I’m always excited to test a first shoe from new companies. Skora was founded by David Sypniewski a few years ago. He solicited a lot of feedback when designing his first lineup, which I appreciated. At the time, the minimalist market was quite bare. [see what I did there]
Anyway, David had a great vision. He understood an important fundamental- the shoe shouldn’t interfere with your running form. The idea is widely accepted in minimalist circles, but was quite revolutionary at the time. It took a few years for the Skora line to finally hit the shelves, and the Form is the flagship.
The Form utilizes all the characteristics of a “barefoot” minimalist shoe, including:
- Anatomical last (shoe is shaped like the human foot)
- Zero dropped sole (heel is the same height as the forefoot)
- Toe box that allows for toe splay (more on this later)
- Sockless liner
My first impression- damn, these shoes are white! After I got past that, I inspected the shoes closely. The shoe is made from goat leather, which is an interesting materials choice. The only other shoe I’ve used over the last few years that was made of leather was the Vibram Trek… and it wasn’t pretty. The shoe was very flexible, another characteristic of good minimalist shoes. The shoes appeared to be quite narrow. Finally, the shoe utilizes the same “burrito” upper as the New Balance Minimus Road Zero.
The first test in the shoes was a pleasant surprise. I expected the goat leather to be overly hot. While it was hotter than most well-ventilated fabric shoes, it wasn’t nearly as bad as the VFF Treks.
Aside from that minor issue, the shoe worked as expected. It didn’t interfere with gait, provided a good mix of ground feel and protection, and provided good traction on asphalt, concrete, and non-technical dirt trails.
I did begin running into issues on longer runs. The narrow profile started rubbing both my first and fifth toes, which resulted in blisters. It became increasingly obvious the last did not fit my foot shape very well. That issue alone disqualified the shoe as a realistic option for me. I have rather narrow feet, which was a concern. The width of the shoe would be best suited for people with VERY narrow feet.
Despite the width issue, I was still interested in testing the shoe on technical trails. The lack of a rock plate, no lugs, and a relatively thin sole made the Form a poor trail shoe. HOWEVER, the goat leather really performed well. The leather stuck to my foot, which kept the shoe securely anchored on my foot. That’s an important quality, especially when running downhill. If Skora ever gets into the trail running shoe business, the goat leather upper would be a surprisingly good choice.
I also tested the shoe on a wet trail. Much to my surprise, the leather upper drained well and dried quickly. It tuned out to be a much better material than I anticipated.
The shoe may be too narrow for me to use as a running shoe, but the aesthetics make it an interesting casual shoe. It has a bit of an “I’m a pimp” look, which I like. The shoe is currently in my rotation of casual shoes.
I also brought the shoes to the Woodstock Trail Running Festival where they were tested out on several runs.
The Form is a very good minimalist shoe, but the narrow last is going to limit its potential audience. Still, it’s a great first effort by Skora. The use of goat leather, while seemingly pointless, turned out to be a surprising advantage. Kudos for Skora for thinking outside the box with that feature. If they stick with this formula and add a different last to their product line, they’ll continue to have great success.
This shoe was provided by the manufacturer.