Inov-8 X-Talon 225

8.4
8.4 score
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Inov-8 X-Talon 225Review Facts
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Built for conditions that one reviewer said, “keep most people sitting inside sipping cider,” the Inov-8 X-Talon 225 is a beast of a shoe. Impressing many, this shoe can adeptly tackle even the sloppiest conditions. The company that is Inov-8 began its foray into creating top notch rugged footwear in 2003. Its catalog of shoes focuses on kicks built to overcome and now includes many options for muddy fells to mountain summits to the desert wilderness, all keeping the fearless adventurer as a cornerstone in their designs. The X- Talon 225 is no exception, its proven ability to confidently cover muddy extreme terrain, it has won over many trail adventuring hearts with its impressive ability to adroitly navigate sloppy, unpredictable, and unstable terrain without sacrificing speed or flexibility. As Inov-8 puts it, their premise is to create products for fearless adventurers that want to push their limits.  The X-Talon 225 falls in line with this and has received much praise in reviews. As a matter of fact, reviewers describe its look and abilities as aggressive, extreme and  competitive. Some have stated that they recommend it highly to any runners when asked which is the best shoe for covering technical trails.

Pros
  • Superior traction and grip in the sloppiest of conditions
  • Exceptionally lightweight for swift trail navigation
  • Flexible and nimble
  • Very breathable upper for cool, dry feet
  • Water repellent and excellent drainage
  • Some consider it a minimalist shoe perfect for a natural feel
  • Most liked the fitted foot support and wider toe box
Cons
  • Narrow and snug feeling due to Precision fit
  • Some feel it could benefit from added underfoot protection given the terrain for which it's intended.
  • Durability is compromised when used in dry, abrasive terrain
Outsole
Outsole

Outsole

Utillizing the same lugs as the company's acclaimed Inov-8 MUDCLAW, the X-Talon 225 benefits from a 25% lighter weight making for an even more efficient run. This weight reduction is partly due to a decrease in cushioning. But with a sticky grippy rubber sole and impressive ready-for-action lugs, underfoot protection is not compromised. It's purported that the moniker X-Talon is due to these lugs - or 8mm talons - that offer aggressive grip. The talons are strategically placed to shed mud and keep it from getting trapped on the move. Most are quite pleased with its effectiveness though some feel mud can cake in between the lugs on occasion though none reported slipping as a result. The outsole is just one winning component of a well thought out and put together product that trail runners rave about.

Midsole
Midsole

Midsole

With what some consider tendencies toward minimalism or "natural running," the Inov-8 X-Talon 225's injected EVA foam rubber midsole delivers a solid base for swift running and steady and agile navigation of soft muddy mountain or fells terrain. Feeling flatter and with what some deem hard cushioning, it still wears as flexible due to Inov-8's META-FLEX technology that allows the shoe to bend without twisting where needed during toe-off.
Upper
Upper

Upper

Rated by many as quick drying, this breathable upper has received almost exclusively positive feedback. Not impeding the lightweight of the X-Talon 225, the upper is treated with a DWR coating that aims to repel water but also maintains breathability. The perforated thick upper material is combined with protection with invisible seams. The rubber bumper around the toe and heel area provides an extra layer of protection for daring adventures and does not feel constricting to most. The precision fit is enhanced with Inov-8's Met-cradle lacing system that secures the foot for confidence and security on the run.
Weight
Weight

Weight

Surprisingly lightweight, the unisex Inov-8 X-Talon 225 comes in at 7.9 oz for both men and women. Surely, there is trade off for this benefit but most are pleased with the experiences they have had with this shoe. Not weighed down by the unique waterproofing layer in the upper and not bulked up with a rock plate or extra cushioning, this shoe tends to feel more minimal making it more suitable for faster shorter distance running and even racing on mountainous terrain.
Breathability
Breathability

Breathability

Receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback on its breathability, the X-Talon 225's upper has created many a fan. Combined with the perforated upper's fabric and the breathable mesh tongue, Inov-8 has created a shoe that actually delivers the ventilation so many trail runners desire and need for a confident run through adverse conditions. Even with an upper coated in a water repellent layer, the breathability of the shoe is not impeded. Comprised of a thick mesh that ventilates well, the Inov-8 X-Talon 225 keeps the foot cool and dry. Few claim lack of drainage but most found these shoes to be quite efficient. Reducing the chance of injury or blisters and increasing the longevity of the shoe, staying dry in muddy and sloppy conditions and keeping feet cool and fresh in hot weather are very desirable shoe traits for the most hearty trail runners.
Comfort
Comfort

Comfort

The Inov-8 X-Talon 225's quick drying and breathable upper create a comfortable environment for trail runner's feet as they venture to new heights. While some feel the shoe is quite narrow and a little difficult to put on, the precision fit which most seem to enjoy creates a stable environment for the foot to not roll or move within the shoe. The slightly wider toe box allows for freedom of movement there for a more natural toe splay. The toe and heel rubber bumper feel non constricting. Some feel that the tighter fit and less cushioning can be suitable for up to a marathon distance while others feel, to maintain comfort, it is meant for slightly shorter runs of half marathon distance or shorter. Additionally, some cited that the underfoot lugs made the shoe uncomfortable on flat hard terrain but as the shoe is intended for mountains and rugged running, most were not concerned with this.

