Inov-8 past experiences welcome......

Hi there,

Myself and a few friends of mine have been having trouble with ripped Inov-8s, specifically F-lite 195s, and I wanted to know if there have been any fellow Runner's World athletes who have experienced the same problems?

I don't run huge distances, average about 400k/year, but my two friends are ultra runners, covering some serioous mileage and know how to pound the shoes!

However, even they are a little miffed that the trainers have come apart at the seams around the little toe, or just plain ripped within months and/or 100miles of running use.

I'm not going to get into all the details, but I would love to hear from any Inov-8 past experiences that have involved this kind of problem.

Many thanks for your time,



  • I wear inov8s all the time. Typically I get at least 500 miles out of a pair, sometimes more. The first place they seem to wear out is the little toe.

    I have had my latest pair a couple of months, they have done a fair few miles including a 100 mile race and no signs of wearing through yet.

    I guess you trade off the longevity a little when you go in for lighter shoes and give them a hard life.

  • They are f-lite 195s too. Soon going to try the new anatomical fit f-lites, a little more room up at the toes may stop the damage as there is likely to be less pressure on the outside upper.

  • Great to hear yours are good, just strange that we've all had the same problem with these shoes. 

    One pair is less than two months old, ripping. The other is less than a year old, under 100miles usage, and completely ripped out of the seam where the little toe sits. Just bizarre. Must be a manufacturing fault or something.

  • I also have a pair of Merrell Trailgloves and they are even older than the 195s. They look pristine. I'm sure I saw somewhere that there is a guarantee on the mesh.

  • I think as they are so soft and actually a narrow shoe there is a lot of pressure on the upper. That main pressure point would most likely be the outside of the foot at the widest part... the outside ball/little toe area.

    Less than 100 miles is not good. Months is hard to tell as you can cover a lot of miles in 2 or 3 months. The mileage of them may be ok then.

    IF you like the shoe, and my theory above makes any sense! haha then could be worth looking at the anatomical fit. I have a pair of road-x 233 that are anatomical fit, about 2 years old and comfortably over 1000 miles. They are showign their age now though!

    No experience of the merrel trail glove, I imagine they are zero drop so a possible replacement if they are outlasting the inov8s by a long way.

  • Yeah, currently in talks with Inov-8. We'll see how it goes!


    Trailglove has the sole and shoe all kind of fused together, so this ripping doesn't occur. Don't get me wrong, I luuurve the 195s, but not enough to keep replacing each year!

  • Mine don't last anywhere near a year! I do normally get ok mileage out of them though.

  • Have used loads of Inov8 shoes and worn the tread off all of them before the stitching has gone (but admitedly not 195's) had a minor issue with Inov8 that was quickly resolved. Their other stuff is well made as well. I would be interested how your 'talks' go; if their customer service is s**t then I will not be buying any more!

  • I'll keep you posted. In an email dialogue with the European Marketing Manager at Inov-8, he has stated that I should return the product(s) to the retailer I bought it from because 'they will be best placed to assess the reason for the damage and help you further'.

    I have already asked him how on earth a retailer would have a greater depth of knowledge than the people who make the product. No answer. Was simply told I seemed 'unwilling to accept our policy's or to understand the reasons behind them' and that he was concluding the conversation - nice upper-management-stop-asking-me questions syndrome. My retailer told me to go directly to Inov-8 for guidance!!!

    Executive office is due to respond shortly.

    (I have to state all other communications have been prompt and professional.)

  • Dread to think how many miles I`ve covered in my beloved Talon 212s but there still going strong, treads quite worn but considering how much abuse the uppers recieve from the local brashings etc there in great condition....

    For the record there cleaned after every run and I do them up super tight to stop foot movement inside the shoe when contouring or running down steep rocky decents etc..

  • Yep my 212s are fine, no idea on mileage and not used for a while. The upper on them is very different to the f-lites and seems to be very tough!
  • I have a pair of Mud-Claw 330 that suffered badly a couple of winters ago, the rands split open quite extensively, but I put that down to running to work in the snow/slush, and the brine (created by road-salt & snow-melt) drying the rubber out.

    The tread is perfect though

    My oher 4 pairs (of Inov-8) are fine, barring some wear on the heels of a pair of Roc-Lite 315 due to some road-running to get to my off-road routes p, and the incorporated road.

    Not tried their road-shoes ye, keep meaning to
  • I have been wearing Inov-8s for years now and have 4 pairs of inov-8s on the go at the moment (mudclaw, roclite, oroc & x-talon). None of these are showing any particular signs of excessive wear and tear and I would have no problem in buying all of them again.

    That said, the rand on my old mudclaw 272s did split but I guess that was down to them being quite old and the rubber having dried out.

