matters.

There is a round heel just like your foot, sensible.

Round heel and adjusting straps.

Round heel and adjusting straps.

You can use them for anything, road, grass, trails (only  very rough trails will be too much as there is no rock plate) the 13mm stack earns big all rounder points.

So the cons? Skora have a long lace fetish, it is in every review, they are always too long. Way too long. This is made up for in part by the neat logo on the ends, a nice touch but please, make them shorter!!!!

A nice detail touch.

A nice detail touch.

There is a tab at the heel to adjust the fit at the rear? I don’t know, it is sort of useful making the shoe 1/4 of a size in each direction but it could either be more effective or deleted.

The sole was not very well glued in earlier models. The toe can peel off. I have glued one toe cap back on. Easy and I think it’s my trail running that does this. It is brutal on all shoes and at the time I was in New Caledonia running of VERY rough stuff.

I think the rear heel area is over done, too much material and could safely  be pared back.

While leather is snug, long lasting and pretty, it is not mesh. So, as a Queenslander who does some sandal running too, these are my hottest shoes.

Small niggles for such a stylish, sensible, multi purpose shoe. They even look cool enough for casual wear, bugger that, Form-al wear!

I will keep buying these suckers, I love them. You could do much much worse than owning a couple of pairs of Forms and nothing else.

Do your self a favour, check out Skora’s web page.

Inov8 Race Ultra Vest 2014-Update.

Further use of the Inov8 Race Ultra Vest has given me moderate grief.

The loop holding my bladder tube has broken, I can fix this myself but should I have too? It is unfortunately too small (UTMB/TNF100 etc NO WAY). If you see some one wearing one at an event with any mandatory gear, ask them where their sherpa is. If you use the bladder the back compartment is too compromised. You can squish, squeeze a lot in (not all I am afraid) but the rear compartment then goes round and it is now NOT easy to wear. Also, good luck filling the bladder and then getting it back in.

Busted bunge.

Busted bunge.

This may not be what the thing is for. It is what I bought it for though.

So, the vest is a winner on many fronts, just can’t handle a big load. It is great if only part filled, treated very gently and you are 10km to the next checkpoint.

The clips still suck.

AM

Trail training in the city. Spring Hill trails.

Trail running is in many ways, a privilege. We run in the bush, often in National Parks or State Forests. Most of us have jobs or study so can’t always make it to the nearest mountain for an adventure. This is where we have to use our imagination.

Albert park, incline and soft grass.

Albert park, incline and soft grass.

The Windmill, historic top of Spring Hill.

The Windmill, historic top of Spring Hill.

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Steps, good training for TNF100.

In my job I have a park over the road. Apart from being littered with hobos and the occasional unfortunate murder victim, it offers good training. There are steep slopes, scrub, dirt, steps, rocks, pine needles and all sorts stuff. You might find it a bit repetitive but you can have a very good time running around in Wickham Park and then skip back to work a regular urban warrior.

Get in the lift and go run.

Get in the lift and go run.

Rock hopping in Roma Street Parklands.

Rock hopping in Roma Street Parklands.

You can swim at lunch too!

You can swim at lunch too!

Inov8 Race Ultra Vest 2014 – Review.

Well you are sure to have heard of this. If not you will. Inov8 have come up with a new take on the race vest, sort of. They have moved the bottles to the side and low, plus decided to use crazy clips that will infuriate all who buy one.

We are ready right???

Vest on, never mind the goose wearing it.

The Inov8 web site has a nice spiel about the vest and I would point you there for information and glorious pics. Here you can read about a punter/goose like me, using one.

Inov8 web site and Race Ultra Vest page, no mention of clips…..

First, it looks great and is well finished. It is light and very adjustable. One size fits all, well you can adjust it to fit you, I did in a few minutes and it fits better than anything I have tried before. You get 2 x 500ml bottles and a 2l bladder from Hydrapac. That’s almost the price ($100 AUD) accounted for. Compared to any S-Lab kit it’s cheap and all the bits and pieces make sense, unlike the complicated, Salomon stuff. It wont fall apart either, see previous brand.

You get all this in, easy peasy just using the front pockets.

You get all this in, easy peasy just using the front pockets.

So its comfy and has low bottles, do they work? Yes, the bottles are fine. They don’t get in the way and as they are a bit down low, the splash-splosh noise factor does not seem to bother me much. That’s a big plus for anal me. Ultimate Direction (UD), I am talking to you, noisy bottles on the chest shit me. There is no bounce.

The chest pockets are ample and will easily hold an iPhone with a cover. Scott Jurek are you there??!!! The UD vest does not.

Mmmm comfy, well made, looks good, nice bottle set up, the bladder? This is a winner too. An open top at the back makes so much sense. Easy. You don’t need to dismantle your gear and re-pack it to fill the bladder, UD I am talking to you. The tube routing is even sensible, straight forward and intuitive. Salomon, ‘Why under arms? Why make me pay for a bladder? Oh you gave me 2 free leaky, squishy sperm collection bottles…….’, I digress.

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Really well made.

So, fits, water is easy and simple, looks tops and wont fall apart, rust up or drive you mad with splish splash every step, WHAT IS WRONG WITH IT???

The clips, they have used a new clip design for every little clip on it. They are impossible to undo. I tried it on and almost had to cut the straps off. I was contemplating seeing my patients wearing the damn Gimp vest all afternoon once it arrived. Race one and I could only undo one. I was tired and sad about it. Two doctor friends could not undo it either. We must be stupid? I have almost mastered it now but only by brute force and wearing an Elastoplast strip on my finger, I suspect I will develop a callous.

The clips, you push that tab away and it unlocks, sometimes.

The clips, you push that tab away and it unlocks, sometimes.

This lunacy aside, the bag is almost big enough for a big race, I have not packed it yet but it has stretch and a net on the back, I will make it work. There are optional pockets you can buy that replace the dreaded straps + clips with a pocket+ more of those wretched clips, offering some extra space. Regular Joe’s like me will need them.

My verdict? Like a Shakespearian hero it has it all but ultimately a fatal flaw. Would you knowingly buy a race vest you might die getting out of? One that could send you into a frothing madness at your final checkpoint in dream race delirium? You might, because it does everything else perfectly and Elastoplast might be on the mandatory gear list…… 🙂

Link- Another review from Endurance Limit.

Link- Ian Corless is a fan, no mention of the f’ing clips mind.