Inov-8 is a British brand that needs no introduction in the running world. It’s already made a name for itself with its impressive technology and running shoe options. It is known for its high-quality shoes, popular among runners of all levels.
Inov-8 got its start back in 2003 when it created a shoe specifically designed for trail running. Since then, it has continued to focus on creating shoes for ultra running, trail running, and Crossfit.
They have also pioneered graphene-enhanced grips and foams in its shoes, making them entirely unique!
If you’re looking for a great pair of running shoes, Inov-8 is a brand worth considering, and they have several different products available to suit your needs no matter what kind of running you enjoy.
In this guide, we’ll be showing you five of the best Inov-8 running shoes – for all conditions!
- Inov-8 Background: How Did It Get Started?
- What Sets Inov-8 Apart?
- What is Graphene?
- Considerations to Make When Choosing a Inov-8 Shoe
- The Best Inov-8 Running Shoes
- Final Thoughts on Inov-8
Inov-8 Background: How Did It Get Started?
In 2003, founder Wayne Edy launched Inov-8 with the intent of marketing quality footwear and apparel to hikers and trail runners. Inov-8 quickly became a world-renowned brand known for its excellent grip, making them a safe and reliable option for off-roaders.
Inov-8 also stands out above competitors because of the unique graphene technology in its shoes as of 2018. Graphene isn’t a commonly used material, although it is extremely beneficial. Inov-8 states that they are the only brand that uses this technology, making them one-of-a-kind!
What Sets Inov-8 Apart?
Inov-8 makes shoes for athletes of all types; they are reasonably priced and promise a high-quality, custom running experience for every runner. Its line of products includes options for all training purposes, including HIIT, trainers for the gym, cardio, cross trainers, natural, and versatility.
With Inov-8 products, you get so much more than just a running shoe. These shoes are specifically designed to enhance performance (especially for trail runners) and give you a secure, comfortable, and supportive shoe made of only the best materials, using impressive technology.
You’ll find shoes from Inov-8 designed for specific purposes, such as road-to-trail running and waterproof and cushioned options. Its shoes have several unique and useful inclusions; they were all designed with precision, care, and purpose.
While many things set Inov-8 apart, here are a few:
Durability and Firmness
Not only do you want a shoe that lasts, but you should understand that just because a shoe feels plush and cushioned does not mean it is about to offer you the support you need!
You can learn more about running shoes on our website, but for now, note that Inov-8’s kicks, rather than other brands who market themselves as being pillow-like and cushy, are firm. Refer to the arrow marking system on the heel of every shoe to understand the drop with each stride. Fewer arrows mean a lower drop and vice versa.
Just because Inov-8’s shoes are firm does not mean you don’t have options for cushioning. Inov-8 uses Powerflow, Powerflow+, and Powerflow Max technology to help you gauge the amount of bounce you’ll achieve with each stride and step.
Sometimes your foot requires more than just laces to support your form while you run. And, slip-on shoes are not the answer, either.
Inov-8 uses something called a Met-Cradle in each of its shoes. It’s a series of bands that attach to the laces, often seen in athletic shoes. Because of this addition, when your Inov 8 shoe is tied, you’d be able to secure the band around your foot and allow it to expand naturally when you run.
Security and tension in the right places are imperative when running or training. Without it, you risk improper form, painful injuries, mishaps, and a lack of support altogether.
In addition to a Met-Cradle, Inov-8 uses a DFB (Dynamic Fascia Band) in several of its shoes, so you can rest assured you’ll be able to perform your best. This inclusion creates tension in your stride and adds security to your forefoot.
Comfort, grip, and security does not just come from a proper sole or one part of a shoe’s exterior. Rather, your shoe should have a superior ability to grip onto appropriate surfaces continually, so you can run with confidence.
Inov-8 takes it to the next level, as they don’t just use one material but three different kinds of rubber on the exterior of its shoes. Its shoe edges tend to be soft to grip and repel off the ground (especially on uneven or mixed terrain). The heel rubber is highly abrasive to be durable. Lastly, the bottom of the shoe has a sticky feel to allow for seamless mobility, even if running on damp or soft surfaces.
Most notably, Inov-8 has become quite well renowned for its graphene grip. Graphene-enhanced elements of these shoes are what make them groundbreaking. More information on graphene follows below.
Overall, Inov-8 is an impressive brand boasting many fascinating and groundbreaking technologies that go into every one of its shoes. Whether you’re in the market for new cross-trainers, natural shoes, hiking shoes, or trail running shoes, there’s something in it for you.
Inov-8 also has recycled shoes (Roclite 310) made from recycled materials; this is a great plus for those who keep the environment in mind while shopping and hiking!
They also have a shoe with ROC-TECH technology that allows for superb grip for rope climbs. (See product number 5 below).
What is Graphene?
We mentioned graphene as a material used in Inov-8’s shoes that is unique and groundbreaking in the science and fitness world, and it sets them apart from competitors.
So, what is graphene exactly?
Graphene is so powerful and unique that it revolutionized trail running for those who wear Inov-8 shoes made with graphene.
