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Boasting protection and a flexible platform for a smooth ride, the Inov-8 Road-X 233 offers minimal cushioning and a firm ride.



Inov-8, the original minimalist trail shoe brand, now makes great lightweight road shoes. The Road-X 233 is best suited for the runner who wants to move toward the less is more concept. With a 6mm heel-to-toe height difference and a low-to-the-ground foot position, the Road-X 233 is a big step toward minimalist road running without being at the extreme end of the spectrum.

Model Number:

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Weight:  8.8 oz (size 9)

Stack Height: Heel (18mm), Forefoot (12mm) 

Available Widths: D=Medium

How it Fits (based on width D)

  • Sizing: Fits large; purchase 1/2 size smaller than standard running shoe size
  • Heel: Narrow
  • Midfoot: Low to medium
  • Forefoot: Medium width
  • Toe-Box Height: Low
  • Arch Structure: Low
  • Shoe Shape: Curved


The Road-X 233 is a minimum feature, minimum neutral shoe intended for road racing and training.


  • 2 Arrow Shoc-Zone provides minimal underfoot cushioning and a 6 mm heel-to-toe drop. This is Inov8's medium level of cushioning on their 0-4 arrow scale.


  • Injected EVA Foam for resilient cushioning with maximum memory retention.
  • Dynamic Fascia Band running from the heel to the forefoot acts as a rigid lever arm, releasing energy with each step and propelling the runner forward.


  • Synthetic Mesh covers the upper for lightweight, breathable coverage.
  • TPU Lacing System uses TPU lacing supports for a strong, lightweight and secure fit.
  • Met-Cradle is a synthetic webbing upper that supports the forefoot and provide a secure fit.
  • 6mm Footbed for additional underfoot comfort.


  • Road-X is a road outsole intended for road racing and speedwork.
  • Sticky Rubber for optimal performance and maximized grip in wet conditions.
  • Meta-Flex groove is located at the forefoot to encourage natural forefoot flex during toe-off.


  • Anatomic Last follows the natural shape of the human foot for a close and comfortable fit.

Footwear Performance Characteristics

Pronation Control: What's This?

  • Neutral
    • Min
    • Mod
  • Support
    • Min
    • Mod
    • Max
  • Motion Control
    • Mod
    • Max

Heel-Toe Offset (mm): What's This?

  • 0
  • 1-2
  • 3-4
  • 5-6
  • 7-8
  • 9-10
  • 11+

Stack Height:

  • Barefoot
  • Minimal
  • Low
  • Medium
  • High
  • Maximal


  • Road
  • Road-Trail
  • Hard Trail
  • Varied Trail
  • Soft Trail

Shoe Type:

  • Premium
  • Standard
  • Performance
  • Racing

Customer Reviews

Comments: This shoe is very stiff. I run Spartan Races in the X-Talon 212 and really wanted to like the Road-X 233. Prior to this shoe, I've been running in Brooks Pure Flow 2 and Green Silence. I had to order a 1/2 size up in the Road-X and the fit still isn't great. I put in 3mm Inov-8 insoles and it was better; now I run without the insole at all. Disregard what other reviewers say about your form: they aren't the only runner out there with "proper" form. The shoe IS much stiffer, especially compared to the Brooks. The drop is actually lower in the Brooks PF2 so I don't think that was my issue with these. At any rate, the shoe is light and looks good. The toe box is roomy. I just don't like that it takes a mile or so for my feet to feel good.
From: Eric, Brick, NJ, USA. 3/13/14

Comments: I really liked the way these looked on the site and I've always wanted to try Inov-8 shoes. So far I have 41 miles on these with my longest run just a tad over 11 miles. I'm finding that I like them less and less. They are really stiff. There's a band that runs through the midfoot area that is very hard and stiff. On top of that, they are too heavy for a minimalist shoe.
From: Chris, Memphis, TN USA

Comments: I've been wearing the Innov-8 Road X 233 for about 4 months and have put a lot of miles in. The shoes are comfortable and lightweight, broke in well, and never caused any blisters. They have one huge drawback, however: the lip on the toe box sticks out quite far and catches on just about anything. I had never fallen while running before, and since I've been wearing these I've fallen three times buy catching the tip of the shoe on the sidewalk. The specs for the shoe mention the super sticky outsole that is similar to those used in rock climbing, so that might also contribute to the problem.
From: Chelsea, Ls Vegas, NV USA

