Verdict from 2 experts and 31 user reviews

5 reasons to buy

  • The traction capacity of the Inov-8 X-Talon 255's outsole unit is welcomed by those who like to tackle trails that are slippery or mushy.
  • Some users believe that the forefoot section has enough space for natural toe-splay.
  • The lightweight construction of this Inov-8 running shoe is welcomed by outdoor running enthusiasts.
  • The general durability of the materials used for this product is lauded by users.
  • Several runners are happy with the protective rand; they have noted that they feel confident when passing through tricky spots with hard bumps and debris.

2 reasons not to buy

  • This shoe is a bit stiff for a few consumers.
  • The sides of the collar have a tendency to irritate the skin, based on a couple of comments.

Bottom line

People can enjoy their adventures on the trails with the X-Talon 255. This trail partner is configured to provide confidence on muddy surfaces. The outsole design is specifically made to dig into soft ground and act like claws. Even the upper has been configured to be protective and durable. While not the most flexible and versatile model around, this product still strives to be reliable whenever it is needed.

Tip: see the best trail running shoes.

Good to know

The Inov-8 X-Talon 255 is a trail running shoe that is meant for races and tackling obstacle courses. The design is intended to be the evolution of the now-classic X-Talon 200, with durable ballistic nylon and synthetic prints governing the construction of the silhouette. The platform is configured to be supportive while the outsole has been optimized for muddy topography.

When it comes to the sizing aspect, Inov-8 has utilized the standard schemes to create an in-shoe feel that is agreeable. Runners can enjoy their usual choices of size when vying for a pair. However, it would always be beneficial if the runner is able to test this running shoe initially or study online reviews for verification of the quality of the sizing scheme.

The sideways fit is affected and influenced by the various elements that make up the Inov-8 X-Talon 255’s whole form. The upper unit is roomy yet non-stretchy construction, while the platform offers a foot-shaped finish that is also slightly flexible. The brand’s Medium Fit configuration entails a snug rear part and a broad forefoot.

The external pad of the Inov-8 X-Talon 255 is made of STICKY GRIP, a rubber compound that is touted to be long-lasting and able to withstand the abrasive nature of the trails. This layer covers the whole base of the midsole, ensuring full protection at all times.

There are 8-millimeter-thick gripping lugs that pockmark the rubber outsole. These elements are meant to heighten the traction capacity of this Inov-8 running shoe, clamping onto groomed and muddy surfaces with ease. Each lug is widely and evenly spaced to prevent the caking of mud or the lodging of stones.

Meta-Flex™ is a single flex groove near the forefoot section that is meant to make the platform more accommodating of the natural bending capacity of the toes. The toe-off phase of the gait cycle benefits the most from this feature.

Underfoot cushioning is the responsibility of the full-length ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) midsole. This industry-standard foam offers a light yet springy ride. It can absorb impact shock during the striking phase, and it doesn’t let sharp object poke through it and cause discomfort to the foot. EVA is known to grace other companies’ trail offerings, such as the Hoka One One Speedgoat.

The 1 Arrow Shock Zone design is Inov-8’s means of determining that the X-Talon 255 offers a medium cushioning quality and a heel-to-toe drop of 3 millimeters. The midsole itself isn’t too thick, and it doesn’t scrimp on the overall support, as well.

Ballistic nylon is used for the mesh upper of this product. This material is meant to remain durable, even after many uses. The long-lasting design also prevents tearing, thus permitting this shoe to be continuously efficient.

The thermoplastic polyurethane adapter cradle is a printed overlay system that holds the foot in place and prevents in-shoe wobbling. They do not add bulk to the structure of the silhouette.

The rand features a rubberized bumper to act like a barrier against stones and potentially abrasive surfaces. Toe protection is the purpose of this element.


How Inov-8 X-Talon 255 ranks compared to all other shoes
Bottom 38% trail running shoes
All trail running shoes
Bottom 20% Inov-8 running shoes
All Inov-8 running shoes
Bottom 42% neutral running shoes
All neutral running shoes


The current trend of Inov-8 X-Talon 255.
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Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.