The Trailtalon 235 is Inov8’s current most minimal shoe, with a 4mm drop, similar to the much-loved – but no longer available – Trailroc 236 and 245. Happily, it’s a worthy replacement, comparable in fit and feel, and with a sole that’s as surefooted on trails as its predecessor but fine for stretches of road too (as I discovered when I got horribly lost in my first outing in these).
The upper combines a breathable mesh-like material with welded plastic around the front and midfoot, which adds structure (and protection around the toes) without heaviness. The heel cup is firm, thanks to an external heel cage – a feature I really like in a minimal shoe, which can otherwise feel flabby – while the ankle collar is lightly padded and the tongue gusseted to help keep out debris.
The Trailtalon 235’s toebox is roomier than many a running shoe and I am able to wear my Correct Toes toe spacers with them, but I would prefer it to be less tapered, to give more space for the fourth and fifth toes. The laces are long, and hold fast.
The midsole has a 4mm drop, with a close-to-the-ground total stack height of 11mm (heel) and 7mm (forefoot). This adds to the shoe’s light and flexible feel.
The trail-specific outsole features multi-directional 4mm lugs with a wide contact area, making it ideal for moving fast on hard-packed trail and not so great for runs that are more of a mudfest.
However, I’ve found the Trailtalon 235 also holds its own, grip-wise, in light mud, sodden grass and even snow. Studs that extend to the very edge of the outsole from heel to toe give you a feeling of stability and security, and their wide spacing means you don’t arrive home carrying half a ploughed field under your feet. And as mentioned, it transitions to the roads with ease (though you may wear it out quicker with too many road runs).
Wear and Tear:
After 90+ miles, a mix of boggy fields, country lanes, muddy trails and snow, there are no signs of damage and the lugs remain unclogged.
A racing-flat for trails – it’s light, flexible and grippy on trail. Inov8’s most minimal off-road shoe and if you liked the Trailroc 238/245 or the Terraclaw 220 you should love this. Long-term test shows very good durability. 94/100.
Design intent – ‘For fast running on all types of trails around the world.’
Weight – 235g
Midsole – 4mm drop.
Fitting – Inov8 Fit Scale 4. Runs true to size.
Inov8 provided these shoes.