If you never heard of Inov-8 they are a British company that started in 2003 specializing in lightweight, flexible, and off road shoes. They became famous because they went against the conventional way of making off road running shoes; they allowed the runner the feel the ground underneath allow them to react differently based on the terrain. Well within the last five years or so they have become an international company and expanded from just making specialized trail running shoes.
The inov-8 differs from our other gym shoe reviews because it is zero drop. Meaning that the heel to to difference is zero mm giving you the most stable platform to start with. Your feet sit only 9mm above the ground giving you a nice low feel which is great for olympic lifts like the deadlift. Like the new balance minimus we reviewed these shoes are minalmalist at heart meaning that any material that doesn’t need on these shoes isn’t. They of course are also super light weighing in at only 8.5 oz, these are about as light as you can get as far as gym shoes go.
These shoes were made with fitness in mind and its easy to tell by looking at all the features they packed in this light package. The F-LITE 234 features 360 degree Rope-Tec which gives the inov-8s top of the line strength while staying lightweight. Rope-Tec is also is great for rope climbing it adds durability, provides grip, and helps to grip the rope.
A seamless toe bumper was added to increase cushioning and protection during burpees. The heel is 40% denser then the previous model which provides stability during heavy lifts. A lot of shoes add features that you might not even notice but trust me you will notice a much denser heel during a workout session.
Overall these shoes are a great option if you prefer a barefoot type shoe for your workouts. They are strong and lightweight which are two of the most important things to look for as far as cross training shoes go. As said before if you plan on running far distances in your gym shoes you might want to look else where, usually 5k is the shut off point for cross trainers. However if your running over 5k you really should buy a pair of dedicated running shoes to compliment your gym shoes. The Inov-8s are reasonably price, slightly lower then the Nikes and Reeboks we have also reviewed, making them a great buy.
- Synthetic sole
- zero heel-toe drop
- Rote-Tec midfoot durability reinforcements
- Multi-directional Meta-Flex technology
- Affordable price
- All around strong shoe
- Barefoot like feel
- Not the best cross trainers if planning on running a lot in them