Facts

  • Terrain

    Road

    Shoes best for road, track and light gravel. See the best road shoes.

    Trail

    Shoes best for trail, off road, mountains and other unstable surfaces. See the best trail shoes.

    Good to know

    As long as you stick to the road or path, and if you want just one running shoe, buy a road running shoe.

  • Arch support

    Neutral / cushion / high arch

    Shoes for runners who do not need any additional arch support (Around 50% of runners). Best for people with normal, high or medium high arches. See the best neutral shoes.

    Stability / overpronation / normal arch

    Shoes for runners who need mild to moderate arch support (Around 45% of runners). Best for runners with a low arch. See the best stability shoes.

    Motion control / severe overpronation / flat feet

    Shoes for runners who needs a lot of arch support. Best for runners with flat feet. See the best motion control shoes.

    Good to know

    - Rule of thumb: If in doubt, buy neutral shoes to avoid injuries.
    - More about arch support in this video.
    - Find your arch type by following steps from this video.

  • Use

    Daily running

    Cushioned shoes for your daily easy running. Great comfort. See best shoes for daily running.

    Competition

    Lightweight shoes good for races, interval training, tempo runs and fartlek. Here are the best competition running shoes.

    Good to know

    If you want just one pair of shoes, buy a shoe for daily running.

  • Price
    $125
  • Weight
    Men: 10.2oz
    Women: 10.2oz
  • Heel to toe drop
    Men: 8mm
    Women: 8mm

    The height difference from the heel to the forefoot, also known as heel drop, toe spring, heel to toe spring or simply drop.

    There are many opinions about what a good heel drop is. We do not recommend any in particular. Lean more in this video.

  • Heel height
    Men: 19mm
    Women: 19mm
  • Forefoot height
    Men: 11mm
    Women: 11mm
  • Width
    Men: normal
    Women: normal
  • Release date
    Unknown
Show more facts

Review coming soon

Inov-8 Trail Talon 290 has just been released by Inov-8. Our experts are working on a detailed review. Please, come back later.

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69 / 100 based on 1 expert reviews

  • 69 / 100 | James Smith

    Trail Talon 290 - great upper but it lacks sole

    I tested these along with two other pairs of trail shoes, switching between each pair run after run.

    The three shoes in question are the Trailtalon 290 and Parkclaw 275 GTX both from Inov-8 along with the minimal Primus Trail FG from Vivobarefoot.

    I smashed a lot of miles in all three shoes on hard & soft muddy tracks, gravel paths, wet & dry sand and on the road.

    Here's how the Trailtalons stacked up.

    Tech Specs

         Drop      8mm
         Footbed      6mm POWER FOOTBED
         Lug Depth      4mm
         Midsole      TWO PIECE POWERFLOW
         Midsole Stack      19mm / 11mm
         Shank      DFB
         Sole Compound      TRI-C STICKY
         Product Weight - From Inov-8 website      290g / 10.15oz
         Actual Weight - Weighed by myself, size 45EU      330g / 11.64oz

    Design

    I quite liked the look of these out of the box, I thought the bright blue was striking and it definitely caught my eye. However, after putting them on, I wasn't as keen on the color.

    As a pure running shoe, it's fine but I felt like I couldn't ever wear these as a casual shoe.

    I'd much rather stick to my Vivobarefoot Stealth 2’s for everyday use as they're a little more understated and don't draw unwanted attention.

     

     

    In my size the Trailtalons came in quite weighty at 330g. I'm not sure which size the 290 number is from (Inov-8’s shoe coding system using weight).

    Obviously, they're not designed to be lightweight speed beasts but being a fan of minimal running shoes like the Vibram KSO Evo's and knowing how comfortable they can be over long distances on the road, I have to wonder what all the added weight really achieves… but perhaps that's an argument for another day.

    The sole is designed with different rubber compounds for different areas. Hard and durable at the heel, softer up the middle to the forefoot and very soft around the edges.

    Inov-8 claims the softer rubbers are for traction but I have some problems with it being too soft (see performance section).

    I think it would have been better to have all of the sole rubber in the harder heel compound and allow the midsole to do the job of cushioning on its own.

     

    Safety

    These trail shoes aren't covered with dozens of redundant safety features (I never did really understand the need for reflective strips on trainers), but the guys at Inov-8 are smart enough to know that when you're running up a hill or down a rocky track you might occasionally kick something hard!

     

     

    To help with this potential hazard there's a tough rubber toe bumper that's very durable… and I can confirm it works! The tongue is also gusseted so that grit and gravel can't work their way in the shoe too easily.

    It's worth mentioning that on the Inov-8 website, there's something about being able to attach gaiters to the Trailtalon 290 though I didn't test this.

    Flexibility

    Both the sole and upper on the Trailtalon 290 have decent flexibility.

    Obviously, it's nowhere near as good as with a minimal shoe like the Vivobarefoot Trail FG but considering the sole thickness, I was impressed.

    Inov-8 designed the sole with something they call meta-flex technology which seems to be some sort of bend line across the midfoot of the sole. It appears to work though I'm not convinced it needs the fancy name.

    Fit

    The first thing I noticed about the Trailtalons was how comfortable they are. The upper fabric is very soft and flexible with a decent amount of room in the toe box.

    The tongue and collar are very soft and well padded, in fact, the whole inner is really nice. Great for running on colder days with plenty of comfy warmness.

     

     

    The heel cup is supportive however after only a few times putting the Trailtalons on and taking them off again it feels as though it might be failing a bit already.

    I'm not sure how much life it has in it but I fear that it will become uncomfortable long before the sole wears out, which isn't good news.

    The lacing system uses a TPU cage-like design which Inov-8 call Adapterfit.

