Disclaimer: I’m a Skechers Performance Ambassador, which means that I receive an annual stipend with which to purchase Skechers gear as well as free gear and shoes to try throughout the year. I used my annual stipend to purchase these shoes. The review below represents my opinion as well as technical specifications provided to me by Skechers.
Dave had been bragging for a while that the GoTrail Ultra 3 was an incredible shoe so with my quiver full of road training and racing shoes, I added this shoe in anticipation of my upcoming New England Trail Championships and Loon Mountain Race in July. Despite coaching cross country, I am generally NOT a big trail runner. However, between the combination of finding my zen on trails recently and this shoe, I’m starting to think I might like to be.
From a technical perspective, the GoTrail Ultra 3 is the heaviest, most cushioned shoe that Skechers offers but has moderate structure so it still moves well with your foot, which is a must on technical trails. It has an aggressive sole with lug rubber knobs and a wide footprint for stability with the incredible bonus of a drainable outsole. Basically, there are holes in the sole that drain water after stream crossings or intentional puddle jumps. Finally, it features the same seamless upper that all Skechers shoes have, making it extremely comfortable despite being a technical juggernaut. It weighs in at 8.8 ounces, which Will informs me is not heavy for a shoe at all. I’m a princess about such things, however, after years of running in 4 to 6 ounce trainers.
What I like most about the shoe is that it is cushioned enough to really let you rip on technical trails that are littered with roots and rocks. I’m not a tender foot but I HATE when you step down on a root on your arch and get that singe of pain/stretch. Except for the gnarlyest roots, I didn’t feel anything sharp in these shoes but still had enough maneuverability and feedback to move confidently over trails. They do feel extremely cushioned when you’re on pavement but as long as most of your run or race is on dirt/rough terrain, it shouldn’t bother you.
The other thing I really like is the grip offered by the sole. It has big, rubber lugs with tiny rubber nubbins in the middle of each lug that operate like suction cups. Like I said above, I don’t consider myself a proficient trail runner but have been working really hard to improve my skills, especially on downhills. As I’ve gotten more used to running on trails, I’ve been able to rely on the soles of the GoTrail Ultra 3 to really grab on, regardless of whether the trail is wet, frozen or somewhere in between. Because the shoe boasts a comfortable, flexible upper, it bends with your foot, no matter how awkward your landing. Because of this, I think this shoe is a great introductory trail shoe for people like me who are still learning how to navigate trails without coming to a complete stop when things get technical.
All in all (and with the caveat that I’ve only owned a couple of pairs of trail shoes), this shoe is a great addition to your collection if you’re looking for a hard working trail shoe that can accommodate and boost even a trail rookie.