|Not quite there, sadly.|
As you can see, they're beautiful shoes. I would have preferred the black, but the red is spectacular.
I picked these up last night at the Shoe Mart, which happens to be on my way home from work.
- Well-made (as far as I could tell).
- Minimal cushioning.
- Good ground-feel, for a sneaker.
- Sole seems to offer good traction, from looking at it.
- Upper is well-ventilated.
- 4mm heel lift. [Correction, it's 3mm. Thanks to Graham in the comments.]
- Narrow last.
- Big toe gets bent.
- Cushy insole, but that comes right out.
The heel lift bothered me from the outset. I found that they strained a muscle in the sole of my left foot, just from walking around inside. I took them off, put on my Treks, and went for a two-hour run.
The fellow I ran with was wearing the F-Lite 195s, in fact. He loves them.
So this morning I packed the F-Lites back into the box, and drove to my local cobbler to ask him if he could drop the heel. "Sorry", he said, "It's too flat. Can't you run in them like that? What about [racing] flats?" I explained that these had the same heel lift as most flats. Sigh.
Next stop was the Shoe Mart, where I returned them.
I feel bad about posting this review, in a way. If I had found these shoes 18 months ago they would have been the answer to my prayers. But after a year spent diligently training my feet to be stronger, and to run in Vibrams and barefoot, these will not do. They are too narrow, and even the minimal heel lift is too much. I'll stick to my Vibrams.
A note to Inov-8, if any one from that company ever finds this review: Regarding your performance last, which I understand is the narrow last that underlies this shoe: why do you think that a last which deforms the foot from its natural motion improves performance? Do you have any evidence, other than statements from runners with already-deformed feet, that this works?
|Maybe next time?|
[Correction: Mark from the Shoe Mart says in the comments that this is not the case. What I reported above I was told by the salesperson in the Shoe Mart store, but I guess that was in error.]
I also learned that the Shoe Mart can't keep the Inov-8 models in stock, so my opinion may be a minority one.
P.S. Follow-up here.
P.P.S. The shoes Inov-8 ought to have made.