FORM is definition of premium performance. Featuring a full-leather upper made of Pittards Goatskin leather with WR100X leather lining, FORM is designed with asymmetric lacing and no-tongue construction to provide a glove-like fit in combination with stitch-down construction and an Ortholite sockliner. A perfect balance of comfort, cushioning and control, FORM will take you further on any road, trail or running surface you throw at it with a Zero-drop, 9mm stack height platform engineered for excellent ground feel. Be one with your run, in the definitive style-icon – FORM.
- REALFIT last
- Pittards Armor-Tan Goat upper
- Pittards WR100X Sheepskin lining
- Asymmetrical lacing
- Anti-slip microfiber heel pad
- No-tongue design
- Elastic heel strap
- Reflective details
- 4mm Ortholite sockliner
- High abrasion rubber
- Zero-drop construction
- Stitch-down construction
- Tested size 9
- Weight – 233 g (8.2 oz)
- Forefoot width – 99.3 m (3.9 in)
- Stack height – 9 mm (heel), 9 mm (toe), zero drop (w/o 4 mm insole)
- Retail – $185
This is the second pair of Skora shoes I have reviewed from their first release. Skora is a new running shoe company that started in 2012. Their focus has been to make shoes that Run Real. To encourage running performance that is biomechanically correct as possible, with minimal interference. They make shoes that are zero drop and can flex with your foot. Skora is located nearby in Portland, Oregon. Since they are a new brand they have focused on doing things their own way and their shoes show that. Of course, I tested the men’s model, but I am happy to mention that in the fall they released women’s models as well. Here is a cool video with the shoes in motion, shot in Portland.
Skora’s shoes are made for running, but they are not limited to it. While my main focus on this test was how they performed on the run I also just wore them around the office and town. I currently have put in over 50 miles in the Form and about 75% of that has been on roads while the other 25% have been on soft surfaces. I began testing these in the late summer, so I have been able to test them both in the heat and more recently the cold. Temperatures ranged from 25 (this morning) to 90 degrees. I had a bit of rain, but for the most part, it has been dry.
If you have been following the site for a while, you may have noticed that I reviewed the Skora Base shoes back in the spring. The Base and the Form are not all that different in the sole and midsole. Their differences lie in the uppers. I really liked the Base shoes, so I was excited to test the Form. The Form is Skora’s premium performance shoe. Similar to the Base, the Form is built with what Skora calls their “10 Real Differences.” Here is the list:
10 Real Differences
- Zero-Drop: Skora shoes are zero-drop, meaning the heel and toes are level. This keeps your movement natural and biomechanically correct.
- Minimal Cushioning: The Skora Shoes have minimal cushioning and removable insoles for even less cushioning if you so decide. This ensures better ground-feel and allows your foot and body to work together.
- Asymmetric Lacing: Skora believes since your foot is not symmetrical, why should your laces be? This provides a better fit. As a note, this applies to the FORM model, not the BASE.
- Stitch-Down Construction: Using this construction method eliminates extra seams and stitching inside the shoe for improved fit and comfort whether you use the sockliner or not.
- Anatomical Last: Asymmetrical last shape with a curved bottom profile, wider toe-box and larger ball girth volumes provides a more natural fit.
- Curved Outsole Forefoot Profile: This is meant to mimic the foot shape and encourage natural medial to lateral roll.
- Curved Outsole Heel: Also mimicking the natural heel shape, this encourages natural heel movement (medial to lateral) in running and heel roll in walking.
- Concave Outsole Forefoot: The concave is made to mimic the concave in the forefoot providing a more natural ground feel.
- No Heel Counter: Lack of reinforcement allows for a better fit and comfort in all degrees of motion.
- Elastic Heel Strap: This adjustment enables a personal fit around the heel.
The From shoes are built using these 10 differences. The Form is built on the REALFIT last. This last is anatomical meaning that it is similar to the shape of your foot. There are several features of the REALFIT last that help it provide optimum fit. They are a natural arch shape, zero-drop from heel to toe, generous girth at the ball of the foot, curved bottom edges, wide toebox, natural bottom profile, and generous heel cuboid. Essentially they have tried to create a last that has the same contours as your foot. While it is important that the shape is correct it is also important that the shoe can follow the natural movement of the foot as you run.
To accomplish this the Form uses the same midsole and outsole as the Base. Skora calls this the R01 System and is made up of a high abrasion outsole, minimal midsole and removable sockliner. The outsole is built in sections that have flex grooves built in for increased flexibility in all directions. The forefoot has a concave shape to mimic the natural shape of your foot. The outsole itself is made of high density rubber for increased durability. It is on the thinner side. Being only 4 mm in thickness. The outsole also has been designed with a curved profile to allow for natural motion. In the midsole, there are 5 mm of foam cushioning with the same anatomical flex grooves built into it for optimal flexibility. The insole has been made by Ortholite for Skora. It is 4 mm in thickness to give a total of 13 mm of cushioning and stack. This is consistent through the whole shoe for zero drop from heel to toe. The Ortholite insole itself is both antimicrobial and breathable for comfort and lack of stink. On the top, it has raised bumps that are there to increase the biofeedback as you run, an interesting concept. The Form has been designed to be worn both with, and without this insole so you can adjust the amount of cushioning you have in the shoe. Here is a diagram that shows these parts of the shoe very well.
