The FIT: FILA Skele-Toes Bayrunner


by Sandy Dover / @San_Dova

In the basketball world, athletes are subject to physical rigors that most other athletes cannot rival. For the elite basketball player of any level, his/her body is a literal temple and principal livelihood, and while the roughly 400 players in the NBA put their bodies and minds to the test daily and yearly, those outside of that realm also have become just as conscious about their fitness and health. The FIT is a series that will concentrate on the Fuel, Information and Training (F.I.T.) that it takes for both professional and amateur players to be at their very best in the world, as well as focusing on the literal Food, Intelligence and Technology that also comes into play in our physical fine-tuning—because after all, without having the vital sustenance, guidelines and tech advancements to feed our bodies, help us better absorb and process what’s necessary, and make the labor efficient and effective, we don’t have much to advance our collective health and performance. The FIT is here to bring to light what can make us all the best uniquely tuned creatures who we presently are and can continue or aspire to be.

Basketball as we all know it is a game of running, and basically, outside of the half-court nature of the game, it’s a game of sprints and jogs, literally. Basketball shoes as they are constructed are meant for protection of the body because of the game’s dynamic nature and drastic levels of force exerted and absorbed by the body…but the shoes are crucial in running; for that, the running part of basketball is why a running shoe for basketball players is relevant to the sport…

Fila does it again. The Fila Skele-Toes series just keeps evolving, as I’ve covered from the first Skele-Toes, to the second, a focused runner with Free-like build, to what is current in the Fila Skele-Toes Bayrunner.

Honestly, the evolution of the shoes are found in the upper, as very little has changed with this particular model and in others like it in the actual last, and that’s not really a bad thing. The great thing about the sole of the Bayrunner is that it is still very ergonomic and natural feeling underfoot and most closely compares to the Skele-Toes 2.0—the EZ slide feature is still present (combining the smallest two toes together for an easier fit), the outsole is exactly the same with the multi-purpose herringbone traction, the midsole is still injected EVA foam with the regional outsole, and those are the principal similarities.

The most outstanding aesthetic features of the Bayrunner are found in the upper, as there is a bungee system with a combination eyestay system for lockdown, wide-eye closed-hole mesh, and various synthetic materials for support.

As far as actual fit and usage, the Bayrunner is very acceptable as a performance shoe, but it’s not for everyone. As is customary with minimalist shoes like the Bayrunner, time, patience and understanding of them are key to having success with the footwear, and sometimes that isn’t enough, because all feet are different. In my evaluations, the Bayrunner held up well in durability, but I needed more time than I allowed for my feet to be properly prepared for rigorous wear.

Specifically, I tested the Bayrunner on the trails and in the woods for a few runs and hikes, and I came up with fairly positive results, but I know that the Bayrunner isn’t meant for sharp, angular rocks; my feet weren’t in jeopardy, but the shoe is a bit soft for sharp points. Also, there was some rubbing from the collar, which is mitigated by wearing toesocks, but toesocks aren’t usually widely available, so investing in a good pair would be a wise thing.

Generally, the bungee cord is very effective for security and closure. They’re actually great for casual use and literally can be used for virtually any kind of surface. The overlays do provide adequate support over the top of the foot and the flexibility of the Bayrunner is very good. The weight is excellently light, and it’s a good running shoe on the whole. It may require a break-in period for some wearers, but mainly is an easy fit for most people. I wouldn’t recommend the Bayrunner for wearers who have injury-prone feet, although the shoe itself does make feet stronger (a worthy attribute for ballers), so it’s worth a shot for curiosity’s sake.

Fila isn’t necessarily breaking its own mold with the Bayrunner, but if you want a shoe that offers minimalist attributes with a kind of familiar footwear feel, the Fila Skele-Toes Bayrunner is a very solid shoe and has great potential for most wearers.

Just have an open mind about it. It brings for a unique experience, not unlike its predecessors.

Sandy Dover is a published author, media consultant, and web & print magazine columnist in the world of publishing, while acting as a sports product evaluator and as a wellness & training consultant, advocate and journalist in the fitness industry (with the two worlds often colliding). You can find Sandy frequently here at SLAMonline, as well as at, Facebook and Twitter.