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Inov-8 is one of the youngest brands which has already earned a positive reputation among the athletes worldwide. It was founded in England in 2003 by a man named Wayne Edy. He was passionate about creating minimalist running shoes which would promote natural movement and a super reliable grip on unpredictable terrain.
However, the lightweight, flexible, and grippy nature of Inov-8 running footwear along with its low-profile midsole and supportive upper soon clicked with the people involved in CrossFit. That was the moment when the company saw it fit to expand from its niche and include training shoes as well. The brand’s CrossFit category was born with the launch of the F-Lite 195 model which gained the favor of numerous athletes with its versatility and durability.
Since then, Inov-8 has considerably widened its array of training footwear, largely focusing on creating shoes for CrossFit. Read on to find out what makes these trainers stand out from the rest.
How to choose the right pair of Inov-8 CrossFit shoes for you
Even though the brand has a separate category for Cross Fitness, there are certain differences between the shoes in this group as well. Here are a few things we encourage you to consider before purchasing a pair:
Zero (0 mm)
The Bare-XF models belong to the brand’s minimalist shoe line and thus have a 0-mm drop. It means that the heel and the forefoot lie flat on the sole, with no difference in height, as if you were standing barefoot on the floor. Some of the F-Lite models are also offered with a zero drop, but they are not considered minimalist as their midsole tends to be thicker. This type of drop is suitable for more proficient athletes with good ankle flexibility and strong feet. People who are used to wearing cushioned trainers may experience discomfort or even get injured if they start using flat shoes without trying medium- or low-drop shoes first.
CrossFit average (3-4 mm)
It is the most common heel-to-toe differential for CrossFit trainers. It delivers a sure-footed experience and stability for all activities involved in the regimen.
Higher drop (8 mm)
It implies that the heel is elevated above the toes by 8 mm. This drop provides a bit more shock absorption for those who tend to heel strike when running. It also helps in taking the pressure off the Achilles during squats.
Size and fit
In terms of width, the brand guides its customers by introducing a Fit Scale from 1 to 5. While all of their shoes are crafted to fit snug in the heel and in the midfoot, it is the toe box where the fit varies. Number 1 on the scale represents the narrowest and most precise fit, while number 5 is the widest one and allows extra space for the toes to spread. The wider profiles accommodate people with wider forefoot dimensions as well as foot conditions like bunions and hammer toes.
Note! Inov-8 CrossFit shoes must feel right on the foot from the moment you put them on. Do not rely on a break-in period to change the length or width of the shoe.
It goes without saying that the right-fitting shoe can make or break your training session. Even though Inov-8 CrossFit shoes tend to run true to size, it is advisable to check other buyers’ reviews about a particular model before purchasing it.
Expert and user reviews
Oftentimes, you can learn a lot about the shoes you’re interested in from the people who have already used them. These reviews can be found on websites like Amazon or Zappos as well as on YouTube review channels and personal blogs. To save your time, we scour the Internet in search of all the reviews that are available for a particular model. They are put together into the “Good/Bad/Bottom line” section on the respective product pages.
For faster reference, you can check the shoe’s rating based on our Corescore ranking system. The number given to each shoe is based on the summary of all available user ratings and expert opinions. The scores of 80-100 are considered to be positive and make the shoe recommended.
Most CrossFit trainers from Inov-8 come within the price range of $110 - $140. The good news is that you can get an excellent deal during sales. Here at RunRepeat.com, we keep an ear to the ground to provide you with the best deals available from more than 200 online retailers. Just choose your gender and size in the filters to get an overview of the discounts offered today.
Technologies used in Inov-8 CrossFit shoes
One of the most common materials used in the outsole unit of Inov-8 CrossFit shoes. It is a durable rubber compound, initially created for trail running shoes. Made with the use of climbing rubber, it is meant to provide grip on both indoor and outdoor surfaces. It is also capable of delivering traction on wet and oily surfaces.
This latest innovation from the brand utilizes the world’s strongest material called graphene in its outsole. Inov-8 has become the first company ever to use this substance in footwear. It is designed to make the outsole unit 50% stronger, 50% more durable, and 50% more flexible than the traditional rubber. This technology was first introduced in a CrossFit shoe named the F-Lite G 290.
