Inov-8 TrailTalon 250

The Inov-8 TrailTalon 250 strives to be a trail running shoe with the soul (pun totally intended) of a more minimal barefoot running shoe. It's designed to deliver maximum performance when hitting the trail, but it still allows the runner to remain in contact with the terrain. Comfort is a big priority with this shoe. The cushioning will be just enough to protect the foot on rugged terrain while still allowing for a natural stride that is reminiscent of a more minimal barefoot shoe. Trail runners can rejoice in finally finding a shoe that doesn't make them choose between minimal feel and trail running protection. Inov-8 has really found a solid combination with the TrailTalon 250.  

Join our private, growing community of passionate runners.

Where to Buy
Backcountry Link
See Deal
Moosejaw Link
See Deal
Road Runner Sports Link
See Deal
Where to Buy
Backcountry Link
See Deal
Moosejaw Link
See Deal
Road Runner Sports Link
See Deal
Pros & Cons
  • Breathable mesh upper feels great on the foot
  • 4 mm lugs give enough traction while minimizing debris
  • Svelte look and feel that works in a variety of scenarios
  • Minimal feel for a natural stride
  • Cons
    • Durability could be a concern with the mesh upper
    • Not waterproof
    • Lacks stability
    • Some runners may not find it supportive enough
    • Key Features
      The outsole of the Inov-8 TrailTalon 250 relies on Inov-8's PowerFlow technology. This gives the outsole its protection and durability while allowing it to remain lightweight. Inov-8 uses three different kinds of rubber throughout the outsole to find the right mix of support and flexibility. The outsole comes equipped with 4 mm lugs that help with traction across the most common types of running surfaces. Finally, Inov-8 has added its Dynamic Fascia Band™ (DFB) technology in the heel of this shoe. This enhances the natural propulsion of the foot while it's inside of the shoe. This is just one more way that this shoe allows for a more natural running stride.
      The technology in this shoe isn't limited to just the outsole. The midsole incorporates many similar features. The PowerFlow material is used throughout the midsole as well as the outsole to provide ample cushioning. Inov-8 claims that this material will deliver "10% better shock absorption and 15% better energy return than standard midsoles." Some runners who are used to more traditional trail running shoes may find the midsole cushioning to be lacking. Some rocks and roots will be felt through the modest midsole support. This makes the shoe lighter and faster but at the cost of support.
      The uppers of these shoes are pretty remarkable for a trail running shoe. The uppers on the TrailTalon 250 are completely seamless to reduce chafing and add comfort. Inov-8 takes this a step further by making the uppers extremely breathable. The material used in the tongue is fairly minimal and it allows the foot to breathe while running. The tongue is also gusseted in a way that allows dirt and sand to stay out of the shoe. This is particularly valuable when running through trails with excessive rocks, dirt, or debris. The TrailTalon 250 is designed to keep the foot clean and comfortable.
      Inov-8 names its shoes based on their weight. For instance, the Inov-8 TrailTalon 275 weighs in at 275 grams, while the TrailTalon 250 is a more svelte 250 grams. This means that the shoe stacks up nicely when compared to the weights of some of the most highly rated trail running shoes. Runners who are looking for a slim, lightweight trail running shoe will be extremely pleased with this lighter weight counterpart to the TrailTalon 250.
      The upper portion of the Inov-8 TrailTalon 250 is designed to breathe very well when out on the trail. Mesh inserts throughout the tongue and forefoot will keep the feet cool and ventilated. These shoes should perform well in warm weather or summertime trail runs. Fortunately, the mesh panels aren't thin enough to make this a liability in colder climates. When worn with the proper socks, these should still hold up well during cold weather runs. These shoes are certainly not waterproof and runners who are in need of that should be looking elsewhere. There are plenty of other fine waterproof shoe options out there.
      Inov-8 has designed the TrailTalon 250 in a way that almost gives it a comfortable slipper-like feel. The soft mesh panels throughout the shoe allow it to breathe and be flexible. The lightweight construction makes it one of the most minimal yet comfortable trail running shoes you'll find on the market. Even when ranking some of the best lightweight shoes overall, the TrailTalon 250 should be in the conversation. Whether you wear these with or without socks, comfort should be no concern at all. These would even feel comfortable wearing around town as a casual shoe if you are so inclined.
      Inov-8 has created some stylish shoes in the past. The TrailTalon 250 will compare nicely to any of the highest rated Inov-8 shoes in terms of style. Their minimal footprint makes them look svelte on the foot. The low ankle and flatter construction give them a stylish sensibility. The color options available on this shoe offer something for everyone. Whether you're looking to blend in more with the silver model or stand out from the pack with the neon yellow version, both styles look sharp. Compared to other trail running shoes out there, these would even look fine in a casual setting after your run is over.
      Durability could be a concern with the Inov-8 TrailTalon 250. As mentioned earlier, Inov-8 cut some corners to decrease the weight compared to their popular TrailTalon 275 model. This caused them to remove some of the heel and midsole cushioning in an effort to save weight. Many runners will appreciate this, but it could give them a shorter lifespan on rugged terrain. Runners will be able to feel their running surfaces more with these shoes and those rocks and roots will eventually cause the rubber to deteriorate. If these shoes are going to be your daily trail runners, be ready to replace them sooner than you may think.
