Sketchers Vanish 3
Sketchers is a brand that is well known by many and although I have barely worked as a podiatrist, it has always come on the tongues of those that I see or on the feet of the unknowing patient. Skechers is a rather peculiar brand because the brand delves into the whole array of shoe categories and it is hard sometimes to go to the store and get what you are looking for because there are just so many shoes they offer. Considering the waves it made with the previous editions, the Vanish 3 was a rather unannounced shoe which slowly picked up in popularity with more keen advertising from the company. As such, I managed to get this shoe at half price at the event for the shoe in Singapore.
This shoe is not what I am usually used to trying because it has a specific purpose. We have to then look at this shoe in the purpose that it is originally marketed for. Which is for speed and tempo. A possible 5k to half marathon shoe. Of course, being the budget-minded runner that I am, I will also be putting the shoe on those easy casual miles. I have run in the shoe for close to 50km which included a few easy miles, fast paces, tempo paces and intervals!
There isn’t much data on the shoe but it doesn’t look entirely different from the previous edition.
Price: 129 SGD (I got it for 50% off from an event!)
Rotation type: Tempo/Fast Day
Weight: Unknown but really light!
Midsole: UltraFlight Cushioning
Heel/Forefoot: Unknown but not a steep heel to toe drop from perception
Patented Technologies: Ultraflight Midsole, M Strike, Arch Fit, Hyperarc, Goodyear performance outsoles
Ever since monomeshes came into the market, I always did not feel how it would work. It is tough, not stretchable and looks like cling wrap. But ever since companies have redeveloped their formulas, skechers have matched that with a monomesh that is comfortable! It holds the foot well, has some give and feels good. Would I prefer it compared to a jacquard mesh? Probably not. But again the goal and motive of the shoe is fast and light. This fits the bill and more.
The midsole is stiff (In terms of it not being able to compress as much as other midsoles) but still gives some relative cushioning. Step in feel, running at speeds feels comfortable but there isn’t a huge bounceback from the midsole for that springy toe-off. It does however play to the stability of the shoe which makes sense because it is supposed to be a more firmer material that the hyperburst. I would have given it alright but the weight of this material is so light. So it has to be put into consideration of it being good.
Goodyear performance rubber technology gives the shoe adequate traction and usability. It isn’t the grippiest of material but it also doesn’t lack either. Skechers are able to layer their whole ultraflight foam, barring the middle cutout portion for the M-Strike, protecting the midsole and also providing that extra durability of your midsole. From the outsole wear already in 50km, it feels that the shoe will last the typical distance.
I feel the fit is good with a caveat. For its purpose, you want it to be snug across the foot. The shoe has that, and it works for a UK9. There is enough space from the end of my toe to the end of the shoe. The midfoot was constricting, but the mono-mesh upper was able to accommodate the soft tissues surrounding my midfoot acceptably. (A no for bunions though). The heel could have a better hold but this could be made better with the slight heel collar and lace locking.
Now the caveat. Again, it is a shoe that you want for fast paces and a particular goal. Considering the weight management that they have tried to achieve, the extra allowances or comfort additions had to be stripped down. But is it a shoe that you want to have all the time on? Not really. I have used the shoe to walk to work and also for a considerate distance and it is not TOO bad but the midfoot is too snug for me.
At slower than tempo paces, you can feel the slight forefoot rocker and Ultraflight foam absorbing your stride as you go. At tempo paces, the rocker seems to disappear but you still have that firm end feel to keep going stride after stride. This probably has to do with the M-Strike that is incorporated with the shoe. Something that reminds me of the Boston 8, but with more midsole protection. I am a loyal fan of the Boston 8, so I’ll rate this a Good because all that was missing in the boston 8 was that slightly more cushioned feeling, and the Vanish 3 fits the bill. Oh and the weight, as I dial up the pace, sometimes I even forget I’m wearing shoes. How is this so light???
It doesn’t cross the border of good because the HyperArc did not really give that oomf from heel strike to toe-off. Maybe it was the geometry of the midsole, how the midsole compressed or just how my running mechanics are, I just did not get that rockered feeling. Added that I also could feel that I was really working my calf muscles and tibialis anterior. It couldn’t really deal with corners as well, so I had to slow down quite a bit to make a turn but track work should be fine!
