Last month, Mrs. Outsider offered her opinions of the women’s GOwalk from Skechers. With all the favorable comments she had, I figured maybe I should check out the men’s version. Not just any test would do, though. I wanted to really put them through their paces, in an environment that would either make or break them. With that in mind, I extended an offer to Skechers – send a pair, and I will give them their trial by fire at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market. The first three days of the show would be at least ten hours each, walking and standing, with very few breaks. This is the kind of test that would end with either high praise, or I would give them to my dogs as chew toys while I hobbled towards recovery.
As a quick recap, the GOwalk is Skechers’ highly-successful walking shoe for men and women, due to their combination of simplistic style and rich technical features. The sole incorporates GOimpulse sensors,which are strategic in both size and placement, allowing excellent feedback from the surface you’re walking on, without being punishing. A Resalyteâ„¢ Midsole softens each step while contributing to the light weight. (My size 12 samples weighed only 5.9oz each. Expect about 4.5 ounces for a size 9) The seamless synthetic upper houses an OrthoLiteÂ® anti-microbial sockliner, which was tested to the limits, as they were worn exclusively without socks. All this combines to provide a shoe that slips on with ease, and allows for a comfortable, natural stride.
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They arrived on Monday, and were subjected to a couple of short (2-3 mile) walks, just to make sure that the sizing and fit were correct. Traction was great, even in the wet, as I encountered several sprinkler crossings. Confident that they would do the job, I put them on Thursday morning, and prepared for trade show mayhem. Carpooling with David to the Salt Palace, we ended up parking a few blocks away, and making the hike up the street to pick up our badges. Not ones to wait in line, we continued another few blocks around to the east entrance, where we were first in line. That also meant we were first to stand around waiting to be let in. And we waited. And waited. Once inside, it was a 9-5 dash with meetings every 30 minutes. Free time between meetings was spent walking from booth to booth, as there were only two of us, and some 1,400 exhibitors to try and cover. If you want to test a walking shoe, this was as good a place as any. You’ve got your slow speed behind someone on their phone, a faster pace to pull out and pass, new-found appreciation for the flexible sole as you corner hard to avoid the guy on the oversize big-wheel, and then press the slip-on design to its limits when braking to stop yourself from stepping on someone’s kid, hoping you don’t fly out of them and trip over yourself. Yeah, it sounds overly dramatic, but I worked them hard. At 5, we dropped our bags off at the car, then headed in the opposite direction for an after-hours event. More walking, more standing. Day one ended 10.5 hours after it started.The following two days were more of the same, although we finished up closer to the ten hour mark, while covering even more distance out to the new vendor’s pavilion, which was located across the street.
All told, the GOwalk held up well. I’m pretty sure that ten hours on your feet is going to be a bit rough, regardless of what you’re wearing, but my feet felt much better than they have at previous shows. In the end, the only reason I didn’t wear them on day four was due to moisture management. I’m a big guy, and 20,000 people have a way of warming up even the coolest building. So my feet got a bit sweaty. With some trepidation, I gave the GOwalks a quick sniff test after the third day, and they were just beginning to ripen. The insoles were somewhat less friendly to my sweaty bare feet as well. Keep in mind that’s after hours and hours of hard wear. I wouldn’t expect this from normal use, or even a 3-5 mile walk. If your day includes the opportunity to sit for more than a few minutes at a time, I don’t foresee any issues. But this is a walking shoe, and it excels at that. I’ll throw them in the washing machine, air dry them, and they’ll be as good as new. Other than perhaps the limited color choices – gray, black, navy, and gray/orange, I cannot find a fault with this $59 shoe. Oh, and they are true to size, which is something I seem to encounter less frequently. If you are looking for a great shoe for walking, the gym, or even a casual work environment, you owe it to yourself to give them a try. skechers.com
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