Inov-8 Trailtalon 235 Fully Reviewed for Quality

The Inov-8 Trailtalon 235 is designed to tackle almost any kind of off-road terrain at a fast pace. They are made to fit securely to your foot with minimal movement within the shoe and hug your feet with the Met-Cradle system spreading over the mid foot part of the upper. The shoe’s outsole is equipped with Inov-8’s Tri-C Compound rubber material, which boasts three different kinds of rubber strategically placed to help grip the ground efficiently. It is a lightweight, and flexible design which rivals many other shoes in the same category with a PowerFlow midsole made to absorb more shock than many other minimal trail-running sneakers. With its low profile design, it is sure to turn heads out on the trail.

Keep reading our in-depth Inov-8 Trailtalon 235 review to find out if it is worth the investment.

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Where to Buy
Backcountry Link
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Where to Buy
Backcountry Link
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Road Runner Sports Link
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Pros & Cons
  • Breathable mesh upper
  • Multidirectional lugs provide grip and protection
  • PowerFlow midsole is very shock-absorbent
  • External heel cage for additional heel support and stability
  • Met-Cradle system in upper keeps foot securely in place
  • Cons
    • Not much toe protection
    • Low drop allows for a lot of underfoot feel
    • Key Features
      The outsole of this shoe is made to perform over fast-paced trail running distances. It has three different kinds of sticky rubber on it of which is called the Tri-C compound. There is a harder sticky rubber on the heel which is made to help you grip the trail with your heel while the middle of the outsole has softer sticky rubber for increased traction.

      The outer edge of the outsole boasts a softer sticky rubber to facilitate maximum movement. The forefoot of the shoe has something on it called a Meta-Flex line which runs down the middle part of the forefoot. It is designed to aid in maximum bending and flexing during toe-off and helps you to propel forward with each stride.

      The 4mm deep lugs are larger to create an aggressive grip and provide a sure footing and are multidirectional, allowing for quick release of any debris that may be picked up on your run.
      Because this is a minimal trail running shoe, there isn’t a lot of rebounds when it comes to the midsole. However, it does consist of a unique compound called PowerFlow material which is engineered to give you a bit of shock absorbency. This rigid compound is placed strategically throughout the midsole to carry the weight of the runner during toe-off to propel you forward.

      The midsole also boasts a shock system number developed by Inov-8 which gives you an idea of how much shock absorbency is being delivered in each part of the shoe. These levels range from zero to three: zero being the least level of cushioning while three provides the most. When considering this leveling system, the Inov-8 Trailtalon 235 is marked with a one, meaning that is has a small amount of cushioning and shock absorbency.

      It also includes a Dynamic Fascia Band, or DFB, which is designed to transfer a bolt of energy with each step, thus promoting a faster and more efficient stride.
      This sneakers' upper is engineered using stretchable synthetic mesh, making it lightweight and breathable. Because this is more of a fast-paced trail shoe, it is made to be thin in design and has a snug fit. The middle part of the upper contains the company’s familiar Met-Cradle system which aids in keeping the shoe close to the foot.

      One thing this trail shoe boasts that some of its competitors do not is the heel cage, which consists of two relatively thick pieces of plastic that cradle the heel. It is designed to keep the heel in place and is made to help prevent ankle rolling. At the tip of the shoe, you will find a toe cap which is designed to avoid toe bang, but some consumers say it is rather small so that you may feel a rock on your toe from time to time.

      This sneaker’s tongue is padded for added comfort and is equipped with a guidance loop to help keep the laces in place.
      Trailtalon 235 are designed to be fast-paced trail runners and are made to be more lightweight to carry you quickly over varying terrain. They weigh in at 8.3 ounces and will not feel heavy on your feet.
      The synthetic mesh upper is made to be breathable. These shoes are lightweight and offer a lot of airflow to the foot chamber. You want to have a breathable shoe when you are facing all kinds of terrain to let air in and let moisture flow out. With that said, the Trailtalon 235 offers an excellent amount of breathability.
      Not only do you want protection while on the trail, but you also want your feet to be comfortable. The Trailtalon 235 offers a great level of comfort with their soft lining and they are designed to fit similar to a slipper. Several customers have remarked on how comfortable these shoes feel straight out of the box. They have enough padding to make you run comfortable but not too much to make the shoe bulky under your feet.

      It should be noted, however, that some users have said that the shoe provides a little too much room in the toe, so it may be better to try them on in person before you decide on the correct size for you.
      Some trail running sneakers tend to look a little bulkier due to their hefty outsoles and supportive uppers. However, the Inov-8 Trailtalon 235 delivers a moderate amount of support through its lugs, a moderately shock-absorbent midsole, and heel cups all while looking a little more appealing. These shoes have a low-profile design and resemble a typical fast-paced racing shoe. They are low to the ground, have smaller lugs, and come in a couple of different appealing colorways.
      The multidirectional 4mm lugs and external heel cage aid in the durability of this sneaker. Inov-8 Trailtalon 235 are designed to be worn on multiple trail surfaces and are meant to last for quite some time. The mesh upper should remain intact for a large number of trail runs thanks to the Met-Cradle system and heel cage. These two features will help the shoe to retain its shape despite being subjected to mud and wet conditions out on the trail.
      Because this is a lightweight trail shoe ideal for racing, it does not have a whole lot of plushy protection included in it. The midsole of this shoe offers a moderate amount of shock absorbency, but it is not engineered to take extreme impacts, like some stability running shoes. Thanks to the Met-Cradle system featured in this shoe’s upper, it does provide a fair amount of lateral protection by keeping the foot securely in the shoe.

