Inov-8 X-Talon 230 Review Facts
British-based Inov-8 has perfected high-quality running gear of all types since 2003. Now operating in 60 countries worldwide, it’s safe to say that they’ve studied what works best on every type of terrain. This, of course, is what makes their trail running shoes so well received. One of their most popular lines, X-Talon, is a series of shoes with a narrow structure for better stability and a low-to-the-ground platform for greater control of movement, and water repellency for added protection against wet weather conditions. All of these are included in the line’s latest model, the X-Talon 230. It also includes additional responsive features and protection from hazardous surfaces in the form of a Meta-Plate within the sole. Pair these up with a sleek minimalist design that catches the buyer’s eye, and this becomes a highly functional running shoe that can take on even the most technical trails.
A sticky rubber compound is a common material for both racing and trail running shoes, so it's no surprise that the X-Talon 230 makes use of it as well. Aside from providing a high level of traction, enabling the shoe to grip tightly onto many difficult harsh surfaces
, it's also extremely durable. It holds up wonderfully to wear and tear while safeguarding the rest of the shoe. A series of aggressive gripping lugs, each connected by a curved vertical line, make up the shoe's tread pattern. They essentially pockmark the surface as they're used, which adds to its already strong grip. For added flexibility, a Meta-Flex runs horizontally along the forefoot.
Instead of a traditional midsole, the X-Talon 230 features a 2 Arrow Shock Zone with a modest level of cushioning and shock absorption. Enhancing this is the Powerflow+, which claims to offer better responsiveness than most midsole materials that are available. The Fascia band acts as both a foundation and an extension of the tendons and muscles within the underfoot. It works by following the runner's bending movements and then snapping back into shape during the toe-off, greatly enhancing the amount of energy return felt. Finally, added protection against damage or injury comes in the form of a Meta-Plate fixed between the outsole and midsole.
The construction X-Talon 230's upper allows the shoe to be equal parts breathable and waterproof. Synthetic mesh, its primary material, has a close-knit construction that keeps dirt and debris out of the foot chamber yet still enables decent airflow. The addition of a synthetic web gives it greater structure and ensures that the foot stays in place throughout its wear. The rand, which wraps around the toes and sides of the shoe, protects the toes from potential trail hazards and is specially modified to be waterproof. In fact, the entire faced of the shoe has been pre-treated with a Durable Water Repellent coating to keep the foot dry during runs through wet conditions
According to other reviews and product descriptions, both men's and women's sizes average out at just over 8 oz in weight
. This makes the X-Talon 230 considerably lighter than the typical trail running shoe. Though it's still higher than a standard racing model, it's the perfect amount to enable the runner to reach an incredibly high speed on technical trails. What truly impresses reviewers is that, despite its lightweight design, it still proves to be extremely sturdy when used on multiple rough terrains.
Despite its protective wear and water repellency, the X-Talon 230 still proves to be quite breathable. The clove-weave construction of its synthetic mesh upper provides the runner with a decent amount of airflow, permitting temperature
and moisture control, while still keeping dirt and debris out of the foot chamber. Though it may be substantial for a number of trail runners, those who are more familiar with what Inov-8 has to offer claim that this shoe is not nearly as breathable as several of its other models.
The waterproof nature of this shoe already lets consumers know that the X-Talon 230 takes their comfort into consideration. The use of DWR to pretreat its upper ensures that mild splashes and rain showers are staved off and the foot is kept dry. Even more impressive, this quality does not hinder its level of breathability. Runners can easily stay cool and dry as they run across challenging trails. Underfoot cushioning, along with a high level of shock absorption, is provided by the 2-Arrow Shock Zone and Powerflow+. Though runners seem to be happy with these features, many were not pleased with the shoe's Precision Fit design. According to several reviewers, its narrow construction doesn't take most foot shapes
Reviewers are pleased to see that the X-Talon 230 keeps the same general silhouette and sleek design as its predecessors. Its slim construction comes courtesy of the Precision Fit design, which makes for a very narrow-fitting shoe that, unfortunately, is not meant for those with medium or wide feet
. Like other versions within this line, its most readily available color option is black with either blue or green detailing all around the sole and under the ankles. Another version with a red sole unit and overlays can also be found at very limited retailers.
The X-Talon 230 ranked extremely high when it came to its sturdiness. Of course, its most durable feature is easily its sticky rubber outsole, which can hold up to high-speed runs across even the most technical trails
. The use of a Meta-Plate, fixed between the midsole and outsole, ensures an even longer-lasting wear by protecting both the foot and the rest of the shoe from possible damage. And aside from having water repellency, which already prevents early degradation, its synthetic upper is also engineered to withstand both consistent usages and runs through rugged, rough environments.
