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Review: Sketchers Go Train Vortex 2

LiveMint logoLiveMint 07-08-2017 Vishal Mathur

Skechers has its task cut out in the training footwear ecosystem, with popular footwear brands such as adidas, Puma and Nike strengthening their own line-ups regularly. Now, Skechers too has updated the GoTrain shoe line-up, which includes the Vortex 2.

Taking advantage of nifty technology and design elements, it offers some standout advantages.

In any training shoe, the design and build quality must focus on keeping a check on weight, while remaining sufficiently rigid and enabling uninterrupted ventilation. The Vortex 2 uses a single mesh woven fabric for the upper—mesh uppers, which are now common in fitness footwear, offer good ventilation through the entire shoe. There are additional overlays around the top for structural support. Many training and running shoes have Fly Wire mesh for the same purpose, and it ensures the snug fit is better suited for running.

The conventional design of the Vortex 2 sits easy around the foot, and unlike many of the training shoes we have tested of late, it doesn’t involve any adjustments, regardless of the brand you may have been using earlier. It is quite light too, tipping the scales upwards of 235g, depending on shoe-size.

But it isn’t the most eye-catching design, particularly when compared to rivals such as the Nike Retaliation TR (Rs6,795; Nike.com/in) and the adidas CrazyPower (Rs6,599; Adidas.co.in).

There is a lot of cushioning under the foot, with 27mm heel thickness and 17mm under the forefoot. The front of the Vortex 2 is quite wide too, so many users will find them very comfortable to wear for long durations.

Skechers has used what is known as an OrthoLite sock liner, which is supposed to inhibit the growth of bacteria. This also takes care of any potential bad odour, not unusual after a few gym sessions in humid weather.

The Vortex 2 has what Skechers calls a Goga Max insole, and its highlight is responsiveness. This cushion layer rebounds every time your foot lands, giving good feedback from the surface beneath you and providing that extra assistance to move forward. This can be very reassuring while training in a gym or jogging on a pavement. Many training shoes, such as Under Armour’s Charged Ultimate 2.0 (Rs8,999; Amazon.in), do not offer this kind of feedback.

The Vortex 2 has a 10mm heel-to-toe drop, which is on a par with most training shoes. The see-through wave-shaped gaps in the thick outsole are, clearly, the standout design element. But it is not just about visual appeal—these are designed to assist the insole with more energy return from the running surface.

The only shortcoming with the outsole perhaps is the use of standard carbon rubber material and the absence of complex tread or groove designs—we would have expected something that could potentially last longer than simple rubber. What helps though are the GoImpulse pods, which enhance the outsole’s ability to flex, something that helps in quick changes of direction.

There are, of course, some potential problems—the springy cushion will eventually fall flat, and we suspect the rubber outsole will wear out before some of its rivals, which have used more modern materials.

But with its affordable price tag, the Skechers Go Train Vortex 2 will undoubtedly appeal to a wide demographic of new buyers. There are no compromises in terms of comfort or cushioning and there is enough protection for the foot (particularly underfoot). The spring feedback that the midsole offers is to be welcomed in fitness-centric footwear—and Skechers has gotten that spot on

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