I ran the first 80 odd kilometres in these shoes during the winter and spring where the studded sole provided good mid range grip on my trail runs. As previously reported I was disappointed with the change in the heel arrangement with these and other shoes which started to put pressure on my Achilles tendon. My summer shoes – Inov8 f-lite 190s – however have caused me some serious issues and therefore I chose to return to my winter shoe in the knowledge that they were comfortable to run in. This has proven to be a wise choice. These shoes, like the previous incarnation, are extremely good shoes to run in on both the trail and the road. I like this versatility and like the way these shoes seem to encourage good running form. So, early worries aside, Inov8 have replaced probably their best shoe which was sadly let down by tears in the fabric with a worthy and more robust successor.
I like giving shoes some time before I make my judgements on them. This may in part be because of my age – only 10 or so years ago we still had to ‘break-in’ running shoes – but also, because over the years I have found that some of my race shoes in particular have developed into trusted friends (Brooks Kona Coast being a prime example – if anyone wants to remake these, I will order hundreds of pairs :)).
Having used f-LITE 230s to my Guinness Indoor Iron Distance World Record in 2012 and f-LITE 195s to 5th place at the Powerman Zofingen Long Distance Duathlon World Champs last year, I was really looking forward to running in this zero differential model from Inov8.
First impressions were positive. I ordered two sizes to ensure I got a good fit – my feet are ever changing and I need a wide toe box to take account of my foot spread. As ever, the shoes felt very comfortable when on, however, as with other recent models from Inov8, for some inexplicable reason they have raised the heel tab and I was immediately aware of an added pressure on my Achilles tendon as a result.
Foolishly, I chose to ignore this and, with 3 of my main running shoes all now displaying this characteristic (X Talons, XTreme Tri and now f-LITES) I ended up with very sore Achilles on both feet. As ever, I stubbornly persevered because the f-LITES were being prepared to be my prime shoe for this year’s World Champs at Zofingen.
Despite the discomfort, the shoes were worn at the 3 day Colworth Trail Marathon in which I won the 1st Supervet for the half marathon and the overall event, finishing 12th in 3.03:12.
During the second day, 8.1 mile trail race, the laces came undone and I regretted sticking with them. Elastic laces will be fitted prior to the Worlds. Otherwise, Achilles aside, the shoes work well on the trail.
Sadly, however, I did not pay enough attention to the increasing pressure on my Achilles and calf muscles and they finally gave way a couple of weeks ago and cried enough! With a little disappointment, I have now had to insert some 3mm heel raises (courtesy of unused Newton MV2 ones) and a pair of gel arch supports to take the pressure off. As a result, and a full on return to completing regular natural running form drills, the pressure is beginning to ease. With 5 weeks to go to the Worlds, I will now probably continue with these supportive measures through to the race and then make a judgement for further activities – and other shoes – ready for the winter.