The upper of the Form is dramatically different than nearly every other shoe I have tested. The Upper material is Pittards Armor-Tan Goat Skin Leather. Because of the fiber structure of Goat Leather, it is actually more durable and breathable than other types. The leather has been treated with Armor-Tan, which uses a microscopic ceramic coating on the individual fibers to enhance the abrasion resistance and durability of the leather. The lining leather is Pittards WR100x Sheepskin leather and has been put through the WR100X tanning process. This process has been engineered to offer improved permanent water resistance properties. Important as it protects the leather from both sweat and rain. The leather will maintain its soft and supple feel with a drying time reduced by about 75% because of this treatment. Pittards themselves are known the world over for their high-quality leathers and high standards. I have used their leathers in the past with my golf gloves and was very excited to see it in these shoes. The only part of the shoe interior that is not leather is in the heel where it is a fabric instead.
There are a couple of other features on the shoes that are also different than most other shoes. The upper uses a tongue-free construction. This is because the lacing is asymmetrical to provide an optimum fit. The instep side of the upper is made long so it can tuck under the outside upper, and that is how they can get away with no tongue. This may sound a bit confusing I know so take a look at the pictures, and it will make more sense. The Form’s have an adjustable heel strap that can be adjusted to change the volume. There are also reflective elements on the shoes to add to the visibility in lower light conditions. The last thing worth mentioning is that Skora includes two sets of laces so you can decide on the look you like best. A small detail that I think is not only fun but a testament on how they are focusing even on the little things. Just looking at the shoes you can see and feel the high level of construction and the quality of the materials.
One thing that many other shoes are not able to say is that much of the Form is actually made of sustainable materials. The midsole and outsole are not, but all the leather used in the upper is. It may be a small thing but if the leather truly can perform, then this could be a direction towards higher sustainability. Skora as a company does not have much information on sustainability initiatives. As a small company this is to be expected as these normally get formed a little down the road.
Foot Length (15%)
Foot Volume (15%)
Heel Width (15%)
Midfoot Width (15%)
Toe Box Width (15%)
I went into this review knowing that these were built on the same last as the Base model was. This was a good thing as I really like the fit of the Base. When I first put these on, I did not notice the glove like fit like I was hoping to. The fit was there, but something was distracting me. It is hard to explain but there is only on seam in the entire inside of the shoes and lo and behold it was noticeable to me. It is located on the outside of the ball of the foot where the two sides of the upper meet. Essentially located at the bottom of the laces. This seam created a ridge that I felt and still feel right when I put the shoes on. Enough so that the first time I put them on, I took them off to see if something was bunched up in there. There was nothing, so I laced up the shoes, and it was only a couple seconds before this seam was no longer noticeable. Once the shoes are laced, and you start to walk around in them; you do not feel the seam but instead how plush the leather is. The whole interior (minus the seam) is super comfortable and very soft. Whether I wore socks or not I had the same reaction.
I really like the tongue-free design with the larger uppers and asymmetrical lacing. It really does a great job of securing your foot while improving the overall fit of the shoes. There is only the one drawback of the one seam, but if it was to have a normal tongue, there would be even more ridges to cause discomfort. The really nice thing about the asymmetrical lacing is that it moves the pressure off of the top of the foot for a more comfortable fit. Compared to the Base, the lacing also makes it so the Form has more adjustment to your foot’s volume and can accommodate the removing of the insole better. With the Base, I felt like it was slightly limited on the amount of adjustments it could do because of the Velcro. With lacing this is not a problem. Just like in the Base the heel can be adjusted, but once again, I felt like it was just a set and forget type of thing. I am not sure if it makes much of a difference as I liked it best in the middle. If you have had a different experience than this, I would love to hear about it in the comment’s section below.
As for sizing I tested the size 9 just like I did in the Base. I am normally a size 9 and I really like how these fit me in the 9. Of course, this will change if you remove the insole. Without the insole, the shoes will feel and run slightly larger due to the extra volume. I preferred the insole in, so I will make all these comments with this as my default. I found that there was a bit of extra room beyond my toes, so I never had any bumping against the front. The length felt true to size, and I would not vary from your normal size. As I mentioned above the lacing makes it really easy to adjust the volume throughout the shoes. Much better than the Base was able to accommodate. The toe box is nice and wide but not overly so. I could splay my toes and feel the edges of the shoes without them feeling restricted. I also felt like the width through the midfoot was a slight upgrade to the Base as it was more adjustable to the user. Another benefit of having laces. In the heel, the Form’s run standard width. They do have the adjustable strap to snug it up or add a little room, but this does not seem to do as much as possibly intended to do. Just my thoughts there. All in all, I must say that these are some of the best-fitting shoes I own.
