Inov-8 Road-X Road Shoe Line Preview

Inov-8Every once in a while, we’ll talk about road shoes here on iRunFar. This is one of those times. Why? Because trail shoe-specialist Inov-8 is launching the Road-X series, a line of road running shoes that will hit shelves in February 2011. Will Inov-8’s small, but fiercely loyal group of trail fans don the Road-Xs and hit the roads? Will the Road-Xs be the bridge that gets even more folks excited about the Inov-8 fit and feel? Only time will tell.

In the mean time, we’ll fill you in on the four forthcoming Road-X models, including two racing models and two gender-specific trainers. All of the models are sans posting or any other significant support. They are Inov-8’s attempt to bring natural running to the roads. Even so, Inov-8 recommends slowly stepping down in model number, as each subsequent model has less cushioning and, more important, a 3mm smaller heel-to-toe drop, which can take long periods to get used to. A year transition time would not be out of line between each step down. The Road-X line will cost between $100 and $110, with the lighter shoes costing more. (It looks as though they all have an MSRP £90 or £95 in the UK depending on the source.)

Inov-8 Road-X Lite 155 ($110)
Inov-8 Road-X 222You read it here first, folks. We have confirmed with Inov-8 that the company has replaced the Road-X 222 (pictured right and below), previously the lightest and lowest shoe in the Road-X line, with the Road-X Lite 155. Quite simply, Inov-8 felt they needed to better differentiate between the Road-X 222 and the Road-X 233, described below.

For the Road-X Lite 155, Inov-8 will keep the Road-X 222’s flashy white and yellow upper and combine it with a completely revamped the outsole that is more akin to Inov-8’s Recolite line. As for the specs on this shoe, a men’s US 9 will weigh in at a hair less than 5 1/2 ounces (155 grams). How do you make a shoe so light? Remove all the rubber from the outsole! That’s right, the Road-X Lite 155 will NOT include a rubber outsole. Instead, there’ll be a “one piece sole unit using a high density EVA foam.” Yes, Inov-8 realizes that this will cut down on durability, but the weight savings are what make this shoe unique.

The Road-X Lite 155 single-piece sole unit will provide a mere “1-arrow” of cushioning on Inov-8’s 0-to-4 arrow cushioning scale. This low to the ground shoe with a scant 3mm heel-to-toe drop is not targeted for everyday wear or the masses. The shoe also lacks Inov-8’s Dynamic Fascia Band, which means a runner’s foot will have to pick up the slack.

If the Road-X Lite 155 stays true to the Road-X 222’s design concept, then its narrow “performance” fit should suit men and women alike. However, rumor was that the 222 was wider than Inov-8’s current one-arrow shoe, the X-Talon 190. We’re not sure if that will carry through to the 155.

Despite its late addition, the Inov-8 Road-X Lite 155 will be released on-schedule with the rest of the Road-X line.

Inov-8 Road-X 222

The forthcoming Inov-8 Road-X Lite 155 will feature the above-pictured, but never-to-be-released Inov-8 Road-X 222's upper. In addition, the Road-X 222's outsole and midsole were replaced by a single piece EVA sole in the Road-X Lite 155.

 

Inov-8 Road-X 233 ($105)
Inov-8 Road-X 233Looking for a bit more cushioning in a racing shoe? Then the Road-X 233 might be worth a look. The Road-X 233 adds a second arrow of cushioning with less than ounce of added weight. (The US men’s 9 weighs in at 8.2 ounces/233 grams). Again, there’s the narrow performance fit, but this time with a more moderate, though still less-than-standard 6mm heel-to-toe drop. Inov-8 added the Dynamic Fascia Band back in for the 233. With the added cushioning and foot assistance, this one would be more suitable to the masses for racing, while a subset of runners could use these as lightweight trainers. Like the Road-X Lite 155, this is a unisex shoe.

Inov-8 Road-X 233

The forthcoming Inov-8 Road-X 233.

Inov-8 Road-X 238 (women’s) ($100)
Inov-8 Road-X 238One more step up shoe-wise and moving over to the women’s side, there’s the Inov-8 Road-X 238. Inov-8 designed this shoe especially for women. That means there’s a narrower fit and smaller, softer heel-cuff. As for the “more shoe” bit, the Road-X 238 is a 3-arrow shoe, meaning that there should be enough cushioning for most runners to use these on a daily basis. This shoe also features the Fascia Band while the heel-to-toe drop rises to 9mm. Sure, “barefooters” won’t like this, but they’ve got other options in the line. For the rest of us, the 9mm drop is a bit less than most current running shoes, so do ease into these if you’ve been running in standard road trainers. For the US ladies on iRunFar, 238 grams come out to 8.4 ounces of road fun.

Inov-8 Road-X 238

The forthcoming Inov-8 Road-X 238.

Inov-8 Road-X 255 (men’s) ($100)
Inov-8 Road-X 255We’ll call this the men’s equivalent of the Road-X 238. (How do you like that, ladies?) Touted as “comfortable and super steady,” this three-arrow cushioning shoe with Inov-8’s Dynamic Fascia Band is a reasonably lightweight everyday road trainer. A pair of US men’s 9s weigh 9 ounces flat (255 grams). Like the 238, the Road-X 255 has a 9mm heel-toe drop, and, as such, those who’ve only worn standard running shoes should ease into these, while men with more experience in racing, minimalist, or barefoot shoes can jump right in. While we’d love to jump in whole hog with the Road-X 222, but we might heed Inov-8’s advice and give the 255 a whirl first.

Inov-8 Road-X 255

The forthcoming Inov-8 Road-X 255.

Call for Comments
So what do YOU think of Inov-8’s Road-X road running shoes? Hit or miss? You gonna give the Road-X a try? If you’re one of the few who’s had a look at them, what did you think?