Friday, April 27, 2012

Inov-8 Bare-X 200 Shoe Review

This maybe the most underrated and unappreciated shoe on the market today (probably due to the recent release of the Inov-8 Bare-X 180).  I had heard very little about this shoe. but when an Inov-8 representative asked me if I would like to review this shoe I jumped at the opportunity.

From the Inov-8's website:

"The Bare-X 200 is designed for pure minimalist runners. Zero differential and zero midsole keeps the foot as close to the ground as possible while the rubber sole provides protection from any debris. The Met-Cradel TPU lacing offer an intimate fit and reduces slippage"

Weight: 7.4 oz (size 10.5)
Stack Height: 6mm

Toe Box: Medium
Heel to Toe: 0mm
Flexibility: Very Flexible

That is a very accurate description of the the Bare-X 200. However, I would point out that this is a pure road shoe that would not do well on technical trails.  

For me the Bare-X 200 fits true to size with maybe just a bit extra length.  I would not suggest sizing down as the Bare-X 200 wider than traditional shoes but not as wide as other minimalist shoes on the market.  The shoe is not restrictive in my opinion.  It has a nice close fit that hugs your foot and makes it perfect for speed work and racing.  I would be a bit concerned with the width for longer runs as feet tend to swell. There is one weird fit issue for me. Just behind the arch there is what feels to be a small "bump".  It is noticeable when standing or walking but I don't really feel it while running.  

The upper of the shoe is a very breathable synthetic mesh with TPU overlays that run down the sides and along the toe box. The overlays gives just a bit of support to the upper but not sure if they are necessary.  The Bare-X 180 uses less of the TUP overlays which is the only real difference between the 180 and the 200.  The upper is soft and comfortable even without socks.  However, if you you remove the 3mm insole, you will need socks as the footbed is a bit rough.

After removing the 3mm insole, the first thing I noticed about this shoe is the amazing ground feel.  This shoe has some of the best ground feel of any "normal" looking shoe on the market.  I would argue that the ground feel is right up there with VFF KSO.  It is that good.  The outsole on the 200 uses Inov-8 Bare-X outsole that is really unlike any other outsole that I have seen in a shoe.  It reminds me of a cross between the Altra Adam outsole and VIVOBAREFOOT EVO.  It is very firm and extremely durable and flexible.  Both are a must in my opinion.  I still can not see any wear on my pair after at least 200 miles on them.  

This shoe has become my go to shoe for tempo and speed work as well as my preferred short distance racer.  I can not emphasize enough how much I love the outsole of this shoe.  Inov-8 really has something special with their Bare-X Sole

My only real complaint about the shoe is the white color.  It should be a rule that running shoes can not produced in white! However, I have long stopped being concerned with the looks of my shoes but some color choices would be nice.    

I highly recommend purchasing this shoe from Patton over at the Natural Running Store.  You will love this shoe but love the customer service more!


  1. I had a look at these myself, but opted for the NB Minimus Trail and managed to also get hold of a pair of Altra Samsons.

    My main reasons against chosing the Inov-8s was cost and doubt about the sole on anything other than road, so I'd be interested in your view on value for money and also what surfaces you've tried them on so far.

    1. I have really only used these shoes on the road. The Bare-X 200 just have very little tread on them to handle any sort of technical trail. However, the outsole is extremely durable. I would expect to get at least 500 miles on these if not more. I would expect the upper to break down before the outsole therefore they might be worth the money as a pure road shoe. I actually find them to be very similar to the Altra Samson especially with the insole of the Samson removed.

    2. this isn't a trail shoe guys! Of course you're going to "doubt" it on anything other than the road! It's not meant for trails!

    3. You are correct but there are "road" shoes that can be used on trails such as the Merrell Road Glove, Altra Instinct, and several others. The Bare-X 200 however, is not one of these shoes.