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
Cushioned shoes for your daily easy running. Great comfort. See best shoes for daily running.
Lightweight shoes good for races, interval training, tempo runs and fartlek. Here are the best competition running shoes.
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If you want just one pair of shoes, buy a shoe for daily running.
WeightMen: 7.1ozWomen: 7.1oz
Heel to toe dropMen: 3mmWomen: 3mm
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 heightMen: 19mmWomen: 19mm
Forefoot heightMen: 16mmWomen: 16mm
WidthMen: normalWomen: normal
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88 / 100 based on 14 expert reviews
The Inov-8 X-Talon 200 - A comfortable substitute for 212
The Inov-8 X-Talon 212 is legendary!
So is "precision fit", which for some people (including me) is simply too narrow and uncomfortable in the long run (pun intended).
As a long distance trail runner, my first Inov-8 shoes were the X-Talon 212 standard fit (half a size up). It was a perfect snug fit and instant romance. The 8 mm lugs gave unrivaled grip on pretty much any terrain (sans road) and excelled in slippery conditions.
I did my first trail 50-miler in a pair of 212 standard fit. It was a sad day when I found out they were discontinued!
Inov-8 still haven't answered my emails, nor my prayers. Fortunately, I managed to secure an extra pair on clearance (which I save for special occasions) and then started to look for replacements.
I soon found the Inov-8 X-Talon 200.
The X-Talon 200 has come in a range of colors. The pair I have is the second generation black/blue/orange, which is still stocked in a few shops around the web.
Pretty much an archetype Inov-8 X-Talon design; black with plenty of orange neon contrast. Later came other colors and today the 200s are completely black with only a few grey contours.
Design preference is highly personal, but I like the new black model better - it looks almost stylish.
Mind you, X-Talon 200 is not an evening shoe! Its a piece of gear to be worn when going for rugged trail runs - and who is out there to look at your (preferably mud covered) shoes anyway?
Below you can see the Inov-8 X-Talon 212 precision fit (red) on the left, Inov-8 X-Talon 200 in the middle and X-Talon 212 standard fit (yellow) on the right.
The first thing I noticed with the 200 was a fair amount of room for my toes, and I like that very much!
Yet, the fit was snug enough to prevent any blister-provoking inside-shoe sliding. The drop is 3 mm (3 mm less than the 212) and they do feel different, but whether its the drop or not I can't say. The overall feel is not overly different - perhaps a bit to the flimsy side.
After a fair number of runs, I realized that the X-Talon 200 does not come half a size small like the Standard fit 212 did. This hasn't, however, caused me any discomfort - but I'll go "true to size" for my next pair of X-Talon 200 (and there is definitely going to be the next pair).
At first, the shoes made an annoying clicking noise when they bent, but that has disappeared with milage.
In my opinion, they are nice and comfortable for autumn/winter conditions, and a bit too warm/tight for summertime runs. If you are used to a large heel-to-toe drop and plenty of cushioning - the 200 is most likely not for you.
The outsole is the same legendary 8 mm lugs as on the X-Talon 212, giving unrivaled grip in tough, muddy and sandy conditions.
The spacing of the lugs prevent grit build-up and they are excellent for loose snow/slush, which we get a lot of around where I live.
The X-Talons - neither the 212 nor the 200 - work well on hard/solid ice. YaxTrax and similar "ice add-ons" do not go well with the deep lugs.
For solid ice, I'd go for Arctic Talon or something similar with spikes.
The upper is made of a somewhat lighter and glossy version of the Cordura-like fabric that Inov-8 use in their X-Talon line.
I've found that it is durable, comfortable and water repellent to some extent - and very importantly does not allow fine-grain sand or grit to get in! Despite its water-repelling effect, it allows water to drain quickly.
There is also a pretty descent toe bumper, which will keep your toes relatively safe from rocks and roots. Mind you, it's not a safety boot - its a rather lightweight running shoe!
Together with gaiters, they have gone the distance in everything I have thrown at them - from knee-deep snow and mud, over mountain ranges to seemingly endless sand dunes.
One thing to note is that there is no "built-in gaiter attachment" like on the TrailTalon models and some of the newer X-Talon models.
Durability & Value for Money
I have used my X-Talon 200 on pretty much any terrain. Recently I did a semi-official 60 km mixed beach/road/trail type race, and they held up nicely. No discomfort at all - well, at least not caused by the shoes.
Now, after some 850 km of rugged trails, they still hold up. The lugs are no longer 8 mm, and the fabric look pretty worn where the shoes bend, but they are still comfortable. Good solid quality shoes!
I expect them to last well beyond 1000 km before retirement. I got mine on sale, but even at the recommended retail price, they are value for money.
According to numerous stories around the web, the number on the Inov-8 shoes is supposed to be the weight of a men's UK 8.5. I can't find solid information to back this on the Inov-8 website, so perhaps its just a rumor.
Anyway, as an avid Inov-8 fanboy I have had my fair share of Inov-8 shoes (all size UK 7.5). Let's put them on the scales.
My well worn X-Talon 200 currently weighs in at 232 grams. My precious X-Talon standard fit 212 is at 241 grams. The Terra Claw 220 is 227 grams, and Trail Talon 250 is 232 grams. My latest (almost new) pair of Precision fit X-Talon 212 weigh in at a whooping 250 grams.
Okay, its a small, somewhat biased sample of mostly well-worn shoes - yet, the numbers are off in all directions. I'd say the numbers are somewhat indicative of weight, at best.
