Dirt in your skirt blog

Day 115…A Girl and Her Shoes

Posted on September 30, 2011 by Margaret Schlachter

Imelda Marcos once said, “I did not have three thousand pairs of shoes. I had one thousand and sixty.

Well Imelda Marcos I am not, but I am building up quite a collection of running shoes, looking at the boxes which came in the mail today one would think I have my own secret obsession, yes three, I know three new pairs of Inov-8’s came in today. Here is the story of my new shoes. On a side note, I did go for a morning jog but really it was nothing special and well, getting three pairs of shoes in one day, that is special!

The first Question you may ask is how and why did I get so many pairs of shoes on the same day. Well their are good reasons. After the Vermont 50 I had developed a large hole in the side of one of the shoes, also after this race I realized I needed to maybe beef up my shoe if I wanted to continue to run distances like 50K’s and beyond. So what did I do like any good member of my generation, Googled searched!

Background on Inov-8 shoes:
If you are unfamiliar with how Inov-8 names their shoes the first part (X-Talon) indicated the sole on the shoe and the second part (212) is the weight of the shoe in grams. The company is out of the UK thus why all the sizing is in UK and weight in grams.

Inov-8 also uses an arrow system to indicate the amount of heel to toe drop (aka cushioning) in their shoes it ranges from zero to four. Zero obviously means no heel to toe drop, one means 3mm, two equals 6mm, three equals 9mm and finally four equals 12mm. I am learning that you want a little extra cushioning on your feet when you are racing long races.

Inov-8 X-Talon 212
My Google travels first brought me to the Inov-8 X-Talon 212′s they are basically the big brother of my X-Talon 190’s (more on how I have a new pair of those later) although at the same time they are a totally different shoe. The biggest difference in these shoes right away were the materials they were constructed of, the 190’s are a light mesh, this shoe is a much more durable and sides are reinforced, I have my doubts another blowout will happen in these. All in all they seem more rugged. I will be interested to see how water drains out of them after a dip in the river. So the weight, they are still freaking light. The shoe is an award winning x-country and mountain racing shoe according to the website. They feature the two arrow system (6mm lift)

I have yet to run in it so I can’t comment them other than wearing them around the house for a while today. They fit like a glove the first time I tired them on. I will have to write another post about how each pair feels on the trails once my IT Band is back to normal.

Shoe Specs:
Weight: 212 Grams (7.47 ounces)
My Size: UK4.5
Heel to Toe Drop: 6mm
Stack Height: (Heel 10mm) (Toe 5mm)
Colors: Yellow, Silver and Black

I plan on using this shoe on a lot of my training runs on the mountain. I like the light weight features and will probably use it up to a marathon distance, maybe even a 50K. But after the Vermont 50, I think I have my eye set on even longer distances, then different shoes.

Inov-8 Roclite 268
So in my infinite non-wisdom of running ultra marathons I learned post race sometimes the lightest and least amount of cushioning isn’t the best. So I started to look into a shoe that would take me on extended training runs and maybe work up to a 50 miler race. After some recommendations from those around me I looked into the Roclite 268’s. These are a women’s specific shoe that Inov-8 makes. This shoe gives a little more cushion than the x-talon’s listed above. It felt like when I put them on the toe box was a little wider.


Again I have not run in them yet, just taken them around the building. They are a bit stiffer than the other Inov-8’s I have but they are made for longer distances. They are still very responsive and light for a heftier trail running show. I plan to use these shoes on my longer runs and moving towards some 50 milers I hope to do next year.

Shoe Specs:
Weight: 268 Grams (9.4 ounces)
My Size: UK4.5
Heel to Toe Drop: 9mm
Stack Height: (Heel 15mm) (Toe 7mm)
Colors: Silver/Teal

Inov-8 X-Talon 190
This was the shoe that got me into Inov-8’s and started my love, after only a short time with them I am already on a second pair, yes already a second pair. My first pair blew a big hole in them, maybe snagged on a rock not sure, but due to the Zappo’s return policy, I had a new pair arrive today as I returned the original pair. This review is easy to write as I have spent many many hours in this shoe. My first impression, they were as close to a barefoot shoe as I could get but with at least giving me a little bit more structure. I found myself gliding over trails and loving it. I used these shoes to race the Spartan Beast, Warrior Dash and Vermont 50.

They have a one arrow system meaning they are only a 3mm lift, almost nothing and weight only 190 grams, almost nothing. I love these shoes as they were my first Inov-8’s. I could gush on about these shoes because really well they are my ruby red slippers!

Shoe Specs:
Weight: 190 Grams (6.7 ounces)
My Size: UK4.5
Heel to Toe Drop: 3mm
Stack Height: (Heel 10mm) (Toe 7mm)
Colors: Ruby Red/White


Inov-8 f-Lite 195
Since I am reviewing my shoes I might as well review my last pair since I never really did before. These are my road shoes. I stick only to paved roads on them and in the gym. The sole is totally different than all the shoes listed above it is basically flat. I have taken this shoe on paved and dirt surfaces and it’s worked well. This shoe falls in the one arrow category as well so it’s very minimal. I have taken it on the road up to about a 21 mile run and it’s held up great. It is very similar in construction to the x-talon 190’s, same mesh upper, basically the only visible difference is the bottoms.

These are definitely my road and gym shoes. These things don’t get muddy. Really they are the only pair of shoes I own that haven’t been completely covered in mud. They offer the same construction and feel as the trail shoes just minus the nubs.

Shoe Specs:
Weight: 195 Grams (6.8 ounces)
My Size: UK4.5
Heel to Toe Drop: 3mm
Stack Height: (Heel 14mm) (Toe 11mm)
Colors: Black/White

Closing Thoughts

Before I wrap up this opus of a text I want to say, finding the right shoe is very much like the story of Cinderella, you truly have to find the shoe that fits you. For me I love Inov-8. I hold no sponsorship with them. I purchase them at retail, yes retail and just really believe in the product. They are incredibly hard to find at least in my area so I tend to get mine from Zappos.com only one pair has not come from Zappos. I will probably continue to wear them until some other shoe really grabs me.

Finally, to answer the question why so many pairs, as I prep for World’s Toughest Mudder I am looking at racing in multiple shoes as they get wet between laps. For this race I am looking into at least 5 pairs of shoes maybe even 6 pairs. I am on my way with 4 pairs although all different at least three I can run a ten mile distance in no problem. I will update this post or do a follow up when I have used the first two new pairs. For now I will have dreams of them on the trail as I sleep tonight.