First launched in 2008, the iconic inov-8 X-TALON running shoe has gone on to become a global success story. In the 10 years since it first hit retail shelves, the X-TALON – with its lightweight, flexible upper and aggressive rubber stud pattern – has propelled mountain runners, fell runners, trail runners, orienteers and obstacle course racers to multiple world championship wins and course records.
So what’s new about the 230 and 210? Well, most crucially, they are our first-ever running shoes to feature STICKYGRIP. Utilizing a new rubber compound that has been intensely tested both in the field and laboratory, the outsole delivers better grip on all types terrain than predecessor models in the range. The studs remain at 8mm in length thus still clawing through soft and muddy terrain while also holding firm on harder ground, but it is the rubber that is different. This new STICKYGRIP compound delivers increased levels of traction, giving runners and racers the confidence to attack all challenging terrain, be it soft, muddy, hard, dry or wet.
The 230 also includes a flexible rock plate that aligns with each individual metatarsal in the foot to ensure more underfoot protection from sharp rocks and other debris. And just above that in the shoe construction is our unique Powerflow+ midsole technology, which not only acts to soften your landing but retains vital energy that it then uses to help spring you forward into the your next running stride.
In a bid to keep the 230 feeling as light and fast as possible at all times, we’ve also introduced new materials right across the shoe’s upper as well as a wrap-around protective rand and a gusseted tongue, all of which are non-water absorbing. This is lightweight protection at its best. Pick this shoe for racing or training over all distances.
So what about the 210? Weighing in at just 210g (20g lighter than the 230), these super-flexible orange rockets have been designed for racing at high speed over all challenging terrain. At its very best in softer, muddier conditions, the STICKYGRIP rubber outsole of the 210, just like the 230, can also handle harder ground, be it dry or wet.
Unlike the 230, however, there is no flexible rock plate or Powerflow+ midsole. Instead the 210 features an injected EVA fusion midsole that gives a responsive yet lightly cushioned underfoot feel, not too dissimilar to that of the old X-TALON 190 running shoe. Oh, and did we mention that it feels fast… well, when we say fast, we actually mean very fast!
The stripped-back upper materials and gusseted tongue are again non-water absorbing. And while there is no wrap-around protective rand on the 210, the lighter yet durable upper has increased levels of breathability and allows any sweat or water inside the shoe to escape. Pick this shoe for running and racing shorter distances over mountains, fells and trails, as well as orienteering and obstacle courses. It’s also the perfect choice for swimrun events and races.
As it has less protective materials on the upper, the 210 feels slightly wider in the toe box than its big brother. This is reflected in our new 1-5 fit scale, which grades the 230 as a number 1 (our most precise fit) and the 210 as a number 2.
The 230 has a 6mm drop (heel to toe differential), while the 210 has a 3mm drop meaning your foot will feel closer to the ground in the lighter shoe. Both have our new STICKYGRIP outsole and 8mm studs (of which there are 86 on each pair of X-TALON 230 and X-TALON 210 shoes).
The pair join the iconic X-TALON 212 (number 1 on the fit scale) in the X-TALON range for Spring/Summer 2018, while those seeking wider-fitting options should check out the X-TALON 200 (number 4 on the fit scale) or the X-CLAW 275 (number 5 on the fit scale).
inov-8 ambassador and international mountain, fell and trail runner Ben Mounsey has been testing both the X-TALON 230 and X-TALON 210 for several months. He says:
“The X-TALON 230 is one I would choose for longer distances, in more extreme weather conditions and when running over challenging terrain. This is mainly because of the strong upper materials and the extra protection of the rand around the sides of the shoe.
“I also immediately noticed that the material is non-water absorbing and this helped to keep my feet drier and warmer during longer training runs. They are most like the X-TALON 212 but it should be noted that they do feel different and therefore need wearing-in to adjust to their feel and fit. It took me a number of training runs to break them in.
“I’ve thoroughly tested this shoe in every single type of weather condition and on every single type of terrain. Time after time, it delivers the goods. In my opinion, it is the perfect choice for both training and racing. It offers brilliant grip on all types of terrain because of the STICKYGRIP and it gives me lots of confidence to run as fast as I can.
“The X-TALON 210 is the shoe all previous lovers of the old X-TALON 190 will want to get their hands on. Although it has the same excellent STICKYGRIP outsole as the 230, the 210 has a different feel altogether. I actually raced in them straight from the box, because they felt like slippers as soon as I put them on my feet.
“The upper material feels much stronger and more durable than the old 190, and because of this I’ve noticed less wear on the upper after considerable miles. My feet also feel more protected from both the elements and the terrain. These will be my racing shoes for fells, mountains and trails in 2018!”