      Protection is an area where trail running shoes need to be strong. With the TrailTalon 250, Inov-8 is trying to find the right balance between protection and lightweight barefoot feel. This means that protection had to be somewhat sacrificed in order to hit their weight goals. Experienced trail runners will certainly feel less protected in these shoes when compared to more substantial trail running shoes. With only a 4 mm outsole, longer runs could be more tiring after the pounding on the ground or pavement. These shoes are best suited for shorter trail runs and even moderate hikes. These shoes can also pair well with gaiters if you're in need of even more protection against debris entering your shoes.
      Responsiveness is an area where the Inov-8 TrailTalon 250 particularly shines. By designing this shoe more like a barefoot shoe and less like a trail running shoe, they allowed it to have a better connection with the ground. That means that even subtle moves will be felt and accepted by the shoe. The lightweight design and wide toe box allow the feet to splay out in a natural way. The toes should feel comfortable with plenty of room to respond to the varying terrain below the foot. This feeling will be even more useful when doing speedwork or short trail races.
      Traditional trail running shoes rely heavily on good support. The foot must be properly supported when going over rugged terrain that could cause the foot to move or bend in unnatural ways. Inov-8 has managed to provide just enough support in the TrailTalon 250 to make them suitable for rugged terrain. In particular, the Dynamic Fascia Band™ (DFB) technology will give the foot the natural support that it needs without feeling artificial or overly supportive. If you're looking for a more supportive trail running shoe, you may want to look at some of the other offerings out there.
      Trail running shoes need to be prepared for all types of terrain. The Inov-8 TrailTalon 250 is rugged enough to withstand most types of terrain. The raised lugs on the outsole of the shoe are perfect for getting through muddy trails or slippery grass. Especially when compared to other lightweight or minimal shoes, the terrain capabilities of the Inov-8 TrailTalon 250 are very strong. While the shoes are not waterproof, nearly any other dry terrain should be no match for its rugged outsole and flexible upper.
      Inov-8 isn't typically considered to be one of the most expensive shoe manufacturers. As a relative upstart in the world of trail running, they really don't try to compete on price. Sure, there are sales and discounts to be found on Inov-8 shoes, but primarily they let the technology sell their shoes, rather than the price. Runners who are looking for a technical trail running shoes with some of the features of a barefoot shoe should be happy to pay any price to have the Inov-8 TrailTalon 250 shoes.
      These shoes have enough traction to handle most types of terrain. The lugs and studs found on the bottom of the shoe are multi-directional and measure in at 4 mm long. What makes these studs even more impressive is that they are spaced in a way that is meant to minimize the amount of dirt and debris that gets stuck. This will lead to better grip on terrain but also less mess when you wear the shoes inside after your run. Runners can head to the trails with confidence when wearing the Inov-8 TrailTalon 250. Slippage should not be an issue.
      As far as trail running shoes go, the Inov-8 TrailTalon 250 is an extremely flexible shoe. While it won't compare in flexibility to some of the industry's leading barefoot running shoes, it will certainly meet the needs of most trail runners. Runners will be able to flex their toes up and down to feel the contours of the terrain they're crossing. Of course, this also means that some rocks and hard terrain will also be felt too strongly through the shoe, this could cause discomfort for some. The heel of the shoe remains relatively stable but the mid and forefoot portions of the shoe have a nice flexible give that most runners will enjoy.
      These definitely are not designed to be stability shoes. If you're looking for a dedicated stability shoe there is a plethora of solid options out there to choose from. But these shoes will provide enough stability for most trail runners. The arch support here is good but not overbearing by any means. The wide toe box is comfortable enough to let the toes splay naturally without much restriction. There shouldn't be much of an issue with the unwanted movement of the foot within the shoe during runs. In fact, most runners will appreciate the freeing feeling of this minimal approach to trail running.
      The Inov-8 TrailTalon 250 has a 4 mm heel-to-toe drop. This is fairly minimal in the world of trail running. Runners will have a nice connection to the ground without the feeling of their heel being raised too high. This drop will feel different for runners used to other more substantial trail running shoes. Even Inov-8's own TrailTalon 275 used a more conventional 8 mm drop. This difference will be noticeable and uncomfortable for some, while traditional barefoot runners will appreciate the freedom this provides. It won't feel as minimal as the shoes that fall into the 0 drop category, but it's a nice sweet spot of the average trail runner who is looking for more freedom.
      Key Features

      • Lightweight Design

      • Minimal heel-to-toe drop

      • Amazing traction for all terrain

      • Gusseted tongue to keep debris out

      • Breathable mesh upper

      • Dynamic Fascia Band™ (DFB) technology

      • PowerFlow Midsole

      Bottom Line
      If you're a trail runner who is looking for a shoe with a more minimal feel, the Inov-8 TrailTalon 250 could be perfect for you. It offers just enough protection to get through rugged terrain without feeling too restrictive on the foot. The breathable mesh upper will feel great when running through warmer climates or sweaty trails. The thinner midsole and 4 mm drop may take some getting used to but most runners will appreciate what Inov-8 has done here.
      Where to Buy
      Backcountry Link
      See Deal
      Moosejaw Link
      See Deal
      Road Runner Sports Link
      See Deal
      By Chris Jennings
      Last updated:
      Where to buy
      Best offer on: Aug. 02. 2021

      Join our private, growing community of passionate runners

      Inside RunnerClick Pro, runners of all strengths come together to meet and support one another, get answers to burning questions, learn from experts, participate in personal challenges, and more.