In August we invited a group of runners to help us test the latest version of our Base and Form shoe models. (blatant plug: SKORA Shoes In Stores February 2012!)
We really wanted to get some big miles on the shoes and hear from real runners about what we did right, and most importantly, what we did wrong when we designed our shoes.
Runners filled out surveys that helped us determine which runners would be the best suited to give us fast, helpful feedback. It was very important for us to find runners that could put some miles on the shoes in a short period of time. With any minimalist shoes, ours included, there is a transition time to get the proper mid-foot/whole-foot stride and we wanted folks that were used to running barefoot or with minimalist shoes so they could ‘hit the ground running’ (sorry).
There were questions around running style, types of shoes worn, miles per week, etc. Unfortunately, the most important questions was, “What shoe size do you wear?” as we only had men’s size 9 and 10 for the tester shoes…
After selecting our testers they were sent either a pair of blue Base or black Form shoes. We set up surveys online for the testers to report their first impressions and more surveys to complete after they were racking up the miles. The SKORA shoe testers ended up being a great variety of real runners from all over the world and we were able to see how our shoes perform in a variety of climates and terrain types.
We had great feedback all the way along and a big thanks goes out to all our testers as they generally confirmed what we knew all along: we have some kick-ass shoes.
One tester in particular deserves a special mention. Kyle Kranz, from South Dakota, liked his tester pair of Base shoes so much he contacted us and asked if it would be alright if he used them in an upcoming race. Seemed fine to us, and then he mentioned it was a 100 mile ultra.
We were a bit nervous as this was to be the first Ultra ever attempted in SKORA shoes and he’d be running in test samples too… Kyle seemed confident, so we said go for it.
We’re pleased to report that both Kyle (and his shoes) survived the event and you can read his race report on his blog.
The test program helped us confirm changes we had been planning to make for our final production shoes. It was great to hear the feedback that confirmed the direction we are heading with our shoe. Run Real.