Arch support
Water repellent
M: 212g | W: 212g
Heel to toe drop
M: 6mm | W: 6mm
Heel height
M: 18mm | W: 18mm
Forefoot height
M: 12mm | W: 12mm
Widths available
M: Normal - D | W: Normal - B
Show moreless facts


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


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.

Neutral / cushion / high arch

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

Stability / overpronation / normal arch

Shoes for runners who needs arch support (Around 45% of runners). Best for runners with a normal arch. See the best stability shoes.

Motion control / severe overproanation / 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.

Daily running

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.

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.


We spent 7.4 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

6 reasons to buy

  • The shoe is very flexible and fast, based on some reviews.

  • Some runners found this shoe very versatile.

  • Runners were impressed with the grip of the shoe, which is effective on soft and hard surfaces.

  • The Synthetic mesh in the upper, coupled with a Met Cradle webbing, secures the foot well while maintaining a well-ventilated interior environment.

  • It has the DWR coating that’s water repellant, keeping the foot dry while running on wet surfaces.

  • The mid-sole unit delivers responsive cushioning and propelling mechanics to make each step more empowered.

3 reasons not to buy

  • The X-Talon 212was too narrow to some testers.

  • It has a slightly expensive price.

  • The medium level of cushioning left some runners wanting more because they apparently experienced discomfort during extended use.

Bottom line

The Inov-8 X-Talon 212 is a racing shoe that can handle both soft and hard terrain. Aside from being a reliable mid-range racing shoe, this shoe doesn’t disappoint when it comes to hiking and obstacle running. It offers a good combination of durability, speed and protection that’s reliable and competent.

World wide, X-Talon 212 is in the bottom 50% most popular running shoes. The brand, Inov-8, is the 15th most popular.

Map: Shows popularity per continent based on 1010 shoes


4.5 / 5 based on 188 ratings

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Expert reviews

Experts are running shoe geeks, who post reviews at youtube, directly at RunRepeat or at their own websites. Each expert is categorized from level 1 to level 5 based on expertise. See stats on expert reviews and how we calculate scores here.

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84 / 100 based on 34 expert reviews

