Inov-8 Road X-Lite 155 Running Shoe Review
Big picture – I love this shoe. I love it so much that I bought 3 pairs in 6 months (ok I have shoe issues, but so do most of you reading this).
If you haven’t heard of Inov-8 yet, you should pay attention. They’re a rapidly growing company that focuses on natural running – producing minimal, functional shoes that have become sort of a secret weapon of top trail runners, road runners, and CrossFitters.
The Road X-Lite 155 is a minimal racing flat designed purely for the road. It is extremely flexible and lightweight, coming in at 5.5 oz for a Men’s size 10. That’s pretty much lighter than any other racing flat, and even lighter than Vibram Five Fingers. As such, there is very little cushion, and certainly no medial posting, arch support, or any of that other jazz. It’s also a very level shoe, with a 3mm heel-to-toe drop that promotes a mid/fore-foot strike.
Stripped down, this shoe is intended for the true minimal runner – someone who has built up the necessary foot/calf strength and has the natural biomechanics to handle it. I would NOT recommend it as a transition shoe for someone who has never done minimal running. It was ideal for me, as I had run in VFFs and even barefoot, but needed a bit more cushion for putting in serious road miles and racing. I’ve worn this shoe for training, fast 5Ks and half-marathons; I also wore it for a marathon, but I think I’d prefer more shoe for that distance.
One of my favorite parts of the shoe is the fit – it just feels GREAT on my feet. The toe box is wonderfully roomy, more than most minimal shoes. The shoe will fit well if you have a medium to slightly wider foot. There is a breathable mesh upper and ventilated insole, perfect for hot summer running.
Perhaps the most unique aspect of the shoe is the sole – it’s uncharacteristically flat, even for a minimal shoe. No lugs or grippy pads of any kind, just a flat blend of injected EVA and rubber. I’ve really come to appreciate this sole. It gives a decent bit of cushion for its weight, and the rubber almost sticks to the road a bit, giving you great ground feedback and surprisingly good traction. That said, I have slipped once in these shoes when I hit a mud-patch, and they would suck on trails. But for road running? Rock on.
As far as wear goes, I’ve gotten about 300+ miles out of my Inov8s and they have held up quite well, particularly for a minimal shoe. Probably could’ve gone further, but what can I say, I wanted new ones.
One final issue* – the look. The road x-lite 155s only come in this muted yellow color. Like ALL yellow… which some (like my wife), would argue is an ugly yellow. At first I was skeptical… but now I think my funky yellow shoes are awesome, and they look bad-ass flyin’ by. *Editor’s note – We were just informed there is a black version of the Road x-Lite 155 coming out soon.
If you’re looking for a fast, light, low profile racing flat, forget your old big-name standbys and give Inov-8 a try.
Available on sale at Zappos for $93.50
Review by Dr. Ben Prosser, is a 29 yr. old biomedical researcher at University of Maryland School of Medicine where he studies cardiac physiology otherwise known as heart research or nerd things. Ben loves everything health and fitness related – he is a huge proponent of functional training, speed workouts, and running races that cause him physical pain and injury (he once broke his leg while running the Baltimore Marathon). Ben thrives off motivating his friends and family to exercise with him and live healthy lifestyles! He lives in Mt. Washington with his smart, hot and humble wife, Erin (who may have written this bio) and his old and smelly Boston Terrier, Bubba. Follow Ben’s training on dailymile
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Great review, been looking hard at the Inov-8 line while trying to decide on a race day shoe for Boston. Since you mentioned that you 'prefer more shoe for that distance' what are your thoughts on the other Inov-8 models. I'd like to stick to a zero-drop shoe so I've been looking at the Bare-X lite 150 and Bare-X 180/200. Just concerned that these shoes might be 'too minimal' for the full marathon.
Absolutely love this shoe! Will be ordering another pair soon…
Been wanting to try these for a while – your post finally pushed me to buy them! Look forward to the first run in them. Thanks for the great review.
Hope you like them, Mark. I had one of my best ever races on the weekend wearing the Road X-Lite 155s:
Did my first run in them and love them! Have a pair of Mizuno Wave Universe, but the width and roomy toe box of the 155 is much better suited for my foot.