Discovered by scientists in 2004, graphene can withstand extraordinary forces, making it perfect for use in applications such as high-performance sports equipment durability matters most.
In 1555 (long before running shoes were invented), graphite was mined in Northern England for the first time; this is near the land where Inov-8 was born! Then in 2004, scientists were able to isolate graphene from graphite.
Many years later in 2010, The Nobel Prize for Physics was awarded to Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov. The scientists who made the discovery. Not long after, Inov-8 acquired graphene and was able to incorporate it in its first shoe.
In 2021, Inov-8 developed and released graphene-enhanced foam and continued to revolutionize the running world.
The amazing microscopic layers naturally occurring in the mineral also happen to be 200 times stronger than steel – making your favorite pair of sneakers feel like they’re not wearing out!
Considerations to Make When Choosing a Inov-8 Shoe
Before purchasing your pair of shoes from Inov-8, consider what activity you are getting your shoes for.
For example, a hiking shoe or boot will not perform well when weightlifting. And, a shoe for cardio or light jaunts may not be your best option for rugged terrain trail runs. By reviewing a bit of information about each product and considering what it is for, you’ll be in a better place when searching for your perfect shoe.
As far as budget goes, Inov-8 shoes are about the same (if not slightly more) than most high-quality athletic shoes. It depends on the type of shoe you’re looking for, but generally, even with its unique design and performance features, Inov-8 offers affordable options for runners.
Inov-8 is based out of England and ships internationally (for an additional cost, of course). Returns and exchanges are accepted within 90 days of purchase, with a valid receipt and unworn item.
The Best Inov-8 Running Shoes
Inov-8 currently has a range of shoes that cater to different needs and preferences. Here’s a look at some of its best products:
For Wet Terrain: Women’s Inov-8 X Talon 212 V2
The X Talon 212 V2 is great for runners looking for a versatile shoe to use for trail and road running.
Skygrip rubber outsoles ensure you meet off-trail traction with ease; however, it isn’t as cushioned as other shoes.
The Talon 212 V2 has several features that make it perfect for both types of running, including a lightweight design and a robust sole that can handle any terrain, including muddy or wet terrain, as the 8mm lugs provide ample gripping ability.
Men’s also available
For Trail Running: Men’s Inov-8 Terraultra G270
If you’re specifically looking for the best trail running shoe, the Inov-8 Terraultra G 270 is an excellent option.
This shoe provides excellent grip and stability on all types of mixed terrain, making them perfect trail running shoes but a less practical option for gym and CrossFit use.
The Terraultra G 270 also has many other features that make it a great choice for trail runners, including a waterproof upper and a cushioned midsole; it was also named Trail Running Shoe of the Year in 2020 by Runner’s World and other publications!
Women’s also available
For Crossfit: The Inov-8 Women’s Fastlift 360
The Fastlift 360 is a Crossfit shoe that provides the perfect blend of stability and comfort; it only weighs 360g, hence its name, and is ideal for weight lifting more than a long run.
The Fastlift 360 has several features making it perfect for Crossfit, including a lightweight design, breathable fabric, and the ability to move freely but with stability.
Whether you’re weightlifting or completing other Crossfit training, this shoe provides ample flexibility and is available in several colors.
Men’s also available
For Rugged Roads: The Inov-8 Men’s Roadclaw 275 Knit
The Inov-8 Roadclaw 275 Knit is an excellent choice for runners looking for a cushioned and comfortable road shoe but with a firm sole.
The Roadclaw 275 Knit has several features that make it perfect for longer runs, including cushioning, a Powerflow+ midsole, a responsive design, and a knitted upper design for airflow.
This shoe allows you to run dynamic paths, from rugged terrain to uneven roads and beyond with comfort and grip.
Women’s also available
For a Natural Feel: The Inov-8 Men’s Bare-XF 210 V3
The Bare XF 210 V3 is the most stripped-back lightweight shoe! It’s close to the ground and natural on the foot. While it may not be best suited for terrain and trail running, it’s a great option for gym use or everyday runs.
This shoe also has ROPE-TEC protection and great grip, meaning it’s well suited for rope climbs and other similar activities.
Best of all, the Bare XF 2010 V3 can be worn barefoot (as the name suggests); this one’s for you if you want a natural running shoe experience.
Women’s also available
Final Thoughts on Inov-8
If you’re looking for a high-quality running shoe, Inov-8 is a brand worth considering.
With a wide range of shoes that cater to different needs and preferences, Inov-8 has something for everyone. They even make kids’ shoes.
So whether you’re looking for a versatile all-rounder or a specific type of running shoe, Inov-8 has you covered. If anything, more than most other brands as they offer a range of shoes for all types of athletic activity, including rugged terrain, muddy trails, and hard surfaces.
And, if you aren’t in the market for running shoes, Inov-8 makes a variety of men’s and women’s clothing and accessories for both leisure and outdoor endeavors – waterproof apparel, running clothes, and other innovative sportswear are available on its website.