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Top Road Running Shoes of 2014 – by David Henry

I’m not as experienced with the road scene as I am with trail and ultra running (see my top 2014 trail shoes here), but I’m really enjoying the weekly track workouts I’ve been doing. Since training for the Spokane Marathon this last October, I’ve decided to keep incorporating a couple of road days in my training throughout the winter. Consequently, I’ve recently been doing some experimenting with road shoes. Although my comfort with some trail brands (inov-8 in particular) has influenced my road shoe choices at this point, my picks below are the shoes I’ve enjoyed running in most for the amount of road running that I do.

I’ve broken the road section up into two categories (racing and training), basically because I have way too many shoes, but also to highlight some of the distinctions I make in certain design approaches as to the shoe’s end use and what I’m looking for in a shoe for specific purposes.  Here we go:

Road Racing Shoes

Top 3 Road Racing Shoes from left to right including the honorable mention.

Road Running – Racing Shoes

inov-8 Road-X Lite 155

The inov-9 Road-X Lite 155 has a great, wide fit for a racing shoe and a simple inov-8 Fusion rubber outsole; they are light, effective and fit like a slipper. 200 g M13

1. inov-8 Road-X Lite 155 – Such a great shoe for nearly everything fast.  Not sure I’d run beyond a half marathon in them, but they are my go-to for track workouts, 5k/10k racing, and they have a nice, wide fit for a racing shoe.  The Fusion rubber (mix of rubber and eva) outsole is light, responsive, yet fairly durable (I’ve got nearly 300 mile on mine and they are still running strong).

Skechers GoMeb Speed 2

Despite its low weight, the Skechers GoMeb Speed 3 offers lots of responsive cushion and a forgiving ride.  The upper, while very minimal, still worked fine without socks for my marathon this past October. 230 g M13.

2. Skechers GoMeb Speed 2 (review here) – I was really surprised by the GoMeb Speed 2 when I tried them this spring. I used them quite a bit this summer for everything from a 10k race, to long tempos runs, and I ran a marathon in October in them.  Great all around racing shoe with a more cushioned ride than most other shoes in the 6 oz range.  Looking forward to trying the Speed 3 in early January!

adidas Takumi Sen 2

Traditional look and upper meets modern materials and design in the adidas Takumi Sen 2. Softer adiprene in the heel (white foam from midfoot back), firmer adiprene+ and torsion shank from the midfoot forward give it a very responsive ride that begs you to get on the forefoot and turn up the pace. 220 g M13.

3. adidas adizero Takumi Sen 2 – Haven’t run much in this shoe as I just recently purchased it, but so far it has really impressed me as a one of the best no-nonsense racers out there.  I don’t know why I waited this long to try it (oh wait, it retails for $150 (!), that’s why).  Managed to find them discounted a little and decided to try them out.  Very impressed with the shoe.  It is very light (low 6 oz range), yet offers a moderate amount of (quite firm) cushioning. It has enough underfoot structure that I could see potentially running a marathon in them, and a fit that hugs the foot like a glove.  Coming from the Japanese market, the name Takumi Sen means “artisan of the highest order” – this fits as this shoe is quite the piece of art.  If it weren’t so expensive or was more durable, it would rank higher in my list, but both the inov-8 Road-X Lite 155 and Skechers GoMeb Speed 2 can routinely be found for around $60 so hard to justify over double the cost even if it is an awesome shoe.

New Balance RC 1600

The New Balance RC 1600 is a simple and light shoe that’s seen some trail use; with better foam and a little more rubber, it would be higher on the list. 190 g in M13.

-Honorable Mention: New Balance 1600 – While I’m not a fan of New Balance’s REVlite midsole foam, mainly because it is not very resilient (i.e. good energy return) or durable, the 1600 is light and low enough (and on my favorite New Balance last – NBJ) that it doesn’t matter.  While I wouldn’t run a marathon in these, they definitely feel very nice and light for most everything else, and even have the ability to handle a little trail running with a good chunk of rubber in the forefoot.

Henry Training Shoes

Top 3 Road Training Shoes from left to right including the honorable mention.

Road Running – Training Shoes

adidas Adios Boost

adidas adios Boost – The Boost midsole material has impressed me thus far; additionally, I prefer the more non-traditional upper on the adios Boost 1 than the Boost 2 (the latter is also a bit snugger in the forefoot and has stitched overlays). 285 g M13.