  • 99
    Michael Stones and Michael FenwickLevel 1 expert
    by Cross the UK
    After the first 5Ks, they're still feeling particularly comfortable." (Fenwick) "I've been extremely pleased with these. A superb pair of off-road shoes.
  • 87
    Cotsworld OutdoorLevel 1 expert
    by Cotsworld Outdoor
    This is a great shoe for those who want to make more progress with their trail running, but also for anyone who'd like to start some competitive racing.
  • 75
    Ethan NewberryLevel 5 expert
    by TheGingerRunner
    I get the question a lot, of which shoe is great for Tough Mudder or other obstacle course races, and I have to say, of all the shoes that I've reviewed this one's definitely up there. And I think that's why it was designed and who it's geared for.
  • 90
    Ian CorlessLevel 4 expert
    by Ian Corless
    The X-Talon 212 really is a top quality shoe with a very specific use.
  • 85
    Ian CorlessLevel 4 expert
    by Ian Corless
    It’s a winning shoe that combines minimal weight, low drop, stability and awesome grip for when conditions are muddy, boggy, slippery or basically just downright awful.
  • 90
    James WittsLevel 3 expert
    by 220 Triathlon
    You feel like you’re running au naturel but with enough support for long distances.
  • 90
    DarioLevel 3 expert
    by Obstacle Racing Media
    You almost couldn’t ask for any more as far as durability is concerned. These shoes take a beating and keep coming.
  • 89
    Running ShoesLevel 3 expert
    by Running Shoes
    Inov-8 X-Talon 212 is a running shoe that makes sure you are comfortable while running, it also offers a great fit, cushioning and stability support.
  • 81
    DarioLevel 3 expert
    by Obstacle Racing Media
    It is durable, has some cushion (not much), drains water fairly well, and has pretty aggressive lugs.
  • 80
    NickLevel 3 expert
    by The Running Shoe Review
    It's their narrowest shoe, and for a lot of runners, that could be a problem. But aside from that, it's a fantastically grippy, hard-wearing shoe.
  • 70
    The Running Shoe ReviewLevel 3 expert
    by The Running Shoe Review
    It is a very flexible shoe, allowing you to have a real feel for whatever ground is underneath your feet. 
  • 70
    Ethan NewberryLevel 3 expert
    by Ginger Runner
    I was expecting a comfortable grippy shoe perfect for ultramarathons and super long distances. What I got was almost anything but.
  • 94
    Allison PattilloLevel 2 expert
    by Running Competitor
    The X-Talon 212 runs narrow and snug from heel to toe. Testers suggested sizing up for the best fit.
  • 92
    Travis LilesLevel 2 expert
    by iRunFar
    It securely holds the foot in place on a very low platform. It’s a great shoe for going out there and going fast, although some ultrarunners use this model for all of their training and racing.
  • 89
    Jennifa UddinLevel 2 expert
    by Run And Become
    The Inov-8 X Talon 212 is very lightweight and extremely grippy. It securely holds the foot in place on a very low platform.
  • 85
    Get Out ThereLevel 2 expert
    by Get Out There
    It’s lightweight at just 212g, and with its renowned grip, and flexible sole it is a shoe that delivers not only on soft extreme terrain but is super-fast on dry trails too.
  • 85
    Acro TrailLevel 2 expert
    by Acro Trail
    For steep downhills, for muddy races, for obstacle racing, for heavier and for lighter runners with an efficient foot strike. If you want to use the shoe for longer races… this would be a good option, still.
  • 85
    Ian ParlinLevel 2 expert
    by Trail Monster Running
    I consider this to be an exclusive trail shoe, meaning I don’t like to wear it on road. The main reason for this being that I don’t want to wear out the soft outsole on pavement, I want to save it for the trail.
  • 82
    Will LindLevel 2 expert
    by Functional Running
    Built tough, they are constantly itching to take things further and will have you hankering for muddy trails. 
  • 99
    Jon AlbonLevel 1 expert
    by Muddy Race
    The 212’s are, in my opinion, the most durable and best performing off road trail shoe around.
  • 99
    Mick FenwickLevel 1 expert
    by Cross The UK
    All in all, this a superb off road shoe offering excellent durability, weight and grip.
  • 90
    HayleyLevel 1 expert
    by Simply Hayley
    The type that grip mud really well so that I don’t spend my race looking like bambi on an ice rin.
  • 90
    André van der WesthuizenLevel 1 expert
    by RunStopShop
    The grip on these babies is awesome. It's like running with valcro under your feet, on the other half of what valcro sticks to. You could probably walk straight up a glass building with these things.
  • 88
    David HanenburgLevel 1 expert
    by Endurance Buzz
    I have ran on short segments of sidewalk and will run in them in the grass at parks but this shoe really lives, breathes, and belongs, in the dirt world.
  • 87
    British Military FitnessLevel 1 expert
    by British Military Fitness
    At home in any terrain.
  • 87
    Adam KwitkoLevel 1 expert
    by Get Out There Gear
    If protection from toe stubs is important to you, if you have a wider foot or just don't race and are looking for excellent grip in a still very lightweight offering, the X-Talon 212 is an excellent choice. And I will mention I know quite a few people who love racing in their 212s.
  • 86
    Tested to DestructionLevel 1 expert
    by Tested to Destruction
    However, that small sizing issue, which doesn't bother me, but it might well be quite an important point for a few of you with slightly heavier set feet.
  • 86
    Travis LilesLevel 1 expert
    by I Run Far Media
    Extremely lightweight, extremely grippy… held my foot in place pretty well. A good shoe for going out, for going fast.
  • 84
    BradLevel 1 expert
    by Pro Lite Gear
    So, for someone who likes really precision running--kind of when that trail dances as you run downhill--this is the shoe that I would recommend highly.
  • 84
    Andrew BurtonLevel 1 expert
    by FitnessFootwear.com
    This shoe… one of the best shoes for off-road running. All I would say to that is it's time to get them on your feet and get out there and enjoy the trails.
  • 83
    EvanLevel 1 expert
    by Evan Davies Outdoors
    Overall, I really like this shoe. It's super grippy, light, more durable than I could've hoped for. Been absolutely amazing this winter.
  • 81
    Top Shots BradLevel 1 expert
    by Top Shots Brad
    In my opinion, this is the best trail running shoe on the market at the moment.
  • 79
    Shannon BoteLevel 1 expert
    by Battle Corps Shoe Review
    You will feel some of the rocks because the shoe is pretty thin, but I never experienced any real pain from it. 
  • 70
    Trail Running CanadaLevel 1 expert
    by Trail Running Canada
    The large lugs make for some slightly awkward running, but some runners may actually like the effect, which is a bit of a bouncing effect as the lugs depress on the impact and give a bit of a rebound on the release of the foot from the ground.
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  • Wiggle
    The Inov-8 Trail X-Talon 212 is absolutely perfect for full-speed ahead, even on really challenging trails.
  • Kaitlyn Shop Zappos
    The outsole design, with Inov-8's patented sticky rubber compound and 8 mm deep lugs, is gonna provide stability and confidence on the most extreme terrains.
  • BJ Shop Zappos
    This shoe is a lightweight, flexible racing shoe that delivers optimal grip over soft and dry off-road terrain.
  • Richard Shop Zappos
    You have an X- Talon outsole here on the very bottom with this deep cleat configuration, so you'll be able to handle the toughest of terrain.
  • Backcountry.com
  • SK Babice

Updates to X-Talon 212

The all new Inov-8 X-Talon 212 features a combination of fast, light and natural running experience. It weighs only 212 grams and it has enough amount of flexibility. The overall design of the shoe delivers an increased speed for different running distances.

The upper of the shoe uses a durable water repellent (DWR) coating that keeps water from entering the shoe without affecting the overall breathability feature of the shoe.

X-Talon 212 size and fit

The X-Talon 212 has a standard running shoe size. The heel, midfoot and forefoot are of standard measurements, comfortably accommodating those with regular foot shape. The brand offers two widths fitting. One is the precision fitting or the narrow fit and the standard or the wider fit.


The outsole unit of the X-Talon 212 delivers an impressive all around grip. It is designed to hold on soft terrain and grip firmly on harder terrain. The aggressive lug pattern made the shoe ideal for loose rock or muddy surfaces.

It also comes with Meta-Flex groove that is strategically located in the forefoot area to encourage natural foot movement, giving flexibility during toe-off.


The brand’s 2 Arrow Shoc-Zone was used in the midsole to provide medium underfoot cushioning. It offers a combination of underfoot protection and responsive cushioning.

The midsole also uses the Dynamic Fascia Band that efficiently releases energy in every step, helping runners to run faster and more efficiently.


The upper is coated with a durable water repellant coating, providing a water-resistance capacity without sacrificing breathability and comfort.

The shoe also utilizes the TPU Lacing System that provides added support and a more secured fit. It added to the solid and stable feel of the shoe.


Comparison to category means
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