Style
Style

Style

Available in a bright neon-almost lime green and a modest red, this shoe was appealing to most reviewers. It appears serious and extreme creating a competitive look that is in keeping with the actual function of the shoe.
Durability
Durability

Durability

Intended for mountains and fells and mud, most were pleased with the durability of this shoe citing lugs that were slow to erode even on the tricky ascents and descents they scaled. Some have reported seeing more serious wear early on in the shoe's life cycle from excessive use in hard, dry conditions but the shoe is intended for sloppy wet trail conditions and pounding away on dry abrasive terrain will certainly reduce the lifespan of the sole and lugs of most any shoe. Despite the wear these runners encountered, the shoes still continued to perform even in more slippery wet conditions. The thick mesh waterproofed upper and the rubber bumpers had proven durable as well.
Protection
Protection

Protection

Sporting no underfoot rockplate protection, the Inov-8 X-Talon continues to deliver a solid 10 performance as protection goes. The sole's durable rubber and strategically placed and angled lugs offer underfoot protection. And surprisingly light for all the added guarding of the foot, this shoe makes a great impression on many for its ability to keep runners confidently gliding along muddy rocky terrain. The "rubberband" that runs along the toe area and the rubber protection wrapping the heel help keep feet safe from rocks and debris preventing impact injury and bruising. The waterproofing of the upper keeps feet protected from the elements allowing air to ventilate and water to be repelled maintaining fresh and dry conditions.
Responsiveness
Responsiveness

Responsiveness

Most claimed that the Inov-8 X-Talon 225 provided great ground feedback for a more responsive ride. The lower heel drop and minimal cushioning allowed runners to develop an accurate groundfeel for better navigating of tricky trails.
Support
Support

Support

Offering no additional support features, the precision fit is mostly responsible for the feeling of support in this shoe. With no slippage and rolling in the shoe, the narrow and snug fit provide many runners with a feeling of security that allows them to think of nothing but the path before them.
Terrain
Terrain

Terrain

Marketed as ideal for mountain and fell racing, the X-Talon 225 is intended for extreme terrain. With these shoes on your side, those off-road climbing adventures will feel smooth and easily tamed. With rubber bumpers along the perimeter of the shoe in the toe and a full heel, feet will be safe from sharp underfoot protrusions and debris. With its aggressive lugs and sticky sole, wet mountains and slippery muddy technical trails will be no match for this shoe. Comfort and durability of the sole is compromised when worn in dry abrasive conditions and wearing on the road is not recommended.
Price
Price

Price

Compared to the many shoes on the market that trail runners can choose from, this shoe seems a top contender but does not demand a significantly higher asking price. Even with its time out on the market, when found for purchase, it does not seem to carry a significant reduction in cost. With all the positive feedback, most are not concerned with this and seem to consider the Inov-8 X-Talon 225 a great investment in adventuring.
Traction
Traction

Traction

Lauded for its traction, the Inov-8 X-Talon 225 delivers a strong solid groundfeel with serious grit and the ability to nimbly interact with rocky muddy terrain.
Due to the sole's 8 mm gripping lugs and the new sticky rubber compound, this trail runner offers the maximum in grip and traction. The lugs - or talons - placed and angled strategically assist with the climbs and the muddy slippery descents as well as across rocky terrain. They dig in even into the slippery muddy messes and peel it back for superior groundfeel and most are pleased with how the mud is released with each stride.
Flexibility
Flexibility

Flexibility

With little break-in period needed, most are pleased with how light and flexible the Inov-8 X-Talon 225 feels. With good groundfeel allowing runners to quickly adapt to changing and broken terrain, this shoe proves how agile it is. The METAflex in the forefoot, offering just enough bend and give for those climbing ascents, feet felt secure and stable allowing for more efficient adept running. The well fitted upper played a role in the feeling of flexibility as it felt like natural foot running to many. The snugger fit created the feeling of "one-ness" with the foot and this allowed runners to just focus on the agility required for each footstrike as opposed to movement within the shoe. Overall, flexibility is just another winning component of this well-received shoe.
Stability
Stability

Stability

As a neutral trail running shoe, there are no official motion control or stability features in play. What Inov-8 offers in the X-Talon 225 is its precision fit complete with its lacing system that helps further lock down the foot. This security of fit prevents rolling of the foot and lends itself to stability in unsettling and changing terrain and slippery, muddy or wet conditions. Reviewers have praised its ability to stabilize the foot even on the slickest descents.
Drop
Drop

Drop

With a stack height in the heel measuring 21mm from the ground and, at the toe, 17mm, there is a differential of a 4mm drop height. This lower drop and minimal cushioning encourages closer connection to the ground and is something some runners appreciate especially for shorter distances on muddy trails.
Key Features
Key Features

Key Features

aggressively nimble trail shoe

exceptional grip on technical trails, shining brightest especially in muddy conditions

feeling minimalist in cushioning to many, best for runs shorter than marathon distance

very lightweight for quick turnover

impressive water drainage due to a coated mesh upper

unisex shoe

precision narrow fit for security of fit

Bottom Line
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

Inov8's reputation for grit and quality has been well earned and the X-Talon 225 is just another example demonstrating this. Taking on every obstacle in its way, especially mud, the X-Talon 225 is lauded for its adept capability with ease and in comfort. Lightweight, snug but with ample toe room, and protective, runners can feel confident as they glide over muddy and mountainous terrain. With a ticket price that is in keeping with competitors, if the narrower precision fit works for you, this is definitely one you want out there with you as you test your limits.