Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Inov-8 Road X 233 shoe review

The best running shoe
Road X 233 

The Road X 233 (hit for product details) was my first taste of the Inov-8 road range, in fact, of any of their range. I had been experiencing some trouble with my hips, and after being fitted for a 'support' shoe I thought I can either let my shoes for ever tell me how to run or I could learn how to run again and become more free with my running. Why the review now? I'm having some slight plantar fasciitis pain and I want the additional support of the Dynamic Fascia Band™ shank that is embeded in the midsole of these shoes. I'd forgotten just how good they are as I've gotten to know them again over the last couple of weeks.

The Kinvara had worked well for me for the last 12 months, but research and development had led me towards running more minimalist. Enter the world of Inov-8.

The runningwarehouse website with its shoe fitter and comparison guide suggested that the Road X 233 would be a close fit to my Kinvaras. Many hours of trawling reviews convinced me that these were worth a try. So, how did they work out? Will they be the best running shoe?

The Road X 233 (hit for the wiggle.co.uk link, they're a great supplier) are what Inov-8 call a 2 shock zone shoe, or they run off a 6mm drop - My kinvaras were off 4mm. This was an easy transition, in fact, possibly a backward step? Known for the wider toebox, the 233 was instantly a whole lot roomier than the Kinvaras, but still felt secure fit wise. I did need to lace them a little tighter to begin with. The Inov-8 foam is much denser than the Kinvara and also a lot less - The Road X 233 is 9mm thick at the heel and 3mm thick at the front. This drop in stack height did take a little getting used to. Finally I was getting some 'ground contact'. I was being made accountable for how my foot landed. They also have the Dynamic Fascia Band™ which Inov-8 say replicates and supports the foot's plantar fascia ligament. What does it do? It is designed to store additional energy from your foot and give you a little extra whip with your toe off. 

For me this is where the real difference was. My first run in these and I suddenly became a lot more aware of how hard I was landing, so I spent a week doing 2-3 minutes of barefoot in the gym before each run just to get my gait and fore/midfoot landing right. When I used the correct gait and motion, these felt 'just right'. The cushioing felt like it moulded to my foot and was right where I needed it. When I got lazy and landed more on my heel I could certainly tell what was happening, thus the Road X 233 have certainly helped me to transition to the fore/midfoot striking when I run. On a side note I ran a 10km PB the first time I wore these in a race.

You might be looking at the soles and thinking 'how can these things grip'. Inov-8 have placed a super sticky compound on the high contact points near the heel, mid and forefoot strike zones and it works a treat.
I've run on the flat and some crazy 20% incline hills (road) in both the dry and the wet. I've been able to ascend and descend these hills with full confidence - the only issue I had was wet socks slightly slipping inside the shoe.

As you can see my shoes are now a little dirtier but still holding up really well after 300kms of use. For a smooth transition into the minimalist/natural/barefoot running style, these shoes are a must have. All my friends can pick them up at 


Let them know the fish sent you :)

Cheers, Lachie

Use the fish followers code fish10 to get 10% discount on Inov-8 shoes and the rest of the range at barefootinc!

Keep Hydrated on the roads with UltrAspires 2013 packs

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