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Inov 8 Shoes ... Just Another Cult ?
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(asandh) - F
Inov 8 Shoes ... Just Another Cult ? on 04/24/2011 09:12:38 MDT Print View

I actually own a pair of Inov 8's that I never wear.
I've tried on a few different models in stores.
They just don't seem right for me.

But many owners swear by them, to the point where its very "Applesque".
I mean Cult-like. The rabid allegiance is a bit scary.

Yet I here reports of premature wear from many owners, and the tread pattern was designed for running in the muddy hillsides of Great Britain, not the rocky trails of the Western USA.

Those of you who own Inov 8's ... can you give me a rational argument why they are so good ?

Please don't anyone say "Hike Your Own Hike" that is simply code for "I don't really have a valid response".

Chris Townsend
(Christownsend) - MLife

Locale: Cairngorms National Park
Inov 8 Shoes ... Just Another Cult ? on 04/24/2011 09:20:05 MDT Print View

Very light, very comfortable, very breathable, quick drying. I wore Terrocs on a thru'hike of the Pacific Northwest Trail last year and I've worn them on many walks in Scotland.

I almost wore out two pairs on the PNT, so that's around 600 miles a pair. I've had lightweight boots that didn't last that long.

But there are other good shoes and fit is the most important factor.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Inov 8 Shoes ... Just Another Cult ? on 04/24/2011 09:22:54 MDT Print View

Hmmmmm. I wouldn't say I'd swear by them, though I do enjoy swearing often....

I've got two pair, and I do like them. They fit my feet well and seem to give me enough protection for the places I hike. I wore a pair on my week-long Teton Crest trip, plenty of rock on that one, and they did fine. And they're lighter than most other options, which I like.

But I think they do wear out pretty quickly. It seems that most of the minimalist shoes do. My NB MT-100s wore out pretty quickly too, but I like them as well (enough to buy a pair of the 101s).

Whereas I can't ever envision myself buying a PC (yep, I'm one of those), I certainly buy other than Inov-8s. But I do like my Inov-8s. Probably what I'll wear on my next outing next weekend.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Inov 8 Shoes ... Just Another Cult ? on 04/24/2011 09:29:50 MDT Print View

I also like the fact that they don't change the shoes every year for the sake of change. Been happy with my Terroc 330s. Never had a blister. Only bad point for me is that the fabric inside the heal area wears too fast. I started adding some tape in there to slow it down. The come in a 15. Many manufacturers do not. They have worn way longer than a pair of Brooks. Those were junk IMO.
Just like Apple they work for me.

Edited by kthompson on 04/24/2011 09:30:45 MDT.

Chris Benson
(roguenode) - F

Locale: Boulder
RE: inov-8 cult on 04/24/2011 10:09:24 MDT Print View

Flexible w/no rock plate, excellent grip. Low to the ground with good trail feel. I use loc-laces with them and can comfortably do 20+ mile trail runs or long mileage hiking days in them and my feet feel great afterwards.

I have yet to find a trail running shoe that is better for grip than my x-talon's. Yes, I also use them in rocky areas, skree, etc.

While I've had early wear on some of the upper's, I can get as many trail running miles out of my x-talon's as I can out of a similar road running or trail shoe. Expecting similar miles as hiking boots or more substantial (ready heavy) trail shoes is an apples to oranges comparison.

Ken's point about not changing models often is a good one. Although, this adds to the myraid of versions they have as they add, rather than modify most of the time. No doubt this is confusing to those new customers.

I think inov-8 lovers often do want to spread the word and suggest people give them a try. However, unlike *some* Apple fan-boy's or cults, we may want you to join the club, but if you give it a shot and don't like it, so be it.

Of course, take all of this with a grain of salt as I must confess I recently switched to one of their new road-x shoes for road runs. Yes, I am happy with it so far.

I do have issues with some inov-8's. For instance, my x-talon's don't dry out as fast as I'd like and I'm not confident I'll get high miles out of the road-x's sole.

You can say "don't say hike your own hike", but footwear is very personal and what works well for me, might be terrible for you. To me, this point, more than any, differs from an apple/cult attitude.

Daniel Allen
(Dan_Quixote) - F

Locale: below the mountains (AK)
Re: Inov 8 Shoes ... Just Another Cult ? on 04/24/2011 11:07:19 MDT Print View

I haven't used mine very much, but so far they've been terrific in the snow with a pair of gore-tex socks underneath. Their rabid traction is fantastic in the winter, and in the spring they also do a bang up job on the mud generated as all the snow melts up here in AK. And my running hypothesis is that the snow and mud don't wear the tread down the same way as rock trail would.

