By Laura Swift
I’ve always preferred a lighter trail shoe that allows me to feel and react to the ground. I feel more nimble in a lighter shoe, which until recently was difficult to find in a trail shoe. The X-Talon 190’s are the lightest trail shoe offered by Inov-8 designed to have minimal amounts of cushioning so they were the perfect pair for me to try! They were comfortable from the moment I tried them on and walked around my apartment.
The fit was great. While the toe box isn’t huge, my toes had plenty of room and didn’t feel squished. This is a good feature for someone with relatively wide feet. The mesh upper is strong and durable so it won’t tear on branches or rocks, yet it didn’t feel restrictive to my foot in any way.
The shoes have large lugs on the bottom of the shoe, making them ideal for the trails and less than ideal for the roads (who wants to run on the roads anyway?!). Despite the large lugs, the shoes are very flexible. The lugs themselves offer incredible stability. I felt incredibly confident on wet rocks, and while others running with me were slipping and sliding in the mud, the X-Talons gripped through the mud wonderfully, and best of all the mud didn’t stick to the bottom of the shoe! I worried that on the roads the lugs would give you the feeling of running in soccer or football cleats. While the sections of roads that we ran were quite short, the lugs didn’t bother me at all! I wouldn’t run long stretches of roads in the shoes simply because I wouldn’t want to wear the lugs, but after over 30 miles on the shoes there is no wear to the lugs at all, they are more durable than I suspected!
I felt the cushioning was perfect keeping the shoe lightweight and minimal while running. I was able to feel the surface beneath me and move quickly over technical terrain. The shoe lacks a rock plate in the forefoot so the occasional sharp rock that got through the lugs was incredibly painful; however on trails with roots and mud these shoes are absolutely perfect!