1. adidas adizero adios Boost – I stayed away from the adidas adios for awhile because of the 10mm heel to toe offset.  I dabbled with the adios 2 (non-boost version) awhile ago, and while it was responsive, I found the fit to be slightly uncomfortable and the shoe to be pretty stiff overall unless running at tempo or faster pace.  The adios Boost really changes this with a wider fit, lower stack height, and slightly softer (but still responsive) Boost midsole that gives them better flexibility.  The result is a shoe that runs as fast as it does long, has great grip, and holds up well.  My feet feel good in it for long miles, but when I want to push the pace the shoe responds.  It is probably be the best all around road shoe I’ve ever run in.  If they ever make this 6mm drop or lower it would likely be the only road shoe I’d use for everything except track workouts and 5k/10k races.  As it is, I’m not entirely comfortable doing the bulk of my road volume in a 10mm offset at this point so I mix in the shoes below.

inov-8 Road-X 233

No frills, durable and racing flat geometry are the highlights for the inov-8 Road-X 233. 280 g M13.

2. inov-8 Road-X 233 – This shoe has been discontinued for at least a year now (although you can still find the last colorway available here and there), but has been a staple road shoe of mine for the last 4 years.  Although it has some shortcomings (mainly a slight lack of enough responsive cushion, they are slightly heavy, and the upper needs a few tweaks in the overlays), the level of protection and durability inov-8 achieved with the shoe is very far above any other shoe I’ve tried that is as minimal as this shoe is.  It has the 1st gen dynamic fascia band, which, although stiffer than the gen 2 which is in the Tri-X-Treme, gives good pop to the shoe and gives it quite a bit of structure for shoe that is built on a racing flat geometry.  Love it for the racing flat feel with loads of durability; basically the best option I’ve found if you want to run the bulk of your miles in a racing flat, but don’t want to buy a new shoe every month or so :).

inov-8 Tri X-Treme 225

I don’t understand triathlon-specific road shoes (water drainage holes? stretchy laces that I just cut off? why?); regardless, the inov-8 Tri-X-Treme 225 is a solid training shoe on a more cushioned/forgiving platform than the Road-X 233.  I’d prefer a less cut-up outsole design and a lighter upper, but still good as it is. 290 g M13.

3. inov-8 Tri-X-Treme 225 – While inov-8 is not known for their road running shoes (and rumors are that they are being discontinued after 2014), they tend to make road shoes with stack heights right in the range that I’m looking for (typically more like the stack heights of racing flats), and they have features that make them suitable for longer training runs.  The Tri-X-Treme 225 has a good, firm ride, 4mm drop offset, gen 2 dynamic fascia band shank that helps give structure, and a seamless, somewhat warmer upper (which I’ve liked this fall).  Great overall shoe.  Sits right at the perfect geometry and stack height for my tastes.  Too bad inov-8 appears to be throwing in the towel on the road market as this shoe with a few tweaks could be a really nice lower-drop training shoe.

Nike Lunarlauch

Nice upper on a substantial and soft midsole, but at an uncommon low offset for Nike. 280 g M13.

-Honorable Mention: Nike Lunarlaunch – Nike released this shoe very much under the radar.  It has not been sold in run specialty stores as far as I know (Running Warehouse for example doesn’t carry it; Zappos does), but it caught my eye because it was a 4mm drop road shoe from Nike (I think that might be a first other than Nike Frees).  Turns out the geometry is shared with the Nike Kiger trail shoe (same last and stack height).  At first I thought the shoe, which has a Lunarlon midsole instead of the Kiger’s much firmer Phylon, was too soft. However, I then realized that the footbed was made of a super soft, thick,  memory foam like material.  I switched that out with a standard fit 3mm footbed from inov-8 (the lasts are very similar) and the shoe shifted just enough in firmness to be runnable for me. It still feels well cushioned, not to mention it fits my foot like a glove.  I’ve really enjoyed them for easy runs and love the super soft, seamless, lined upper that will also be pretty nice in winter.  Great shoe if you’re looking for a light, lower drop shoe that has some softer cushion.  A downside is that at anything much faster than 7:00 pace it feels like the cushion bottoms out a bit.

These are the shoes I’ve been drawn to the most this year and by no means are “the best” out there for every runner.  If you have any comments or want to share your favorites, I’d love to read about them!

