Inov-8 F-Lite 195 $115, www.inov-8.com.
The Good: A light weight go-to minimalist shoe that performs on both long runs and Olympic lifts.
The Bad: The outer material got some nicks and dings on after I shimmied up a rope on them.
The Ugly: The jarring pain I felt in my heel after my pose running form went squirrely on a long downhill.
I revel in grabbing my “go-to’s” and knowing they will come through for me in a variety of situations. After giving a popular rubber toe shoe a go for a couple of months and adding a good running shoe I had a combination of good crossfitting shoes (depending on the workout) and a decent running shoe. However, in my quest for simplicity and the fact that I despise $25 fees to check a bag on my frequent flights, I posed a seemingly simple question. “Is there a shoe out there can do it all and fit easily in my carry on?” I needed a shoe that performs during Olympic lifting, box jumps, running, biking, and any other physical shenanigans I think sound like a good time.
Enter the Inov-8 F195. I spotted them first at my local Crossfit apparel shop and thought they may just fit the bill for what I had been questing after. The Inov-8 F195’s ended up being a match made in heaven. They fit better than my other minimalist shoes and offered just the right mix of protection and minimalist styling for my pose style of running. Did I mention they weigh in at 6.9 oz? Combine that with a 3mm heel differential and you’ve got a winner. I knew immediately these shoes had to be mine.
I quickly paid for them and dashed home to head out on the pavement. Upon lacing my new shoes up I reflected on how they hugged my metatarsals more like a good pair of socks than a pair of shoes. After finishing up my run I knew box 1 was checked off and I had my new go-to running shoes. Later that night I made my way over to the gym for some Crossfit Olympic lifting punishment. 5 beautifully miserable Crossfit rounds later I knew I was officially in a physical fitness relationship with my new Inov-8 F-195’s. Ahh…Shoe bliss.
The only downside came a couple of weeks later when I tried to incorporate a rope climb into one of the workouts. One downside of the F 195’s light weight, highly breathable mesh material rubbed through a bit as I was making my way up and down the rope like an elevator.
The bottom line: six months later I have put countless miles on them and even used them for a sprint triathlon. These are the best all-around athletic shoes I have ever had the pleasure of strapping on my feet. If you’re looking for a trail runner or plan on climbing a lot of ropes go somewhere else. Everyone else go out and pick a pair of these bad boys up.
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Author: Will Hinkson