Cushioning / Ground Feel (25%)
Similar to the Base the R01 System outsole and midsole allow your foot to flex naturally. I really like how these feel when you are running in them. It is hard to describe, but they seem to have a fluidness to them that just makes them feel smooth. They are able to flex and become one with the ground as you run. This is both due to the shape, and the flex groove is the sole. First, the shape has rounded edges on the sides and a slight concave shape to the sole, which is modeled after your foot. Looking at my Form’s, I can tell that there is less of a concave as my Base’s have. I am not sure if this is just my particular shoes or what. It is only slight and may or may not show up in the picture. The flex grooves also help with the feeling of being smooth as they allow the shoes to flex in all directions. There is essentially no restriction to the ways that the shoes can bend. They twist, flex, and bend in all directions very easily.
I am a big fan of minimalist shoes, but I also like to have some cushioning, especially if I am going on trails or long distances. Running this site is both good and bad as I get to try many different and great shoes but at the same time some are more in my sweet spot than other. Occasionally, I am surprised though so I try to give everything the benefit of the doubt. As for the Form shoes, I went into this test with high expectation after testing the Base, and I have not been disappointed. The last is the same on these, and I love the balance between being close to the ground and having cushioning. This is always a trade off, and I think that for me this is about perfect for the majority of my running. Ideally, I like to do my speedwork and short runs in true minimal shoes and have something both lower profile and slightly cushioned for the bulk of my runs. Only on really long stuff do I opt for fully cushioned shoes. Well, I find that these are perfect for the bulk of my running. Yes, I can feel some of the rocks and features on the ground but not enough of them that it hurts, which is a good thing. True minimalist will think that even with the insole removed that these are too cushioned, but if you like to find a balance, these are a good balance.
The biggest thing about the Form that was up in the air before the test would be the leather upper. I was assured that breathability would not be an issue and both in the heat and cool they never once stood out as being overly hot. The leather truly felt comfortable both as being soft and supple but also not building up heat or causing my feet to sweat. When running in the rain my buddy with me had a typical mesh upper on his shoes, and they were soaked after a mile where my feet did not start to feel any water until over 4 miles and even then it was just barely. Maybe this is why a Portland Company is one of the few running companies to opt for a leather upper. If you are not getting this comment, Portland gets lots of rain. I have been touting the leather and have one more praise. The leather upper also seems to be more durable than standard mesh uppers. It has been abrasion resistant thus fair and good for the desert here in Bend as it does not pick up the barbs and wheat heads like my mesh uppers do. Not a big deal but worth noticing. I think Skora has a winner here.
If there was any drawback to the Skora’s beyond the price, it would have to be the minimal traction on the outsole. They are made for roads and smooth trails so there is not much lugging to speak of. I had no issues here in Bend where it is mainly dry, but I could see traction being an issue depending on the surfaces and slopes you run. If I get the opportunity to run in some more adverse conditions, I will try to remember to come back and update this review.
Overall, I really liked the Skora Form but surprisingly not as much as the Base. They both fit outstanding and were great with and without socks. The main difference was the location of the one large seam which is a bit concerning. It never gave me any issues, but I did not go too long in these yet. My longest run has been 10 miles due to a nagging injury. Even though they both use the same last, the Base felt a little smoother when running. Really not sure why here except the concave sole was slightly less on my pair of Form’s compared to my Base’s. Do not get me wrong, the Form is still very nice to run in. They have an excellent mix of cushioning and ground feel that is about ideal for an everyday shoe, in my opinion. I also was a really big fan of the leather upper. It is super supple and soft to the skin while performing all the functions you want from an upper. If they can figure out the one spot, these would easily leap above the Base as my favorite of the Skora shoes. That being said, I still plan on wearing these a lot as they really are a nice shoe. The Skora Form Shoes retail for $185. This is fairly steep, but you can expect to get more life out of them due to a more durable upper and not much cushioning to break down. They also use top notch materials and more expensive construction, which affects the price. I would still definitely recommend them. As always, your mileage may vary.
Pros [field name=iFrame]
- Zero drop
- Can flex in every direction with your foot
- Last is shaped like your foot
- Leather upper and lining is very comfortable
- Asymmetrical lacing without a tongue makes for a more comfortable and still secure fit
- Should get extra mileage out of these
- Single seam on the outside of the foot can be uncomfortable
- High initial cost, should get good value though
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