Review: With over 100km, 13 hours, and 4600 meters vertical, my Inov-8 X-Talon 212 Trail shoes have been put through their paces. I have been testing them in the mud puddles and on the sandy beaches of the West Coast Trail, on granite slabs and snowpatches in Whistler, and on the smooth single track and rocky rooted trails of Squamish. The X-Talons are a lightweight and agressive, nearly minimalist trail racing shoe. The cleated sole provides excellent traction even in deep mud. Flex zones running across the forefoot of the shoe allow it to fold with the shape of your foot. Designed with trail in mind, these shoes offer very little cushoning – this goes a long way towards a lightweight shoe but it also means I needed to run with a bit more care the few times I hit sections of pavement. Over longer runs (>2 hrs) I also start to notice my feet compaining from hitting rock edges and pointy root ends.
The shoe upper does a moderately good job off keeping out mud and sand but once saturated in puddles, begins to soak through. Can’t really ask for much better than that. I don’t notice pebbles or sand getting into the shoe so I suspect they fit fairly tightly around my ankle. The rubber around the edge of the sole/upper provides a bit of protection but you still have to be carefull not to stub a toe too hard. The laces are doing fine and don’t seem to be wearing out too fast.
These have become my standard shoe when I know I won’t be going on pavement (about 75% of my runs). They are durable, comfortable, and seem to fit true to size. Overall, a quality shoe that I will definitely keep running in.