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About David Henry

David Henry is a 31 year old husband and father of 3 young children. He has completed over 23 ultra marathon events as well as many other shorter races. Some of the notable races he has completed include The Pike’s Peak Marathon, Speedgoat 50k, The Rut 50k, Gorge Waterfalls 100k and Bighorn 100. He has raced in diverse environments ranging from Alaska in winter to the Arizona desert. David appreciates well-crafted running shoes and running on any surface and distance. If interested you can follow my running on Strava: https://www.strava.com/athletes/davidjonhenry

Comments

  1. ” new Inov-8 road shoes coming out next year :-)

  2. I beleive so. I think it’s the 220 and 240 ?
    link to facebook.com

  3. white one is 4mm drop and yellow 8mm. Other will not go into production

    • It’s a shame that Inov-8 appear to be pulling out of the road market. I particularly love the 155, which I started racing in this year. My fave racing shoe up to half marathon distance, no contest.

      • I should have read the posts above

        • David Henry says:

          Haha…no worries. It is interesting though that they are wiping the slate clean and starting over with the road shoes. Hopefully that will be a good thing, in the mean time I’ll probably stock up a few pairs of 155s :).

  4. David Henry says:

    Very good to hear/see. Thanks for the link!

  5. would replace new balance rc 1600 with something like saucony a6. totally agree that that sole is has zero energy return. i felt totally sluggish in that shoe, like i was dragging it along. returned it after i think 3 runs…

    • David Henry says:

      Thanks for the suggestion. I’ve been wanting to try the A6 at some point although since I have the Takumi Sen now and am really happy with it, I’ll prob wait till I need another racer to try them. Glad I’m not the only one that feels that RevLite is not a great foam…they nearly always feel dead to me, the 1600 is just so light and minimal that it doesn’t matter as much…1400 for me though was a no go as is any of the 890s, they are light but no return whatsoever in those shoes for me.

  6. Gordon Bolles says:

    Can you compare the feel of the 155s to any other type of brand? Ive run a lot in the lighter weight Altras but am always looking to add a new racing shoe in. thanks

    • David Henry says:

      Hmmm…might be hard to find a real similar shoe. They run pretty light but the midsole is a dense material with decent energy return and a good wide toebox. Probably the closest two shoes I can think of that is runs closest too (but much better IMO) is the NB MR00 (road zeros) with more energy return and a better fit and/or Merrell Bare Access but more comfortable and forgiving and road/racing shoe feel than the Merrells. As far as comparisons to Altra…really Altra hasn’t ever release anything as light or responsive as the 155. The new One2 is the closest, but it is much softer than the 155. Hope that helps. Do you have any specific racer’s that you currently use? That might help me compare more.

      • Gordon Bolles says:

        I use the altra original one( the green sneaker) I agree the one2 is soft, to soft for me, it kindof feels like im running in sand. I like shoes that are a bit more firm under my feet. As far as racing shoes I use one. the Mizuno wave universe 5. This one I like a lot. I like the wider feeling in the toebox and low profile. I’ve used it for 5k-10k races and track workouts. I have thought about it for a 1/2 but am not sure. Any recommendations? thanks again

        • David Henry says:

          Given that you use the original Altra One and the MWU5, I’d definitely still recommend the Road-X Lite 155…it would slot nicely between those two and I’m sure you’d feel they’d go up to the 1/2 marathon in them if you are comfortable in the MWU5 for 5-10K. If you were looking for something with more rubber that runs closer to the Altra One, I’d say check out the inov-8 F-Lite 232/192 (standard fit) you can find them at a pretty good discount and they run really well for all types of running. Not as much pop as a true racing shoe, but more snappy than the Altra One in my opinion. If you don’t want to go inov-8 the adidas Hagio 2 or Takumi Sen 2 would be some of my other recommendations in a racing shoe that will definitely handle 1/2 marathons and have a wider fit for a flat (Takumi runs narrower than Hagio though). Happy running!

        • I have the 155 and the wave universe 4 and they feel quite similar. Ideal racing shoes up to a half marathon.

  7. My shoe wish has come true!!!! I am so happy that Inov 8 is going to push forward with the roadies!! I am on pair # 3 of 233s and can not find another shoe that works as well. I have run in the 155s as well and love them…. Moderate shoes at the 4-6 mm drop range, with AWESOME durability and that are NOT TOO SOFT are awesome.. Go inov 8. Please do not add cushion to all of your shoes or only have flats when it comes to anything less of overly cushioned

  8. 233s are my second favourite shoe ever too. Ran a marathon in them recently too. I’m not overly confident the new road shoes will be as good, as they look more like the Tri-X line, which I didn’t enjoy

  9. I have been extremely interested in the adidas adizero Takumi Sen 2 but no LRS have them in stock hence I would like to try them on before purchasing.

