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.
Good to know
If you want just one pair of shoes, buy a shoe for daily running.
WeightMen: 7.4ozWomen: 7.4oz
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: 9mmWomen: 9mm
Forefoot heightMen: 6mmWomen: 6mm
WidthMen: NormalWomen: Normal
Release dateJan 2018
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95 / 100 based on 4 expert reviews
Inov-8 X-Talon 210 – A minimalist shoe with maximal gripMore photos
So I recently read Born to Run (I know, I’m pretty behind the times) and like so many of you, I decided to give barefoot running a try. I was already used to low drop shoes, so the transition was not as terrible as I thought it might be.
The problem I had is that I run Obstacle Course Races and in OCR you need a little more grip than the bottom of your foot, or even the Merrell Trail Glove has to offer. So I got a pair of Inov8 X-Talon 210, one of the most minimal OCR shoes available.
If there was one word that describes this shoe, it would be minimal. There is not much to this shoe. With a midsole stack height of the only 9mm/6mm, it’s really like gluing some rubber cleats onto your bare feet.
The foam that it does have on it is very cushiony and comfortable though. When I first started running in this shoe, I found that I was not as much of a forefoot striker as I had thought and each heel strike you really feel.
It will help teach you to land not on your heel, though. The Shoe is also incredibly lightweight. To reduce weight, the arch of the foot only has a small amount of rubber in the very middle and foam on the outside, where a normal OCR shoe would be fully rubberized on the bottom.
I thought this might compromise grip on rope climbs, but it has not in my experience.
This shoe is Ultra Flexible. The padding is super thin, which makes this shoe flex with your foot as if you were wearing a sock (a sock with cleats).
I do think that the shoe might be a little too flexible and doesn’t give you any kind of pop or rebound due to the extreme flexibility. For this reason, I don’t think it is the fastest shoe.
Everything about the X-Talon 210 is super flexible, the upper material is loosely woven and lightly stretches with the foot while still keeping you locked in. One of my favorite parts is the heel cup, which is, you guessed it, flexible.
Formed by overlays on the upper and with U-shaped cut out for your Achilles, making it very comfortable but still keeping you firmly in the shoe.
The X-Talon 210 is fit very similar to other OCR shoes from Inov-8, which means they fit about a half size smaller than what you would normally wear for most other brands, so be sure to order a half size up.
The width of the X-Talon 210 is what INOV-8 calls precision fit, which is a narrower fit meant to really lock down the foot for its racing shoes. INOV-8 has now come out with a number scale for their widths, and this falls in at a 2 on a 1-5 scale of narrow to wide.
Despite this being a precision fit shoe, it feels wider than other INOV-8 precision fit shoes that I have, including the X-Talon 212 and Mudclaw 300. On those shoes, I feel my foot being lightly squeezed.
On the 210 though, my toes feel like they have room to splay. Perhaps this is because of the flexible upper material compared the hard, protective toe bumper area on the 212 and Mudclaw.
Drainage & traction
The ability to shed water in these is really amazing, after about 3 steps out of being submerged the shoes will have drained completely, leaving your foot with less weight to carry around.
The traction is on par with any other X-Talon or Mudclaw models from Inov-8. I feel it is the best traction for mud and OCR available.
At a race on a ski slope where it had rained the morning of the race, I felt comfortable charging down the hills and being able to plant my foot in the ground to make a turn with minimal slowdown.
If you like bright, bold colors this shoe is a beauty, but if you want something more subdued, look elsewhere. Inov-8 only offers this shoe in one color for both men and women, and it is bright ass neon hunter orange.
It does become a bit less in your face the more mud you put them through. They kind of become tiger striped. Raaaawr!
Obstacle Course Racing application
When I first got these, I thought they would just help me build strength towards barefoot running and be a short distance racer, but the more I wear them, the more I fall in love with them.
I brought these with me to the Spartan Chicago Super as a backup pair, but the conditions were super wet and muddy, so I decided to give these bad boys a try at something a little longer.
