The Inov-8 f-lite 230 is a bare-bones shoe that’s all about providing your feet with a bit of grip and protection on roads and hard-pack.
- Open Mesh Upper: The 230’s synthetic mesh keeps it light and breathable.
- TPU Overlays: Wrapping around the midfoot and securing the laces, these overlays provide a good amount of structure.
- Dynamic Fascia Band: This structure running from the heel to the midfoot in the platform of the shoe replicates the “windlass effect” to release energy and propel the foot forward to toe-off.
The Inov-8 f-lite 230 takes on roads, rocks and hard-packed trails with glee. We found the 230 to be light enough for trail or road racing and sturdy enough to handle everything from daily training to tempo runs and intervals.
You don’t get cushioning in this shoe and you don’t benefit from all that much structure in the upper, either. Testers categorized the 230 as a bare-bones race shoe - and a narrow one at that. All testers found the fit to be snug, with one tester reporting a hotspot on the lateral midfoot by the 5th metatarsal.
The 230 delivered a protective ride, which was what testers expected, along with a transition that was a little slappy at times, which was unexpected. Still, the shoe is very friendly to mid or forefoot strikers who want to feel the ground, and offers just enough traction for a runner to feel sure-footed on firm ground.
“For as hard as this shoe is, it offers a very smooth ride.”
“I liked the fit everywhere except the heel, which felt a bit loose for me without an easy way to tighten up the fit.”
“The platform, toe guard and overlays all feel very durable.”