Inov-8 Road-X-Treme 220

Inov-8 is a British company that builds specialized off-road running products that are meant to complement the natural mechanics of the runner. The company is one of the fastest growing off-road running brands in the United States. On the other side of the running spectrum, they also offer road shoes such as the Inov-8 Road-X-Treme 220. Instead of the overbuilt maximalist shoes that some prefer, these Inov-8 road shoes are built to be very firm and offer a minimal drop while still providing a level of protection and comfort.

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Where to Buy
Where to Buy
Pros & Cons
  • Minimal drop allows you to run with a minimalist feel while still having some cushioning from the midsole.
  • The Road-X-Treme 220 is more durable than previous road shoes made by Inov-8.
  • The outsole provides great grip, especially the forefoot and toe area.
  • Many find these shoes to be very comfortable.
  • Cons
    • The reinforcement in the front can irritate toes for some runners.
    • Some runners found this shoe did not work well for long runs
    • The white gets dirty too quickly
    • Pricey
    • Key Features
      The outsole of the Inov-8 Road-X-Treme 220 is made out of a variety of materials. The white spots on the bottom are hard rubber lugs which provide additional traction, but some of them are in position so they will not have enough contact on a flat ground. The black patch of rubber at the back is also harder and built for durability. The outsole is flexible enough to provide natural movement and is reminiscent of a barefoot shoe. Beyond the hard rubber lugs, there are also other sections built to boost durability and are hard rubber matched to the insole colors.
      The Inov-8 Road-X-Treme 220 features a full-length foam midsole. The midsole is thicker where the outsole features standard hard rubber and thinner where the lugs are located. Some runners felt that the cushion was thicker in the forefoot than the heel, which is rather uncommon but did not seem to be an issue with runners.
      The Road-X-Treme 220 features an open mesh upper for most of the shoe. At the heel, it is a little thicker and provides a little more structure. There is also some padding around the ankle but not much padding elsewhere. The upper makes the shoe very lightweight shoe and conform to your foot very well. There are also some transparent plastic bands that run from the lacing system to the midsole on the side of each foot, but they are rather innocuous and provide some structure.
      The Inov-8 Road-X-Treme 220 is a relatively light shoe for road use. Weighing in at roughly 7.75 ounces, specifically, 220 grams (hence the name), is generally light, but considering that this shoe is nearly minimalist, it is right on target. The key to the light weight is the upper of the shoe. Made out of lightweight mesh, this keeps the shoe from carrying unnecessary weight. The fusion outsole and midsole material is lightweight and offers enough padding while not adding weight. By thinning the midsole where the outsole is thicker, the necessary padding remains without weighing you down.
      With an open mesh around the entire foot in the upper, the Road-X-Treme 220 provides a large amount of ventilation. This mesh is similar to what is seen in the Terraclaw 220. There is no padding in the upper except for around the ankle opening, meaning there is very little to obstruct air movement. The simple mesh design connects to the midsole and the few bands on the outside don’t have an effect on the air movement. These bands run vertically on the shoe but are small and do not obstruct airflow.
      Comfort in a minimalist style shoe isn’t always easy to come by. With nearly no cushion, minimalist shoes often are shunned by those seeking comfortable option until they are acclimated to them. The Inov-8 Road-X-Treme 220 offers just enough cushion to be comfortable for runners that are seeking a zero drop option but need some padding. With a minimal drop, this shoe feels close to a zero drop and the difference is really negligible. The ventilation provided by the upper also helps the shoe to be very comfortable. The thin layer of cushioning does provide some comfort, but it can feel less comfortable as you get into higher mileage runs.
      Inov-8 provides running shoes that look and function in a specific way. The mesh upper is made of one color with the midsole and outsole in a contrasting color. At the heel and toe of the shoe, the contrasting color continues up into the upper. These shoes are simple and designed to look good. They come in white with a bright contrasting red or a gray with berry and yellow. Some runners feel that the white gets dirty too quick and is difficult to clean, but the shoes offer a unique look and style.
      For many minimalist shoes. it can be tough to find something that holds up while not giving too much cushion and stability control. The Inov-8 Road-X-Treme 220 seems to hold up well under standard road usage. The outsole’s durable rubber material and contrasting lugs will stand up to the test of each and every run you would expect.