    I have the Adidos 2, which I ran my last marathon in, now I plan on using the Adios Boost 2 for my upcoming marathon.

    Can you compare the adidas adizero Takumi Sen 2 vs the Adios Boost or the Adios2, which is probably most similar? Could these go the marathon distance? I’m 145 lbs/ 2:53 marathon.

    • Takumi Sen 3 is coming in a Boost version, have only seen it on the RRS site so far: link to roadrunnersports.com

    • David Henry says:

      I’d say the Takumi Sen 2 is a mix of the adios 2 and adios boost. It rides firmer like the adios, but feels lower and more nimble like the adios boost. I think it would be possible to run a marathon in them (I might even consider it for my upcoming Feb marathon…shoes in the running currently are Takumi Sen 2 (most responsive), adios boost v1 (most supportive), Pearl Izumi Road N0 (most comfortable) and Skechers GoMeb Speed 2 (most cushion at low weight…ran a marathon in Oct in them)) If you are very well adapted to minimal shoes the Takumi could work for a marathon, but the firm ride might be somewhat unforgiving in the later miles (my greatest question with the shoe…for 1/2 marathon and under, it might be the best flat I’ve ever run in). For me personally I think the adios boost with the lower heel offset of the Takumi would be the perfect mix, but adidas has yet to make a shoe like that :). Personally all said and done though, the Takumi’s as good as they are, are probably too expensive to really justify given the limited durability (they aren’t going to hold up much longer than 200 miles I would guess).

  10. hi david–great roundup! i already asked pete on this, but i thought i’d ask you too: the adios boost often comes with the lacing going into the holes from above rather than from underneath as with most shoes. it looks like yours are laced in the usual manner. did you try them both ways and find the more common method worked better for you?

    thanks.

    • David Henry says:

      Exactly as you suggest. They were cumbersome to lace up the way they came and I like how the more common method will somewhat self adjust on the run where as the over the top lacing tends not to move at all after tied…never liked my shoes that way and not sure if there is any scientific reason why, just don’t prefer it. Hope that helps! -David

      • thanks, david. i pretty much immediately changed the lacing when they came–the laces didn’t seem to want to move through the holes even when i tugged on them; i do wonder why adidas laced them that way. on the other hand, with the normal lacing i’m still having a bit of a problem getting the fit dialed in, so i thought maybe i should have played around more with the “over-the-top” lacing. (my feet are pretty narrow–boston 3 and the boston boost fit me very well, though i’m not that thrilled with the new one for other reasons.)
        you’ve also got me thinking again about inov-8–i’ve never owned a pair but have long been intrigued. not sure where to start; many are at the far end of my tolerance for minimalism. i feel like i should probably go for a trail shoe first, since that still seems like the more exciting area to explore with their shoes. if i can come up with a specific question, i may get back to you.

        thanks again,
        bruce

        • David Henry says:

          Thanks for the comment Bruce and feel free to ask any questions on inov-8. They aren’t for everyone, but I really do like the majority of their shoes for what I consider a great mix of more racing shoe type geometries and good durability…i.e. you can train in shoes that feel like racing shoes. I haven’t got my hands on them yet, but the Race Ultra 270 (coming out later this month) I think will be a great introductory inov-8 model that will highlight some of the great things inov-8 does, but not be as minimal as many of their other models. The Race Ultra 290 is a great shoe as well (if you need the 8mm drop) and I would guess would run similar for you to the Boston in a trail shoe form. I think they need a little work lightening up the upper (appears that they are updating the upper this summer; link to m.runnersworld.com see pic 11 on this link) but I’ve really been liking them this winter. Take care! -David

          • david,

            did you see this re the 270?

            link to iancorless.org

            the only inov-8 i’ve managed to try on (in nyc!) was the f-lite 240. 10.5 seemed ok, maybe slightly shorter than ideal and a bit roomy for me. i assume (hope!!) it was the standard fit. do you think i should go to 11 for the 290?

            x-talon 212 looks fantastic, especially the fit via shoefitr (narrower than boston!), but it would be more or less preposterous for me to get it–i run basically on easy trails and the road, and it’s probably quite firm. not a great shoe for ordinary trails, right? oh, well.

            best,
            bruce

  11. I’d just like to add a few makes other than inov-8. My favourite shoe was the GoBionic which, the v2 sadly has never been sold in the UK. That shoe was just perfect for me in every way. – Never found a shoe like it.

