The visual appearance of the Skechers GOwalk 4’s outsole is different from most other running shoes, perhaps due to the fact that they aren’t really designed for running at all. Instead, these shoes were made with the intention of being used for walking
, with an underfoot design to match the particular needs of this surprisingly intensive physical activity. The mostly flat design helps to evenly spread the weight and energy from each step in order to prevent focused stress on a particular aspect of the wearer’s feet; this carries the tangential benefit of preventing repetitive stress injuries to the wearer’s legs as well. A scale-like pattern provides modest traction without feeling sticky, and small trenches around the outsides of the forefoot and rearfoot enhance this traction without adding weight
or disrupting breathability. It’s a well thought out design that provides real benefits for the wearer.
Although the outsole and upper portion of the Skechers GOwalk 4 are designed around walking instead of running, the midsole of these shoes is perfectly capable of accommodating both forms of exercise
. Built from the manufacturer’s proprietary 5GEN material, this instrumental middle cushion is built in much the same way as a running shoe’s midsole would be: with considerable emphasis on providing responsiveness and stability. However, the design has been tweaked so that the midsole provides some benefits for walkers as well, such as increased support and the ability to provide protection for extremely long distances
. What is most impressive out of all the features provided by the GOwalk 4’s midsole is that they offer all of these benefits at a surprisingly low weight.
While there are several subcategory variants of this shoe that are slip-on, the original GOwalk 4 is a lace-up sneaker. Despite being lace up, these shoes are still built solely for walking, and therefore they do not have the upper stability needed for fast running speeds. Regardless as to whether the customer is choosing the male or female variant, or one of the many subcategories under the GOwalk 4 umbrella, the upper will provide the same limitations, with these issues being even more prominent in the slip-on variations. On the bright side, the material used to construct this portion of these comfortable walking shoes
is very lightweight and provides exceptional breathability due to its copious perforations.
The weight for a standard size Skechers GOwalk 4, according to the manufacturer’s website, is just over 7 ounces per shoe. This is far and away one of the lightest forms of footwear available, and certainly among the top ten lightest shoes reviewed on this site. The only other category of shoes that offer a similarly lightweight design would be minimalist barefoot-style running shoes, but these manage to provide a significantly more comfortable and supportive experience than wearing a pair of foot coverings made by Vivobarefoot
. Because of this lightweight, it may be tempting for the wearer to try running in them and see how fast of a speed
they can reach. However, attempting this will result in a very disappointing experience because of the aforementioned lack of upper stability.
The soft mesh material that was synthetically created for the upper portion of the Skechers GOwalk 4 is designed for two purposes: comfort
and breathability. In many ways, these two design elements are one and the same, since having a more breathable shoe will result in a more comfortable experience and vice versa. Because of this compromise-based design philosophy, wearers of these shoes can expect a comfortable degree of airflow throughout their foot. However, the fact that these shoes are lightweight enough to prevent much heat
generation in the first place, means this feature might be considered moot.
As previously stated, the upper portion of the Skechers GOwalk 4 plays a large role in its overall comfort. The ventilated mesh material that makes up its construction is soft on the wearer’s foot to the point where they may be tempted to wear them without socks. However, this isn’t recommended by the manufacturer. In addition to this comfortable portion of these shoes, the supportive midsole and stable outsole provide further benefits to the fluffy feeling of wearing the GOwalk 4. The only major downside when considering this shoe’s comfort is the fact that it comes in about a half size smaller than many customers expected, meaning that individuals with wide feet should consider ordering a half or full size larger than usual.
Skechers isn’t really considered a stylish brand of footwear. Their name mostly conjures up images of children with light-up soles and those hideous butt-shaping shoes that led them to pay a substantial settlement for false advertising. With that in mind, Skechers has a steep hill to climb if they want to define themselves as a hip and trendy footwear option for the modern era. Fortunately, the GOwalk 4 is a step in the right direction. With a focus on simplistic design and a muted color palette, these shoes manage to avoid any sort of fashion faux pas. However, they also manage to look very plain with little to help them stand out from the rest of the pack. In a word, the style of the Skechers GOwalk 4 is inoffensive.
