Inov-8 X-Talon 190 (Fall 2013)
6.7 oz | 3mm drop | $120 | inov-8.com
The Dirt: The updated version of this performance-driven shoe features a tighter-weave mesh, medial-lateral reinforcements and a water-resistant DWR coating—creating a hardy upper ideal for not only trail running but also obstacle racing or mud runs.
With a low ride and midsole featuring ample torsional flex, the X-Talon 190 offers plenty of ground feel. Said one tester, “The high level of proprioception made me feel agile when dodging puddles and skipping over downed trees.”
The extremely lightweight mesh upper drains superbly—within minutes—after creek crossings or heavy rain.
Best For: Short, nimble runs on rough trails, including mud-run events.
Traction: Aggressive lugs eat up soft dirt, mud, rocky trails and gravel roads, lending comfort on all terrain but pavement.
Fit: Featuring inov-8’s “Precision Fit,” the X-Talon 190 fits narrow, with a tapered toebox; most testers wore it barefoot.
The Downsides: The mesh upper is so thin, with minimal overlays, that it left testers susceptible to rolled ankles on steep descents and hard turns.
Tester-Monial: “I could ask for more cushion and support for ultras, but that’s not what this shoe is about … it’s about precision and execution.” –Linh Shark, Olympia, WA