Comments: Very stiff shoe. Does not fit as wide as it looks. Developed Cuboid syndrome in my right foot on my first run with this shoe. Heavier than it should be given the lack of cushioning. Only made it one run with this shoe, as it will not work for me. 
From: Steve, Lincoln, NE

Comments: The siped sole is genius. Makes me wonder why shoe makers sell shoes intended for pavement with "ridges." Perfectly weighted shoe for use as a minimalist trainer, which is a tough balance to find on the market right now - I've got about 40 miles on them so far, and my guess is that I'll be able to get at least 1,000 miles based on current wear patterns.  In my opinion, if you find that the cushioning on these shoes is inadequate or "too stiff," you need to examine your form and determine why your feet are impacting the surface with so much force; there really shouldn't be much of an impact, and if there is, you are heading for an injury. 
From: Steve, Reading, PA

Comments: I have a few pairs of Inov-8 trail shoes, so I picked these based on a good fit. I have about 150 miles on these now. They do immediately feel really well connected to the road and feel fast. However, I am finding them on the stiff side now. It's one thing to be minimal, but you do need shock protection for running on asphalt. Humans certainly weren't built to handle pounding on the pavement. These shoes could use more cushioning under the mid foot. I have been wearing my Kinvara 3's a lot more often than these now. I think the harsh ride of these shoes is not suitable for runs longer than 8-10 miles. 
From: Dave, Burlington, VT

Comments: I'm a mid-size runner around 175 lbs. I've put about 200 miles on my 233s and love them. My typical run ranges from 6 to 12 miles. This was my first shoe in the more minimalist realm, so it took a bit of time to get used to in the beginning. Once I became accustomed to the lower drop, the shoe has been great. They've held up incredibly well,
especially the sole. The only noticeable (but minimal) wear is around the midfoot where I typically strike. I know some runners compare this shoe to the Kinvara; however, it is lower to the ground and less cushioned, giving you better ground feel. Additionally, I find the roomy toe box provides ample space for my foot splay.  I would highly recommend this shoe to anyone looking for a lightweight, 6mm drop shoe for distances up to a marathon (maybe more).
From: Dave, Atlanta, GA

Comments: I just received these yesterday, and they were comfortable right out of the box.  I took them out for a 2.2 mile run at about a 6:40 pace, then I ran a fast mile at 5:17, the fastest mile I've run all year.  My initial assessment is they are the perfect balance between protection and feel for the road, not too stiff, not too soft...the Goldilocks shoe.   I've been through a lot of shoes from Brooks Green Silence to Karhu Racer Rides to NB Minimus Roads and Zeros to NB Racer 1400's to Newton Distance to Nike Free's with little success in terms of comfort and durability.  I have high hopes for these shoes, and I will follow up when I have taken these out for a few long runs.  
From: Jonathan, Albany, NY

Comments: The greatest shoe I have bought so far and I have been testing different brands. The Asics 1150, 2150, kayano. Nike running shoe brands, Pumas, and Brooks. These are by far the best shoes I have run in with no complaints. The only thing I have changed are the laces but they are more for my comfort. I used the 233's for a marathon run in Kauai and had no problem in them. The Switch from the road x255 to x233 was a good transition. There was a little getting use to but I was able to maintain mileage and intensity, which is great for train up.
From: Sterling Yazzie, Wahiawa, HI, USA

Comments: My last INOV-8's were the F-Lite 230's.  I found they fit about a 1/2 size larger than a typical running shoe and expected the Road-X 233's to fit the same.  Not so.  I found these shoes to fit like a regular running shoe, without the volume I expected from INOV-8.  I can't agree with ordering a 1/2 size smaller unless you like shoes very snug. Indeed, I ordered mine on size and find them a bit smaller than I would wanted.  Otherwise these are awesome to run in, the best of my many shoes by far.
From: Colin, Vancouver, BC

Comments: I love Inov-8 shoes for trail running and hiking, especially the X-talon 212's. Picked these up for road training runs as they have the same heel to toe drop (6mm). I've only done two runs in them so far (12mi and 16mi). A touch more support than the x-talon's and more padding at tongue & collar, but still minimal and by no means a control shoe. Feet felt great during and after run. Toe box on these is a bit roomier than the X-talons. Ordered 1/2 size smaller than I usually get for inov-8's and they are spot on. I'm a fan of their sticky rubber, which this has. However, it's a real thin layer on the sole, we'll see how many miles it lasts.
From: Chris, Springfield, IL, USA