    I’ve tried the Mizuno Levitas, nice fast shoe, similar stack height, but not as comfortable. Also now not available.

    I’m now looking at the B2R Road Shoe. If anybody has tried these it would be great to hear your opinions.

  12. David Henry says:

    Bruce,

    I did see that article…read a little too much like an ad for my tastes :), but I am really excited about that shoe.

    Regarding the 290 size. You likely did try the standard fit 240 if you thought it was a little wide…the standard fit does seem to run a 1/4 size shorter than precision for some reason. With the 290 I’d say it depends on how thick of a sock you wear. If you tend to wear anything but very thin socks then an 11 would probably be best as the 290 fits just a hair shorter to me than the 240, but it doesn’t feel as wide because of the randing.

    212s are awesome shoes overall, although I’m starting to like the Mudclaw 265 a little more…you are right in that they are only good for more extreme trail conditions (steep up and downs and loose/muddy terrain). The Race Ultra series or F-lites are the best for easy trails that also could include some road sections.

    • sorry, david, a couple more quick ones.

    • not that quick…
      so if precision runs a touch longer, and standard 240 was barely long enough in 10.5, same size in precision should be fine?
      is road x 233 notably firmer than 240? it looks like it runs longer than 240, thus a 10 for me?
      hope i’m done…
      thanks again.

      • David Henry says:

        Yes 233s are firmer than 240, has more structure than 240, but not as forgiving of a ride and do run a hair longer than some of the other standard fits, but not so much that I’d for sure size down if 240s were almost too short, although it might help with the width issue for you if you could…with the 233 only you might get away with a 1/2 down (prob only inov-8 shoe I could size 1/2 down, although I prefer the little bit extra room in those for long runs so stay with my normal size), but I wouldn’t from 240 standard to 240 precision. All in all, I’m not sure I feel that it is a full half size difference between S and P fit, it’s prob only a 1/4 size difference. I personally run the same size in both S and P fit.

  13. i agree about that article–especially the puzzling 147 photos from marginally different angles.

    are there any inov-8’s that are more versatile with more cushioning than the 212 that have a narrower fit? i’m getting the feeling the 290 is probably too wide for me.

    • David Henry says:

      Unfortunately I don’t think so. The precision fit F-Lite 240 is probably your best bet…but it has the same midsole as the 212. Most of their precision fit shoes are designed for very technical terrain and therefore have large lugs and less cushion (necessary for stability on very uneven, steep terrain).

      • thanks again, david. any earlier models that would fit the bill that might still be around somewhere?

        • David Henry says:

          Nothing I’d recommend from them or that I can think of. If you really want to try inov-8 and need the precision fit…I’d give the precision 240s a try…they are more forgiving for a shoe will relatively low cushion and you can find them reasonably like here: link to amazon.com with the discount code at the bottom of the page…free returns from Amazon too. Race Ultra 290s aren’t exceptionally wide either and might be worth a try on at least and they are only $85 here: link to amazon.com They’d definitely fit the bill of more cushion, but still inov-8 style and flavor. Other than that, I’m out of ideas :).

          • i really appreciate all of your suggestions–way beyond the call of duty. i’ll try one or both. the free returns are great; just wish i could actually run in them and still be able to return them, but that would require a different vendor and higher prices, at least currently.

            i’m quite liking the first fluidflex currently, and pearl izumi also. but i just may have to scratch this itch.

            many thanks,
            bruce

  14. hi david. thought i’d give an update so you wouldn’t think all your advice went for naught. i got the ultra 290 and the road-x 233, and like the 233 much better! 290 is just too much volume for me (it’s going back). 233 fits quite well (down a half size). while running, i’m not aware of any cushioned feel, but they don’t feel hard somehow, just efficient; there’s something special about the mechanics of this shoe. i’m also wondering about the road-x 255, a (much?) softer shoe. is the fit looser than the 233? would i size down in that one as well? i realize it’s not your style, but what do you think of that shoe?

    will the fit of ultra 270 be any different from 290?

    i’ve also got a pair of f-lite 240 precision coming–yes, i’m going a little nuts! i’m not going to keep them all; there’s just nowhere locally to even try any of them on.

    much thanks again,
    bruce

    • David Henry says:

      Road-X 255 isn’t noticeably softer to me. I think the fit is a little shorter in the 255 as well and has more volume than the 233 so unlikely that it would be better for you than the 233. I agree with you that the 233 is forgiving even though they aren’t super cushioned so to speak and yes very efficient feel to them. Inov-8 has a couple new road models coming out in the next few months that may fit your preferences better (i.e. a little more cushion and, I’m hoping lower volume fit) called the Road-X-Treme 220 and 250 (no real correlation to the older Road-X-Treme line that I would not recommend)

      RE: the RU270, I just ran a 50k race in them and loved them! I do find that it runs lower volume and more performance fit overall, but the toebox is actually roomier I think than the 290 (and the shoe runs more true to size than the 290 so you may be able to go down a 1/2 size from what you tried in the 290). This is actually a perfect combination to me.

