The Inov-8 230 is described by the manufacturers as the ‘original fitness shoe of choice’, a strong hint that this is purpose-built.
As a lightweight training shoe, it’s designed to handle the different elements of CrossFit. The upper fits snugly, to provide support to the foot and the sole has enough grip to turn running on uneven trails into a walk in the park.
On the down side, unlike some of the Inov-8 range, this shoe doesn’t have reinforcement along the midsole to help with rope-climbing. On the plus side though, the sole is resistant to compression, making it ideal for weights.
Spend a bit of time reading reviews of these shoes, and it’s pretty obvious that they come up big. Many buyers are ordering half a size or a size smaller than their normal shoes.
They have a wide toe-box, which can feel too roomy. However when correctly laced (ie. tight enough) the snug fit of the uppers means the feet are held firmly in place, and then the ‘roomy’ toe-box comes into it’s own, preventing bruised and blackened toenails even during high impact workouts.
There seems to be universal agreement that these are seriously wonderfully comfortable shoes.
But there is a proviso here: for athletes not used to forefoot striking during their runs, or who are moving from highly cushioned road shoes, there’s a chance of developing soreness in the calf muscles, and a few unexpected aches and pains.
The way to avoid this is to move over to these shoes gradually. It’s not a good idea to suddenly run long-distance in them without giving the body (and the running style) a chance to adapt.
The Inov-8 230 is not going to make the difference between a poor performance and a good one. It may, though, just tip the balance towards a personal best…
Being relatively low profile (a 6mm heel to toe drop), and not over-padded, these shoes allow the wearer to really respond to ground surfaces, essential for gym exercises.
This design, and the lack of compression, makes them ideal for weights, whilst the flexibility in the arch and at the forefoot makes trail running a joy. Lightweight, simple and excellently designed, these are sure to become trusted training partners.
Too many rope-climbs may damage the midsoles, and the lack of cushioning means some runners will find the soles wear out a little more quickly than they’d like.
That said, the durability depends in part on the wearer. Lighter, off-road runners with a forefoot running style will probably nurse these shoes through more miles than a slightly heavier runner or one doing more road-work.
At 230g (8.1oz), there won’t be an excess baggage charge.
Whilst the list price for the Inov-8 230 is often around $100, shop around and they’re available for about $77, which is probably more like it.
So how does the Inov-8 230 stack up?
- It’s supportive, simple, and brilliantly designed
- Purpose built for CrossFit
- It’s comfortable. Really comfortable.
- Excels in trail-running phases
- A bit on the pricey side but shop around
Read our best crossfit shoes guide.