The X-Talon 200 is a lightweight shoe that rides low to the ground - excellent for speed and OCR.
I'm not a very fast runner (quite the contrary in fact) and I usually employ my 200 for technical and rugged type trails where I need grip and control more than speed - for this they are perfect.
I have in several muddy mountainous ultras seen a lot of other runners "slip'n'slide" with no end, while I just kept running like normal in my 200.
You simply can't put a price on a good grip in such conditions!
Low drop. Little cushioning. Super grip. Excellent fit, despite half a size up. Comfortable with fair room to splay those toes. Some protection against the elements and obstacles.
In my humble opinion, the Inov-8 X Talon 200 is one of the best and most comfortable shoes for (ultra) long runs in (cold) rugged/muddy conditions.
This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.
Inov-8 X-Talon 200: The shoe you need to take on any muddy trail
The Inov-8 X-Talon 200 is my go-to shoe when it comes to running in treacherous conditions, due to its superb grip and roomy toe box. The shoe has aggressive lugs and initially stiff. I presumed a break in period was required.
This shoe is designed specifically for muddy, technical trails. I primarily participate in obstacle course races and I expected this shoe would be a good selection on race day.
Specifications & Fit
The X-Talon 200 weighs around 7.1 oz or 200 grams, and the shoe has 3mm heel to toe drop. One of the most impressive features of this shoe is the wide toe box it offers, my feet are wider than most and many shoes I have found to be too narrow.
The 8mm rubber lugs, offer superior grip on soft terrain but also hold firm on harder ground. The toe bumper is made of rubber, which I have found protects my toes from direct impact from rocks and obstacles.
The shoe has a simplistic design with thin underfoot protection. This could be a potential problem for those who are used to a more cushioned shoe.
Traction & Outsole
What makes the Inov-8 shoes legendary when it comes to grip are the 8mm lugs on the bottom. These lugs provide unrivaled grip on mud, snow, and other difficult conditions.
The outsole of the shoe is compromised of forefoot mesh and a DWR coating. This makes the shoe water resistant, but not waterproof. That being said, this shoe does not have the best breathability or drainage capabilities.
Lacing, Tongue and Heel Cup
Most Inov-8 shoes have the same durable lacing system, which offers an adjustable, yet secure fit. In over 50 runs/races I have never had an issue with the laces coming undone.
The heel cup of the shoe is very wide which makes putting on the shoes quick and easy. The tongue of the shoe is very secure and does not slide when running.
Overall, it does an adequate job of keeping debris out.
This is my go-to shoe when I have a short distance race on a technical or muddy terrain. The 8mm lugs provide grip like no other shoe I have ever worn.
This shoe offers good ability to keep water and dirt out of the shoe due to its materials. However, due to the constant change in terrain that I encounter in a Spartan race I often wear an Inov-8 gaiter to help keep debris out.
This is one of the few shoes that I have raced in all conditions with such as mud, snow, and water. This shoe has handled all of those conditions very well, however, the two conditions’ that this shoe doesn’t excel in is ice and very rocky terrain.
I have had this shoe for a year and a half and it still looks brand new. The shoe is very durable and I will continue to use this shoe for many races to come.
- Water resistant (but not waterproof)
- 8mm lugs offer amazing traction
- Minimalistic design
- Roomy toe box
- Not much underfoot protection
- Not ideal for long races
This is the shoe everyone should have in there arsenal for trail running and especially obstacle course racing.
trail running shoes on the market. I would recommend considering this shoe if you are in the market for a shorter distance trail running shoe. If you compete in obstacle racing this is the shoe you need to have.
This shoe is good in every department and the traction is better than any shoe on the market. It's an affordable option and you cannot put a price on the traction that it offers.
Bottom line, you need this shoe.
This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.
Inov-8 X-Talon 200 is a new breed of running shoes, the special neutral shoe is created to benefit those runners who want to up their performance in more challenging races and tracks
The grip remains excellent as always with 8mm in depth teeth that chew through mud and propel you forward, particularly useful for wet muddy hills and getting in and out of streams where there is no grip.
Updates to Inov-8 X-Talon 200
- The Inov-8 X-Talon 200 features an enhanced upper built. The upper materials have water resistant coating that keeps water and mud from entering the shoe, allowing the foot to stay drier for the entire run.
- It also comes with added protection. The rubber toe bumper is designed to protect foot from sharp rocks and obstacles. The sturdy Rope-Tec rubber gives protection against foot irritation and blisters especially on uphill runs and down ropes.
Inov-8 X-Talon 200 size and fit
The X-Talon 200 has a standard running shoe length and width. It has enough space in the heel and forefoot without feeling sloppy. The forefoot has enough space for toe splay. The midfoot delivers a snug fit. Generally, it gives comfortable fit to most runners.
The outer sole of the X-Talon 200 features the brand’s Rope-Tech outsole technology. It gives enough amount of traction and durability. It also has the rubber toe bumper that gives protection against stone bruising and sharp stones during trail running.
This shoe uses the traditional injected EVA that delivers enough cushioning. It efficiently absorbs shock during impact and delivers solid rebound for a responsive cushioning. The midsole gives soft underfoot comfort for medium-distance runs.
The upper of the Inov-8 Talon 200 uses synthetic material for a maximum breathable coverage. It keeps the cool and dry. With the double water resistant coating, the foot is kept drier even on wet condition. This coating technology also prevents mud and dirt from entering the shoe while keeping comfortable. The Reinforced TPU overlays give maximum comfort and adapts to multiple running environments.