Best Inov-8 Running Shoes

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NUMBERNAMEREVIEWRATINGBUY
#1inov-8-roclite-280Inov-8 Roclite 280
#2inov-8-mudclaw-300Inov-8 Mudclaw 300
#3inov-8-terraclaw-250Inov-8 Terraclaw 250
#4inov-8-race-ultra-290Inov-8 Race Ultra 290
#5inov-8-x-talon-212Inov-8 X-Talon 212

Inov-8 Roclite 280

inov-8 roclite 280The Inov-8 Roclite 280 trail running shoe is designed for running both long and short distance on multiple terrain surfaces. This model offers enhanced cushioning, improved flexibility, and impressive impact protection. It is suitable for neutral runners who intend to run on soft, muddy, hard or technical terrains. In this review, you will discover the main technologies and features that make it an excellent trail runner.

Inov-8 Roclite 280 Features

Secure and Breathable Upper Design

The Inov-8 Roclite 280 upper unit is constructed with durable synthetic mesh material that offers a breathable cover to your foot. It offers outstanding ventilation for your foot while protecting it from dirt and dust. Combined with the stable lacing system and synthetic overlays, the upper mesh offers a secure glove-like fit that promotes natural foot movement. The heel collar offers a firm grip on your heel without causing any form of blistering or chaffing.

At the toe-box, the Roclite 280 widens out to allow your toes to splay. It also helps to protect your foot against injury, especially when you are running downhill. At the top of the heel collar and lateral side of the upper, you wil find gaiter tabs that you can use to attach Inov-8 gaiters that can offer greater protection from dirt, mud and debris. To protect your shoe from developing odors and harboring germs, the anti-microbial lining runs through the entire inner surface of the upper unit.

Comfortable Flexible and Protective Midsole

With the injection molded EVA foam, the midsole provides moderate cushioning. The Roclite 280 also offers durability and flexibility. For optimum underfoot protection, Inov-8 uses the 3-arrow shoc-zone cushioning. This technology keeps your foot comfortable when you have to run for many miles at a stretch. Similarly, the meta-shank that stretches out from the forefoot to the mid-foot section offers additional flexibility and protection against sharp and pointed rocks. The dynamic Fascia Band covers the entire base of the midsole and it was added to make the shoe more energy efficient. It helps you to propel yourself with ease and it stores and releases energy to improve performance and reduce fatigue in your feet.

Durable Outsole for Superb Grip and Performance

The outsole has a sticky rubber compound that provides optimum grip even on wet surfaces. This special rubber material also provides additional durability at the heel and mid-foot section, which are subject to high abrasion and wear. The lugged pattern delivers solid grip on various terrain and ensures the speedy removal of mud from the lugs of the Inov-8 Roclite 280, so you can maintain a steady pace even when you are running in soft mud. At the forefoot, the Meta-Flex groove promotes natural foot movement.

The Inov-8 Roclite 280 Verdict

Pros
  • Adequate Protection: Offers excellent protection for your foot from debris, rocks and other objects on trails. The toe box is well guarded and the lacing system is very secure.
  • Comfort: Inner lining, soft upper mesh, midsole cushioning, and a well constructed heel collar provide superb comfort while running.
  • Breathability: The upper mesh allows good ventilation to keep your foot dry and cool. It allows fresh air to come in to dry sweat and it permits hot air to flow out of the shoe to keep your foot cool.
  • Durability: The shoe remains intact without any form of wear on the upper unit or any serious abrasion on the external sole even after using it to run for many miles.
  • Flexibility: The midsole and lugged outsole offer a natural foot feel on both soft and hard trail surfaces.
  • Energy Efficiency: Makes trail running and hiking easier because it offers good impact absorption and gives a good rebound.
  • Lightweight: The upper mesh, synthetic overlays, midsole cushioning, and outsole are very light and the size 8 of this model weighs exactly 280g.
  • Shoe Gaiter: Inov-8 has added attachments for their shoe gaiter to provide additional protection from dust.
  • Suitable for Multiple Terrain Surfaces: Unlike some other trail running shoes, this one can serve you effectively on virtually all types of surfaces, including hard, soft, dry or wet surfaces.
Cons
  • A bit narrow in the forefoot so runners who have wide feet may find it a bit uncomfortable.
  • The shoe does not seem to fit true-to-size. Instead, some runners reported that they had to choose a larger size.
  • The shoe has a simple design which some runners said was not attractive enough.

