Ask any racer what their most important gear is on race day, and you can be certain the majority will give you the same answer: “It’s gotta be the shoes!” And there is no more recognized brand in OCR, than Inov-8. Their proven history of quality shoes, for all running and race types, has culminated with the newest iteration of their original trailblazer shoe – The Inov-8 X-Talon 230. I reached out to Inov-8 for a chance to review their newest release, and was psyched to have them at my doorstep this past week. Let’s see what they’re made of.
Inov-8 X-Talon 230 Features
Second-generation META-PLATE is a rock plate that protects the underfoot from sharp rocks. We’re all kids inside, aren’t we? If you’re like my and my inner child I am constantly jumping from rock to rock as I am out on the trail. The protection built into the X-Talon shoes allows me to save my arches as I mountain goat around in the wilderness.
Inov-8 X-Talon 230 Durability
Right out of the box, the X-Talon shows off its tough build and durable form. The materials of the shoe wrap around your foot, like it was custom molded for my appendages. It’s flexibility allows for ease of movement while I run, while still protecting my toes from being caught on jutting rocks, or rogue branches hanging off the occasional fallen log. The X-Talon is wrapped in durable materials around the side, and toes, which will hopefully prevent tearing, and blowouts – an issue I’ve had with my wide feet in the past.
- Amazing grip on almost all terrain.
- Much soft, more cushioned steps as compared to past X-Talon releases
- Sturdy design and durable materials ensure they’ll last me the race season and beyond.
- Inov-8’s “precision fit”is a slim design and may not fit all peoples individual footprint. I usually have to go up a size to get a fit that doesn’t crunch my toes together.
- The X-Talon is heavier than other OCR shoes, weighing in at 230g.
- Sorry Inov-8, you still haven’t mastered my adesire to run full speed on ice.
Inov-8 X-Talon 230 Conclusion
In the past I was an avid fan of Inov-8’s Trailroc Series shoes. They were versatile, had a good grip, and performed well in all weather but lacked protection, and a good landing surface for heavy footed runners like myself. The X-Talon fills those gaps and more. They’ve delivered in the brutal, sometimes menopausal weather of New England. There’s nothing like a clean pair of new shoes fresh out of the box, but the first thing I wanted to do was get these babies dirty. I was in the mud and show as fast as I could lace these shoes up, and I couldn’t be happier with them. I see them becoming an extremely popular shoe for this upcoming obstacle course season. For me, they have the perfect balance of soft landing, with base level protection, grip, and pliability for everything we do on a typical race weekend.