      The protection provided by the Road-X-Treme 220 is designed to be unobtrusive while keeping you safer. The outsole’s small lugs provide additional grip and the whole outsole provides a solid base on which the rest of the shoe is built. The upper provides a cover of mesh against all the elements. The front of the shoe features a reinforcement that will protect you from stubbing your toe on steep downhills or any other obstacle, and it seems to serve its purpose very well. The ankle collar padding provides a bit of protection for your foot, but the shoe is built to be as minimal as reasonable. The lacing system provides a nice tight closure with little slippage.
      This shoes unique outsole and midsole combination creates a flexible base that allows the shoe to help you feel the ground underneath. It provides responsive action with the small lugs placed strategically to connect with the ground. The upper of the shoe flexes and responds well to the natural movement of your foot. This shoe is sure to provide a responsive feel on any run.
      The Road-X-Treme 220 was designed and built by Inov-8, which is a company that aims at off road running products as a niche. At the same time, if they are building those correctly, it makes sense they would take a stab at road running shoes. This shoe features many of the natural and biomechanic design features of other Inov-8 shoes but also features an outsole and midsole designed to be used while running on the road. When used on the dry road, wet road, and even wet grass hills, this shoe grips well. From dry streets to sand-blown beach paths, the Road-X-Treme 220 provides a versatile shoe that stands up to the test of each mile.
      The Inov-8 shoes that are available in the market are typically on the upper end of shoe pricing. This isn’t a gimmick, as the value received for the purchase is the real measure of price. The Road-X-Treme 220 provides a shoe that is high quality and offers a comfortable minimalist option. Thanks to the durable outsole and the cushioning of the midsole, many runners will feel that this shoe holds up the company’s end of the bargain.
      The outsole of the Road-X-Treme features lugs throughout the outsole to grip the ground better. The whole shoe provides a good amount of traction when used on dry or wet surfaces. Beyond the road, these shoes perform well in grassy environments as well, even better than the Adidas Boost or Saucony Kinvaras. With that amount of traction, this shoe can be a good all-around shoe instead of just a standard road shoe.
      The Road-X-Treme 220 is flexible and able to adjust to the environment you run it through. It is more flexible than some of the other Inov-8 options. There is a “Dynamic Fascia Band” which is meant to create a windlass effect by replicating the fascia of the foot. This terminates under the ball of the foot, which means that it allows the shoe to continue to be flexible despite its presence. At toe off, there is some flexibility and spring reaction, but it is very reasonable for this shoe and is not a negative effect on performance. The upper flexes due to the natural movement available with the makeup of mesh and the way the shoe was designed.
      Stability can come from a shoe being built to specifically to provide motion control, but it can also come from the ability of a shoe to connect you with the ground in the most natural way possible. The Inov-8 Road-X-Treme 220 is a solid shoe that sets your foot on a solid outsole and cushion in a flat and comfortable way. Your foot was designed to offer a stable step and landing platform, and by connecting with the ground in a way that highlights that, this shoe offers a stable option with minimal interference from the actual shoe.
      The Inov-8 Road-X-Treme 220 is not a zero drop, but has a low drop of 4 millimeters. These shoes were built for those that have a mid to forefoot strike and will cushion your steps without overcorrecting. The padding in the midsole does provide for a smoother ride than some bare minimal options, but not so much as to cause unnecessary corrections.
      Key Features
      • The outsole’s lugged system and durable rubber provide a great grip even on less than ideal surfaces.
      • The toe box features the ability to stretch and allow your toes to splay naturally, offering a combination of protection and flexibility.
      • A 4mm drop for those that don’t strike with their heel and run in a more natural motion stride.
      • Quality materials create a durable and long lasting shoe.
      Bottom Line
      The bottom line when it comes to the Inov-8 Road-X-Treme 22 is that it is a straightforward shoe that offers near zero-drop with no fuss. The design is simple and there are few color schemes to pick from, but regardless of what color your shoe is, the performance is much more important. The durable lugs in the outsole provide additional grip and traction control even in compromising surfaces.

      The midsole builds upon the bottom with a full foam layer that varies in thickness depending on the outsole’s needs, being thicker where the outsole is soft and thinner where the outsole lugs or thicker plastic are located. The upper mesh creates a breathable and well-ventilated shell that covers your foot and protects it from the elements. Standard lacing system and a bit of padding around the ankle create a secure fit that allows you to feel confident while running.
      Where to Buy
      By Brad
      Last updated:
      Where to buy
      Best offer on: Jul. 24. 2021

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