Inov-8 Trailtalon 235

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Inov-8 Trailtalon 235 Review Facts
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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.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros
  • 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
Outsole
Outsole

Outsole

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 a softer sticky rubber for increased traction. The outer edge of the outsole boasts a softer sticky rubber in order 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. This 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.
Midsole
Midsole

Midsole

Because this is a minimal trail running shoe, there isn’t a lot of rebound 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 in order to carry the weight of the runner during toe-off in order 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 delivers the most. When considering this leveling system, the Inov-8 Trail Talon 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.
Upper
Upper

Upper

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 lightweight 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 stiff pieces of plastic that cradle the heel. This 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 prevent toe bang but some consumers say it is rather small, so 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.
Weight
Weight

Weight

These 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.
Breathability
Breathability

Breathability

The synthetic mesh upper is made to be breathable. They are lightweight and offer a lot of airflow to the foot chamber. You definitely want to have a breathable shoe when you are facing all kinds of terrain in order to let air in and let moisture flow out. With that said, the Trailtalon 235 offers an excellent amount of breathability.
Comfort
Comfort

Comfort

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.
Style
Style

Style

Some trail running sneakers tend to look a little bulkier due to their hefty outsoles and supportive uppers. However, the Inov-8 Trailtalon 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.
Durability
Durability

Durability

The multidirectional 4mm lugs and external heel cage aid in the durability of this sneaker. They 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.
Protection
Protection

Protection

Due to the fact that 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, this sneaker is really meant 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.
Responsiveness
Responsiveness

Responsiveness

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 specifically placed to help propel you forward with each stride. All in all, for a fast-paced trail shoe, it is pretty responsive.
Support
Support

Support

The main support in these sneakers 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 splay more naturally. This 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.
Terrain
Terrain

Terrain

These lightweight trail runners are best suited for mid to longer 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 great 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 support underfoot. They are a great shoe for the average trail run and can even be worn while racing or for shorter flat distances.
Price
Price

Price

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.
Traction
Traction

Traction

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. In fact, 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. This is a great 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 kinds 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.
Flexibility
Flexibility

Flexibility

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 is able to flex and move freely with your feet over varying terrains. The downside of this is that there is more of a ground feel when it comes to jagged 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 individual footstep.
Stability
Stability

Stability

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 is able to keep your foot securely in the shoe. However, 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. This may help you if you have a tendency toward overpronating.
Drop
Drop

Drop

These trail runners have a very 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
Key Features

Key Features

- Multidirectional lugs
- Tri-C outsole
- Met-Cradle system
- Synthetic mesh upper
- External heel cage
Bottom Line
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

When it comes to trail running, you want to be certain 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, this shoe is a great option for anyone looking to add a lightweight and low-to-the-ground trail runner to their running shoe collection.