Inov-8 Mudclaw 300

inov-8 mudclaw 300The Inov-8 Mudclaw 300 is an impressive trail running shoe with excellent grip on every step taken, particularly on soft, slippery, and muddy terrain. The specially designed aggressive studs provide traction on soft ground and they prevent mud from sticking to the soles of the shoe. Every user is guaranteed to enjoy durability and protection. Here is a concise review that provides details about the innovative technologies included in this specialized trail runner.

Inov-8 Mudclaw 300 Features

Lightweight and Comfortable Upper With Secure Fit

The upper unit of the Inov-8 Mudclaw 300 makes use of synthetic mesh material that is highly breathable. This lightweight material provides superior air flow into the foot chamber to keep your foot cool and dry. It offers unique protection for the foot against sand, mud and debris. Similarly, the gusseted tongue stops dirt from coming into the shoe. The met-cradle in this section offers additional forefoot support and a secure fit. Its lacing system, which utilizes the Inov-8 traditional nylon lacing support offers a snug fit without sacrificing comfort.

Inov-8 now has a stitched rand at the base of the Mudclaw 300. This replaces the bonded version used in the previous model and it is designed to offer better protection from abrasive surfaces and grit stone boulders that you will encounter on various trails. Similarly, the design of the heel collar in the new model has been modified to give a more comfortable and secure fit. In fact, the heel cup now has a less rounded shape that does not extend as high up as the previous version.

Well Cushioned and Flexible Midsole

In the midsole you can find various technologies that offer superb cushioning for the underfoot. The 2-arro Shoc Zone offers adequate underfoot cushioning which allows you to keep running steadily even after stepping on sharp, pointed or uneven surfaces. The Mudclaw 300 uses the conventional EVA midsole foam , which is stretched over the full length of the shoe from the heel to the toe box area. To increase protection of the foot, the Meta-Shank technology is now located between the mid-foot and forefoot. It also improves flexibility.

Durable Outsole With Optimal Grip

The outsole of the Mudclaw 300 is designed to offer you reliable traction on wet, slippery, soft and muddy surfaces. It has multi-directional and aggressive 8mm lugs that provide superior grip even in snow. These studs have a special shape that allows the shoe to shed off mud very fast. The specialized Mudclaw outsole endurance rubber compound gives you optimal running performance on both wet and dry surfaces.

The toe bumper also provides outstanding protection that keeps the foot from experiencing bruises and damages to the foot while running on a trail. With the amount of protection offered by the midsole, it is possible to focus solely on running rather than how to avoid dangerous surfaces and obstacles. In the Inov-8 Mudclaw 300 the outsole has a flat shape instead of the curved shape used in the previous model. This makes the shoe more comfortable for runners who have Achilles tendon.

The Inov-8 Mudclaw 300 Verdict

Pros
  • Durability: The upper unit of the shoe is durable and offers impressive wear resistance. Also, the outsole made of Dual-C carbon material offers superior strength and resistance to wear and abrasion.
  • Water Repellent: It is possible to dip this shoe into a shallow pool or to walk on very muddy terrain without getting your foot soaked. The upper mesh material is a water repellent surface.
  • Secure Fit: The lacing system, heel collar and the entire upper unit offer a glove-like fit.
  • Protection from dirt: The tongue, laces, mesh and stitched rand prevent dirt, small stones and mud from entering the shoe.
  • Flexibility: From the upper to the midsole and outsole, the shoe provides adequate allowance for natural foot movement.
  • Superior Grip: The sole of the shoe offers good grip on both soft and hard surfaces. It gives reliable traction as you wade through mud, dust, quick sand or tread on any other kind of surface.
  • Beautiful design: The aesthetics of the new version surpass that of the older one. The new two-color scheme is more visually appealing than the old yellow design.
Cons
  • Small size: some users complained about the shoe not fitting true to size and they had to wear a smaller size.
  • Inadequate arch support: Runners that have flat feet and need arch support have complained about the minimal support provided in the shoe.
  • Reduced traction on wet surfaces: Some runners felt that the traction and grip on wet surfaces was not adequate.

