Customer Reviews: Inov-8 Bare-XF 210 Shoe
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on June 20, 2013
I love this shoe. I have worn Vibram's to run in for about 2 years now, and I wanted a casual shoe that would be minimalist as well. This shoe fit the bill. I love how it fits to my foot. If you have wider feet, I wouldn't purchase this shoe though, it is fairly narrow. If you like the minimalist idea, then this is the shoe for you. I feel the ground(in a good way) better in these shoes than I do in my Vibram's. Super Comfortable!
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on May 30, 2013
I have actively practiced Baghua zhang, Wing Chun and Tai Chi for the past 10 years. Before that I practiced japanese jujitsu for six years. Baghua and Wing Chun require a lot of turning and rotating on the heel and ball of the foot, and sometimes the center. It is also incredibly important to feel the ground. Ankle and tendon strength come from leaving the foot as naturally close to the human design as possible, meaning that most modern running shoes are actually hurting people's feet by creating too much unnatural support and structure around the foot.

During formal Wing Chun classes, we train on hardwood so I go barefoot. However, all of my advanced training is outdoors and that's where foot protection is required. My Sifu (teacher) has been pushing me to buy Inov-8s for over a year. He raved about them. He said my running shoes were destroying my footwork and stability. I had a motorcycle accident last year which crushed my left ankle, and the deep tread on my New Balance running shoes were making things worse during martial arts training. So I finally bit the bullet and grabbed a pair off of Amazon.

These INOV-8 shoes have entirely changed my approach to training. I can comfortably do a full two hours of warm ups, baghua palm changes and circle walking, wing chun forms and fast-paced turning drills and footwork, then finish it off with tai chi for a cooldown. Because they weigh virtually nothing, I don't think about them. Instead, since I can feel the ground really well in the 3mm sole, and the traditional over-zealous running shoe support is no longer impeding my sensitivity, I can focus on correct balance and posture. The soles are thin enough to feel the ground (though if you need a thicker sole for your training for some reason, I think there's a 6mm model), yet thick enough to protect my feet on rough wood, tile, pavement and cement.

Where these shoes won't work well is on indoor hardwood. The sole is targeting the running community, so it is very sticky. The tread is light, which is a plus, but make no doubt that these things offer traction for your feet. But for martial arts application with a lot of twisting and rotation, this can actually have the opposite effect on ankles and knees. If INOV-8 could make a martial arts shoe with a sole that took into account a lot of twisting and rotation (heel and ball), which most martial arts involve, and slightly reduced the stickiness, indoor application would be much improved (but I realize these shoes weren't originally designed with this application in mind, they are a runner's shoe).

Anyway, I'm thinking of buying several pair and stocking up on them. My teacher has gone through 2 pairs in 2 years, so they tend to last as well. And on the plus side - the sole will break in and wear down a bit so they are more comfortable on hardwood indoors if that is your training preference as a martial artist.
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on April 17, 2013
My Crossfit trainer noticed I was rolling forward on numerous lifts and mentioned that my running shoes may be putting me on my toes to much instead of allowing me to use my balance on my heels. These shoes are noticeably lower to the ground than my running shoes and the zero drop between toe and heel has made a huge difference in my balance and power. I'm very happy with my purchase and look forward to training in these shoes more!
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on June 10, 2014
I like the traction on these shoes, and they're really comfortable. I use them for light workouts, nothing intense. Unfortunately, the front of the shoes started to peel off right outside of the return period, so I had to superglue them. Considering the amount they are charging for these shoes that should not have been an issue. If that had not happened I would have given these shoes 5 stars.
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on March 19, 2013
The shoes were worn for one day when the stitching came out. Fortunately a local shoe repair shop could repair for less than the cost to ship it back. They even reinforced the other shoe at the same seam. They have been fine since then. My son loves the way they feel and grip.
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on August 28, 2014
I got these shoes to replace the New Balance Minimus 20v3 that I was using for my crossfit workouts and I love it so far. You get a great feel for the ground on heavy lifts and it felt great on my box jumps. I even didn't mind them on our 100 m, 200 m, 400 m and 600 m runs. Now if you were to step on a rock it might sting a little since it's got a pretty thin sole. However, I've gradually been working my way down to the thinner soles so I knew what to expect.

The shoe is incredibily light weight and the toe box has plenty of room to spread your feet out for the heavy lifts. It feels well constructed too. The reason why I ditched the Minimus shoes is because the sole started to peel after a couple months, and thats the second pair that this happened with. The sole is all one piece on these shoes.

Also, I typically where a size 12.5 and they fit perfectly. I read other reviews where people said they ran small so I started out with a 13, but ended up returning those and getting 12.5.

Overall, I would suggest these if you've been weening yourself down on the minimal type shoes. However, it might be a bit of jolt if you go from a typical cushioned running shoe straight to these shoes. Just something to consider.
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on March 12, 2015
Phenomenal weight lifting shoes.

Squats and dead lifts suddenly made sense when I wore these to the gym.

Running in them is pretty good too, as they have plenty of cushion between your feet. It's a bit like vibrams, but without the ordeal of fitting your toes into those tiny holes.
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on January 11, 2014
Great shoes for weightlifting, especially squats and deadlifts (I wouldn't run in them). They look great too! They're super light. They came highly recommended from Mike Matthews' blog who is a fitness writer that I follow. I wear a size 12 men's shoe, and these fit perfectly (12 M US Men / 13.5 M US Women).
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on February 4, 2016
I'm giving this shoes a 3-star because I like the flat barefoot feel (I'm a minimalist) and that it doesn't have any arch support. I don't like how narrow they are. I've had to tie them super loose (I almost didn't have enough lace to complete the knot after I finished loosening them). The toe-box is ok. It could stand to be wider. The worst part is where the laces are. Luckily I bought them a size up so they fit comfortably after I loosen the laces completely. Also, I have no idea why ALL minimal show companies are now adding all these pretty little features that take away from the minimalism of the shoe. These were one of the best options I could find, and even these have some sort of rubber "stabilizer" type design that comes up over the shoe where the laces are. This adds to the narrow feel of the shoe. ALSO, adds to the price. AND takes away from the purpose of the minimalist shoe (which is to allow your foot to form the proper muscles to stabilize itself). My favorite minimal shoe was Altra's original "Eve" shoe with the velcro straps. Felt like running in socks with protective bottoms. Too bad they discontinued them and now have tons of more pricey and intricate designs for the minimalist running fad.
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on June 5, 2013
I'm a beginner at Cross-fit and I was starting to increase my weight in back-squats. The trainer was having me take my sneakers off so i could feel the floor and squat properly. With these shoes i no longer need to do that & my form is great! I can also run in them the short distances we do for Cross-fit (usually a mile or less) and my feet and body feel fine - so i think they're great! Highly recommend!
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