February 2011, Inov8 is coming to market with three minimalist road shoes all with a suggested retail price of $110. The three shoes will compose a line of “X” minimalist road shoes that will expand to five in Fall 2011. The initial three shoe offering will address runners of various needs who are seeking to transition from normal 12mm heel-toe drop running shoes to lower drop shoes. A 9mm drop, 6mm drop and 3mm drop model are scheduled to be available at first release.
The Road-X Lite 155 is the most minimal of this initial offering. It has a 3mm heel-toe drop and a simple upper with welded TPU overlays. By eliminating the use of a traditional outsole, Inov8 uses a Fusion midsole/outsole combination, the shoe should come in around 6.0 oz (US men’s size 9.0). Fusion consists of rubber and EVA blended together. This technique was first seen in mass distribution with the Reebok 3D Areeba, in the late Nineties, and is still applied today by various manufactures. Although this technique does not produce the most durable shoe, it has proven to hold up to daily use and provides a great feel for the road while still delivering some protection from ground reaction forces.
The other two shoes that will join the Road-X Lite 155 in the Fall of 2011 are the Road-X 233 and Road-X 255 and these shoes will incorporate very thin rubber outsoles that provide a bit more durability but still retain a minimalist approach. The Road-X 233 should come in under 8.3 oz and will have a heel-toe drop of 6mm and the Road-X 255 should come in around 9.0 oz with a heel-toe drop of 9mm. So the idea here is to start with the 255 and progress to the 233 and then finally get into the 155. By the time you are ready to progress to a zero drop shoe, Inov8 should have you covered with the Bare-X Lite 150 and Bare-X 200. Check back later to learn about the Bare-X Lite 150 and the Bare-X Lite 200 that are scheduled for a July release.