Saturday, 2 November 2013

a tale of 3 pairs of x-talons

I got my first pair of x-talons last year.
I don't know what took me so long to get a pair, as they are amazingly comfortable. As it was, I wore them a lot, and my strava shoe log shows that, with nigh on 800km in them. As you might expect, after that kind of
abuse they have taken on the appearance of racing flats.

Battered but unbowed after about 800km
As they got down the grip, the time for opening my second pair came close, and it was at Sedbugh hills that I broke them out. They were used in precisely 2 races and one club run on Kinder, a total of 90km, when this happened.
Studs ripping off, on both feet.
I know this site is called "Tested to destruction" but I didn't expect that.
Not being an "expert", this seemed a little strange - having one pair of shoes that does the best part of 1000 km, wearing down gradually, and another, the same model, ripping itself to pieces after having done barely a 10th of that doesn't seem right.
Box fresh- but with shearing studs after all of 90km

So I called inov8. Well. I emailed them, detailing the above, with the lovely photos that you can see above, to which I was told, they aren't the people I need to talk to. As a consumer, I need to talk to the place I bought them from- as it is with them I have the "contract" with.

Not inov8s problem.
So I called Ratrace, from where I had bought them, but no-one answered any of the phonelines that are advertised (during normal work hours on a generic day). So I emailed ratrace with the same email, and after about a week was told that I need to send my shoes back to them for inspection. Not a problem, they went in the post the next day. Registered.

A week went by. Nothing. Not even an email saying that they had received them. I called them, on the various numbers, finally getting through to someone on a line to do with races, who passed me on to someone else. It took a while, but it was confirmed that my shoes had indeed been received, and that they had been sent on to inov8, who had not got back to Ratrace.
Some progress.

Another week went by. Still nothing. I called again, going through the same rigmarole of phones not being answered, until I finally got through on a random line, and then went through to someone else... No, still nothing from inov8, but it would be chased up.
Considering that I sent the shoes back the week before the Ian Hodgeson relays, and it wasn't until after the FRAs that I finally got an email saying that Inov8 would replace the shoes and which address would I like them sent to, I was a little frustrated.

(just checking the emails, I sent the first one to Ratrace on the 5th September, I took receipt of a new pair on the 1st November - and as a side note, during the same time period I also bought a pair of mudclaws from ratrace, who processed and sent the shoes within 24 hours, so buying stuff is fine....)

I got a new pair of x-talons today. Brand new, new colour, new design. Pretty cool, but it took a while.
New Shooooes. They might be getting used today, so expect a review quite soon. I have this suspicion that they are't QUITE the same in terms of sizing from my old ones. 

So what? I sent my shoes back, I got a new pair. Great.

Just thought I would highlight a couple of things.
Fantastic that Ratrace and Inov8 have such a high level of service in terms of recognising when a product has not performed to the level expected.

However, the somewhat lacklustre original response from inov8 was not ideal.
Nor was the difficulty I had in getting to speak with someone from Ratrace. If there is a phone number, I kind of expect at least one of them to be answered - or at least an answerphone.
The lack of recognition that my shoes had even arrived, let alone been sent on to inov8 was a bit concerning as well, and the overall time that it took for Inov8 to get back to Ratrace - a couple of weeks- seems a little long - though I accept inov8 is now a multinational company with MUCH more on its mind than sorting out a simple pair of shoes for yours truely...

All in all I'm pretty chuffed at the outcome, but wish there was more information sharing during the process. Customer service is one of those little things that is easy to get wrong, but then again, is so easy to get right as well.

Thankyou Ratrace and Inov8 for finally sorting it out.


  1. Both companies are most certainly not great on the Customer Service front - frustrating to deal with at the best of times !

  2. Aye. Previously they were fine. In the past you dealt direct with the guys in the office/factory. Thats the problem when a company gets big. You get "better" shoes, but the customer service goes waaaay down.