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Inov-8 f-lite 220 Our Take

February 2nd, 2012

Inov-8 f-lite 220 Men's Shoe

Our Tweet

The f-lite 220 is ideal for runners who prize a smooth ride, along with those who love the 230 but have been wanting a road-specific model.
(View Men’s Inov-8 f-lite 220.)

Runners Say

“You feel close to the ground in this shoe, but cushioned at the same time. I haven’t experienced that in many other shoes. And your foot feels extremely secure in the upper. Inov-8′s design and engineering team put together a winner.” – Joanna

“The CrossFit features are immediately apparent, but they don’t get in the way of making this a smooth and comfortable running shoe.” – Matt

“I am surprised by how soft this shoe feels underfoot. I could see the grippy outsole working well on a slick road.” – Daniel

Big Features

  • Reinforced Upper: The 220 has extra material wrapping around the base of the upper to add durability and give the foot more lateral support. The upper also features TPU lacing supports to keep your foot secure on the platform.
  • Two-Arrow Midsole: Inov-8 indicates a 6mm heel-to-toe drop in this shoe, making it a “two-arrow” design (each arrow corresponds to 3mm of offset). We measured the 220 at a 5mm differential.
  • Light Weight: Even with the reinforcements to the upper, this shoe comes in at only 8.3 oz (Men’s 9). That’s pretty impressive on its own, and especially considering that Inov-8′s comparable run-specific models are only a few tenths of an ounce lighter.
  • Translucent Rubber Outsole: Designed to be non-marking on a gym surface, this outsole offers a few other benefits as well. The rubber is grippy to help with the quick lateral movements that occur during a CrossFit workout, and runners will like the extra bit of cushion this material offers.

Road Test

A blindfolded runner (running a very straight, obstacle-free course we hope) would be hard pressed to tell that this is Inov-8′s first dedicated entry for the sports of CrossFit and Parkour. Even though this shoe is built with extra material wrapping around the base of the upper and has a gum rubber outsole designed for sticky traction, the ride on the road is still smooth and, dare we say, supple for a shoe with such a thin mid/outsole.

Inov-8 f-lite 220 Outsole View

Durable Upper, Grippy Outsole

The giveaway that something may be a little different with this shoe is the crinkling in the forefoot that occurs because of the thicker material that wraps around the outsole. The mesh material on a typical running shoe is designed to crumple straight across the shoe during toe-off. The thicker upper material on the 220 prevents a clean crease from forming. This causes a crinkling noise during the run gait but should not be an issue that causes blisters, discomfort or other performance issues.

Everyone liked the gum rubber outsole, which provided tons of grip and added a cushioned feel on landing. Several testers wondered about the durability of this rubber material on asphalt surfaces, since it it is really intended for a smooth gym floor. Time will tell and we’re eager to hear how the outsole holds up for the customer who uses this as a road runner. Even though it may look pretty rugged, we’d pick another Inov-8 shoe, like the Roclite 285 or the X-talon 212, for dedicated off-road travel.

Last but not least, this shoe definitely ticks all the boxes on the CrossFitter’s wish list. The upper is reinforced in all the right places, the laces cinch down nice and secure, the midsole is flexible and the outsole is perfect for the gym. You get all these goodies in a lightweight package too. We’re excited to see Inov-8 adding such a versatile shoe to its lineup.

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