Inov-8 Road-X 233, $120
8.8 oz.; 6.5 oz.
Fit: A moderate minimalist shoe, this model is tapered and fit like a glove in the mid-sole area and heel, with sufficient wiggle room for toes, although not quite as wide as some other modern minimalist shoes. The Road-X 233 has a low-volume, no-nonsense interior, but a few testers found the semi-loose upper material over the toebox bunched up a bit.
Feel: As with other Inov-8 shoes, these are decidedly low to the ground and flat—design elements that allow a runner to feel and develop an intimate connection the ground. This modestly cushioned shoe feels light, is highly flexible and has a semi-firm sensation under foot. The rubber on the outsole is super-grippy on hard, smooth surfaces, but the flat profile of the outsole makes it a bit slippery on variable terrain (rough pavement or sand/gravel on a concrete bike path, for example).
Ride: A firm, fast ride that seems to put the runner, not the shoe, in control. The design encourages moving intuitively and for most of our wear-testers that meant running with a midfoot/forefoot gait, but falling back into a heel-striking gait results in fairly hard impacts with the ground and a distinctive slapping sensation. Our wear-testers felt these were best for shorter races and faster workouts such as tempo runs, fartlek workouts and track intervals.
FILED UNDER: Inside The Magazine / Shoes and Gear TAGS: Adidas / Altra / Asics / Avia / Brooks / Brooks Sports / Hoka / Inov-8 / K-Swiss / Karhu / Mizuno / New Balance / Newton / Nike / Pearl Izumi / Puma / Reebok / Running Shoe Review / Running Shoes / Saucony / scott / Skechers / Under Armour / zoot