Road Shoes

Shoe of the Week: Skechers GOrun Speed Elite Hyper

A “super shoe” with advanced foam and a propulsion plate, the Speed Elite Hyper performs like a close-to-the-ground racing flat.

Skechers GOrun Speed Elite Hyper Review

Weight
5.7 oz (men’s size 9, unisex)
Offset
4mm heel/toe drop, (28mm in the heel, 24 mm in the forefoot)
Price
$180

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Top Line

A quick-turnover speedster, best for shorter races for most runners, the Speed Elite Hyper’s performance results from the combination of Skecher’s exceptional HyperBurst midsole foam, and, of course, an embedded, firm rocker plate.

Skechers GORun Speed Elite Hyper
photo: 101 Degrees West

What’s New

The biggest thing that’s new with this shoe, compared to Skechers previous Razor line of racing shoes, is the stiff, curved, polymer plate (it’s technically a plastic plate infused with carbon-fiber as opposed to a plate made entirely of carbon-fiber) that gives the shoe noticeably “pop” in the midfoot to the forefoot.

This shoe is for you if…

You like a lightweight, low-drop shoe that allows you to feel the ground while still having sufficient cushioning for the long haul, you’ll love the Speed Elite Hyper. Unlike the high-off-the-ground Nike Vaporfly Next% and Alphafly, Hoka Carbon X and the New Balance Fuel Cell TC, the Speed Elite Hyper feels more like a traditional racing flat.

First Runs

Skechers has been in the performance running market for 10 years now and while their training shoes have improved greatly in recent years, they’ve always had exceptional racing flats. That’s partially because they took a lot of input from Meb Keflezighi in the early years and took risks on building light, low-to-the-ground shoes built on new foams and other lightweight materials. The Speed Elite Hyper builds on that tradition, incorporating their newest foam and today’s trendy propulsion plate technology.

I took this shoe out five times for runs that included a 10-mile run at 7:45 pace, a 5-mile tempo run, a fartlek run with a variety of surges, 5:40 mile repeats and a variety of shorter intervals on the track. The Speed Elite Hyper is sleek, light and agile, the way racing flats were made for years. It has a little bit of a rockered profile, which, along with the plate, promotes a quick-cadence gait at moderate to fast paces.

Skechers Speed Elite
Speed Elite Hyper after track workout / photo: Brian Metzler

I found that it felt and ran better at faster paces and when distinct heel-striking wasn’t a factor. The midsole is impressively energetic and resilient yet not at all bouncy. The HyperBurst foam is very responsive but it’s also more stable than some of the squishier foams out there—the forefoot in particular, with less foam above and below the stiff plate, can feel quite firm. I felt like there was a smooth interface between my foot and the ground, both on roads and the track.

It’s a shoe with a medium to narrow fit from heel to toe and a low-volume interior. It has a lightweight, minimalistic one-piece upper that is durable, breathable and adaptable to various foot shapes, but it lacks structure entirely (no heel counter, no saddle support overlays). The outsole has a lot of exposed foam with key sections of durable rubber in high-wear areas. (So far, I haven’t seen any visible breakdown of the exposed foam.)

Personally, I would use this shoe for 5K to half marathon racing, but probably not for a marathon given the lack of stability. (The midsole seems sturdier than most, but I need all the help I can get over the final 10K of a marathon.) I really liked it as a workout shoe because it allowed me to feel the surface of the ground much better than some of the other maximally cushioned marathon racing shoes.

Similar Shoes

Brooks Hyperion Elite 2, Saucony Endorphin Pro, Skechers GOmeb Speed 6

Brian Metzler is the author of Kicksology: The Science, Hype, Culture and Cool of Running Shoes. (2019, VeloPress)