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Road Running Shoes • October 13, 2020

Skechers GOrun Razor Elite Performance Review

skechers gorun razor elite - feature

What You Need To Know

  • Weighs 5.4 oz. (153g) for a US M9 / US W10.5
  • Cross between super shoe and racing flat
  • Minimal mono-mesh upper that FITS!
  • You can’t spell ‘Elite’ without R-A-Z-O-R

ADRIENNE: Ever wonder what it would be like if a super shoe and a racing flat had a baby? This is something I secretly wished would be created, and kudos to Skechers for designing a shoe that contains the essence of both. Given how much I liked the impossibly light Razor +, I had high expectations for the Skechers GOrun Razor Elite, the brand’s new high-performance speed trainer/racer. As fate would have it, these little fireballs showed up at my door just in time for workout day.

The Skechers Razor Elite got put through their paces immediately through a set of 12 x 1 min hills and 4 quick quarters-in the rain. Who needs a break-in period anyway?? These were followed up by a couple of mileage runs and a 13-mile long run. On each run, the shoe seemed to just disappear on my feet and let my biomechanics do their thing. As much fun as super shoes are, they sometimes can alter my mechanics and it’s nice to just be able to run without thinking about how to best activate a plate and stuff. The Razor Elite bridges the gap between a traditional flat and a full-on plated shoe. This shoe performed extremely well climbing up hills and then hauling ass in the rain; a tough ask for any shoe. The Goodyear rubber outsole seems to be a step up from the Razor 3 and, so far, is showing little-to-no wear. I was pleased to see ripstop mono-mesh for the upper– if I can see through a shoe, we are going to get along pretty well. A seamless tongue is very thin yet protects from pressure from even thinner laces.

I’m getting ahead of myself, though. Keep reading for the good stuff from myself and Ben.

skechers gorun razor elite - lateral and outsole

The Good

ADRIENNE: Skechers again went all-out on lightweight materials. My unisex 7.5 weighs a scant 5.1 oz. The Razor Elite has a track spike vibe when you first lift it up, as the carbon-infused forefoot plate slightly ‘frontloads’ the shoe. Like it’s slightly-more-relaxed sibling the Razor +, the Razor Elite rides on a Hyper Burst midsole. The only difference I could really feel in between the two is the Razor Elite has a more aggressive, stable forefoot and the plate makes for a quicker transition through the gait cycle. Which being a forefoot striker, I’m here for it. Drop is 4mm (27 mm heel/23 mm toe) and the rocker-geometry MStrike is also found here, just like the Razor +. 

Another fun and fast ride from the folks at Skechers. I really enjoyed working out in this shoe and as I mentioned before, I had great access to my natural running mechanics. While it doesn’t have the propulsion of a true super shoe, the Razor Elite’s lightweight, bottomless Hyper Burst midsole, and forefoot plate feel super responsive. Here’s my very non-scientific explanation of how it all works: you put your foot down, the plate gives you a good forefoot plant, and your foot pops back up again. Midfoot and forefoot strikers will love this shoe. I would have no problem lining up to race anything 13.1 or under rocking these. It has a modern yet classic feel that I love. The Razor Elite can handle nearly any workout you throw at it. It’s most at home at higher speeds, as it is designed to be. Also, breathability. It’s here in spades. 

BEN: My first Skechers shoe was the Razor 3, and I really enjoyed it. Since then I’ve been excited to see them expand the Hyper Burst line up and add more and more options up and down the range of speed and cushion. Unfortunately, I have felt that (for the most part) all of these missed the mark. Where the Razor 3 was an incredibly lightweight, do-it-all shoe that could be a daily trainer for some and a racer for others, I saw most of the newer Hyper Burst shoes become more and more niche. This isn’t a bad thing, but it certainly limits the market. Even the much-anticipated Speed Elite seemed to miss the mark for me. Maybe it was expectations, maybe I wasn’t the right fit, but it didn’t “feel” like other super shoes. The Hyper Burst still did its thing, but the forefoot was just way too stiff for me. The one thing I really did enjoy from the recent fast-day shoes from Skechers is the “barely-there” ripstop nylon uppers. Speed 6, Horizon Vanish, Speed Elite all came in at such light weights and a lot of that was due to the paper-thin uppers. But somehow, they seemed to work. A lot of the aforementioned shoes had sizing issues (needed to size up), but other than that, the minimal uppers really worked for me.

