I have quite a few pieces of equipment to review over the winter including the Patagonia Knifeblade, Patagonia Houdini, Blue Ice Warthog 26 and a PHD Sigma Vest. I plan to review these in March once I have had chance to use them in Scotland over the winter season but for now I will concentrate on my new Inov 8 X-Talon 212.
After a bad injury to my left ankle in 2009 I decided to quit running altogether feeling that the risk of loosing so much work again whilst recuperating just wasn’t worth the effort. It’s only the past 8 months that I have stepped back into the saddle and really started to enjoy running again, all-be it with a little more caution whilst descending uneven ground. As I am currently working overseas I have been using the treadmill allot and training in Vibram Fivefingers so once I returned to the UK I wanted to replicate the feeling of running in very light footwear. Thich is where I was introduced to the Inov 8 X-Talon 212 by the very helpful staff at Run4it in Dundee.
The Inov 8 X-Talon 212 are very lightweight running shoes with quite an aggressive sole unit designed for offroad trail running. They boast a Synthetic upper, mesh lining and unisex fit with sizes from 37.5 – 47 including ½ sizes. They weigh in at a super lightweight 212g for a size 42!
I settled for a 41 which is my typical shoe size although I would recommend trying a few on as Inov 8 make several types of ‘fit’ of which the X-Talon is labelled ‘performance’. I found the trainer to be quite snug around the forefoot and heel which actually lend themselves to my relatively thin feet. I also have an unusual heel shape that disagrees with most brands but after completing several miles in the X-Talon’s I can say they are extremely supportive and comfortable. The mesh lining lets in water which is a preferred system meaning it lets it out just as quickly. The laces comprise of thin cord and surprisingly provide just enough length to snug the trainer up and double tie them off – another small detail I like.
Expect to ‘feel’ the tarmac if you decide to run on the roads in these as the 6mm footbed is quite sensitive although thick enough to never feel a stone or rough ground whilst on woodland trails or farm tracks. The X-Talon really comes into its own whilst out in the hills descending steep wet grass or muddy slopes, they gave great confidence on this type of terrain (afterall this is what they are made for) leaving me to enjoy the run instead of worrying if I was going to end up on my backside! Over the last month I have ran approximately 50km in the Inov 8 X-Talon 212’s through woodland, track, mud aswell as several Munro’s and can honestly say they are the best trainer I have bought to date.