Posts Tagged ‘Inov8 Trail Running Shoes’

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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Inov-8 Trailroc Sneak Peek

February 1st, 2012

INOV-8 Trailroc Series (255, 235, and 245 Pictured)

Designed for running on loose, rugged and eroded trails, the Trailroc wants to be your new buddy for when the going gets tough. This is a brand new design from Inov-8, available in three flavors to give you just the mix of cushioning and protection you need. It’s also the first Inov-8 shoe to use three different types of rubber compounds on the outsole to optimize grip and durability.

This series of light, low and nimble trail shoes is set to compete with the New Balance MT/WT110, along with the upcoming Asics Gel Fuji Racer and Saucony Kinvara TR.

What to Watch For

  • Tri-C Compound: Inov-8 uses a soft sticky rubber on the toe and arch areas for improved grip, an endurance rubber spanning from the heel to the metatarsals for durability, and a hard sticky rubber on the medial and lateral forefoot for improved wear rate. Note that the sole is a uniform color on the sample shoes shown but will be three different colors in production to showcase the technology.

INOV-8 Trailroc 245 Outsole View

  • 3 Offsets Available: The Trailroc 235 is a zero drop model. The Trailroc 245 has a one-arrow shock zone, measured in our sample shoe as a 4mm heel-to-toe drop, and the Trailroc 255 has a two-arrow shock zone, measured in our sample shoe as a 7mm difference between the heel and forefoot.
  • Light Weight: All the Trailroc models break the 10.0 oz barrier, with the 235 weighing in at 8.3 oz, the 245 at 8.7 oz, and the 255 at 9.9 oz (Men’s sample size 9).
  • Met-Cradle Lacing: Lightweight overlays help to keep the upper snug on your foot and hold your foot securely to the mid/outsole for confident performance wherever the trail takes you.
  • Meta-Shank: Included in the 245 and 255, this built-in rock guard offers added protection from rocks and other ornery trail debris.
  • Anatomic Fit: A wider toebox gives the toes room to splay out, particularly helpful for a midfoot strike pattern.

The Trailroc series has a targeted release date of July 2012. Based on prior new releases from Inov-8, we could see that date getting pushed back a month or more, so we’ll keep you posted as we get closer to summer. UPDATE: We are now expecting the Trailroc 235, 245 and 255 to arrive in late August 2012.


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Inov8 Bare-Grip 200 – First Look

December 21st, 2010

Inov8 Bare-Grip 200

Now available at Running Warehouse

Inov8 was making minimalist trail shoes before it was hip to be minimal. A UK company, Inov8 (pronounced: innovate) was founded on the principle of providing trail shoes that would be engineered to work in extreme conditions. Unhappy with the unstable, high-off-the-ground trail shoes that were available in the market, Inov8 set out to provide trail shoes that were close to the ground and thus inherently stable. Furthermore, trail shoes needed to be able to provide excellent traction and shed mud. Think about the damp landscape of Great Britain seen in the movie Braveheart, and you get a good idea of the conditions that Inov8 sought to conquer with its first trail shoe.

The first shoe produced by Inov8, was the Mudroc 290. This award wining shoe is known as the original Fell Racer. Fell racing involves racing from here to there, without a course, and undoubtedly over some hills (fell is a word used to describe a hilly landscape in parts of England). As such, Inov8 trail shoes were originally designed to provide supreme traction on steep climbs and descents, while also being able to shed mud. Inov8 now has a full spectrum of trail shoes designed to tackle a variety of terrain, ranging from hard packed ground, to loose covered trail and soft, mushy fields.

Read more…

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