|The Inov-8 Bare X Lite 150s|
So why did I use my hard earned coin on the older series, the Inov-8 Bare X-Lite 150? What made me go a little old school?
It was the lure of the additional 3mm stack height, the total 7mm of blown evo foam that would offer my feet that little extra protection underfoot while out on the roads. While it is the lightest shoe in the Inov-8 Bare-X range, it's not the most minimalist, and I'm glad for that. That prize went to the Bare X-Lite 180, or now it's the Inov-8 Road Extreme 138.
Ash at anotherfnrunner.com wrote a brilliant comparative review of the Bare X-Lite 150, 180 and 200 - the three shoes in the Inov-8 Bare-X range. It went along way to helping my decision as well: http://www.anotherfnrunner.com/2012/02/lets-compare-bare-x-180-bare-x-200-and.html
Between the Skora Base offered at barefootinc.com.au for $99 and the New Balance Minimus 10v2 at the adventuremegastore.com.au I was almost drawn away from Inov-8, but I wanted to finish my natural running journey.
|Inov-8 Road Range - Red Road X 233, Black Road X-lite 155|
and the Blue and Red Bare X Lite 150
Over the Easter break I bit the bullet and ordered the Bare X- Lite 150. I was taking the first step to completing the natural running journey with Inov-8. I had read they were generously sized so I ordered a 7, down on my usual 7.5. Kudos to barefootinc.com and AustPost for the great 2 day turn around from the Sydney warehouse to my doorstep.
My initial impression was that I was stoked that I went with the blue with the red quicklace. They look amazing and felt feather light. Big ticks in a go fast shoe. Putting them on, they felt larger than anticipated, I was hoping for a more snug fit but I was soon able to adjust the quicklace system to get them feeling just right. The kids also loved the bones on the sole.
The quicklace system? For these shoes Inov-8 have ditched the traditional laces for a slightly elasticity lace that is embedded at the base of the midfoot area in the overlay (see the pic, it makes so much more sense than my guff).
|Quick lace meets at the bottom of the blue mesh|
So, shoes on, how do they feel? As I mentioned earlier, they are roomy, but as I wore them and my feet warmed the felt just right. I have a little length in my right foot, but when your left is a size bigger that'll happen. I have ample toe room, yet the mid foot feels just right.
The mesh overlay and quicklace system work harmoniously together my feet are held nicely in place.
A lot of people have talked about ground feel, especially in the more minimalist type shoes. At this stage of my running it is not a crucial aspect, and I got thinking about what it really is. So in the past few weeks I've taken extra notice while running in my Inov-8 X-Lite 155s. Yes, the road feels hard. I can feel the cracks in the pavement and little stones and pebbles on the footpaths as I run. So I devised a little side by side comparison test.
The Bare X-lite 150s and the X-Lite 155 both have the same blown rubber, fusion sole. They are incredibly soft yet strangely firm. They bend and twist anyway that your foot does, even more so cause I don't know anyone who can bend their foot in half or squeeze to meet in the middle vertically.
With one foot clad in black and the other in blue I threw some twigs and stones out on the footpath and went for a walk and a run. Walking along i could feel the cracks in the pavement, the twigs under-feet and the stones hurt, especially in the more tender mid foot areas when I stepped on them.
I certainly felt more through the black X Lite 155s, which I was hoping as it has 4mm less in the sole. Remember I'm after that little extra cushioning. Score one to the Inov-8 Bare X Lite 150.
|Not all paths are perfect|
So far the Inov-8 Bare X Lite 150s have had all the boxes ticked. Great fit, good cushioning but still sound road feel, awesome colours so now it's time for a run.
My first run was a quick 4km. I varied the tempo from 5 min kms to as quick as 4:05 min kms and the felt fast. They rewarded a quicker tempo and cadence and I felt like a kid again. Just running because I can. But 4km is not very far now is it. How about 21km? In a half marathon race?
Why? Why not? On the trail I would pull out the Trailroc 235s without a second thought. I'm comfortable with the Inov-8 range and essentially these are a very similar shoe with that additional cushioning.
Out in the race they felt great. I hit a natural rhythmic pace quite quickly and they felt good. I was getting good feel off the trail/footpath and had to think about my form but it was positive thinking. After 7-8km they began to give a little and I felt more and more comfortable underfoot as the race went on. At this point there were no hot spots, no rubbing or slipping and I was very comfortable.
By 15/16km I had begun to fatigue (I went into the race after two days in bed during the week) and I had to really work on my running. My quads we heavy and my hips became noticeable but my feet were still comfortable. When I was able to put in some quicker spurts I was again rewarded why a more natural run, so I know that I have to keep working on this. Perhaps for me I am still suited to 3 or 4mm underfoot in the longer races, but for 10kms and under the Inov-8 Bare X-Lite 150 will be the shoe I use.
|How cool is the bone pattern on the White Bare X?|
So 25km is not all that far in a pair of shoes. I know that they will hold up as all the reviews I read prior to writing mine have praised their durability. My Inov-8 Road X-Lite 150s have done nearly 400km and although wearing at the high contact points of my running cycle, there is still a lot of life left in them.
Speaking of soles, I had to race across wet brick pavement the other day and the 150s got me across safe and sound. On my recent runs in the rain they have be terrific - no grip problems at all.
Well, I've now got a couple of hundred kms on my Bare X-lite 150s and I still love them. The sole has molded to my foot and the grip is wearing quite well. If you look at the tread it does wear according to how you land, I am obviously quite heavy on my right foot compared to my left.
Cushioning wise they are good, I can do my 5 - 12km runs in them and the feet still feel fresh at the end.
I would perhaps like a little more strength or firmness in the sole as I get a little underfoot muscle tension after the occasional run - perhaps these are a good training tool, rather than the race day beast I thought. Having said that I'm trying to get more track work into my routine and these are great for my speed work.
If you like the sound of them, I'm part of Wiggles affiliate program, so why not head on there via my link and check them out :)
Cheers and happy running, Lachie
|Run Natural with This Fish - Get 10% discount at www.barefootinc.com.au with fish10|