      • again, thank you. it’s good to know that even if i keep two or three pair of the inov-8s, i still won’t be off the hook–i can go back to obsessing about some new ones soon!

  15. forgot one thing: f-lite 230 vs. 240. notably firmer? is fit closer to 240 standard or precision?

    • David Henry says:

      230 fit is precision and closest to 240 precision (I think 230s were narrower than new 240 precision, but volume is similar). Firmness wise the 230 is more firm initially but the midsole breaks down quicker and will become quite flexible after say 50-75 miles…the 240 is more plus (relatively speaking) and holds up longer. Hope that helps. If you can find a pair of F-Lite 220s (or 242s) you may really like them as they have the X-Talon 212 upper on them (lower volume/narrower fit) but the F-Lite bottom.

  16. david, do you have any input on upcoming inov-8 models?

  17. hi david,

    since you mentioned lunarlaunch, wondered if you might have tried lunartempo. (i realize it has more drop than you usually prefer.) if you have also run in lunaracer, how you would compare the two re ride and fit?

    thanks,
    bruce

    • David Henry says:

      Hi Bruce,

      Sorry I’m just now getting back to you here. I tried the LunarTempo on but it has a much different fit than the LunarLaunch (LL is same as Kiger trail shoe where Tempo is same as LunarRacer) an I find the LT and LR to be a touch to narrow for my tastes (especially since they are well cushioned I was hoping they’d be good for longer runs/races…but too narrow for long runs for me) I’m actually getting more accustomed to some higher drop shoes (mostly many of adidas’ lineup and some New Balance racing shoes) so the drop is not as much of a problem. I would say that all the lunar shoes run a bit soft for me, but I’ve heard of a lot of folks liking the Tempo say it is similar to the racer but with just a bit more shoe. I’d say if the fit is good you’d probably like them if you like the LR. For me in the road category I’ve been enjoying the adidas adios boost, glide 7 boost and New Balance Zante. inov-8 also released a new road shoe called the Road-X-Treme 220 that is quite good, but only have one run in them so far. -David

  18. JazzRunner says:

    Have had a pair of the new Innov8 Road X-Treme 220 for about three weeks. They are a great replacement for my 233s. On heel strike, found them to be slightly softer at the outside of the heel and much softer at the inside of the heel. Was able to firm thiese problems up with some Shoo Goo. Also of note: • 220s are not as curved as 233s, but they fit about the same, except that they run about half a size smaller than the 233s.. • Heel cup has much more grip than that of the 233.

    • David Henry says:

      Agreed. Thanks for sharing your impressions. I take 220 as more of a true racing shoe where 233 was a racing shoe that had enough rubber to be durable for training miles. -David

  19. Dave,

    I’ve been a dedicated inov-8 shoe runner for years. I started with the old Bare-X Lite 150s and then later fell in love with Road-X 155s. Only now I’m completely disheartened to find that they are no longer in production!

    Anyway, I’ve done most of my training in these racing shoes, but I think my calves are finally asking me to find something with a bit more cushion for longer runs. Any shoe recommendations? Ideally I’d still like something with a low-drop and low stack (something like a Hoka just seems like too much shoe), something still fairly responsive, but with just a bit more umph for the longer ride. Any shoe recommendations? One of the new inov-8s, or Altra shoes, or New Balance MT110s, or Adidas? I don’t really have anywhere to go to try on all these, so ordering online is the best option – I just don’t know what to bite on.

    As far as the inov-8 155s go, eventually I won’t be able to find any old models online, either. What would you suggest looking at then? I’ll probably be needing to buy a new pair of flats in the next couple of months.

