Inov-8 X-Talon 230 Review

Inov-8 X-Talon 230
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Ask any racer what their most important gear is on race day, and you can be certain the majority will give you the same answer: “It’s gotta be the shoes!” And there is no more recognized brand in OCR, than Inov-8. Their proven history of quality shoes, for all running and race types, has culminated with the newest iteration of their original trailblazer shoe – The Inov-8 X-Talon 230. I reached out to Inov-8 for a chance to review their newest release, and was psyched to have them at my doorstep this past week. Let’s see what they’re made of.

Inov-8 X-Talon 230 Features


“New industry-leading STICKY GRIP™ rubber delivers better traction than its predecessor over both wet and dry underfoot conditions.” Inov-8 calls these shoes “The next generation of trail running shoes.” They have an aggressive 6mm stud, which made my snow, mud, and ice filled run seem like it was a trail on a sunny Spring weekend. If you’re like me, you are constantly looking for the next solid step when running through questionably steady terrain, the X-Talon’s offer a sturdiness in my step that I haven’t felt in another shoe. When you stop worrying about how each step may compromise your footing, you can truly enjoy your run, regardless of the conditions. The X-Talon’s helped me make easy work of loose mud and snow on the trails.


Iconic 8mm studs not only claw through soft terrain but also hold firm on harder ground. The X-Talon’s grip excels on unstable ground, as well as in the gym. Traversing streams, doubling back over trails full of mud, or tackling an 8 ft wall, the X-Talon held on like no other shoe I’ve worn before. And those studs were perfect for climbing a rope.


Second-generation META-PLATE is a rock plate that protects the underfoot from sharp rocks. We’re all kids inside, aren’t we? If you’re like my and my inner child I am constantly jumping from rock to rock as I am out on the trail. The protection built into the X-Talon shoes allows me to save my arches as I mountain goat around in the wilderness.

Inov-8 X-Talon 230 Durability

Right out of the box, the X-Talon shows off its tough build and durable form. The materials of the shoe wrap around your foot, like it was custom molded for my appendages. It’s flexibility allows for ease of movement while I run, while still protecting my toes from being caught on jutting rocks, or rogue branches hanging off the occasional fallen log. The X-Talon is wrapped in durable materials around the side, and toes, which will hopefully prevent tearing, and blowouts – an issue I’ve had with my wide feet in the past.


  • Amazing grip on almost all terrain.
  • Much soft, more cushioned steps as compared to past X-Talon releases
  • Sturdy design and durable materials ensure they’ll last me the race season and beyond.


  • Inov-8’s “precision fit”is a slim design and may not fit all peoples individual footprint. I usually have to go up a size to get a fit that doesn’t crunch my toes together.
  • The X-Talon is heavier than other OCR shoes, weighing in at 230g.
  • Sorry Inov-8, you still haven’t mastered my adesire to run full speed on ice.


Inov-8 X-Talon 230 Conclusion

In the past I was an avid fan of Inov-8’s Trailroc Series shoes. They were versatile, had a good grip, and performed well in all weather but lacked protection, and a good landing surface for heavy footed runners like myself. The X-Talon fills those gaps and more. They’ve delivered in the brutal, sometimes menopausal weather of New England. There’s nothing like a clean pair of new shoes fresh out of the box, but the first thing I wanted to do was get these babies dirty. I was in the mud and show as fast as I could lace these shoes up, and I couldn’t be happier with them. I see them becoming an extremely popular shoe for this upcoming obstacle course season. For me, they have the perfect balance of soft landing, with base level protection, grip, and pliability for everything we do on a typical race weekend.

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Josh Chace

Josh Chace has been an obstacle and endurance race enthusiast for the last five years. He is a 2017 Team MudGear Athlete and is a co-host of the New England Spahtens Show podcast.
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