Skechers GOTrail Ultra 3 Review Facts
There are some top brand names one has come to associate with maximalist trail footwear and Skechers tends not to be one of them. But they’re on the scene with their first foray into the true trail running world with their GOTrail Ultra 3. With the GORun series (a line of road and hybrid shoes) among its predecessors, Skechers designed the GOTrail Ultra 3 with the ultra marathon runner in mind. And by all reviews, it appears that the company has really rode into this arena strong.
With superior grip due to innovative lug patterning, deep flex grooves in the sole for flexibility, maximalist cushioning, and an impressive drainage system, this shoe seems to be a standout debut. Going up against big names like Hoka One One and Solomon, this shoe is a surprisingly competitive newcomer. Ultra marathoners will likely be pleased with this shoe, finding that not only does it perform well, but with its more reasonable price point, it will fit most trail runner’s budgets.
The GOTrail Ultra 3 improves on previous incarnations of its GORun predecessor with a full-length outsole comprised of ResagripⓇ - which is in close correlation to its unique midsole material ResalyteⓇ, only providing more toughness and stick making it better suited to the base of the shoe. To improve the transition from heel to toe, the outsole also incorporates a rockered feel, labeled as Skechers’ own “M-Strike.” Traction is highlighted with 4 mm aggressive lugs - placed strategically in the front and heel - beneath the sole for maximum grip and stability. Unlike most maximalist shoes
, Skechers placed deep flex grooves between the outsole and midsole and beneath the lugs creating improved flexibility and promising to yield a more comfortable trail experience.
will enjoy the lush cushioning of the GOTrail Ultra 3, provided in part by a single layer in the midsole. Instead of the standard EVA foam that make up most midsoles, Skechers’ Next Generation ResalyteⓇ maximizes the cushion for a soft and comfortable ride with added protection. Skechers cites ResalyteⓇ as an “injection-molded compound with memory retention” and is exclusive to Skechers performance line. This springiness is thought to reduce the impact and fatigue of the foot. The design of the GOTrail Ultra 3's midsole was created with the ultra marathon runner in mind. In addition, Skechers has created a superior drainage system that utilizes ports on either side of the midsole to drain the shoe effectively for the wettest trail conditions.
The Ultra 3 now incorporates a lightweight quick-drying mesh and seamless synthetic materials to keep the shoe breathable, durable, and appropriate for most weather conditions. The reflective detailing
is an added safety bonus. The inside of the shoe aims for stability and comfort with its molded heel cup and inner support strap as well as a soft perforated insole and soft sockliner. Skechers continued its quest for a feelgood shoe by adding a little padding to the tongue as well.
Surprisingly lightweight for all the cushioning provided, this shoe weighs in at 9 oz for the women’s model and 11 oz for the men’s.
With its new air drying mesh upper and unique draining system comprised of ports on both sides of the midsole and perforated insoles, this shoe seems to go the distance with regard to breathability. This good air circulation and decreased drying time
help to keep feet fresh for maximum comfort for trail runners in most any climate.
Thanks to full-length maximalist cushioning at the higher end of the scale (Men’s: 36mm heel/32mm forefoot, Women’s: 30mm heel/26mm forefoot), this shoe is the ultimate ride in comfort. The sole’s unique ResalyteⓇ compound is cushy and resilient making any adventure feel even smoother and less taxing on the joints and muscles. Unlike the Hoka One One with its narrower toe box, most feel the GOTrail Ultra 3 has a more moderate amount of forefoot room which allows for better toe splay and happier feet
. While it’s not comparable to Altra’s wide toe box, it is definitely thought to be a step above other maximalist shoes. The heel is held securely in place with a molded cup and the instep is buffered with a padded tongue under a standard lacing system. The interior of the shoe is lined in breathable fabric featuring a soft removable sockliner and an insole that is molded and also on the plusher side. The perforations in the insole are part of the superior drainage system that leaves feet dry and comfortable even after water crossings and rain.
The upper is made up of breathable mesh and seamlessly stitched synthetic materials with some reflective detailing. While not flashy, the shoe comes in a few attractive color combinations to suit most runner’s sense of style and the Skechers logo is featured on the outside of the shoe in a hue complimenting each of the various color schemes. Men’s options are charcoal blue, red/black, black; whereas women’s options are olive/pink, black/hot pink, light gray/purple.
The tougher materials and construction of the upper, the fact that water does not pool in the shoes because of the drainage technique, and the ruggedness of the Next Generation ResalyteⓇ rubber compound in the sole work in concert to promote a longer lasting comfortable shoe. The ResalyteⓇ rubber compound is said to be extremely soft and springy and more resistant to compression which will also contribute to a longer shoe lifespan. Some reviewers claim that this shoe is one to last for a good amount of trail adventuring time, in the area of 300-400 miles. This is on the middle to higher end of standard mileage before wear and tear and injuries
become more prevalent.