Inov-8 Terraclaw 250

inov-8 terraclaw 250The Inov-8 Terraclaw 250 is a comfortable lightweight trail running shoe designed for running on soft trail surfaces. Its most impressive feature is the grippy outsole and the lugs that shed off wet mud quickly so you can keep your pace and enjoy a smooth ride. Its midsole cushioning and shockzone technology provide you with a good rebound.

Inov-8 Terraclaw 250 Features

Durable and Comfortable Upper

The Inov-8 Terraclaw 250 upper unit has one of the most durable synthetic mesh materials you can find on a running shoe. In addition to providing excellent ventilation, the fabric is so strong, it will withstand abrasions and wear even you have run with it for hundreds of miles. To reinforce the durability of the upper mesh, Inov-8 added the synthetic leather rand at the front of the shoe to prevent injury when you accidentally bump into sharp rocks. The roomy toe box is also guarded by the X-lock overlays.

The Terraclaw 250 offer a moderately snug fit that is appropriate for trail running shoes. The toe box is relatively wide so that you do not get hurt when you hit a rock while running downhill. With the moderately cushioned low heel collar, your heel remains stable without chaffing. The lacing system and the diagonally-stitched tongue prevent dirt and debris from coming into the main foot chamber and they keep your foot safe and secure.

Supportive Midsole With Impressive Cushioning

In the midsole you can find a generous quantity of compression moulded EVA foam. This gives a firm ride that improves performance and responsiveness on trails. The compressed EVA also improves durability so the firm feeling will remain intact for many miles. The responsiveness of the Terraclaw 250 can be felt when running on the soft, sandy and muddy ground that the shoe was originally designed for. Although the shoe can be used on hard surfaces, it was specifically designed for wet and soft surfaces.

To provide stability, Inov-8 uses a relatively high heel-to-toe drop of about 8mm in this shoe. You will appreciate the extra cushioning it gives, even though the Terraclaw 250 was originally designed to be a neutral shoe. The compressed EVA cushioning also offers good memory retention. To offer you an energy efficient return, Inov-8 has added the Dynamic Fascia Band that extends from the heel to toe box. The 2-arrow shockzone technology also provides additional responsiveness.

Grippy and Durable Outsole

In the outsole, you will find a mixture of hard sticky rubber and soft sticky rubber. This is aptly called the Dual-C compound or technology. That is why you are assured of a grippy sole that offers superior traction in various trail conditions, but you will enjoy very good grip when you wear the Inov-8 Terraclaw 250 on soft, wet and muddy surfaces. The 4mm multi-directional lugs also grip dry rocks well. At the forefoot, the Meta-Flex groove offers a more flexible movement at the forefoot during the toe-off. Together with the midsole, the outsole offers adequate protection on pointed rocks even though there is no hard rock plate. In addition, the lugs shed off wet mud pretty fast so you can keep going without any hindrance.

The Inov-8 Terraclaw 250 Verdict

Pros
  • Responsive: Compression moulded EVA and 2-arrow shockzone make the shoe responsive and energy efficient, giving you a good rebound for each stride.
  • Close-fit: The heel collar and lacing system offer you a close fit.
  • Roomy Toe-box: Many runners love the roomy toe box that increases comfort and offers protection for the toes.
  • Excellent Grip: The grip of the Terraclaw is unrivalled by most trail running shoes.
  • Good Protection: The protection offered by the shoe underfoot is sufficient when it is used on soft trail surfaces.
  • Support: Additional cushioning has been added to help runners who want more stability.
  • Breathable: The synthetic mesh enhances air flow to take out sweat rapidly and keep your foot dry and comfortable.
  • Energy Efficient: Some of the energy you expend on each stride is returned and it helps you improve your performance.
  • Durability: The materials used in the upper, midsole, and outsole of the shoe offer superior durability and wear resistance.
Cons
  • The shoe has no hard rock plate so it is not suitable for terrain with very sharp and pointed rocks.
  • The color options are quite limited.
  • Some runners felt that the shoe is quite expensive.

