I usually wait to put several dozen miles on a new shoe before posting a review. This time however I can’t wait. I love these shoes there’s just no better way to put it. Since it’s highly unlikely that these shoes will ever see much time on the trail I figured I’d go ahead and tell you what I think about them and what I’ve noticed over the past week.
I have worn these shoes every day since their arrival last Tuesday and they just keep getting more comfortable. Initially they were tight and snug around my feet, especially the forefoot and toes. I was afraid that like the size issue with my X-talon 190’s; Inov8 had got me again. However the mesh upper has adapted and conformed to the contours of my feet nicely and now they feel like custom fitted slippers. I will say that the good people of Britain must have narrow feet because even in the wide size I ordered the shoes were still what I would consider narrow. My X-Talons were quite roomy in the toe box despite being a half-size too big and I have grown to appreciate that extra room while trail running.
As I said before though these shoes will not see much use on the trails I frequent; that duty falls to my X-talons and excellent New Balance Minimus Trail 20’s. In fact I bought these new Inov8’s just so I could start using my NB’s on my runs again and release them from weightlifting duty. Let me say as dedicated workout shoes the F-Lite 230 does not disappoint. While not a zero drop shoe it is close, and the feeling of stability and ground contact in these shoes is excellent. I see now why they are quickly becoming the choice of Cross Fit participants. The sticky rubber soles provide slip-free grip even on slick floors and enable your legs to drive down with force during squats, lunges, and Deadlifts planting your body with authority.
I’ve also been wearing these shoes as my everyday run around mules and they are very comfortable. There is just enough cushioning to tame hard concrete and asphalt while maintaining a minimalist feel and heel to toe drop. One of my frequent problems was that my everyday shoes had a pronounced heel that felt awkward and unstable after running or lifting in my minimalist shoes. I also noticed soreness in my hips and lower back anytime I wore my regular shoe for more than a few hours or so. The F-Lites make excellent everyday shoes combining subdued styling and good looks with comfort and utility.
I chose these shoes over a new pair of Minimus Zeroes. It wasn’t so much a question of performance but of practicality. My Minimus 20’s though several months old are still looking brand new even after a Spartan Race in March. Added to the fact that my X-Talons while not ideal are still practically brand new and not even broken in yet and I just couldn’t justify another pair of trail shoes. Rest assured though that when it comes time for a new trail shoe I will be paying a visit to New Balance but for now I am quite satisfied with these new F-lites. They are extremely comfortable, stable, lightweight, flexible, and breathable. Most of all they came in black; my favorite shoe color.
If you’re in the market for a great all around do anything minimalist shoe you could not go wrong with a pair of F-lite 230s. They are a true jack of all trades and a versatile addition to any runners rotation and shoe stable.