Running shoe brand inov-8 describe the X-TALON G 235 shoe as a “legend reborn”. With “G” – graphene enhanced – rubber soles, which inov-8 claim “deliver the world’s toughest grip”, and 8mm studs, these shoes are for muddy ground and wet rock.
The X-TALON G 235 is part of inov-8’s premium range of trail running shoes featuring graphene, which is said to be scientifically tested to be 50% stronger, 50% more elastic and 50% harder wearing (than what, I always wonder?!).
As the name suggests, inov-8 X-TALON G 235 weigh 235g per shoe, on average. They are designed to be lightweight, with non-water absorbing materials and featuring a 6mm drop. –
The upper is a seamless one-piece made from hard-wearing ballistic nylon. This limits snagging and reduces weight.
A full rubber-printed rand with flex notches offers additional protection while maintaining flexibility.
Unlike other recent models, which were a unisex fit, the inov-8 X Talons are made in male and female fit.
They are priced at £140 See: inov-8.
On test: inov-8 X Talon G 235 shoe
First off, I like that inov-8 has reintroduced their male and female fit models. For a while, many of the shoes were unisex and because I have a long and narrow foot this was not great.
When I put my feet into the shoes, they seemed to fit well. The width is good and the heel cup and length felt just about right. So it was a good start.
I could see that the uppers are made to be durable. The fabric is strong and robust and the extra rubber rand at the front and toe cap is a great addition.
The heel cup is stiff, which might not suit everyone but I like a heel cup that supports my heel.
The colour – bright orange – is also fab!
I was also delighted by the look of the sole. It is similar to other inov-8 shoes I have loved before but with the extra grip of graphene.
I chose a wet and muddy hill run for the testing.
It was then that a couple of strange things happened. First of all, as soon as I started to run uphill, the upper squeaked. Each time I took a step with my right foot and the upper folded, there was a squeak. It was annoying.
In addition, the forefoot creased in a really awkward and irritating place. The crease dug into the line on my foot where my toes join the rest of my foot. I guess this is obvious, since this is where the foot folds to be able to walk or run uphill, but the upper was uncomfortable as it pushed against this part of my foot.
I do have long toes and perhaps this explains why the crease occurred in, presumably, the wrong place for my feet.
I asked on my social media channels for other people’s experiences of these shoes and other similar inov-8 models. There was a split camp of those that love the shoes entirely, including the uppers, and those that have had a similar problem to me, or other issues with uncomfortable uppers.
It is annoying for me because the inov-8 shoe used to be my go-to because of the fit.
Anyway, I guess that fit is the same across all brands and there will be shoes that fit wonderfully and those that don’t. I did find that the further I ran the less the upper annoyed me so I guess it is a case of “breaking in” the upper. Also, I suppose that if the uppers were softer they would not be so durable.
Anyway, back to what I like about the inov-8 X Talons. The soles are fantastic. The grip is amazing. They gave me lots of confidence and even on the steepest and muddiest sections, I felt like my feet where very secure.
My usual hill running shoe is a Salomon Speedcross 4 and while they are very comfortable, I do not get the same grip form the sole.
I really wish the uppers would fit my feet because the inov-8 graphene soles are very hard to beat.
The shoes also felt light and comfortable underfoot. As the uppers became more used and wet, the squeak started to fade. It is very odd but I can only imagine it is the sound of the upper fabric and rubber rand folding.
I really hope that other people find they fit better in the upper area because the sole and general design of the shoes is excellent.