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In love with my Inov-8 trainers

Written by Fiona August 31 2013

I am very fond of a lot of my sports kit. My daughter reckons I love my bikes more than her (this is not true but on occasions, when she’s been a teenie monster, I have looked over very fondly at my no-talk-back Planet X bikes!). I am also a big fan of a number of brands, such as Osprey rucksacks, Ar’cteryx clothing, Aquaviz goggles and Inov-8 footwear.

 Inov-8 Road X-lite 155s

Inov-8 Road X-lite 155s

has been my longest sports kit love affair. Ten years ago when the innovative brand launched  I was sent a pair of off-road trainers to try and since then I have collected at least 15 different styles of Inov-8 shoes, both off-road and on-road. Every style of Inov-8 shoe serves exactly the right purpose for different terrain and conditions.

Because I have been running shorter distances as I train for a Sprint triathlon (5k run) I have not felt the need for supportive and cushioned running shoes. In fact, from the moment that I first raced in a pair of Inov-8 Road X-lite 155s I have rarely worn anything else for training or racing. These trainers are very lightweight (155g) and are not suitable for lots of miles of training but they have been fantastic for shorter and faster 5k training.

Inov-8 say: The Road X-lite 155s are the lightest, most minimalist shoe in the Road range. An extremely lightweight racing flat that promotes an efficient, natural running style focusing on the strength of the athlete’s foot. The low profile ‘Fusion’ compound sole unit makes the shoe extremely light while the high contact area offers a smooth feel and ride.

My thoughts on the Inov-8 Road X-lite 155s 

Such a lightweight and minimalist shoe does take some getting used to. I have, over about eight months, built up the distance for running in the barefoot-style footwear. There is less support in the feet, which can put strain on your leg muscles too, so I found that I had a few tight-ish muscles to begin with. But I had been wearing barefoot off-road shoes for a while during the winter so I felt as though I was ready for these road shoes.

I am also quite light on my feet and a forefoot strike runner so the barefoot-style shoe suits me. I wouldn’t train for anything more than 5k in these shoes, however.

Shorter and faster

 New pair of yellow Inov-8 Road X-lite 155s

New pair of yellow Inov-8 Road X-lite 155s

Now when I return to my more supportive Adidas running trainers my feet and legs feel heavier. More supported, yes, but much heavier. There is probably very little weight difference in reality but I now really enjoy being able to feel the ground beneath the soles of my feet. And when it comes to running faster for sprint reps or in a race I am convinced these shoes shave those vital seconds off my times.

The psychological benefits of wearing shoes that you believe won’t slow or weigh you down can’t be underestimated either.

For the first time in my love affair with Inov-8 I have just bought a second pair of the same shoe style to replace the ones I have worn out in training. That is how much I love these shoes!

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