    Some of the lighter weight mesh uppers are not up to much abuse though. I found this with some flyrocs -the upper wore out way before there was much sign on degradation to the sole. However, that is more down to me putting them through tough terrain (rough moorland and rocky fells) which admittedly they are not really recommended for.

  • The BusThe Bus ✭✭✭

    It's not just Inov-8s. Most of my off-road shoes wear out at the flex point on the mesh. What makes it worse is when they are constantly wet, and certain types of mud can be quite acidic - especially if mixed with animal waste.  In summer I can get 400-500M out of a pair of Roclite 295s for example, but in winter that can go down to 2-300. My La Sportiva XC's started to fail in a similar place after 90M, NB MT101's he same, Mizuno Wave Harriers 180M and so on.

    The thinner the upper, the quicker it will happen and the F-lite 195s are very light weight. If you want longevity, you need to keep the really light weight ones for racing and go for something like a Roclite 315 for training, whihc has a double mesh upper and is more robust.

    Oddly, some (lucky) people don't have this problem at all and their shoes last almost forever. I guess it's all down to how your foot and shoe work together and where the flex point happens, and finding a shoe that works with your foot without splitting.

    You shoudl definitely take it back to the retailer or manufacturer as you've done though, as without a constant stream of returns, the manufacturers won't work to improve this problem. That said, from their POV, we demand ultra lightweight shoe and they are not magicians!

    A bit of careful stitching and or glueing can make them last a lot longer - I managed to eke my Sportivas out to 300 miles in the end, though it took a fair bit of gluing and re-gluing!


  • purplepigpurplepig ✭✭✭

    Hi all,

    I'm so glad to have found this thread as I've spent most of the day searching for trail shoes. I currently run in Adidas Kanadia TR4s which have been fine except on rock - and are slippy then.

    I want a shoe that is comfy enough for running for hours at a time (ultra distances) but can provide great grip on scree, rock and mud!! It's tough because as with somebody above - I often have to run on some road to get off road,and the more the shoe is designed for technical terrain, the less able to withstand road. Maybe I need to stick with what I have for these runs, and just use the new trail shoes (whatever they end up being) for the ultras.

    I am a real woosy on downhill particularly scree covered (!) and would really like a shoe that can help give me more confidence.

    I have been looking at Inov8 - Roclite 315 and Trailroc 245 - but I'm wondering if the Trailroc might be too minimilist for someone who doesn't currently use minimilst road shoes?

    Any advise would be greatfully received - sorry to jump on the thread!

    I am agirl by the way - so no good recommending me a man's shoe image

  • Purplepig, both should be OK for the conditions you describe and cope with a bit of road too. There's slightly less cushioning and grip in the trail roc and they are also a different fit. (The roclite is more generous but the trailroc is available on a narrower specific womens last.) The trailroc is not as minimal as other shoes in the Inov8 range so as long as you are comfortable with a 6mm heel-toe differential, they should be ok. That said the extra cushioning and width in a roclite maybe more benefit for an ultra. Pros and cons for either really........

    Not sure if that helps at all or if I've just added to the confusion! image

  • The BusThe Bus ✭✭✭

    Roclite 268 Purple pig - women's specific  fit, lightweight and same cushioning level and sole unit as a men's 295, which I've always found OK for a bit of tarmac use, as well as being pretty good for everything  else except the worst mud.

    They'll make the Kanadias feel like you had weights tied to your feet! Oh, and my Kanadias also staretd to split after less than 100 miles of constant wet conditions last Autumn!


  • purplepigpurplepig ✭✭✭

    Thanks guys - it's useful to get your take.

  • Ok, so latest update from Inov-8:

    They will be completing a free of charge replacement of my 195s with the latest 2013 line of anatomic fit styles. A quick glance through the specs it seems like they have re-engineered the uppers too.

    No, admittance from Inov-8 UK at all, just asked to fill out a form. No complaints here, looking forward to trying the new style.

    This is a vid from 2012 summer show in the US, that describes the new fit:

    For the record, both my friends have suffered with the same issue. Not particularly wide feet, but one of them went through 5 pairs of 195s in under a year, and the other through 3 pairs, same time period.

    Fair few other people have suffered the same problem:

    The fact they're offering this as a replacement that "should prevent your shoes wearing/ tearing in the same place" surely means there have been many others that have suffered from the same issue - the video link above already implies that people with wider feet have had issues with the narrower performance fit.

    If this has happened to anyone, just get in touch with your retailer first, and if no joy, keep on at the Inov-8 guys. They do listen, and I had a decision made within a few days.

  • When I got my Trailroc 235s from Lakes Runner I was advised to Shoe-Goo over that area between the rubber toe bumper and the start of the reinforced area before wearing them, as that appeared to be the weak point. I'm wondering whether to also treat the same area on the inside? And those pictures on the German website make me wonder whether I should be sticking the Goo all over the lowest inch of the whole uppers!!!