      It also has the external heel cage which will protect your ankles from rolling and has a seamless toe bumper that is meant to protect you from rock-striking on the toe. However, Inov-8 Trailtalon 235 is intended to be a lightweight, fast-paced trail shoe, so it does not provide a ton of protection other than the 4mm lugs and the ankle support.
      Even though this is a low-to-the-ground trail running sneaker with a low drop, it offers a surprising amount of response. It is considered to be a smooth feeling shoe with a great transition from heel strike to toe-off. Although it does not have a hefty bouncy midsole, it does feature the Dynamic Fascia Band which is individually placed to help propel you forward with each stride. All in all, for a fast-paced trail shoe, it is pretty responsive.
      The main support in Inov-8 Trailtalon 235 lies in the outsole. With the strategically placed lugs and differing levels of stickiness in the rubber, they are designed to support your feet as you step. Because they have a flexible mesh upper, they do not support your feet strongly other than being a more precisely-fit shoe, designed to hug your feet closely.

      They do offer a little more room in the toe box than some of Inov-8’s trail runners, allowing your toes to play more naturally. It is not a bad thing, but it makes it so that your feet have a little more room to move within the sneaker. Although they are a fast-paced racing shoe, they are ideally suited for longer trail runs, but not necessarily designed for speed or ultra races.
      These lightweight trail runners are best suited for mid to long trail runs over varying terrains. They would be well suited for well-packed dirt, jagged rocks, or your typical trails. Because they do not have a considerable amount of underfoot support, compared to other trail running sneakers, they may not be great for ultra distances because your feet may get worn out due to the lack of comfort underfoot. Inov-8 Trailtalon 235 is a great shoe for the average trail run and can even be worn while racing or for shorter flat distances.
      These are a relatively affordable option when it comes to faster-paced trail running sneakers. They are less of a specialized shoe in comparison to some and can easily be purchased in addition to your other running sneakers.
      These trail runners offer a superior amount of trail traction. Their multi-directional 4mm deep lugs, each with a wide contact area, provide an aggressive grip and allow for quick release of any debris. One consumer couldn’t get over how easily the lugs released mud and rocks picked up on the trail after seeing how mucked up the outsole got.

      It is an excellent feature in a trail running shoe because it not only illustrates how well the shoe handles trail terrain but it also shows that the shoe can be worn over all different kinds of underfoot conditions without worrying about debris build up. The three different types of sticky rubber compounds on the outsole also help to aid in grip and durability as well. The heel contains the hardest rubber, helping to keep your heel stable, while the middle of the shoe features a rubber that aids in maximum traction.
      For being a trail running sneaker, the Inov-8 Trailtalon 235 is surprisingly flexible. Even with its different sticky rubber compounds on its outsole, it can flex and move freely with your feet over varying terrains. The downside of this is that there is more of ground feel when it comes to rough or sharp underfoot conditions so it may be a good idea to pick and choose where you step when you wear these out on the trail, rather than just barreling through.

      With that said, thanks to the synthetic mesh upper, this shoe is easily able to adapt to each footstep.
      All in all, the Inov-8 Trailtalon 235 is well-balanced for running over all different kinds of terrain. Thanks to the Met-Cradle system which extends across the upper, it can keep your foot securely in the shoe. Thanks to the flexible mesh upper and larger toe area, there may be a little more toe movement on sharp cuts and steep descents.

      However, one thing that this shoe has going for it as far as stability is concerned is the external heel cage which does a decent job of holding your heel securely in place while not being too restrictive. It may help you if you tend overpronating.
      These trail runners have a small drop of 4mm. They are not meant to help support your foot during flat road-running outings but work well for trail runs.
      Key Features
      - Multidirectional lugs
      - Tri-C outsole
      - Met-Cradle system
      - Synthetic mesh upper
      - External heel cage
      Bottom Line
      When it comes to trail running, you want to be sure the shoes on your feet are supporting you where you need it most. Like any sneaker, the Inov-8 Trailtalon is a shoe that may be loved by some and not so much by others. It is a shoe that provides a moderate amount of support while being lightweight and flexible, but it does not offer a whole lot of underfoot protection, nor does it have an aggressive amount of toe protection.

      However, this minimal trail runner does deliver more shock absorbency than many of its competitors as well as an external heel cage for additional heel support. In the end, Inov-8 Trailtalon 235 is an excellent option for anyone looking to add a lightweight and low-to-the-ground trail runner to their running shoe collection.
      Where to Buy
      Backcountry Link
      See Deal
      Road Runner Sports Link
      See Deal
      By Abbie Copeland
      Last updated:
      Where to buy
      Best offer on: Jul. 28. 2021

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