Stripped down to the essentials, the Inov-8 f-lite 195 gives your foot a sturdy wrap so you can run comfortably with a good feel for the ground.
With such a thin platform and minimal upper, on first glance the f-lite 195 doesn't look super runnable. Don't let the looks deceive you. Our testers were universally impressed by the smooth ride and good protection from the ground offered by the 195. The shoe can easily do double duty in road and trail environments.
You might be asking, "Good protection from the ground? With only about a 1/2 inch of material under my feet?" We were a bit surprised too. We give credit to the injection molded EVA foam in the midsole of the 195. It delivers a soft landing for its thickness. The transition is seamless and the response on toe-off is also pretty impressive. You won't want to do a ton of heel striking in this shoe, and it will never be mistaken for a cushioned trainer, but the 195 offers one of the best rides out there for the midfoot striking crowd.
Like many Inov-8's, the 195 runs long so be sure to size down a 1/2 size. The heel is snug but the shoe is adjustable enough in the midfoot to suit the needs of runners who like a close fit along with those who need some more room. Don’t expect much room up front though - several testers reported a tight fit in the forefoot, with one tester saying he had a full-on hotspot by the 5th metatarsal. We like how breathable the mesh is, but testers who like to go sockless were wishing Inov-8 had chosen a smoother material for the upper.
I feel secure and stable in the heel of the 195. The heel on some other Inov-8 models fits me too loosely.
Strange as it may seem, this shoe feels softer than the f-lite 230, which has a bit more EVA material in the rearfoot.
The 195 is a surprisingly bouncy shoe, considering how low to the ground it is.