Skechers Arch Fit are a collection of supportive walking shoes that are especially designed for those who suffer with flat feet and overpronation.
Anyone who is familiar with these problems will know that poor footwear can lead to back pain, hip pain, weak knees and fatigued legs. It really is so important to invest in adequate footwear, particularly if you spend extended amounts of time on your feet at work.
There are a number of brands who provide supportive footwear with built-up insoles, and Skechers arch fit collection have been designed based on 20 years of data and include with podiatrist certified arch support.
In this review we look at the Skecher arch fit GOwalk Unify trainer in particular, and test it for comfort, support, durability and design. Read on to find out if these shoes could be the answer to all your foot related woes!
Skechers Arch Fit Review
Skechers Gowalk Unify trainers are a lightweight walking shoe that have been designed with their Arch Fit technology to best suit those with weak ankles, flat feet and overpronation.
It is important to note that these trainers are not a running shoe, and although it is possible to enjoy a gentle jog in them on firm ground and over short distances, serious runners will find the midsole lacking in responsiveness.
The perfect use for these trainers is as an everyday shoe that you can wear as you walk about town shopping, or if you have a job that involves lots of walking.
Nurses in particular will benefit from the light, soft and stable structure of these Unify Gowalk trainers, and they are also ideal for anyone going on vacations to Disneyland or other active city breaks that involve long lengths of time spent on foot.
It is also important to note that these shoes will feel strange and possibly uncomfortable to those who have health arches and strong ankles.
If you fall into this category then you should look for normal gait trainers rather than those in the Arch Fit range. However, if you know that you have bunions, flat feet or overpronation, then these will be a great choice.
In serious cases it is best to get specially fitted insoles from the podiatrist, but if you are not there yet then these shoes are the next best thing.
Arch Fit Removable Insole
The Skechers Arch Fit insole is strong and highly padded under the instep. This extra padding encourages flat feet to rock outwards rather than roll inwards and therefore helps to align the ankles, knees and hips in a more healthy way, which in turn eases back pain.
When we tested the Unify trainers we found that lower back pain in particular went away, and over long periods of walking (5 hours or over) the difference was even more pronounced.
The Arch Fit insole also alleviates pressure that can build up around the toe joints and is therefore great for anyone who suffers with bunions.
In the case of very serious bunions, these insoles did not prove effective enough and specialist medical insoles are better. However, for those who are experiencing the early signs of bunions, these trainers can greatly reduce the risk of them developing into a far bigger problem.
Of course, the insoles are not just good for supporting the instep. The Arch Fit insoles also happen to cradle the rest of the foot very ergonomically, meaning that hot spots and sores do not build up under the heel or ball areas.
The insole is pretty firm in order to be supportive, but is in no way uncomfortable. The foam is made from 5% recycled rubber, and it has shock absorbing properties which prevent your ankles and knees from experiencing too much jarring from the impact of your stride.
The best part is that the insole is fully removable. It can be washed and aired if it becomes too smelly and sweaty after long walks.
It can also be replaced with a stronger, medical grade insole if that is what you require, and of course, it can be replaced with a less padded insole if you find that your feet no longer need the support under the instep.
Ultra GO Cushioned Midsole
The midsole on these GOwalk Unify sneakers is made using Skechers’ Ultra GO cushioned technology. The Ultra Go midsole is highly impact absorbent, which is great for combating fatigue and achiness on long days of walking.
Although this midsole is slightly too squishy for a running shoe, there is still enough responsiveness to give your legs energy and bounce.
The high-rebound comfort pillar technology adds even more support and encourages weak ankles and overpronated feet to stay aligned and energized even after 7 hours of on-foot action.
These trainers are not maximalist by any stretch of the imagination, but the midsole is still very plump and accommodating.
The foam is lightweight, therefore it doesn’t weigh your legs down over the course of the day but keeps you feeling free and mobile. As a result, the GOwalk Unify trainers are excellent on trail walks and any treks across sturdy ground.
Dual-Density Rubber Outsole
A really great feature of these Arch Fit Unify trainers is their durable, dual-density outsole. It really is non-slip, and keeps you feeling sure-footed and confident even on wet and slippery surfaces. This is great as it reduces the risk of injury through falling and slipping.