Dynamic Fascia Band (DFB)
It is an embedded shank which replicates the plantar fascia ligament of the foot and mimics its windlass mechanism to boost the energy return with each step.
It is a prominent horizontal flex groove which is placed in the forefoot section of the shoe. It makes the platform especially pliable in this area as it tends to bend most throughout the movement.
This technology is mostly found in the midfoot section of the outsole and midsole units. Sometimes, it also extends to cover the upper and is called the Rope-Tec 360. It is a jagged rubber compound which assists the wearer during rope climbing exercises. The jags bite the rope to help the ascent, while the hard-wearing rubber protects the shoe from getting destroyed upon the descent.
Inov-8 CrossFit shoes with this feature have a heel section 40% denser than the forefoot. It forms a steady platform with minimal compression which supports the wearer during heavy weight lifting.
This midsole compound is designed to provide 10% more shock absorption on the heel and improves rebound by 15% in the forefoot, compared to the regular EVA foam.
External Heel Cage (EHC)
It is a TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) structure found in the rearfoot. It wraps around the heel to prevent it from wobbling during weightlifting and lateral movements.
It is a thick synthetic “rib cage” found on the midfoot of nearly all Inov-8 training shoes. It works together with the lacing system to brace the foot and keep it securely in place during multi-directional movements.
Frequently asked questions
What makes Inov-8 CrossFit shoes different from other Inov-8 training shoes?
To put it simply, any Inov-8 model that has “F-Lite” or “Bare-XF” in its name is a CrossFit-proof shoe. These lines of footwear are created with the rigors of this training regimen in mind and thus include the following features:
They sport the Rope-Tec technology in the midfoot section of the sole. It is a rubber compound that braces the midfoot from the bottom up to provide grip during rope climbs as well as protection against abrasion upon the descent.
Their midsole tends to be firmer, especially in the heel section to ensure stability during weightlifting. The cushioning is also kept to a minimum in these shoes.
Other than that, Inov-8 CrossFit shoes are barely different from Inov-8 workout shoes at first glance. They are just as flexible, lightweight, and breathable, and also share the same grippy outsole construction.
The brand’s weightlifting shoes, however, are a different story. They are easy to recognize by their raised heels sitting on sturdy TPU pillars. This structure helps the wearer to achieve a deeper squat with an upright posture without putting a strain on the Achilles tendons. They also tend to have a denser upper material as well as a Velcro strap or a BOA system to keep the foot locked in place. The flexibility of these shoes is centered in the forefoot section only.
Where to buy Inov-8 CrossFit shoes?
The trainers can be purchased in both brick-and-mortar stores and online. You can check the location of the nearest store that sells Inov-8 footwear on the brand’s official website. There you can also find a list of their official online retail partners as well as global distributors.
Can Inov-8 CrossFit shoes be customized?
Unfortunately, Inov-8 does not offer customization of their products. However, the brand strives to fulfill various tastes of customers by constantly releasing their shoes in fresh color schemes with both vibrant and subdued hues.
Can I do running sessions in CrossFit shoes from Inov-8?
Yes. Due to the versatility of the brand’s F-Lite and Bare-XF series, they can be sported for sprints and short-distance running sessions. However, if you’re planning to train for a marathon or hit the mountain trails, we suggest that you look at the Inov-8 running footwear dedicated for those purposes.
Did you know…
…that Inov-8 designs its shoes from the bottom up, starting with the outsole first. The company believes that the foot’s interaction with the terrain is crucial for the overall performance of an athlete. That’s why they put great emphasis on the gripping capacity of their trainers.
...Inov-8 became the first company in the world to incorporate graphene, the strongest material on the planet, into shoe outsoles. It collaborated with the University of Manchester to create the G footwear series which could last longer than one thousand miles. The F-Lite G 290 is the first CrossFit-ready shoe with this innovative technology.
...a British adventurer and TV presenter Bear Grylls has complimented shoes from the F-Lite range, the F-Lite 195 model in particular.