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An In-depth guide TO


UPDATED - 20th September 2020


inov-8 x-talon 230 running shoes

Inov-8 X-Talon 230


ino-8 x-talon 212 running shoes

Inov-8 X-Talon 212


inov-8 x-talon 235 running shoe

Inov-8 X-Talon 235


Inov-8 is the number one brand for off-road running trainers. If you tend to run on the pavement, you may want to look at different brands but if you do a lot of mud runs, cross country running, or obstacle racing, Inov-8 running trainers are perfect. They are designed with difficult terrain in mind, and they provide the increased grip and comfort that you need.

Since launching in 2003, Inov-8 has been gaining popularity with its incredible grip and the ‘ground-up’ shoe design that characterises all of their trainers. Their designs are often modelled after climbing shoes, so they are lightweight and have a flexible rubber sole.

They may look different to your standard running trainer, but they are better suited to running over muddy terrain so you feel more confident and you can build up more speed.

The full range of Inov-8 shoes is based around three key pieces of technology; the Met-Cradle, Dynamic Fascia Band (DFB), and Tri-C.

All of the Inov-8 shoes come with a Met-Cradle, which is a series of bands around the upper portion of the shoe, attached to the laces. When the laces are tied, the bands will tighten around the foot, but they are also flexible, which means that your foot feels secure but incredibly comfortable.

DFB is used in a lot of Inov-8 shoes. This series of bands in the midsole of the shoe helps to stiffen the shoe and create backward resistance. This gives you a firm base to push off from, so you can improve your stride and boost your speed.

The Tri-C system refers to the combination of different kinds of rubber that are used to build Inov-8 shoes. The edges of the shoe are made with soft, sticky rubber to grip on to muddy surfaces. High abrasion rubber is used on the heel to make the shoe durable and reduce wear and tear over difficult terrain.

The lugs are covered with hard, sticky rubber to dig into the muddy ground. While these soles do not always give you the softest kick, the combination of rubber used on the soles gives you a good grip on a wide range of different surfaces.

Inov-8 has an excellent range of shoes that are designed and built based on these three pieces of technology. They are quite different from standard running shoes that are designed for the pavement, which means that even an experienced runner may not know where to start when choosing between the different Inov-8 shoes available.

In this guide, we will take a look at the shoes in the Inov-8 X-Talon range, and the pros and cons of each so you can make an informed decision about which shoe is best for you.


The X-Talon 235 is designed to be lightweight, hard-wearing, and waterproof. Each shoe weighs 235g, hence the name and they are a great trail running shoe built with graphene enhanced rubber soles that offer improved grip. According to Inov-8, the graphene enhanced soles are 50% stronger, 50% more elastic, and 50% more hard-wearing than a standard rubber sole. 

The upper portion of the shoe is made from a single piece of hard-wearing ballistic nylon, which is incredibly lightweight and waterproof, so it holds up when you are running trails in bad weather. The shoes are incredibly lightweight and comfortable, and the sole gives you plenty of grip, even on the muddiest terrain. 

The X-Talon 235 is available in a male and female version for improved fit, but some people do find that the upper portion of the shoe is not right for their feet.

The X-Talon 260 is designed for long distance trail running over difficult terrain, so it has more focus on comfort. The well-designed combination of materials gives the level of comfort and support that you need for longer races over varied terrain, but it is also a good all-rounder that is great for training or short distances as well. 

The lugs on the sole are 8mm, which is incredibly large compared with other similar shoes. They are also positioned in such a way that mud falls off quickly, so you get maximum grip and reduced chance of clogging. However, if you wear these shoes on concrete, they will wear very quickly, and you will not get the same grip when you go back to running trails in the mud.

The X-Talon 230 has fewer features than some of the other shoes in the range, so it is lighter, but this does mean that there are some compromises. It still has 8mm lugs, so you get an incredible grip. The upper of the shoe is water resistant and reinforced with a protective plate to protect against rocks and sticks when you are trail running.

However, the X-Talon 230 gives a very rough ride when you are on harder terrain, so even though they are great for muddy terrains, they are less effective on varied trails or hard packed ground.

The X-Talon 255 is slightly wider compared with the other shoes in this range, which is a big bonus for some runners that find the other X-Talon shoes slightly too tight. The shoes are built on a wider last, which gives you a bit more room around the forefoot.

However, they do not compromise on other areas like grip and comfort, so you do not lose out on the benefits of the X-Talon range. 

The X-Talon 212 is a shoe that is primarily designed for cross country and fell running, particularly for people that are serious about racing. The sole is incredibly flexible, mainly because it does not have the protective plate that you find in other Inov-8 shoes.

The X-Talon 212 has the lowest level of cushioning of all Inov-8 shoes, which helps to increase speed, but you do make some sacrifices in comfort. 

The upper portion of the shoe is made from a tightly woven mesh that is breathable and good at keeping out debris as you run and allows water to roll off very quickly. The shoe also includes an insole, but this is quite flat and does not offer a tremendous amount of support.

The Inov-8 X-Talon 210 is the lightest shoe on the list, but it does not compromise on the grip. It has the same 8mm lugs as most Inov-8 X-Talon shoes do, but it does have less cushioning than some of the other models available.

The upper layer is incredibly lightweight and breathable for maximum comfort. Like the 212, the X-Talon 210 is a shoe that is designed for speed.


Inov-8 X-Talon 210 or 212?

The X-Talon 210 and 212 are both great shoes for racing as they are lightweight and offer good grip. However, they are both less comfortable and provide less support than other X-Talon shoes. The upper portion of the 210 is more lightweight than the 212, although there is only 2g difference in the weight of the shoe. If you are looking to maximise speed over everything else, the 210 is the best choice.

Invo-8 X-Talon 190 or 212?

The X-Talon 190 is quite a bit lighter than the 212, so you may expect it to offer less support. However, that is not the case. When compared with the 212, the 190 is better suited to long distance running over firm terrain. The 212 is better for racing over a lot of muddy terrains, but it does not perform well on hard packed ground. But the 190 will handle varied terrain over long distances without causing as much pain in the feet.

Inov-8 X-Talon 225 or 212?

The 225 is a more substantial shoe than the 212, but it does have some advantages. The main benefit is that it is a wider fit, so people that find the 212 a little tight around the toe end will do better with the 225. It also has more cushioning than the 212. However, this extra comfort does mean that you sacrifice speed, so if you are racing, the 212 is the better choice.

Inov-8 X-Talon 225 or 230?

The X-Talon 230 is more focused on comfort and protection at the expense of speed. The protective plate, which the 212 does not have, helps to protect against sticks and stones when trail running. But this does also reduce flexibility, which has a negative impact on speed.

Inov-8 X-Talon or Mudclaw?

As the name suggests, the Mudclaw range has a very aggressive tread which is excellent in deep mud but is not as effective on harder surfaces. Although some of the X-Talon shoes also struggle on hard-packed terrain, they are more effective all-rounders than the Mudclaw range. The X-Talon range also offers improved flexibility and speed. 


The Inov-8 X-Talon range is ideal for anybody that wants a lightweight, comfortable shoe that can handle rough terrain. The more lightweight models like the 210 and 212 are built mainly for speed but do not have as many protection and comfort features. However, if you want a good middle ground, some of the slightly heavier shoes like the 260 and 235 can provide that. 

Hopefully, this guide has given you more insight into the X-Talon range so you can make the right decision and find the perfect trail running shoe for you!




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