Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Inov8 x-talon 212 - new version

The x-talon. Legendary shoe from Inov8. It stayed the same for many years, (how many I’m not so sure, but it was at least 5), which in the world of the consumer and the shoe is a bit unique. Not a lot of companies
now have the same shoe with the same design for more than a season, let alone a year.

Old 212's just over 4 inches wide at the toe box
Now, however, it has been revamped. Colours have changed, and, we are assured, the only other thing to have changed is the midsole, which is injected PVA instead of something else – which basically makes the shoe more stable.
Great! So when I got my hands on a pair, I thought I’d wander around the house in them before rushing out to grind those lovely studs down on any of my local runs.

New 212's Just under 4 inches wide at the toe box
My immediate impression was that they were smaller. I normally wore my old x-talons with the same socks that I normally wear all Inov8s with – a pair of big woolly Teko walking socks. Yet getting in the new style x-talons was a struggle, and once on, they felt absurdly tight. 
Nothing changed? Hmm. Maybe its just new shoe tightness that needs to be worn in?

Different pair of socks, and yes, they felt comfortable. I *know* what my old x-talons felt like, and these were different. After a bit of a wander around, yes they felt good, and slipper like as the shoe always used to, but I have a thin foot and normally wear BIG socks, the option of going for a thinner pair was open to me - lo and behold - a brilliant pair of comfy shoes. However, Surely something must have changed to make that much difference to the way they fit my feet...

So I checked the sole against the old model. They seemed narrower, by about a finger width. Surely not? Optical illusion?
That much difference between them
Well, the tape measure came out next, and the shoes are actually thinner across the sole on the toe by about 1.25cms. Not a whole lot in the grand scheme of things, but quite a lot when you consider how little difference you need in a shoe before things start going wrong and getting painful.

All that, though is just academic, unless you have large paddleboards for feet, in which case you might want to think about trying on a pair of the new style x-talons before committing your cash to them. How do they run?

I’ve been out for a few fast paced runs in them, but not raced in them yet, and all I can say is that yes, they are as good as the original. One of the best shoes on the market for fell running. Hopefully they will stay good for as long as my previous pair (750km or so).

For proper mud bashing this winter, I suspect the Mudclaws will get more use, but as the mud and clag gives way to slightly drier (ie, still sodden, but not quite as much), then the x-talons will be the most used shoes in the rack.

Still really really good to run in though
Just as an update - I've now used the X-talons for a couple of races, and a few training sessions. As
expected, the 300s have seen a fair bit more use this winter. Overall, so far - the 212's are comfy, the laces are great, but I think I'd have difficulty getting the shoes on with the normal thick socks that I used to wear. I love running in them, and I do actually like the colour.
The grip is still the same, and performs as well as ever.
However, that small sizing issue, which doesn't bother me, but it might well be quite an important point for a few of you with slightly heavier set feet.
Don't assume they will be the same - try before you buy.  


  1. First available in September 2008 - still got mine!

  2. Hi! Have you noticed a difference on length too? Held next to each other mine seem 1-2cm shorter!? And feel like it too...