Verdict from 6.8 hours of research from the internet

250 users: 4.4 / 5

3 reasons to buy

  • Plenty of training aficionados laud the shoe’s versatility for CrossFit. They claim that it has the right balance of cushioning and support.  
  • A good number of users also consider it a solid choice for weightlifting because of its stable platform.
  • The trainer offers a comfortable fit right out of the box, according to most buyers.

1 reasons not to buy

  • A few testers find the footwear a bit too heavy for their preference.

Bottom line

The F-Lite 290 appears to be a comfortable and versatile option for cross-training. Even though some people expected the shoe to be lighter, it hasn't been an issue for the majority.

Tip: see the best training shoes.

User reviews:

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  • The Inov-8 F-Lite 290 came out together with its sensational graphene-enhanced counterpart, the F-Lite G 290. Aside from the graphene-infused sole, the two shoes have the same design and features. Both have been crafted on the basis of experience gained from the previous F-Lite models and the needs of cross-training enthusiasts. The F-Lite 290 still caters to a broad array of training activities, from sprints and cardio sessions to CrossFit and weightlifting.
  • The trainer retains such well-acclaimed technologies as the Sticky Grip rubber outsole, the 360-degree Rope-Tec protection for rope climbs, and the firm Powerheel compound for a steady heel placement.
  • The F-Lite 290 introduces a new kind of midsole called Exteroflow. It is meant to absorb shock while still keeping the foot grounded and sensitive to the surface.

The F-Lite 290 inherits the Sticky Grip rubber outsole from the previous versions of Inov-8 training shoes. It is created with the use of climbing rubber technology which is capable of providing excellent traction on all types of surfaces, including wet ones. This material is also made to be durable and withstand abrasion associated with rigorous workouts.

Parts of the outsole rubber extend up to encase the midsole on both the lateral and the medial sides. They protect the midfoot area from the wear-and-tear caused by rope climbing.   

The shoe also uses the Dynamic Fascia Band (DFB) technology in its outsole, making the unit resemble a foot skeleton. Such design helps the sole flex and bend easily to deliver unhindered movement.

A Meta-Flex groove is added at the forefoot. It further enhances the sole pliability to allow more freedom of movement.

The Inov-8 F-Lite 290 utilizes the Exteroflow midsole for cushioning. It is a foam compound which serves to absorb shock from the constant impact of a workout session. With its 4-mm heel-to-toe drop, the Exteroflow falls under the brand’s “one arrow” shock category. It means that this unit has an average level of cushioning, offering more responsiveness instead.

At the back of the trainer, the Powerheel technology is used. It is made to be 40% firmer than the rest of the midsole to give the wearer more stability in the heel. This compound is harder to compress than the regular foam, providing a benefit for weight training.

The midfoot and the forefoot sections of the F-Lite 290 are made up of a structured mesh. It creates a breathable and flexible coverage for the foot. Synthetic overlays are added on top of the mesh in the key areas to enhance support and durability.

A thick synthetic material wraps around the rearfoot section. It works together with the TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) heel clip to give the heel a secure brace.

A firm foothold is ensured by the combination of the Met-Cradle technology and the lacing system. The Met-Cradle is embedded into the lateral and medial panels of the shoe and comes out on the instep in the form of webbed eyelets. It helps to pull the sides of the shoe together when the laces are cinched.

Size and fit

True to size based on 65 user votes
Small (18%)
True to size (75%)
Large (5%)
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How F-Lite 290 compares

This shoe: 87
All shoes average: 89
72 97
This shoe: $140
All shoes average: $127
$100 $200
This shoe: 10.2oz
All shoes average: 10.4oz
6.9oz 14oz
Nicholas Rizzo
Nicholas Rizzo

Nick is a powerlifter who believes cardio comes in the form of more heavy ass squats. Based on over 1.5 million lifts done at competitions, his PRs place him as an elite level powerlifter. His PRs have him sitting in the top 2% of bench presses (395 lbs), top 3% of squats (485 lbs) and top 6% of deadlifts (515 lbs) for his weight and age. His work has been featured on Forbes,, Elite Daily and the like. Collaborating along the way with industry leaders like Michael Yessis, Mark Rippetoe, Carlo Buzzichelli, Dave Tate, Ray Williams, and Joel Seedman.