The tracks in the outsole are positioned cleverly to allow water to drain easily, and to afford the foam midsole lots of flexibility around the ball areas. This helps to encourage a smooth and bump-free walking cycle and once again guards against injury.
The mid panel of the outsole is made from more supple rubber than that used on the rest of the outsole. This supple central section further aids the bending of the foot and keeps your feet from cramping up with fatigue.
The thicker, more rigid rubber on the heel and ball of the outsole is highly durable and therefore doesn’t wear out easily. This means that the Arch Fit Unify trainers really do have a long lifespan.
What is more, the rigid rubber under foot provides much needed stability and allows you to pick up your walking pace when you need to.
Breathable Mesh Upper
These Unify GOwalk Arch Fit sneakers have an attractive mesh upper that is both flexible and breathable.
The knit is slightly too toasty for really hot climates, however the wide weave allows heat to escape and air to circulate, making these shoes a good option for warm to balmy temperatures.
The mesh is durable and long lasting, and despite having a great deal of flexibility it also hugs the foot nicely in a supportive way.
The laces are slightly too long on these trainers, and they tend to leave a lot of excess that needs tucking in. However, they hold fast and get a good cinch, particularly because of the well spaced eyelets that run up the front of the trainer.
Once tied in a double bow, the laces on these Arch Fit trainers do not loosen or stretch and hold your foot in position well without pinching or squeezing unnecessarily.
Cushioning And Padding
The ankle collar and tongue on these GOwalk Arch Fit Skechers are well padded and plush. The ankle collar sits low beneath the ankle bone and therefore avoids rubbing and irritating the sensitive skin in that area.
The heel tag is a little on the small side and so isn’t the easiest thing to grab hold of when pulling your trainers on. However, it is well stitched to the upper and does not come away easily as is the case with so many cheaper trainers.
The tongue on these trainers is also suitably padded, however it is not so thick as to be stuffy and hot. The tongue finishes just beneath the ankle at the front of the foot, meaning that there is no risk of chafing here either.
What we really love is the tab on the tongue which allows you to pull and adjust it once the shoe is on your foot. This comes in very handy when the tongue happens to slide off center, as you can easily tug it back into place without having to undo your laces.
It is possible to wear these GOwalk Arch Fit Unify trainers with thin to medium socks in spring and summer months. In fall and winter you may need to wear something a little thicker as they are not the most insulating sneakers out there.
What really sets these sneakers apart is that they are machine washable. This means that you can wear them without any socks at all and not worry that they will become too clammy and smelly to wear again. The mesh fabric responds very well to machine washing and does not lose its color, shape or strength.
We recommend removing the arch fit insole before washing, as these are better when they are hand washed. A hot, robust spin cycle could cause them to lose their shape and ultimately reduce their effectiveness.
We also recommend removing the laces before washing, as they are very long and highly likely to become caught or tangled inside the drum of a washing machine.
Fit And Feel
We found that the Unify GOwalk Arch Fit trainers come up half a size smaller than the average shoe size, particularly when you take into account the small amount of swelling that inevitably occurs over long periods of walking and standing.
For this reason, we recommend buying half a size larger than you normally would in order to get the most out of these shoes.
The smallness is partially down to the narrowness of these shoes. Although there is a good deal of width in the toe box, allowing for a healthy toe spread, the mid section of these trainers is narrow in order to provide maximum support around the instep.
Some people find this restrictive, but opting for a half size up counteracts the tightness sufficiently.
Runners and athletes will find these Arch Fit Skechers too spongy for their needs, however those who spend long hours walking and standing will love them.
If you have strong ankles and insteps then the Arch Fit insole will seem superfluous and slightly strange, meaning you are better off investing in some normal gait trainers.
However, if you regularly suffer from flat feet, bunions and overpronation then the padded insole and impact absorbing midsole will really help to keep you injury free and supported.
The Unify Sneakers are slim, lightweight and attractive, and they look great with any casual, everyday active wear. You will be sure to get plenty of use out of these shoes, particularly because the dual density outsole is so durable and long lasting.
Overall, we give these walking shoes a big thumbs up.