Inov-8 Race Ultra 290

inov-8 race ultra 290The Inov-8 Race Ultra 290 is specifically designed to meet the needs of the Ultra runner. It provides a significantly greater amount of cushioning and support than other trail running shoes from Inov-8. This shoe is an excellent option for long distance running. In this review, you will discover how Inov-8 has been able to combine a natural foot feel with flexibility, lightweight, support, responsiveness and comfort.

Inov-8 Race Ultra 290 Features

Soft Breathable and Attractive Upper

The upper unit of the Inov-8 Race Ultra 290 has a soft synthetic mesh which provides superb breathability. This flexible material also keeps out dirt when you are running on dry and dusty trails. No sign of abrasion or wear appears along the upper-midsole junctions even after coming in contact with rocks and other pointed objects. To provide improved protection from rocks, roots and brushes, the shoe has a reinforced toe bumper, which dovetails into a rand. The rand wraps around the entire shoe. If you have the Inov-8 gaiter, you can add it at the medial or lateral section of the rand.

A perfectly secure lacing system as well as a padded gusseted tongue, which keeps the dirt and dust out of the Race Ultra 290 without sacrificing comfort. Laces remain tied as long you tie them properly with a double knot. The overlays are attached to the lacing system for increased stability. The toe box is roomy and this helps to protect your foot from injury, especially when running down a slope. In response to the complaints about their trail shoes being too narrow, Inov-8 has added more room in the mid-foot section. The heel cup offers a snug fit with secure and comfortable support with an Achilles notch on top.

Flexible Midsole With Superb Impact Protection

In the midsole of Race Ultra 290, there is an injected EVA foam with Meta-shank III technology. This EVA foam has a memory effect and it adapts to the shape of your foot while providing flexibility and protection from the impact of pointed rocks and sharp objects. The foam gives a firm ride on most trails without making your foot feel stiff. Without sacrificing the natural feel for the trail, the material in the insole offers amazing torsional stiffness and durability. The X-tatic anti-microbial lining provides an excellent shield from odor and growth of microbes. No matter how much you sweat or how many creeks you run through, your shoes will still smell fresh.

Durable Outsole With Superior Traction and Grip

In the outsole the Inov-8 Race Ultra 290 uses the Tri-Endurance compound that is even more durable than the sticky rubber in their Dual-C material. Three distinct colors are used to represent the three different materials used in the outsole. In the central portion, you will see the black medium density material that has the lugs for downhill and uphill running. At the heel, a red strip, which is the most dense of the three materials has terradapter lugs. These lugs are designed to reduce wear and increase durability for heel strikers. The blue strip around the perimeter of the sole enhances traction on technical terrain. The shape of the lugs sheds mud quickly and their durability will allow you to run for hundreds of miles with this shoe.

The Inov-8 Race Ultra 290 Verdict

Pros
  • Breathable: The soft mesh material on the upper offers impressive air-flow that makes your foot feel very comfortable even after running on a sunny day or after wading through a creek.
  • Odor-free: The anti-bacterial treatment is very effective and it keeps the shoe odorless, healthy, and germ free.
  • Durability: The Race Ultra 290 has durable materials in the upper and the outsole is made of durable rubber compounds.
  • Effective Protection: From the synthetic mesh to the laces and gusseted tongue, the shoe’s design ensures superior protection from dust, dirt and small stones.
  • Flexibility: The injection moulded EVA and the sticky rubber outsole ensure that the shoe offers a flexible natural feel.
  • Good Grip and Traction: Like all other well known Inov-8 trail runners, the Race Ultra 290 offers excellent grip and traction on soft and hard trail surfaces.
  • Effective Mud Shedding: The unique design of the lugs makes it easy for the outsole to release mud and enable you to run without getting stuck.
  • Special Gaiters: The attachment tabs for gaiters allow you to attach the shoe to Inov-8 gaiters to get more protection from dirt.
Cons
  • Runners with wide feet found the shoe a bit narrow in the forefoot.
  • Some runners prefer a more flexible midsole.
  • The extra weight introduced by the cushioning in the midsole was not appreciated by some trail runners.

