September 28th, 2014
The X-Talon 200 is inov-8’s newest shoe to hit the off trail market. The obstacle racers of the world have spoken and inov-8 have listened; it’s been designed specifically to meet the needs of obstacle racing enthusiasts everywhere. From beginner to elite, the shoe offers everything you need from an OCR shoe. In the past, inov-8’s whole range of footwear was designed with sports crossover in mind. There always seemed to be something you didn’t quite get enough of from each model. Whether it be the light weight shoes wearing quickly due to the materials used to make them light, or the lack of drainage due to the more robust materials used to make them last longer. The X-Talon 200 has now been designed to tick all these boxes with a light weight design but without scrimping on the durable materials.
When these shoes hit the ORM door mat, it was time to put them on our Muddy Kit team Captain Lee Pickering’s feet and let him loose with them over a week of racing and training.
The top five initial tests for any OCR shoe are GRIP, DRAINAGE, FIT, DURABILITY and WEIGHT. These are the main five factors in choosing a shoe which will suit our needs. So we sent Lee off with these things in mind and told him to get them muddy and give them hell.
The first time these shoes got to meet my feet was approximately an hour before the start of the Dirty Dozen Destroyer 18k OCR, what better way to test them to the limit.
My first impression putting on the shoes was that they were comfortable straight out of the box, which was a very good start, especially as we would have to spend 18kms together on a Sunday afternoon. Before even taking my first steps in the shoes I spotted a great new feature with the added durability of reinforced eyelets on the laces, bonus. A gentle warm up provided no real test for the shoes but these were really starting to feel good. Bragging a minimalist 3mm drop from heel to toe made this shoe feel like a road racing shoe, comfy with some support, but very little weight.
OFF WE GO!! The first two kilometres of the race proved to be a good test; lots of mud, water and uneven ground for them to contend with. I have to say, what a shoe! The grip was as solid as you’d expect it to be from a pair of Inov-8 shoes, the mud proved no match for the talon like grip. The thing that really stood out was when I hit the water obstacles, this was due to the water retention being so much less than the X-talon 212. This made the shoe lighter as I came out of the water with none of the water logged welly feel. The shoe’s overall fit was superb with a little more space in the toe box to let your toes splay, I liked this as it gave my feet space to move when they got hot. I didn’t experience any slipping, hotspots or blisters, which is always a good thing! This shoe is lighter than the X-talon 212 but the 12g difference is barely noticeable to be honest. As I said before, the weight difference however, was highlighted once the shoe was wet. This is now the OCR shoe for me!
Overall I would say this shoe is going to be a hit when it comes out, a must for all OCR racers!!