    Any and all advice is appreciated :)

    • David Henry says:

      Hi Alisha. Yes the 155 is a great shoe. Good news is I think there are some good options to replace them in addition to snagging a pair online when/if you can find them. I personally am really liking the adidas stuff for roads. For a lower drop/stack option, the Takumi Sen is really hard to beat (both the Sen 2 and 3 are great, though different from each other, and I have found the Sen 1 on ebay for as low as $50). It’s expensive, but probably the best flat out there in my opinion and just as light as the 155 with more protection and responsivenss. My only thought/caution is if you are looking to run all your mileage in them, then for the cost they might be too expensive (I usually save mine for speed days and races, unless you can find them for a good price on ebay; you might also check the adidas Hagio 2/RC (same shoe RC is just this years name for it)…not as good as Takumi, but cheaper :). I use the adios boost 2 for long road running (marathons) and if you can get used to a little higher drop they are really nice fast shoe that you can train long in…I personally never tried them till this year just because of the drop issue, but have now been able to adjust to them and just make sure to still mix in some lower drop options for other runs during the week; the New Balance 1400v3 is also a nice shoe that runs lower drop to me that is shows online (shows 10mm but feels more like 6mm or so). For a higher mileage option that is still light and lower drop, the New Balance Zante is a pretty nice shoe for longer days that still has some responsiveness and is 6mm drop. You might also look at the inov-8 road-x-treme 220 link to runningwarehouse.com that has a bit more protection than 155s but similar inov-8 feel. Hope that helps…basically for responsiveness I think adidas are hard to beat, but you might have to content with higher drop in any adidas besides the Takumi or Hagio 2/RC (both of which are around 4-5mm). Let me know if you have any questions about any specific shoes. -David

      • Wow. Fantastic response. Thanks for all the advice! Looks like I’ll be able to score a pair of sale 1400s and Boost 2s through Running Warehouse, so I should get to do a nice comparison. I’m a bit nervous using something with so much drop after so long, but your glowing reviews have me convinced it’s definitely worth a shot (well, that and my calves and Achilles’s tendon 😉 You also make the Takumi Sen sound so good I almost want a pair now to try! But I’ll wait until my trusty Race X’s give out before I do that. If I rotate in the other shoes for distance runs then my final pair should last a bit longer.

        I do have one more final question: do you know anything about the Adizero Bostons I keep seeing? Seems similar to the Boost 2, but I can’t really tell what the difference is, other than possibly weight?

        • David Henry says:

          The Boston is a great shoe too. They run softer than the adios and have a little more stack height as well as probably even more durable than the adios (which is quite durable itselft..one really nice aspect of the Boost midsole is it lasts a long time…which is incidentally a downside of the revlite that is used in the NB1400). I end up using the Boston mostly on trails actually and will run them for the bulk of Western States this next weekend…as a dry trail shoe, they are probably the best shoes I’ve used to date; as a road shoe, I like the adios and takumis better, but by no means is the Boston a poor shoe on the roads, just not as snappy as adios or takumis, which is what I like when I run roads.

          • Thanks again. Great to have such feedback. Probably not looking for such a soft shoe, but I will keep it in mind. Interesting that you like it on the trails so much! I actually like my Minimus Trails the best for off-road. I love the groundfeel. I tried different shoes before – such as some Inov-8 trail shoes – but I couldn’t get over my lack of groundfeel and got rid of ’em. Only problem I have with the minumus is I almost always get a big toe blister once I cross the 8 mile mark. No idea why… But I like ’em enough I just deal and slather on glide cream 😉

            Seriously though, best of luck to you at Western States! Quite the monster of a race. That’s awesome that you’re out there. I’ll keep you in mind this weekend.

    • JazzRunner says:

      If you go to the Runner’s World Shoe Finder and search for Innov8 155 you will get their review of the shoe. On that page, click Find Similar Shoes. It doesn’t look like a link, but is. This will find a large number of shoes with similar statistics to the Innov8 155.

      FYI, I’ve been running in the Innov8 220 for a couple of months (after running in the 233s for years) and have found it to be too firm in the forefoot. I’ve been considering changing to the Mizuno Hitogami, the Brooks Racer ST, or the Saucony Fastwitch. Take a look at the reviews for these shoes (and others) on RunRepeat.com. This site brings together lots and lots of independent shoe reviews.

      • I will definitely check out those review suggestions. Thank you, JazzRunner! Sorry to hear that about the new shoes. So sad. Everybody I know who ran in the old Inov-8s loved them!

  20. Iain Denby says:

    JazzRunner

    Do you think the Inov-8 220s are more akin to the Tri-X 225s than the 233s ?

  21. JazzRunner says:

    Sorry to say I don’t know anything about the TriX 225s. Also, be aware that the fit of the 220s is narrower and shorter than the 233. I took a 7.5 in the 233 and the 8 in the 220 is a little short. It’s also narrower across the area where the little toe is.