Inov-8 X-Talon 212

inov-8-x-talon-212 - inov-8 running shoesThe new Inov-8 X-Talon 212 is a specially designed minimalist trail racing shoe that enhances speed and gives a natural feel while running. This lightweight shoe offers a lot of flexibility, grip and resilience. So it is suitable for serious racing on diverse kinds of trails. You can use this versatile off-road shoe to run on both hard and soft terrain.

Inov-8 X-Talon 212 Features

Upper

The upper is basically a tightly woven nylon mesh. It makes the Inov-8 X-Talon 212 breathable while it permits water to drain out and keeps your foot dry. The mesh is reinforced with a durable water repellent coating, which stops water from coming into the shoes. That is why the shoe is one of the most suitable trail racers that can take you through muddy water. The tongue of the shoe has a very broad shape with minimal padding to keep the shoe light.

At the base of the X-Talon 212 upper, there’s a bumper made of suede-like material that runs all around the shoe. This minimal bumper helps to protect your feet. As you will see on many Inov-8 running shoes that they have Met cradle included. This web-like structure keeps the foot stable at the back of the metatarsal heads. Surprisingly, the shoe has a relatively wide toe box, even though the overall fit of the shoe is narrow.

Cushioning

The X-Talon 212 have the lowest level of cushioning, because it is intended for racing on trails. The amount of cushioning provided is minimal so the shoe can be kept light enough to enhance your performance and speed. In the midsole, a single density foam runs from the heel to the toe box. There’s no special arch support because the shoe is not a training shoe designed to correct your gait or provide pronation control.

As expected, the whole shoe, from the heel to the forefoot has a low profile. No heel counter can be found in this shoe and the heel is collapsible. But a suede-like material and foam overlay gives the heel some decent cushioning and support. In the midsole, Inov-8 added a replaceable insole. This insole is quite flat and thin so it does not offer you much support. However, you can replace it with an ortholite or medically prescribed insole. You can also add another Inov-8 insole to give the shoe a tighter fit.

Outsole

The outsole has aggressive lugs so you can use it for fell running, triathlons, cross country races and mountain hiking. The soft sticky rubber enables the lugs to provide very good traction on both hard and soft surfaces. To enable your foot to do the work while running, the whole of the outsole is very flexible. It does not have any resistance points.

This is possible because Inov-8 did not include any rock plate. Instead, the outsole rubber has higher density than many other trail running shoes. Therefore, the Inov-8 X-Talon 212 offers you adequate push-through protection when you land on sharp rocks and uneven surfaces. The outer sole makes it easy to run downhill on rocks without any fear of slipping and without any unnecessary weight that can slow you down.

The Inov-8 X-Talon 212 Verdict

Pros
  • Versatile: You can enjoy good traction on wet, muddy or hard and rocky trails.
  • Strong Grip: The amount of grip makes it suitable for running down mountain trails without slipping.
  • Security: The Met Cradle webbing and synthetic mesh provide security for the foot without compromising good ventilation.
  • Water repellent: The durable water repellent coating keeps the foot dry while wadding through muddy trails.
  • The midsole design makes the shoe more responsive and improves the propulsion of the foot.
  • Extreme Flexibility: The absence of a rigid plate in the midsole and outsole makes the shoe extremely flexible, providing amazing speed enhancements for trail racing.
Cons
  • The minimal cushioning may be inadequate for some less experienced trail runners.
  • The soft rubber sole could wear out faster than the hard endurance type of sole.