I Love My Inov 8 Running Shoes!
For those who are all about minimalist shoes, forefoot running, and barefoot running, this is a wonderful brand of running shoe. Inov 8 is a running shoe company based out of Europe in 2003 specializing in minimalist shoes for runners, ultra-runners, cross-fitters, and trail runners. I originally ran into Inov8 at a local running shop here in Lynchburg that sold a lot of shoes for trail runners. It was the first time I have ever seen the brand before.
The first thing I noticed about them is how comfortable the upper of the shoe felt on my foot. The only thing that was frustrating about them was they were in European sizing. The size that fit was just a little too snug because the shoe is a little narrow for my foot. The half size up was just a little to long. After getting them and wearing them some, they stretched out and felt a little better. Stores do sell Inov8′s now in US sizing, so you just have to look around.
I have a pair of all black Inov8′s. I really like them because they do not stain and look dingy over time. Plus, black goes with just about any running clothes I wear. I have seen some of the other styles such as royal blue, black with white trim, and alpine green with white trim. If you like simple, they have simple styles and some with character too.
The Mid Sole
Though this is a minimalist shoe, I find it has some good cushion. I have tried on the first pair of New Balance Minimus that came out for the trails and they seemed kind of hard. The Inov8 f-lite 230 has just enough cushioning to feel like your still protecting your feet.
One of the things I like in shoes is durability, and the sole of this shoe has exactly that. I would compare the rubber they use for the bottom of the shoe almost as good as a Vibram rubber. So if you are looking for something to run on trails, this will definitely hold up. There is also a style of this shoe called the Mudclaw. It is basically the same as the f-lite. The difference is, it has rubber spikes like a football cleat in order to get better grip on the trails and in the mud. Personally I wish I had a pair of these at our conference meet in 2009.
To conclude, the Inov8 running shoe is a great shoe for people looking for something to race in on the roads, or if they are wanting a minimalist trainer. This shoe is not for everyone. If you are looking for a shoe that has support, this is not for you. If you are looking for a shoe to stand around in at work, again this shoe is not for you. Other than the slenderness of the shoe, I loved every part of it.