I’m very glad that I chose the X-Talon 210 over my Mudclaw 300 because of the drainage and lightweight materials in the 210. It was a sloppy course pretty much 8 miles of mud and boggy conditions, and through all of it, my feet stayed light.
The outsole gripped the muddy ropes on rope climbs, and the shoe stayed snug on my foot in calf deep shoe-stealing mud. I really think they are going to become my go-to OCR shoe for anything where the ground will not be hard or rocky.
Why you might like this shoe
If you are into barefoot running but also love running muddy trails, fell running or OCR these should suit you well.
Why you might not like this shoe
If you are a heel striker, you are not going to have fun in these shoes. If you need arch support, these shoes lack any and will flex too much for you. If you run on hard or rocky ground, you will feel all of those rocks and going with a rock plated shoe or something with more cushion would be better.
I really like this shoe, more than I was expecting. I think the addition of a thin rock plate would make this a more well-rounded shoe, give it some pop and make it more wearable in dryer conditions.
But it is exactly what it is advertised as a minimal racer made for very soft and wet conditions, and I think it might be my new favorite shoe.
This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.
I have been running in these shoes about six weeks now and have been deliberately driving out to get onto soft ground so I could run in them. This is because they feel great to me. The feedback you get helps me run with good form and the shoes are so light and flexible that it feels like you haven’t got any shoes on.
The 210 is a winning shoe for efficient runners who want to be low to the ground feeling the terrain as though running barefoot without the discomfort. The combination of the light upper, precision fit and new sticky outsole makes them really stand out as a shoe distance racing shoe for fell, mountain and OC races.
In truth, there wouldn’t really be much I’d improve about the X-Talon 210. Perhaps the only thing I would change is the width, to a ‘1’ instead of ‘2’ on the fit scale. It’s a personal preference and not a huge issue at all...
- The Inov-8 X-Talon 210 is a lightweight running shoe that’s meant for the neutral pronator. It’s also optimized for events that involve swimming as it doesn’t have a substantial façade or a sizeable sole unit. The outsole has aggressive gripping lugs that can handle both soft and hard terrains.
- The midsole unit makes use of an injected EVA foam that’s fused with the same rubber compound of the external pad. The close-to-the-ground construction of this part allows the wearer to feel the surface and move fast.
- A non-water-absorbing upper ensures the preservation of 8 X-Talon 210’s lightweight nature. Visible breathing pores drain water and accommodate airflow. The Met-Cradle fit system is also present, which means that a secure coverage isn’t out of reach.
The Inov-8 X-Talon 210 was designed using the standard measurements, which means that it follows the natural sizing preferences of consumers. When it comes to width, the available profile is D – Medium. It has a unisex design, but it follows the foot-dimensions of men.
Inov-8’s Precision Fit profile is employed in this model; it’s a design element that prioritizes a form-fitting design in all areas of the foot-chamber, including the toe box.
STICKY GRIP™ is a rubber outsole that’s designed to deliver traction on both dry and wet surfaces. It’s also made to last long.
The X-Talon 210 has aggressive 8-millimeter gripping lugs to heighten grip over the terrains. These square-shaped protrusions also make it easier to traverse upward and downward paths.
The cushioning system of the Inov-8 X-Talon 210 is made of injected EVA that’s fused with the same rubber compound that graces the outsole. Its purpose is to deliver mild cushioning and proprioception in a package that’s protective and long-lasting. Moreover, it doesn’t have a substantial thickness. Such a profile allows this shoe to tackle swim/run events.
A layered, non-water-absorbing mesh is used for the upper unit. The purpose of this configuration is to prevent water-retention and allow fast drainage when getting out of the swimming portion of an event. The open pores of this silhouette also permit airflow into the foot-chamber.
The Met-Cradle is a set of printed overlays on the façade. These thin add-ons support the foot, giving it a secure fit as they adjust in conjunction with the lacing system.
The gusseted tongue wards of fabric scraping and material deviation. It also prevents debris from entering the interior of the X-Talon 210.