In comes the Razor Elite. Taking all the things that were working and leaving out the stuff that didn’t. The Hyper Burst midsole is identical to the Razor 3, but they’ve added a carbon-infused forefoot plate. This plate is similar in geometry to the Speed Elite plate, but without the winglets on the side – and this makes a huge difference in how it feels. Those winglets are what provide a ton of the longitudinal stiffness (think of an I-beam), and without them, the plate provides a much more subtle tweak to the ride. It changes how the shoe flexes as you roll through your stride, but still allows your foot to retain its natural movement.

The upper is pulled right from the Speed Elite. It’s meant to be ridiculously light and lock in the foot for race day paces. And it does both. Unlike some of the earlier shoes with similar uppers, I don’t have any issues wearing these in my normal size.  And despite the very minimal cushion, it laces up without any hot spots. The laces are very thin and a little stretchy. This helps make the fit a little more conforming than a non-stretch lace. In my size US M9.5 they weigh 5.7 oz. / 163 g. This is 0.7 oz./ 36 g less than the Razor +, which was a light shoe to begin with.

Shop Razor Elite skechers razor elite

The Bad

ADRIENNE: If you heel strike, you may not get the most out of this shoe. Given that this shoe is performance-oriented, upper comfort takes a backseat as the mesh I found to be a bit stiff in certain spots. While this has nothing to do with the performance of the Razor Elite, after my rainy workout, my feet were dyed blue for a good 48 hours. Not sure why that happened but thought I’d put that out there. 

BEN: This update has shifted the Razor line in the race-ready direction. It’s done it well, but it might not be the best choice if you intend to use this as a daily trainer. The Razor+ fills that slot better. Like all of the Skechers with M-Strike, it’s not too friendly to the heel strikers or really slow recovery runs. The upper worked for me, but with anything so minimal it can be hit or miss depending on your foot shape and size. And the upper definitely bleeds blue. The inside of the tongue, heel padding, and toe cap are all a suede type material. On a sweaty run, they’ll leave your feet blue. Skechers has mentioned this is an issue with pre-production test shoes and should be corrected for the production models, but keep an eye out.

Shop Razor Elite skechers gorun razor elite - toe

Skechers GOrun Razor Elite Conclusion

ADRIENNE: Super Critical Foam. Carbon Fiber. Lightweight Mesh. Versatility. Cool Styling. The Skechers Razor Elite checks a lot of boxes and can be a fiery workout companion or a bona fide racer. Those who want something in between the high-stack super shoes and a traditional flat should definitely check out the Razor Elite. It fills a niche we didn’t even know we wanted. Bring your A-Game for these, fellas, because this shoe will go as hard as you do. 

BEN: The final recipe: take a Razor 3 midsole and a Speed Elite upper, add in a minimal carbon plate, and you have the Razor Elite. I think Skechers has found quite a sweet spot with the Razor midsole, and they’re taking advantage of it. This shoe can easily be a racer– it feels a bit like a traditional lightweight flat, but with a little more pop. The plate is easily the softest of any plated show I own, and you don’t really feel it. I did some very informal testing with the Razor+, Razor Elite, and a kitchen scale. The plate seems to increase the force needed to bend the shoe by about 50%, which is only a few additional pounds of resistance. It’s a far cry from a Nike Vaporfly or a Speed Elite (which doesn’t bend at all) and is fairly insignificant compared to the hundreds of pounds of impact forces seen while running. But if you have a discerning foot, you can feel a slight touch of added pop and stability through the footstrike. And when paired with the featherweight, locked in upper, it’s great for going fast.

You can pick up the Skechers Razor Elite at Running Warehouse for $155 (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) by using the shop link below.

Shop Razor Elite skechers razor elite




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