I’m not one who is into the minimalist shoes and never thought I would be, but that all changed when I started running in the Inov-8 F-lite 195′s. Personally when I bought these shoes I thought I was going to use them just for training maybe once or twice a week. But when I took them on several runs I feel in love with them. I was a heel striker for awhile but a few months ago I started doing a more natural running form and these shoes helped me accomplish this goal.
This shoe has a 3mm drop from heel to toe and weighs an amazing 7.7oz for a size 9. The 3m drop allows your at least have some cushioning but its just enough to get you through your runs. I was running the Jupiter Peak Steeplechase last year and the man who won was wearing these shoes, and this trail was very rocky. When I ran on a rocky trail in these I felt that everywhere besides the flex-grove had adequate rock protection. The flex-groove is deep so the amount of cushioning between you and the rock is much less than throughout the shoe. I actually did like the feel of being able to feel the rocks beneath my feet, it made me feel stable and I felt a little more confident going fast because I knew where everything was.
The grip on this shoe is surprisingly good because it offers great grip for both the trail and the road. The only difficulty I had was if I was running in loose gravel or any loose sand on the trail. But other than that I am happy with the traction on these shoes. I have been running in these the last few day’s and I have also been walking in them too and already some traction is coming off, its not anything serious but its just wearing. The word F-Lite actually describes the traction, it means its a lightweight racing traction which offers traction on road and hard packed trails.
Most minimalist shoes have a very wide forefoot and this can make the runner feel sloppy and feel like they don’t have a good fit. Well these 195′s have a perfect balance, they are tight in the heel and over your midfoot but as they get into the forefoot it is wider but not to wide. One complaint I heard was that the forefoot was just a hair too tight and I happen to agree but I still love the tightness and the good fit it offers. The upper is made of synthetic mesh which is light and allows the shoe to breath, this is good if you are going out running on a hot day. I mentioned the flex-groove earlier and Inov-8 likes to call it the meta-flex which is placed under your forefoot for a more natural toe off.
I had been training in minimalist shoes before I tried these shoes but still the first two times I ran in these my calf’s were sore. But after the 5th run on these puppies my calf’s feel fine and I can actually increase my mileage step by step. Remember if you have never been a forefoot/midfoot striker please get train yourself before you go out and buy these shoes! :)
If you are looking for a shoe that will compliment your forefoot/midfoot running form and you need good traction and a good feeling upper? Well look no further than the Inov-8 F-Lite 195′s! Happy Trails!