  22. Argh. Some excellent info and advice here, thank you. I finally settled on the Inov-8 X 233s. But I can’t track down a pair in my size, anywhere (UK). What would be the closest alternative I could get? I’d go down to 4mm drop, and I’d go up to slightly more cushioning. Real shame about the 233s though… I like the 155s, but I’m not quite ready for too many miles in a zero drop shoe. Might snap some up regardless though, just in case!

    • David Henry says:

      Hi Rob. Yes the 233s are becoming increasingly hard to find and were a great shoe. As far as alternatives, the adidas adios boost 2 is probably one of the closest in terms of weight, level of cushion and having the shank that runs midfoot to forefoot with the largest difference being the 10mm drop as opposed to 6 in the 233. The adios has a little more cushion and more responsiveness for sure, while the 233 is going to ride firmer and a little more minimal overall. One thing to note on the 155 is they actually aren’t zero drop, but 3-4mm drop. That said they are a more minimal shoe for sure and one that I think would be too light for bulk mileage. The new inov-8 Road-X-Treme 220 might be one to look at as well and it rides in between the 155 and 233 in my opinion. Let me know if you have any more questions about specific shoes. -David

      • Thanks for the reply David. The 220 does look pretty good, though I’m kind of bargain basement shopping at the moment! A couple of the Saucony shoes look ok too, but I’d like to be certain of plenty of toe room. Someone suggested Skechers GOrun 2/3/4, and they seem like they’d be ok for now. Higher than I really want, but otherwise good. I’ve been wearing very battered New Balance trainers for way too long, so anything new will feel like bliss! I’ll have a look at the Adios Boost 2, though I’m intending to eventually make it to Newtons or similar I think. Time will tell. Thanks again.

  23. hi david and rob,

    rei.com still has some sizes of the 233. (biggest is 12.5, david.)

    bruce

  24. Sweet review! I’ surprised Newton’s didn’t make the list this year. Have you tried any of the new ones? I’m curious what you think about the “lugs”

    • David Henry says:

      Hi Robert. Thanks for reading! I’ve tried both the Newton Fate and the Boco Sol. Really the lugs are the main thing I struggle with. I feel like it puts undue pressure on my forefoot (which I think is intentional otherwise why accentuate lugs at all). They are constructed quite well, I’m just not sure I buy in to the lug mechanism in the design. -David

  25. JazzRunner says:

    Having run in Innov8 233s for the last three years, you can guess I was very disappointed to find that they were discontinued. Thought you might like to hear about the shoes I tried as replacements.

    (About me: male, 130 pounds, heel-striker, wear thick Thurlo socks for extra padding, run 25-45 miles per week)

    • Innov8 Road 220: purchased, much firmer than 233, forefoot went numb after long runs, runs 1 size smaller than 233s (wore 7.5 in 233, needed 8.5 in 220)

    • Innov8 Road 250: same fit at 220, slapped the ground when I ran.

    • On Cloud Racer: some slap on running, too gimmicky

    • Brooks ST Racer: too high a drop

    • Altra One 2.5: purchased; great transition from foot strike to toe-off; very comfortable fit, had to size up to a 9(!), wide forefoot stopped my slight pronation, much softer on heel strike than 233s; to firm up, filled large gaps in heel and forefoot with Shoe Goo and inserted Altra’s stone guard under insole – still to soft. Very comfortable, but not fast, shoe.

    • Skora Tempo: purchased and returned, beautiful shoe, too firm on heel strike and toe off, slippery sole, slapped when running, forefoot sole dots become points of pain on 20 mile run.

    • Mizuno Wave Sayonara 2: a little too soft, narrow in forefoot.

    • Mizuno Wave Hitogami 2: purchased, closest thing to the 223s I’ve found. Transition from heel strike to toe-off is very smooth, drop is 2 mm more than 233s, road feel is not as good as the 233s, heel and forefoot firmness feel to be slightly firmer than 233s – though not much, heel grip is great, forefoot is much narrower than 233s (had to move laces so I’m not using the bottommost holes to get comfortable), narrowness leads to a slightly greater feeling of instability during transition. Seem to run slightly small as I needed an 8.5.

    • Brooks Adrenaline 14: purchased; despite the much greater drop and stiffness compared to the 233s, I found their transition to be similarly smooth; heel strike is great and very stable due to heel width.

    • David Henry says:

      Thanks for the detailed comment. Hopefully some of the readers will benefit from our collective trial and error, haha. -David

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