    Pete S: I'm amazed what you said about the fit - I waited for the Trailrocs to come out because they're on the anatomic last and give me the room I need in the toes.

  • The pictures on the German site are exactly what happened with my trial rocs in less than 200 miles.


    Debra Bourne wrote (see)


    Pete S: I'm amazed what you said about the fit - I waited for the Trailrocs to come out because they're on the anatomic last and give me the room I need in the toes.


    The roclites are on the endurance last which is a "Generous fitting and offering a more comfortable style" than the natural last used on the trail roc. ("Based on the shape of the foot, this is our most natural fit. More room in the toe box allows the toes to spread.")

    Admittedly there is more toe room than the performance last I find the endurance used in the roclite 295 far more roomy than the natural. Also, both the roclite 268 and trailroc 246 are available in womens fit which will have a narrower heel cup.

  • Just don't let them get away with it.

    If you don't complain about the shoes, they don't bother re-designing to fix faults like this.

    Obviously you have probably read this already:

    The Gore-tex has a lifetime guarantee, too, so the point could be argued, that if it is ripped, then it is no longer fit for purpose. It's not as if we're running through brambles all day, in fact the running I have done has been pretty easy going trails. The 195s have phenomenal grip still. 

    I have previously mentioned the Merrell Trailglove, however please bear in mind I have not given them anywhere near the usage of the 195s (have read too many nightmare stories about achilles issues). Having said that, they have been waded through fords, heavy mud, in the washing machine etc and there is no damage to them yet - not forgetting that the sole is certainly not as grippy as the 195, definitely avoid anything slippery when wet! I would be careful with wet rocks and tree roots, other than that it is great on the trail.

    Running the Ridgeway 40 this year for the first time ever, first ultra too, so will be interesting to see how the 252s perform (this is what Inov-8 have suggested as the replacement for my ripped 195s) as well as my poor legs!. All I know is, the day I threw away my cushioned Nikes, my knee pain vanished (probably because I was forced into a better running position), and the chances of a twisted ankle became far less likely as my foot started to remember what it was like to actually feel the ground!

    And remember, these shoes retail at £110 RRP, they should perform like it, and be durable for quite some time. I've seen people's comments on forums about the trade off between light shoe/less durable, heavier shoe/more durable; I just dont subscribe to that point of view. Inov-8 states their shoes are up to the task. They don't tell you at the point of purchase that these are a lighter model so may wear out quicker, so they should at least last a few hundred miles. This issue has developed from 20miles to 200miles in, and that's just not good enough.

    Get them replaced, and maybe they'll start listening when it hits them in their pocket!


  • Pete S: Ah, I remember now, yes the Roclite were okay for width, but I needed something much more minimalist - too much sole and too much heel-toe drop, not enough flexibility for me. I commented in the shop that none of the minimalist ones had good toe box room and was told about the Trailrocs, so I waited for those.

    So, should I be spreading the Goo all along both sides, get them reinforced in advance???

  • Hi

    I've literally just sent an email to innov8 to complain about a tear on both trainers at the point just before the small toe.  I've had them for a month training for the VLM and really liked them until now.  For the money they should last longer.  They've asked me to return them to Amazon who will then return them to Innov8, bit of a long process but I intend to.

    I've moved over to the Saucony A5's which I'm happier with so could be a blessing in disguise

  • If you've started a dialogue with Inov-8, ask them if the wider anatomic fit will stop this from happening (I was told by them that it would). 

  • Debra Bourne wrote (see)

    Pete S: Ah, I remember now, yes the Roclite were okay for width, but I needed something much more minimalist - too much sole and too much heel-toe drop, not enough flexibility for me. I commented in the shop that none of the minimalist ones had good toe box room and was told about the Trailrocs, so I waited for those.

    So, should I be spreading the Goo all along both sides, get them reinforced in advance???

    No experience of Goo, sorry. Going to upload the images of our shoes asap so you can see the damage location.

  • Blue ones less than 2 months old (replicated in 3 other pairs from this friend), grey sub 100 miles (same thing occurred in four other pairs of 195s from this friend), black sub 400k for a fat boy at 107kgs!









  • sorry, images not showing, just click one of the links that appears to be dead and it will take you to the photobucket page. Not quite sure what happened there! Obviously fixed!!!

  • I've worn through Inov-8 295 and 190s; mind you I've also worn through Wave Harriers, NB and Swoops before the soles have gone. The NBs were sorted under warranty, everything else has been 'reasonable use' in my book. For a lightweight product that has a hell of a life, it's tough for any manufacturer to get the balance right. As you say, Inov have a human face and can help. I've come to realise that the dirt around here is quite corrosive nad have reluctantly started to look after stuff slightly better.

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