For me, mixed packed-snow and off-trail in winter is their best application, and their lightness a great counter to the weight of my snowshoes.

Just wear gaiters: snow likes to stockpile between the top of the tongue and my ankle, and it eventually gets uncomfortable and will come back quicker once the shoe material gets wet.

I should mention, though, that I only bought them because of all the hype I too read, and I've put <50 miles on them so far, but they've been great this winter/spring for my few trips.

The best part about Inov-8 shoes, though, is the reality distortion field.


Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Inov 8 Shoes ... Just Another Cult ? on 04/24/2011 11:23:57 MDT Print View

Short answer ... they keep my feet happy and if my feet are unhappy then I'm an unhappy camper.

Chris summed up the reasons very well.

But few things are as individual as feet so ya have to try them on trail to find out. I wasn't willing to pay the $$ to try them until I stumbled on a $35 pair that fit me on an REI clearance rack (unsure how they got there, REI's never sold them as far as I've seen). For my feet it was love at first hike ... and the feeling hasn't faded in the intervening three years. I have a pair sitting in a box waiting for the current pair to wear out and I shop before I need them, looking for a good price.

Dustin Snyder

Locale: Southeast
Re: Re: Inov 8 Shoes ... Just Another Cult ? on 04/24/2011 11:30:15 MDT Print View

I have a pair of roclite 295 and love them! I really like the softer rubber soles and there light weight. They breath very well and my feet don't move around much at all.

Michael Bachman
(rivrfox) - F

Locale: Western Slope, Colorado
Love the shoes... on 04/24/2011 11:40:23 MDT Print View

for packing...I've had great success with the 315's.

Slightly unrelated I'm just getting into minimalist running. Not sure if it will be able to cross over into backpacking.

I'll post some fotos of an old pair I've worn to their death :)


Terri Wright
(ncalcamper) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Wider Width on 04/24/2011 11:41:06 MDT Print View

I have a pretty wide foot and often wear shoes/boots that are meant for youth. I tried on about 5 different brands at Zombie Runner yesterday all of them were women's shoes that felt a little tight. What I like about Inov-8 is their size their shoes as unisex and get down to small sizes (I wear a man's size 6) so I can get that wider width shoe that has the technical merits of an adult shoe. I'm really tired of velcro. ;-)

Pepe LP
(PepeLp) - F

Locale: New Mexico
Re: Re: Re: Inov 8 Shoes ... Just Another Cult ? on 04/24/2011 12:22:41 MDT Print View

I have a few pairs. I love the aggressive soles and the light weight. They really work well on the trails I frequent.

But....the forefoot is a little narrow for me, and the heel cup a little big. Probably won't buy more unless I can find a model that fits better. Right now I'm using a LaSportiva Crosslite. For me, the more aggressive the sole the better.

Edited by PepeLp on 04/24/2011 12:25:10 MDT.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Wider Width on 04/24/2011 12:46:28 MDT Print View

I also like the fact they have unisex sizing like Terri,I don't wear the womens versions I wear the smaller mens and the toe box is great on me,I not only hike in these but I work in them as well.REI did used to sell inov-8's but stopped a few years ago.

will sawyer
(wjsawyer) - F

Locale: Connecticut
Re: Inov 8 Shoes ... Just Another Cult ? on 04/24/2011 12:50:58 MDT Print View

I've had a pair of x-talon 212s for over a year, and really puit them through their paces, two seasons of cross country running, a few hundred miles of hiking and backpacking, and many other things. They are still completely usable. the upper material is bomber, there is significant wear on the tread, but there was so much tread to begin with, they still grip better than anything else. If you have a narrowish foot they fit great.

just got a pair if roclite 295s to try out for a bit more protection when backpacking.

I've also found some really good deals on them. my recent roclites were $40 or $50.

Inov8 is also a great company, they sponsor many athletes in a variety of disciplines, and are also very environmentally conscious.

If the shoe fits...

Kevin Haskins
(kevperro) - F

Locale: Washington State
Don't own any. on 04/24/2011 14:28:29 MDT Print View

"Please don't anyone say "Hike Your Own Hike" that is simply code for "I don't really have a valid response."

Hike your own hike.

Couldn't help myself but it isn't code for "I don't have a valid response". It is code for "people have different opinions and we should respect that fact".

For the record... I don't own nor have ever owned a pair. I'm just bought some Teva boots with ankle support and an eVent liner. I'm expecting them to be the next craze and I wanted to jump on board early.

