We spent 7.5 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

5 reasons to buy

  • Several reviewers welcomed the sturdy yet lightweight nature of the Inov-8 X-Talon 230’s upper unit.
  • The water-repellent quality of the upper was lauded by testers, who stated that it efficiently staved off mild splashes.
  • The general durability of this running shoe received praise.
  • People were happy with the gripping capability of the outsole unit, stating that it prevented them from slipping on mud and other wet surfaces.
  • The underfoot platform was touted to be more comfortable than the previous iterations of the X-Talon series.

3 reasons not to buy

  • Several runners felt that the platform of this running shoe was too stiff.
  • The Precision Fit design, which has a slimmer fit construction, didn’t agree with some who had a medium or wide foot-dimension.
  • A reviewer wasn’t happy that the upper wasn’t as breathable as some options in the Inov-8 line.

Bottom line

Those who have tried the Inov-8 X-Talon 230 were happy with its performance. They welcomed the water-repellent capability of its upper unit, the comfortable underfoot cushioning system, and the guaranteed traction given by its trail-ready outsole. But some testers lamented its stiffness, the tight construction of the Precision Fit design, and the tightly woven upper.


Terrain: Trail
Arch support: Neutral
Weight: Men: 8.1oz | Women: 8.1oz
Heel to toe drop: Men: 6mm | Women: 6mm
Pronation: Neutral Pronation
Arch type: High arch
Material: Vegan
Strike Pattern: Midfoot strike
Distance: Competition
Heel height: Men: 13mm | Women: 13mm
Forefoot height: Men: 7mm | Women: 7mm
Release date: Nov 2017
Brand: Inov-8
Type: Low drop | Minimalist
Width: Men: Normal | Women: Normal, Wide
Price: $125
Colorways: Black, Blue, Grey
Small True to size Large
See more facts


A top 9% best Trail running shoe
It has never been more popular than this January

Expert Reviews

Experts are runners, 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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86 / 100 based on 8 expert reviews

  • 82 / 100 | Mudstacle | Level 2 expert

    Kicking rocks [on] the bottom of streams isn't going to be an issue because it's got a big toe guard.

  • 90 / 100 | James Mackeddie | Level 2 expert

    All in all I was very pleased for my first 17 miles in inov-8’s new X-Talon 230, it had been worth the wait. The X-Talons were not put to the ultimate test or a trial by fire, but they stood up to everything that lay before them and left me wanting to take them to more extreme areas.

  • 86 / 100 | Fell Running Guide | | Level 2 expert

    They offer a little more protection and thus are a little heavier and a little stiffer so might not be the shoe for the runner seeking a very light, low and responsive fell racing shoe. If that is you then the stripped down, speedy little brother the new X-Talon 210 is probably for you.

  • 80 / 100 | Gear Institute | | Level 2 expert

    The Inov-8 X-Talon 230 is a rugged, go fast in the worst possible conditions kind of shoe. Hands down the best grip in this group thanks to its 8mm deep lugs. But also, one of the least comfortable. This is your shoe for mountain running, OCR, fell or snowshoeing. When grip and speed are at a premium, you can’t go wrong with the X-Talon 230.

  • 90 / 100 | Obstacle Racing Media | Level 1 expert

    In the past I was an avid fan of Inov-8’s Trailroc Series shoes. They were versatile, had a good grip, and performed well in all weather but lacked protection, and a good landing surface for heavy footed runners like myself. The X-Talon fills those gaps and more.

  • 90 / 100 | David Miller | Level 1 expert

    Out on the trails I was cutting through boggy puddles with ease! Wearing these shoes felt invigorating and they seemed to be injecting confidence with every step. It was like riding a legal high, no more stopping to walk around large muddy obstacles!

Become an expert

  • The Inov-8 X-Talon 230 is a running shoe that’s designed to take on the trails. It features an aggressive outsole configuration to make it more efficient on both technical and squishy terrains. 8-millimeter gripping lugs dig into soft trails and clamp onto hard rocks. It’s a showcase from a company that specializes in outdoor activities.
  • Responsive cushioning is still one of the things that can improve and accommodate the performance of any trail runner. This running shoe makes use of a full-length foam that aims to absorb impact shock and give energy back to the foot and leg. Extra protection is provided by a rock plate wedged between the outsole and midsole.
  • A water-resistant upper graces the X-Talon 230. It allows the runner to be more confident when tackling wet or muddy ground. The tightly woven top is built to be lightweight and safe from dirt and debris. The medial and lateral sides also have gaiter pockets for those who want some extra attachments.

The Inov-8 X-Talon 230 is true to size. It makes use of standard measurements that follow the preferences of consumers. Inov-8’s Fit Scale ranks this as a Grade 1 creation, which means that the fit is narrower compared to the regular width determinants. It caters to those who have low or medium foot-dimensions.

The outsole unit of the Inov-8 X-Talon 230 makes use of a sticky rubber compound. The purpose of this material is to provide traction over the surfaces. It also serves as a shield against wear and tear. 

Gripping lugs pockmark the surface. They have a height of 8 millimeters. They act like hooks that hold onto various types of terrain, fundamentally amplifying traction.

The Meta-Flex is a single groove that runs horizontally across the area where the metatarsals initiate the bending motion. It encourages flexibility for a springy and enabled toe-off.

When it comes to performance and outsole quality, this shoe is as aggressive as the Brooks Cascadia 13 trail shoe.

The Inov-8 X-Talon 230 employs a 2-Arrow Shock Zone, which means that it offers a modest amount of cushioning. The drop from the heel to the toe is 6 millimeters.

The Powerflow+ is a cushioning unit that runs the entire length of this running shoe. The brand claims that it offers 25% more efficient energy return and shock attenuation that is 10% better than the regular foam materials on the market.

The Fascia Band is a discrete layer in the sole unit that acts as a foundation for the tendons and muscles of the underfoot. It bends along with the metatarsals and reverts back into shape during liftoff, causing the forward motion to be more energized.

The Meta-Plate is a flexible layer that is placed between the outsole and the midsole. Its purpose is to protect the foot from any sharp surfaces or abrasive debris.

Synthetic mesh composes most of the Inov-8 X-Talon 230’s upper unit. It has a close-weave construction that prevents debris from entering the foot-chamber.

The façade has been treated with the DWR or Durable Water Repellent coating. It staves off splashes and mild water infiltration without sacrificing breathability.

A synthetic web is fashioned on the mesh material. This Met-Cradle add-on secures the midfoot, keeping it in place and preventing accidental shoe-removals.

The rand of this running shoe features a layer that doesn’t absorb water. It protects the toes from getting bruised by the elements of the trails.