This shoe is not a shoe for those who need stability. The outsole and the shape of the shoe does not give much of an allowance if the placement of the foot strike goes awry or if there are any steep turns to make. It was not many, but there were times where I felt that I might trip. So I would advise those who have had previous ankle sprains to refrain from this shoe.
That being said, the M-Strike component of the shoe does give that stable, good-feel transition from heel strike to toe-off.
Running Level (Beginner/Experienced/Elite):
A strong experienced runner should pick up this shoe. For a couple of reasons:
- With how the shoe is constructed, and how it feels on the run, the shoe depends a lot on the ankle complex and lower leg structures for it to work. So the basic requirements for running in minimalist shoes would run true for me here. Again, with how narrow the shoe is, you would need that proprioception control and postural stability to get most of this shoe.
- The shoe is a specialist. So I would only really want to use it for tempo days or workouts. For those who want a shoe just to grind miles or a shoe that can do everything, probably other models would be well worth a consideration
- You need to get used to a mono mesh upper. I would imagine many would feel that the upper does not fit into their concept of a comfortable upper.
Why you should be interested in this shoe
Before the Vanish 3, previous editions of the shoes were criticized for its lack of cushioning and tight midfoot fit. While the midfoot fit still leaves something to be desired, I did not get that feeling that my soles were too exposed. I have run in it for 15km and there were not any hot spots or any areas of major discomfort. The stack heights of the previous and current version of the shoe do not look much different, so the Ultraflight Foam looks well and truly updated for the better! With how light the shoe is, the shoe is a sure contender for a spot in rotation for tempo and track workouts, Heck maybe even 5/10k/10 miles race days.
An interesting study also came out recently in the journal of Sports Science and Medicine by Wang et al., 2020 on how the weight of the shoe affects the biomechanical analysis of one’s foot strike. While the study was a little confusing, what it did find out was that the weight of the shoe possibly affects the initial position of foot strike that we use and that it alters the certain activation of muscle groups. So even though this shoe is light and could in some way improve biomechanical efficiency, you still need to slowly get used to the shoe to reduce any chance of a sudden shock to the biomechanical system.
Sketchers have also included their arch fit technology here. I’m not sure what it is intended to do but it feels and looks like a medial flange with a slight arch support inbuilt into the liner. I was worried that it would give some arch irritation but there weren’t any problems with it. I can see how it can spread pressure across the medial column of the foot by contouring to the arch better than regular shoes. But it would be interesting to see how the shoe does without it, or also how this works with other shoes in their GoRun range.
Would you walk in it and use it for daily life? (Yes/No)
Not a shoe to walk in.
If you ask me whether I would recommend this shoe? If you need a shoe for tempo day or a budget option for a race day 5/10k shoe.
A good tempo shoe? Yes, go for it!
A long run shoe? Max half marathon-ish distance
An easy run shoe? Nope, but you can burn some Km in it
Is this a comfortable and joyous shoe to run in? Actually, yes. It is a fun overall package of feelings.
Does it have a step in period? Nope, It was okay from the get go
Worth the buck? At Retail. Maybe. But Skechers always has sick discounts going on, so you can definitely get this cheaper
I was very much interested in this shoe because of how the reviews for its predecessor were. The updates to this shoe was also quite remarkable. A completely different outsole pattern, a change in the HyperArc geometry, an update to the midsole formula and the use of arch fit. Sketchers has worked hard on this model whilst also keeping the original idea of the Vanish intact. I think it is a good shoe and I am looking forward to seeing how it holds out as I run in it a little more. The shoe for some reason is also only available in Asia and there has not been any news of it in Europe or the UK. I have tried to float a few questions through DMs and comments but I have received nothing back. Is there a marketing reason or has the shoe just fallen out of favor in the European markets. Not really sure, but I’m glad we can have more options here in Asia and it is a little tiring to always receive shoes a little slower than our european counterparts! I’ve also really enjoyed using this shoe on the treadmill for some reason, it’s just a no frills, lace up and run in the gym kind of shoe for me somehow.
Wang, I-Lin & Graham, Ryan & Bourdon, Eric & Chen, Yi-Ming & Chin YI, Gu & Wang, Li-I. (2020). Biomechanical Analysis of Running Foot Strike in Shoes of Different Mass. Journal of sports science & medicine. 19. 130–137.