Because of the seamless synthetic material of the newly reinforced upper which keeps the foot safe from debris and weather, and the impressive stack height protecting the foot from jagged rocks, this shoe is suitable to most trail conditions
. The only exception most reviewers note is that the height of the heel precludes it from off-camber singletrack where one would be more likely to fall or land inappropriately leading to injury.
Skechers also produces a GOTRail Ultra 3 for its Climate
Series. It features GOdri all-weather protection through a three-layer system comprised of a water resistant protective exterior barrier, a porous breathable drainage layer, and a fitted moisture-wicking mesh interior.
Surprisingly responsive for its extravagant sole, the GOTrail 3 is a top contender in the ranks of maximalist trail kicks. Some even prefer it to comparable high profile shoes like the Hoka One One. There is a little concern over responsiveness over rocks, although most contend the GOTrail Ultra 3 does an admirable job given its maximal level of cushioning. Its stack height does not seem to affect speed incredibly, but it is not meant to be speedy, keeping it on par with similar models. But while it is not the swiftest shoe, it can and does go the distance. Minding the extra caution one would need to take on ice or slick rocks and uneven singletrack, it’s ideal for that trail 50k
and then some.
The supreme cushioning of this shoe with an outsole that runs the entire length give the GOTrail Ultra 3 major points for support. It is marketed as a neutral trail runner though some feel that it may also classify as a shoe for underpronators as well with its slight inclination for supination. The upper's solid construction and the molded heel cup keep feet perfectly in place for even the toughest terrain, climbs, and descents and the slightly wider toe box offers just enough room for toes to splay naturally.
The GOTrail Ultra 3 has been redesigned to pretty much do it all. Skechers' previous versions of the shoe were labeled under the GORun series. GORun Ultra 2 was marketed as a road/trail hybrid and after its discontinuation, Skechers transitioned to the GOTrail runner made expressly for trail ultra marathoners. It’s clear that this shoe has carried some of its history with it. Some say it is not as good on rocky terrain and in slick conditions but others believe this to be a true door-to-trail shoe allowing one to hit the pavement comfortably and maintain confidence with security on dirt, root, gravel, and the wettest trails.
The GOTrail Ultra 3 retailed around the lower end of the standard pricing range for trail shoes. Recently the GOTrail Ultra 4 entered the market replacing the Ultra 3 making this shoe a great bargain.
The ability to travel virtually any trail makes the GOTrail Ultra 3 an excellent choice for even the most adventurous among us. Despite its increased stack height, strategically placed rubber lugs and a deep flex groove system provide a better-than-anticipated ground feel allowing for more confidence as one tackles the great outdoors. The lugs are placed rear-facing on the forefoot and front-facing on the heel providing a comprehensive grip on even steep vert and descents, and most argue that they feel comfortable on all terrain minus some elemental constraints such as in ice, snow, and mud.
Flexibility is a key feature of any shoe and one that most maximalist shoes cannot provide. This often leaves the runner with a stiffer, less confident ride. But not the GOTrail Ultra 3 – its flexibility outdoes the competition. With its deep flex groove system incorporated into the midsole, trail enthusiasts can now take these higher profile shoes on more daring adventures feeling a little more confident that they can navigate some tricky terrain.
The GOTrail Ultra 3 is a high profile shoe with a rear stack height 4mm higher than the forefoot. The higher heel height (Men’s: 36mm heel, Women’s: 30mm heel) creates concern for some that the shoe is less stable. While in most conditions, this shoe scores high marks for its stability, it is most noted not to be the case on singletrack where the camber is off. Some feel that they need to reduce speed in these areas to stay confident on the trail while others simply avoid this type of terrain altogether. It seems Skechers tried to offset this possible imbalance by proportionately flaring out the heel base. Still, some feel that the compensatory heel spread is not sufficient and that they are not as confident in the stability of this trail shoe of singletrack uneven terrain
As a maximalist shoe, the profile of this shoe is decidedly high. Its rear cushion measures 30mm shoe-to-ground and the forefoot comes in at 26mm (36mm heel/32mm forefoot for men). This differential is 4mm, which conveys the drop. As a low heel drop is usually any shoe measuring 0-6mm, the GOTrail Ultra 3, with its 4mm drop, is on the lower side for a trail shoe. If switching from a standard drop, care must be taken while transitioning to a lower one to prevent injury.
- Maximalist cushioning with a unique rubber compound provide a smooth ride
- Good flexibility for slightly improved ground feel and agility
- Impressive drainage system for comfort and durability
- Aggressive lugs provide superior traction and grip in most conditions
- An improved mesh upper fosters better breathability
- Solid, secure fit through a molded heel and inner support strap and a flexible, sturdy upper
Designed with the ultra runner in mind, the GOTrail Ultra 3 hits it out of the park. Those that dismiss Skechers as a serious trail shoe should take another look. Most will be surprised at its efficiency moving over most terrain and the comfort at which it accomplishes this. Its smoothness, flexibility, fit, durability, and responsiveness all work together to provide one of the premier entries to the trail running shoe market.