Despite its lightweight wear, the X-Talon 230 still proves to be incredibly protective. The sticky rubber outsole holds up to continuous use on many of the most extreme terrains and provides an incredibly secure grip to keep the runner moving along safely. The combined cushioning units that take the place of a midsole absorb the impact of each landing, ensuring less fatigue and chronic pain
by the end of the run. Between these units is a Meta-Plate, which not only enhances durability but also safeguards the underfoot from sharp and jagged surfaces. Even the upper's construction forms a barrier against trail hazards, blocks out dirt and debris, and still offers a breathable wear that could keep infections at bay. And its water repellency illuminates the possibility of shoe degradation, rashes
, discomfort, and slipping while running through different forms of weather.
Despite its lack of a proper midsole, the X-Factor 230 still proves to be incredibly responsive
. As the 2-Arrow Shock Zone provides most of the cushioning, the Powerflow+ is fixed in to aid this feature in giving the runner 25% more energy return and 10% more shock absorption than most standard midsole materials that are currently used. A Fascia Band is also layered in to serve as a base for all of the tendons
within the underfoot, bending along with the runner's natural movement and then immediately snapping back into place once the toes leave the ground. This, in turn, powers up each and every motion forward.
The X-Talon 230’s low-to-the-ground platform may give runners the impression that it doesn’t offer a lot of support. On the contrary, a good trail running shoe
has to come with a decent amount of support in order to properly carry the wearer across difficult terrains. This model’s sticky rubber outsole and Meta-Plate serve as a protective base that enables the other features to do their jobs completely. And its 2-Arrow Shock Zone and Powerflow+ work together to keep the foot cushioned as they absorb the impact of every single landing.
As a competition trail running shoe, the X-Talon 230 can easily withstand use on all types of technical trails. All of its carefully engineered features, especially its stick rubber outsole and waterproof upper, function exceptionally well across rocks, forests, and thick mud. Even large puddles and slick surfaces prove to be no issue for the runner as they continue to move along safely and securely. Though there is not much information that explains how well this model performs on roads, other models within the X-Talon line
are said to have performed poorly on these particular surfaces. Therefore, it would be wise to switch to another pair of shoes while running across asphalt or concrete.
Across multiple online retailers, the X-Talon 230 can be found for $125. Though this is considered around an average price-point for a running shoe, it's even more impressive when one takes a closer look at how it's made. As soon as the buyer lists out all of this model's advanced features, highly durable wear, and ability to tackle extremely rough trails, they'll quickly see it as not just a great investment but also an amazing bargain. This is especially apparent when compared with the prices of similar models on the market.
A trail shoe can't be considered a real trail shoe if it doesn't feature incredible traction. Thankfully for fans of the Inov-8 brand
, the X-Falcon 230 more than delivers when it comes to this quality. The sticky rubber compound that makes up its outsole enables an incredibly firm grasp on trails of all levels. Its series of aggressive gripping lugs achieve this by essentially pockmarking the ground, acting almost like a cheetah's claws to give further leverage to each hard step forward. Whether the runner is racing across rocky terrains, forests, puddles, or even thick mud, they are ensured a perfectly secure run without any risk of slippage.
Unfortunately, as with many trail running models, the X-Talon's durable and protective nature means that it does not offer a very flexible wear. Multiple reviewers have stated that they feel as if the platform unit is way too stiff, or at the very least takes a long time to break-in. Runners are allowed some natural movement thanks to the Fiascia Band, which keep the underfoot's tendons supported and then returns to its original shape after the toe-off, but some still find it more difficult to move around in than they do other models. The fact the sole unit places the foot so low to the ground yet is built to cushion and safeguard the runner against potential hazards could be a significant reason why.
Any experienced trail runner will say that all of their shoes also serve as stability shoes. It's no real wonder when taking a closer look at the types of surfaces and environments they move across. Of course, it all starts off with a sturdy outsole. The sticky rubber compound, complete with gripping lugs, both protects the rest of the shoe and ensures the strongest grip possible on rocks, dirt, roots, and thick mud. The shock absorption and energy return provided by the two cushioning units allow the runner to keep moving along comfortably. Finally, the upper's narrow construction, aided by synthetic web overlays, ensures that the foot will stay completely in place throughout the run.
The X-Talon 230 was made for runners who love to be close to the ground. With a heel height of 13mm and a toe height of 7mm, its low drop of just 6mm enables an incredibly natural gait that balances the runner's posture while still permitting a small amount of heel cushioning. This height also gives the runner greater control over their movements as they run across difficult terrains. Of course, this does mean that those who prefer extra cushioning in their footwear should look elsewhere.
-Sticky rubber outsole with aggressive gripping lugs
-2-Arrow Shock Zone for modest cushioning
-Powerflow+ enhances energy return
-Meta-Plate provides added protection
-Breathable yet waterproof upper
-6mm heel-to-toe drop
-Fits narrower than average
The X-Talon 230 carries on Inov-8's well-earned reputation for creating gear meant for even the most challenging terrains. Mountains, rocks, thick forests, and mud prove to be no match for this model's superior grip, high level of durability, and multiple protective features. Even different forms of weather won't hinder the runner thanks to its water repellency. Of course, its narrow construction does leave out a large part of the running population. Yet those who can wear this shoe with ease quickly discover how well it adapts to their rugged surroundings.