Gear Upgrade: Inov8 X-Talon 200

Gear Upgrade: Inov8 X-Talon 200

My thrashed out Adidas I wore for BoneFrog

I love my Adidas! I’ve had several pairs in various styles and colors over the years.  Unfortunately my last two pair have each met their untimely demise, courtesy of obstacle course racing. My fave pair, some black and white ones, got me through BoneFrog, but they were never the same after that.  So they got kicked to the curb and I bought a new pair of Adidas Rockadias in their place. I took a chance on them, because I just went off some reviews I read online… and also the attractive price. I didn’t want to pay $100 or more for shoes that I was going to go out and thrash in the mud.  Ummm… yeah, more on that in a minute.

The Rockadias were worn for Spartan and Savage. After Spartan, as you might expect, they were super muddy and had some battle scars.  I hosed them off and brushed them down, then threw them in the washer (bad idea). I dried them in the dryer (even worse idea) afterwards and when they came out, at first I thought, “Man, these fit like a glove, even better than before!”  Then shortly into the Savage Race, I noticed that they started feeling tight and uncomfortable.  My toes were punching against the end and it was becoming more noticeable to me. Not a good thing at only mile 2 of a 6 mile race! I toughed it out though and was able to finish the race.  Toes were brutalized though!

The lesson learned was just like other sports, you need the right equipment. In the case of obstacle course racing, shoes are probably one of the most important items you can invest in.  So just like my granddaddy used to say, two things a man shouldn’t skimp on are his shoes and his mattress. Of course he wasn’t talking about OCR, but the concept still applies. Don’t skimp on your shoes for this sport, or you’ll end up paying for it one way or another. In my case, i paid for it in discomfort and ultimately additional expense that could’ve been avoided.  And of course my toes now look like they have been smashed repeatedly with a hammer.

My requirements for the new shoes I was seeking were they needed to be light, comfortable, have superb grip, be water/mud repellent, and be easy to clean. After reading a lot of reviews and shopping prices, I settled in on the Inov8 X-Talon 200.  They were right under $100, which is still a lot of money for shoes your’re going to go stomp around in the mud in.  But I heard my granddaddy in my head, “don’t skimp on your shoes.”  So I spent a little more this time, but got something that will perform better and hopefully feel better.

When they arrived, my first thought was, “Wow!  These look great!”  I’m not into all those crazy neon colors that seems to be a pretty common option these days.  No, these are just black and that’s perfect for me.  The cleats on the bottom looked like they would dig into anything and not let go.  Can’t wait to try them out in a race.

Thus far I’ve only been able to try them out on local trails.  Nothing too severe, but some fairly rough and uneven terrain, with a few muddy parts for good measure.  The X-Talon 200s navigated the terrain with ease.  They were super comfortable on my feet and propelled me up steep inclines with almost no effort.  Once I gained some confidence in them, I was no longer worrying about slipping and was able to power through climbs very easily.

For a more rugged and demanding test on the X-Talon 200s, we will have to wait until March to see how they really perform.  March will be busy, as I’ve got the Spartan Sprint and Warrior Dash planned in the same month.  The good news is I’ll definitely know how they perform by the time I finish those two races.  I will follow up on this post and report on my experience to let everyone know the results.  Fingers crossed that they are f-ing killer shoes!  I’ll let ya know.

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