Saturday, February 25, 2012

Shoe Review inov-8 XL233

I was lucky enough to get my trail grubby mitts on another model of inov-8 shoes this past week.  I will say the Brits are on to something!  A few weeks ago, I gave the XL155's a shot and declared them awesome.  I will say the XL233s were nearly as impressive. 

Weighing in at a thin 8.2 ounces, these shoes are lighter than most of the cement blocks you may be picking up at your local Footlocker.  Though not as anorexic as the XL155s, they are pretty darn light on the foot. 

The 6mm drop made me feel a little like Goldilocks in the new nursery book story "Edilocks and the Three Shoes".  These shoes felt jusssst right on the stride.  It was a noticably different drop that I found to be very comfortable.

I had the same lace tightening challenge with the 233s as I did the 155s.  The materials inov-8 uses in the upper and the lack of "extra" materials leaves the toe box succeptable to over tightening...for me I scrunched up the front of the shoe a bit the first tie, ran it a bit, over-loosened it and then finally figured it out the third tie. 

More on the materials.  The upper is constructed of a very light mesh.  For structure they clue or melt rib like plastic supporters on the mid part of the shoe.  That is how they are trimming the weight below most of their competitors.

The shoe made me adjust my stride a tad.  Why?  I was making slap sounds after the first mile or two.  I figured out that to quiet the stride out I needed to aim to land more on the front of the shoe.  The adjustment made my calves feel a bit fussy the day after, but I have been running shoes of various drops the last few weeks so it is to be expected. 

I put 16 miles in on the 233s this week.   One of the things I will be watching on both the 155s and the 233s is how many miles I get out of the soles...they are very thin compared to many other manufacturers. 

A quick check on the web reveals the inov-8s to be sold for $110 -$130.   I recommend you buy them from your friendly local running store.   There you will be able to give them a few strides on a treadmill to see if you like em!

inov-8 makes some trail shoes.  I see a pair in my future!

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