Overall Rating: 5/5
Having worn Inov-8 shoes since I started off road running back in 2010 I’ve been a huge fan. As my technique has developed over time I’ve required a more responsive shoe and I’ve learned to know what type of footwear best suits my style. For a competitive fell and trail runner I’d probably be considered to be over weight as I don’t mirror the stick thin runners that occupy the top spots. So, my equipment when running needs to be light. Having worn through a pair of Inov-8 X Talon 190’s which were the lightest shoe in the range I decided to give the 212’s a go.
For Inov-8 the naming conventions works with a name which refers to the shoes design and a number which refers to the weight. There are of course other vital elements that make a difference between each model but to keep things simple, the X Talon name refers to the aggressive tread on the base of the shoe and the 212 is the shoes weight in grams for a standard size 8 shoe. As a size 10 mine come in slightly over that weight.
Having worn these shoes for nearly a year I’ve been exceptionally impressed. The ‘talons’ grip wet slippery surfaces with ease and the spacing of these talons reduce ‘clagging’ which could occur on muddier runs. The 2 arrow cushioning puts these mid range for Inov-8 and provides a great balance between reducing the impact of footfall and light weight performance. With the 190’s (which have been my all time favourite shoe) it was very noticeable if you took to a stony path as particularly jagged stones could really be felt through the soles. The down side to the impressive grip is that the ‘talons’ do wear away more quickly with frequent use because of the sticky rubber compound used to create friction on wet surfaces but if the shoes last you a year of full use as mine have done then it is money well spent.
The upper layer is a synthetic and mesh lined. Having donned these to run on Lakeland Trails and some of the NEHRA fell series I have used them in all weathers. The shoes wicks away moisture extremely effectively when combined with a high wicking sock.
Inov-8’s design has always been something which has appealed to me and the sleek look can be seen as frequently on lakeland high streets as it is on the fells. This is because Inov-8 make good looking shoes which appeals to markets other than the serious off road runner. FACT!
The power of the X-Talons can be recognised when you see that according to Inov-8, the 212’s are winners of more world championships than any other off roader.
The price of these shoes varies from just under £75 on sites like Swaledale Outdoors to well over £90 so it is well worth shopping around.
All in all, this a superb off road shoe offering excellent durability, weight and grip.