If you’re a runner aiming for a marathon time slower than 3 hours, the Speed Beast is a great option. It has excellent durability and represents remarkable value.
If you are looking for a light, very propulsive racer, the Speed Beast is not your shoe. Its hefty 9.5 oz weight holds it back from being a very fast super shoe.
Skechers has a really great performance training range, from recovery trainers (Max Road) to daily (Ride), to speed (Razor), however they have failed to impress in the long-distance racing category. They are hoping to change this with the Speed Beast.
The Speed Beast is the bigger brother of the Speed Freak which was launched last year and it’s Skechers’ high end, long-distance racer. Skechers designed the shoe for runners aiming for 2:15 to 2:45 for the full marathon and they say that it will help you maintain form towards the end stages of the marathon when your form breaks down.
The Speed Beast uses Skechers’ new Hyper Burst Pro midsole, which is a supercritical TPU foam first used in their Razor 4 trainer. When I tested the Razor 4, I loved how energetic and well-balanced it felt. It felt much better than the older Skechers trainers which used Hyper Burst foam.
The Speed Beast weighs 9.5 oz (269 g) which is very heavy for a racing shoe. It weighs as much as the average daily trainer. It measures 40 mm in the heel and 36 mm in the forefoot so it has the stack height to compete with other marathon super shoes.
What sets the Speed Beast apart from competitors (aside from its weight) is its price of $185 which is an incredibly good deal. For less than the price of an Ultra Boost, you’re getting a top-of-the-range, carbon-infused marathon super shoe.
My first run was a moderately paced, steady 15-kilometre run. The Speed Beast felt smooth, efficient and stable. The ride was a bit firmer than what I was expecting but it felt very well-cushioned.
The shoe that it reminded me of most was the Razor 4 but the Speed Beast had a more pronounced heel-to-toe rocker and more cushioning depth.
My second run was a workout consisting of 1 kilometre and 500-metre intervals. The Speed Beast didn’t feel as fast as other super shoes during this workout and it didn’t have as much pop. I also found it a bit too heavy for this kind of run.
The Speed Beast’s upper is very similar to the Razor 4 with the same, furry monomesh being used. It isn’t a very breathable material so I don’t think you’ll enjoy this upper if your feet sweat profusely.
The fit is much better than the Razor though, and you can go true to size because the toe box isn’t as pointy. It should also be fine if you have wider than normal feet.
The thin tongue is not gusseted but it also doesn’t slide around because the laces go through a loop on the tongue.
There’s no heel counter so heel lockdown could be better but the loose heel didn’t bother me too much during runs.
The Speed Beast isn’t as fast as it looks. This is because the Hyper Burst Pro midsole doesn’t return as much energy as other super foams and the plate in the Speed Beast is only a forefoot one so there’s no springboard propulsion when your heel compresses the rear of the shoe.
I found it to be an excellent long run shoe (above 25 kilometre runs) at easy or moderate paces but I found it lacking speed for short, fast runs like intervals and tempo runs. It also feels too clunky and heavy for speed work.
In their training shoes, Hyper Burst Pro foam is fantastic but it’s just too heavy and a bit too firm for a marathon racing shoe. I also find that it lacks bounce for racing so the Speed Beast’s ride isn’t as lively as the competition.
It’s a carbon-infused winglet plate in the forefoot of the Speed Beast. The winglet plate allows them to save some weight and I don’t think a full-length plate would work well with the Speed Beast’s Hyper Arc midsole geometry. This is because the entire midsole is curved to promote a midfoot strike.
My favourite thing about the Speed Beast is the Archfit insole which suits my flat fleet perfectly. This combined with the wide base makes it a really supportive trainer/racer for long distances above 25 kilometres.
The heel-to-toe rocker is the most prominent of any super shoe on the market and this results in very efficient, energy-saving transitions which feel natural. The stiff forefoot plate helps the rocker to work more effectively as it doesn’t flex during toe-offs.
Durability is the Speed Beast’s main strength. The outsole has no shortage of Goodyear rubber and the midsole foam which is exposed, is very durable. The Speed Beast could be your race shoe and your long-run training shoe. Traction is also very good.
I often get runners asking me to recommend a beginner’s carbon plated shoe for them. The Speed Beast is what I would recommend first because it doesn’t have a jarring ride, it’s really stable and it’s affordable.
$185 is a bargain and it’s one of the best-value running shoes on the market. Its predecessor, the Speed Freek still costs $210 on the Skechers website. It’s extremely rare for a shoe to drop in price by this much.
If the Speed Beast is your first super shoe, you’ll be very happy with it but if you’ve run in something like a Vaporfly, Adios Pro, or Endorphin Pro, you’ll find the Speed Beast lacking in propulsion and liveliness.
I’ll continue using the Speed Beast in my rotation for long runs because it has really stable and energy saving properties but I won’t be racing in it- it’s a bit too heavy and a bit too slow.