Skora Phase General Information
The Skora Phase is the Portland, OR based brand’s latest offering, eschewing the high price tag of its Base and Form flagship models to offer a lightweight and minimalist shoe at a bill that’s much easier to swallow. The Phase is designed to provide a stripped-down running experience, allowing feet to flex and respond normally on all terrain.
With a zero-drop heel, eight milimeter stack height, and a unique outsole, the Phase is made for responsive running. This is the minimalist’s racing flat, and is a good-looking one at that.
Skora Phase Impression
Let’s clear the decks right from the start—my initial feelings about the Skora’s introductory models were mixed. The Form, as I stated in my review last year [http://www.runningshoesguru.com/2012/08/skora-form-review/ ], gave my a silver dollar-sized blister on the ball of my foot for the better part of a month. Never in my days of writing shoe reviews, nor wearing any kind of shoe in my life, have I had a blister there.
It’s a painful experience that I loath to experience again, and I have strong suspicions it came from the textured insole of the Form. Undeterred, I thought I would give Skora another shot: I went into my review of the Phase with an open mind, particularly because these shoes are gorgeous. Featuring a sleek design and all of the minimalist function the brand is known for, the Phase is a snazzy-looking shoe that truly offers a minimalist experience.
I found, however, that the shoes still just weren’t a great fit for me: the insoles remained as textured as ever, the sizing was well-off from where I was hoping it would be (the 12 fit easily like a 13), and the ankle collar was so painful that I only made it a handful of miles before having to take the shoes off before the blisters they caused got the better of me.
Now granted, it’s more than likely that these issues would resolve themselves with a better fit, but a well-designed shoe shouldn’t cause immediate problems at any size. I wanted to go into this review loving the shoes, but I hard a hard time doing so.
Skora Phase Sole Unit
The sole, as to be expected from Skora, is scant and durable despite being slender. This element of the shoe is the shining star in an otherwise-mixed experience. Fused from three disparate rubber compounds, the sole provides excellent traction and unmatched flexibility. The outsole features a rounded heel, which I found strange despite being unobtrusive—but this is where the criticisms begin and end for this element of the shoe.
Skora Phase Upper
The upper, however, is what put me off from the Phase. The fit, for me, was all wrong. My first complaint is the company’s sizing: I understand “fitting to size,” and other complaints about proper sizing of shoes, but to be an entire size larger than advertised is poor strategy in my eyes. Clothing is stymied by vanity sizing, and I would personally hate to see a future where running shoes were as much of a crap-shoot as buying shirts, skirts, or dresses.
Outside of the sizing dilemma I encountered, I was unimpressed by the toe box and heel cup of the Phase: the toe box was roomy, but uncomfortably so. The heel cup was downright painful, leading to blisters that cut my trials short each time I laced up. Past that, the onerous insoles from the Form and Base remained. I don’t know why the insole is textured, but I do know that it’s not a welcome addition to the running experience.
Skora Phase Opinion
I don’t often have such visceral feelings about shoes, as any reader of my reviews will notice. I usually run in just about anything and find that I like what I see. I can’t say that I enjoyed the Phase—the shoe was ill-fiting, chafe-inducing, and despite being gorgeous was just not what I want in a shoe. By no means would I dissuade anyone from trying out a pair on their own, but I had to say that this isn’t likely the experience for me.
We thank the nice people at Skora for sending us a pair of Phase to test. This did not influence the outcome of the review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.