As a pair of walking shoes, durability wasn’t a primary concern in its design. While this comes with the benefit of ensuring that the entire shoe weighs little, the unfortunate consequence to this is that the Skechers
GOwalk 4 isn’t very resistant to damage. This is most evident on the upper half, where the thin and light mesh material can very easily become torn if the wearer isn’t careful. Because of this, it is important that wearers of these shoes stay on appropriate walking terrain and avoid moving too quickly, as failing to do either of these things can easily result in accelerated degradation.
Since these shoes are designed for walking, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that their upper portion has little to offer in terms of protection. The outsole of the Skechers GOwalk 4 also provides less than average protective capabilities since it isn't designed for faster movement. However, the 5GEN midsole that can be found in every pair of these shoes does offer decent protection that is roughly on par with other running shoes. The most significant effect this protective midsole provides for the wearer is that it allows them to wear these shoes comfortably and free from injury even when walking for extended lengths of time.
Due to the impressive design work that went into the Skechers
GOwalk 4’s midsole, these shoes are surprisingly responsive. The material used to comprise this integral middle cushion is known as 5GEN, and Skechers designed it themselves to provide the exact level of energy distribution and dispersal most optimal for walking. As a result, wearers of these shoes can walk and even jog for long periods of time over impressive distances without sustaining injuries or becoming fatigued. Something worth noting is that because the upper portion of these shoes is designed without lacing or full foot coverage, these shoes aren’t very responsive when it comes to running.
In order to ensure the best possible support in such a limited package, the Skechers GOwalk 4 has a design that provides support in a few key ways. The first method can be seen in the overall layout of the shoe; due to a tapering midfoot design, the arches of the wearer’s feet are better supported. The midsole obviously plays a significant role in this process as well, although the 5GEN material found within focuses less on one particular area, instead of spreading its supportive capabilities evenly across the entirety of the wearer’s underfoot. To supplement this aspect, Skechers also added a Goga Max insole to the GOwalk 4, which functions as an enhancement of the midsole.
As the inevitable tradeoff for these shoes having such a low weight and a comfortable design, the Skechers GOwalk 4 is limited in terms of viable training environments. For the most part, wearers of these shoes will want to stay on the sidewalk or a similarly manmade path. Although adequate for walking, the traction that can be found on this shoe’s outsole simply won’t provide enough control and injury prevention to be used effectively on any natural terrain, such as a grassy field or dirt path. Finally, it should go without saying that these shoes are completely inappropriate for trail running of any kind.
The initial price for these shoes, as determined by their manufacturer at the time they were released, was extremely affordable. They were far below $100, making them a terrific fit for anyone interested in a decent pair of walking shoes that wouldn’t break the bank. Since then, the Skechers GOwalk 4 have been released in several different variations, which follow this same trend of affordability.
Although not a major focus in these shoes’ design, traction is present in the Skechers GOwalk 4. This can be found on the underfoot, with their outsoles featuring a design supplemented by the manufacturer’s proprietary Goga Pillars. This design style is meant to provide an even grip without much focus on a particular area of the wearer’s foot, instead of meaning to spread this traction evenly along its entirety.
While they may not provide much stability, the Skechers GOwalk 4 has a great deal of flexibility. This can be attributed to the use of extremely lightweight material for most of its construction, such as the 5GEN midsole and synthetic mesh upper.
Simply put, these are not a good pair of shoes for anyone in need of underfoot stability. With a focus on providing a convenient and comfortable walking experience, little to no effort has been made to endow the Skechers GOwalk 4 with any significant degree of stability. The closest thing to a stability feature is the fact that these shoes tend to fit fairly tightly on the wearer’s foot, offering a modicum of control as a consequence.
No specific information can be found regarding this shoe’s drop. However, a visual estimate would place it between 4 to 9 millimeters, making it lower than the average running shoe’s heel elevation.
- Highly ventilated synthetic mesh upper
- 5GEN midsole emphasizes comfort and support
- Mostly flat outsole evenly spreads weight and energy
- Extremely lightweight design
- Minimalistic style with a subdued color palette
For people who just want a reliable pair of walking shoes that don’t hurt their feet, the Skechers GOwalk 4 is a fantastic choice at a fantastic price. However, individuals who are interested in serious running or cross-training should keep looking, because they won’t find what they’re looking for in these shoes.