    I was so impressed with the comfortable fit of the Trailtalon 290’s that I decided to contact Inov-8 to ask for some more detail on the Adapterfit technology and the science behind it (if there is any).

     

     

    They did get back to me but I didn't learn a lot from their answer which leads me to believe that the tech could be more of a sales gimmick.

    That said, they are darn comfy and after a very short break in period, I didn't get any more blisters on them. I also can't be sure whether or not they do adapt to my feet as they swell, maybe they do... so I can't knock them too much!

    Inov-8 email

    Hi James,

    Thank you for your patience. Our product team advise that the adapter fit technology is a TPU upper fit system that reduces pressure over the instep of the foot, and through the construction adapts to the swelling of the foot when running over longer distances this increases comfort and reduces the chance of blistering.

    I hope this is of some help and please let me know if you need any further information or assistance.

    Grip

    The Trailtalons are designed for hard packed trails and paths and for those things the grip is great, as long as it's dry.

    As soon as you hit a bit of loose top surface or mud, things get "interesting" quickly.

     

     

    I did find that they were actually pretty decent on the road and on wet sand they performed admirably.

    I think I see these as more of a dry/summer groomed trail or rocky track shoe. For me, the sole on the Parkclaw 275/275 GTX beats these on every terrain.

    Support

    As well as being incredibly comfortable, the Trailtalon 290’s are very supportive.

     

     

    I don't know how well the Adapterfit cage works in terms of adapting to fit but I think it definitely helps to add support.

    The heel cup does an adequate job and there's very minimal slippage on runs.

    Performance

    What can I say, I thought the Trailtalon 290’s would be amazing when I first put them on because they were so comfortable. But when I got out there on them, they just felt lacking somehow.

    I finally put my finger on it after a few runs. These are designed for longer runs on hard trails so the guys at Inov-8 have made the sole extremely good at absorbing shock.

    The problem is for me as a forefoot runner, it's way too much, to the point that it feels as though I'm constantly losing momentum and this is the last thing I want with a long run because it means I have to put more effort in.

    I much prefer the more responsive soles on the Parkclaw 275 GTX and Trail FG. And although the Parkclaws are heavier they don't hold me back, even on long runs.

    I'm not sure if a heel striker would have a better run in these because of how the sole is designed (see design) but for me, they really didn't perform as I'd hoped they would.

     

    Bottom Line

    If you could take the sole from the Parkclaw 275’s and stick them on the upper from the Trailtalon 290’s then I think you'd have a really good, multi-terrain running shoe.

    Unfortunately, that's not the case and I was left feeling tired and deflated after each stride in these.

    Out of the three trail shoes I tested these came last. That doesn't mean to say they're terrible shoes, there are just a few crucial areas that these could be better in.

    This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.

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Updates to Inov-8 Trail Talon 290

  • The Inov-8 Trail Talon 290 is a trail shoe that’s created for those who have neutral pronation. It’s also optimized for packed topography and moderately tricky surfaces. Its façade has a somewhat-bulky look to it, with printed overlays and stitched layers bolstering it. But it’s not as hefty in design as most of its peers in the trail-running market.
  • A moderate level of cushioning is employed in this product. A not-so-thick platform provides cushioning and support throughout the running session. A semi-rigid layer delivers a propelled forefoot lift. The exterior section has multiple rubber compounds to ensure grip and protection from abrasion.

Inov-8 Trail Talon 290 size and fit

The standard measurements were used in the making of the Inov-8 Trail Talon 290. It is capable of adhering to the usual choices of consumers when it comes to size. The available widths are D – Medium for men and B – Medium for women.

The Inov-8 website lists this running shoe as one that has a rating of 4 on their Fit Scale, which means that it has a medium-to-wide coverage.

Outsole

Three rubber compounds are used for the outsole unit of the Inov-8 Trail Talon 290. These elements work together to deliver a performance that’s meant for the trails. The amalgamation is known as the Tri-C rubber compound.

The first material is called the Soft Sticky Rubber, and it’s meant to heighten grip on wet surfaces. Its malleable nature potentially adds a bit more cushioning for the foot. The second compound is named Hard Sticky Rubber, and it doles out traction while having a durable build. The final piece of the Tri-C union is the Endurance Rubber, and its job is to deliver long-lasting performance over a variety of terrains.

The Trailclaw design makes use of aggressive, multidirectional lugs that are 4mm in thickness. These protrusions pockmark the external pad, including the perimeter. Upward and downward traversals become more manageable with this useful optimization.

The Meta-Flex™ is a horizontal groove placed on the forefoot section. Its goal is to encourage the natural flexibility of the wearer’s foot.

Midsole

The Inov-8 Trail Talon 290 features the 2-Arrow Shock Zone, which is the Inov-8 descriptor for midsole units that provide moderate levels of cushioning.

Powerflow is a two-piece foam compound that’s responsible for carrying the foot throughout the running session. It’s touted by the Inov-8 to dole out 10% better impact absorption and bring 15% more energy for the foot.

A rigid lever limb called Dynamic Fascia Band is placed within the midsole. It aims to act as the tendons and muscles of the underfoot, supporting them and enabling a responsive lift during the toe-off.

Upper

The upper unit of the Inov-8 Trail Talon 290 utilizes a synthetic mesh. It’s meant to be lightweight and breathable. Its minute breathing pores allow airflow into the foot-chamber while warding off small debris.

A traditional lacing system is at work in this product. It’s supported by a TPU cradle on the sides. These features enable a snug yet customizable fit.

A rubber bumper on the forefoot section protects the toes from abrasive debris and potentially harmful surfaces.

There are gaiter hooks on this shoe. These pockets allow gaiter attachments to be added to the façade, thereby heightening protection from the hazards on the trails.