Edited by kevperro on 04/24/2011 14:29:32 MDT.

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Kevin, I agree with your assertion.... on 04/24/2011 15:35:17 MDT Print View

...that HYOH isn't code for "I don't have a valid response." Rather, it's an acknowledgement that there are plurality of viewpoints based upon opinions.

Nobody has the the time or money to try all the shoes out there - there are brands that work for a lot of people and are repeated cited here. But footwear is among the most subjective decisions in this hiking universe - people love certain brands/styles because it works for them.


Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Inov 8 Shoes ... Just Another Cult ? on 04/24/2011 18:12:16 MDT Print View

They are certainly kinda cool looking and well marketed. I know many people believe they are rugged individualist who are not swayed by marketing, but they just tend to buy stuff marketed to rugged individualist who are not swayed by marketing :). However to me they also seem to deliver in terms of performance.

I have been pleased with my Flyroc 310s. They have a good sole for NZ conditions and the heel feels nice and close to the ground. In contrast my Salamon XAs didn't have good enough grip and just seem to have too much heel (especially since I now do quite a lot of barefoot walking). It is all down to fit though, as I tried some Terrocs and they were to narrow in the fore foot for me.

I know this type of shoe wont last forever (my XAs are already wearing out), but once I don't think they are suitable for tramping I use them for causal use and then finally for working in the garden, so I do get good use out of them before they go to the landfill.

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Inov-8's on 04/24/2011 18:43:35 MDT Print View

I got a pair of Roclite 295's about a month ago and have been running and hiking in them. They are my first pair of Inov-8's. I found them browsing Zappos and hadn't read anything about them before then, so I would consider my opinion "groupthink-free."

Things I like:
-Lightest shoes I have ever owned. My size 10's weigh 9.9 ounces
-Traction. They are noticeably grippier than anything other than my climbing approach shoes. I attribute this to the "S" rubber and aggressive lugs.
-Minimal structure, i.e. they are basically just shoelaces attached to a flat sole. I even wear mine without the insoles b/c they fit my foot better that way

Things I don't like:
-They aren't the best fitting shoes I have ever worn (not a fault of the brand, but rather my feet.) Since they don't have a lot of support my left ankle tends to slide inward and rub against the inside of the heel. I think this must have to do with the biomechanics of my foot/stride because it doesn't happen on the right side.

Durability remains to be seen. Mine have about 100 miles on them and are doing just fine. I would buy another pair.


Andy Ledbetter
(millhouse) - F

Locale: Derbyshire
Re: Inov 8 Shoes ... Just Another Cult ? on 04/25/2011 12:50:12 MDT Print View

"But many owners swear by them, to the point where its very "Applesque".
I mean Cult-like. The rabid allegiance is a bit scary."

Every mention of Inov 8's I can find on these forums is solid sensible opinion either for or against. I certainly cannot find any trace of 'rabid allegiance'.

They work for me because they are light, hard wearing, work in sand/snow/mud and on rock. They are comfortable even on 35 mile days.


eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
inov on 04/25/2011 13:53:06 MDT Print View

i love my terrocs .... light, grippy, breathable, flexible sole ...

the only place where they dont work as well is bushwhacking where thorns, sharp branches will punch through the mesh ... or on broken rock fields where a stiffer sole would help more

other than that they are great

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Inov 8 Shoes ... Just Another Cult ? on 04/26/2011 00:17:12 MDT Print View

Summary: thousands of blister free miles with no knee or hip pain. I primarily use flyroc-310 on the trail, 295 when close to town. More specific factors:

fits me just right. The toebox and main body is larger enough, while the heel is narrow enough for MY foot. I find the toebox of most of the RocLite line too narrow, so any of their more minimalist shoes don't work for me :-(

used to be one of the lightest options, though they are no longer class leading with the launch of so many minimalist shoes in the last two years.

fairly fast drying and breath well.

flexible sole (which seems to be a core reason I don't have hip / knee pain that I suffered with for 40+ years until I switch to inov-8 and other minimalist shoes

inov-8 doesn't change the design, they keep selling designs that people are buying without changing them for years!! the flyroc-310 I purchase a few weeks ago (I have lost track, but I think it is pair 15) is the same design (other than color change) as the flyroc I purchased in 2005.

great traction on anything but ice.


mesh of the flyroc not that protective (feet dirty, sometimes vegitation pokes feet)

shortly life than ideal (approx 400 miles)

heavier (and not zero drop) compare to several shoes that are on the market today... though I have yet to find something that gives me the same comfort combined with adequate traction.