Woh! That’s stop for a horse. No blog post for over a month. That is totally my bad. Well I’ve lined a few up, and am planning on getting something out to you guys weekly from this point on (he says…). Starting with a quick review of the Trailtalon 250 by Inov-8.
I’ve now put 400 miles in these shoes and ran in this shoe at the Dorset CTS Ultra. My first ultra marathon at 33 miles in which I had them on my feet for 5:54:54. Click on that to view the evidence! So this is sort of a, ‘how have they and did they perform’ type post as well as a review. Let’s get into it.
Lug Depth: 4mm
Stack Height: Heel 17.5mm – Forefoot 13.5mm
The Trailtalon is a hard-packed racer designed to give you traction when running fast on paths and trails. This is very much a low-drop, light-weight, quick shoe designed for high cadence trail trotting. The shoe is low profile and peeps should be aware of that as it won’t work for all. We’re talking a 4mm drop off a 17.5mm heel so they are pretty minimalist.
However this is still a super comfortable shoe and, despite an absence of rock plate and heavy duty luggery, it offers good protection. The footbed works really well and offers some armoury underfoot. What I would say is that if you might need a little bit more stability, you can plump for the Trailtalon 275 which gives a more heft and rigidity to what is a fairly flexible shoe (which is no bad thing!).
FIT & RIDE
Let’s talk terrain. The Dorset Ultra offered some pretty changeable conditions to put the Trailtalon through its paces. So looking at the shoe’s performance based on what it went through, a score:
- Dry hard packed soil-grass trail and path – 9/10 (fast, light, comfortable)
- Wet hard packed trail – 8/10 (good grip, nimble, dealt with water well)
- Muddy, boggy, field-y type terrain – 5/10 (if you’re planning on running on this for any length of time, the lugs are too shallow – go for a Mudclaw or an X-Talon)
- Rocky technical ascending / descending – 6/10 (grip is fantastic but the shoe lacks a little protection both underfoot and around the toe-box)
Where the Trailtalon (and all of Inov-8’s shoes) works great, is in sizing. When I first slipped em on, I was nervous that they felt a little long for me. But when you’ve laced up and start running, the extra room in the toe-box is perfect. I’ve struggled to find trail shoes that don’t slip off when hiking up steep slopes or jam your toes up when descending. The fit in the toe box is perfect and the upper works well to allow for little movement. Full marks for construction and sizing a shoe properly.
Basically, this is a great shoe. I mean I’ve put 400 miles in it so I would say that, but it is a great shoe. The fit is spot on and despite the low drop, the shoe is well constructed enough and offers enough protection that you can run it 50k. Having said that, I’m not sure I’d go much past that – there are other shoes in the Inov-8 range that offer amazing comfort and protection with a little more weight for those longer ventures – I’ll soon write a review of the Roclite 290 which fits this brief. I’d also venture that if you are taking this into technical or rocky terrain – i.e. mountains – then the 250 might not be enough shoe. I’d go for the 275 for the extra protection. OR, as I hear on the grapevine, Inov-8 are about to release a new hard packed trail shoe which is amazing in technical terrain… more on that to come!
I’ve really enjoyed wearing this shoe and will continue to wear it at the shorter distance Maverick Races coming up in Sussex and Hampshire whilst training in the Roclite until race day. Similarly for the upcoming big races in the Summer, I might wait for Inov-8’s soon to be released secret weapon…
Disclaimer: I work closely with Inov-8 who sent me this shoe. I also rep them when running with the Maverick Trail Division. Having said that, I wouldn’t sing this shoes praises if I didn’t rate it highly!