The Trailtalon 235 is Inov8’s current most minimal shoe. It is a suitable replacement for those who loved the Trailroc 235 or 245 and the Terraclaw 220. It differs from those shoes because the sole is trail (rather than all-terrain) specific, but, if you accept that it’s a great all-rounder for off and on-road.
Mesh with welded plastic around the toes and across the midfoot, which has proved to be particularly resilient. The ankle collar is lightly padded and the tongue is gusseted.
The shoe has a wide toebox, but not quite as wide as the Terraclaw (it rates 4 on Inov8’s new fit scale (5 being the widest). I prefer the asymmetrical lacing of the Terraclaw, for ease of access and comfort, but the standard lacing approach does hold the foot firmly in place and the laces are excellent – a flat weave, that hasn’t once come undone, despite my ham-fisted double-knots. There is an external heel cage which probably helps retain the shape of the rear of the shoe and, importantly for me, did not compromise my natural movement.
The midsole has a 4mm drop. I’d prefer zero drop, but 4mm isn’t a problem. The cushioning is Powerflow. Inov8 say this provides 10% better shock absorption and 15% better energy return than standard midsoles. I don’t know, but the material has enabled this shoe to have a thinner, lighter midsole than previous models which is good news. Flexibility is great across the forefoot (where the foot bends!) but there is less lateral flex.
This is a trail specific outsole. This means studs have been placed at the edge of the outsole, giving a wide base to the shoe. It makes each footstrike feel very solid and certain. It took me a while to get used to this, but I’ve come to appreciate it and it grips well on hard trail. I did slip in deep, sloppy mud (4mm lugs) but on the other hand, on road, including running intervals in wet, icy and slushy conditions, it is sure-footed and fast.
Wear and Tear:
After 200+ miles on hard and soft trails in winter much of which has been off-road, with lots of mud, the shoe is showing no signs of damage.
A racing-flat for trails or mixed trail and road running – it’s light, flexible and grippy on trail. Inov8’s most minimal off-road shoe and if you loved the Trailroc 235/245 and Terraclaw 220 you should like 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 – Minimal (11/7mm). 4mm drop.
Outsole – Widely spaced 4mm lugs.
Fitting – Inov8 Fit Scale 4. Wide toebox. Runs true to size. Natural foot-shaped.
Inov8 provided these shoes.