Barefoot Shoes

Inov-8 Road-x 155 Review

strong>These shoes are the real deal. They feel light as a feather, they provide just enough protection from the abuse my feet would suffer if I CrossFitted barefoot, and they breath well enough even in the 90 degree heat/humidity where I work in Pasadena

When Gina over at Inov-8 told me she was sending me something totally new, I was very excited, but I’m not going to lie; when I opened the box and saw canary yellow, I was immediately thinking Gina was playing a joke on me. After the initial shock though, I ended up actually loving the color. It’s eye-catching, and all my students and coworkers surprisingly love it. My second impression was this shoe seemed to be everything that the NB Minimus Road SHOULD have been. It seemed like this shoe took everything that was great about the Minimus Trail, and applied it to a road shoe. Time would tell if this impression was true. Follow me after the jump to find out.


If you are involved at all in the CrossFit community, you are already at least somewhat familiar with Inov-8, but if you’re not a CrossFit person, you’re probably asking “who the heck is Inov-8?” They’re a British company that makes shoes that CrossFitters fall all over themselves for (Inov-8 also created some crazy toe shoes called EvoSkins). The two most popular models that Inov-8 makes for CrossFit are nearly always on back order, largely due to CrossFit fans, and as a result I have never been able to get my hands on a pair. I was lucky enough to get an “In” with them on a new model, the Inov-8 155 Road-X.


Here’s a shot of the inside of the Inov-8 Road-x 155 insides sans insole and the material used for the upper.

Before we get into road-testing, lets talk about what’s under the hood. The outer fabric on the Road-X upper actually appears to be the exact same mesh fabric that NB used on the outside of the NB Minimus Trail. The upper fabric is light-weight and breathes extremely well, and the liner fabric is comfortable enough with or without socks. The outsole is composed of Inov-8’s injection-molded “sticky” rubber composition and also EVA mid-sole material. The marketing director described this as a “fusion outsole.” The heel to toe drop is a mere 3mm, not perfect, but not bad either. The weight of the shoe (in my size) is about 5.5 ounces.

A look at the Inov-8 Road-x 155’s flat white sole.

As far as total sole thickness goes, you’ve got a few options to adjust thickness. Built in you’ve got 7mm under the toe, and 10mm under the heel. There’s also a removable insert that adds another 6mm, but you can actually replace that for a 3mm model or ditch it altogether. Mine came with the 6mm insert, and I tried it with and without, and I think I prefer it without. Taking it out makes the shoe much lighter, and way more flexible and it has way better ground feel without it. One caveat: you will definitely want to wear socks if you take out the liner. The fabric under the liner doesn’t feel nearly as nice against bare skin.

What struck me as most exciting right out of the box is the comparison I made above to the NB Minimus Trail. My current all-around shoe for CrossFit work has been the Trail. The Inov-8 Road-x 155 shoe seems a lot like the NB Minimus Trail but better! The toe-box width is nearly identical, the Road-X is slightly lighter, the sole is slightly more flexible (especially for lateral flexion). Meanwhile, the heel-to-toe drop on the Inov-8 Road-x 155 is 1mm closer to neutral at only 3mm. Best of all, there is a decent amount more ground feel in the Road-X. It’s still not even close to a Vibram FiveFingers feel, but definitely more than the New Balance Minimus Trail provides.


What do the Inov-8 Road-x 155 shoes look like on? Check out that yellow!

As I said, right out of the box, I was skeptical that I could pull off the color, but I’ve always loved Inov-8’s styling like on the F-lite 195 or the F-lite 230. Inov-8’s products obviously aren’t quite as striking and dynamic as say the design of the Vibram FiveFingers KomodoSport, but when compared with anything from Nike or Reebok, these guys really pop. The combination of the yellow, the cool shark-tooth pattern across the toe-box, and the stripes up the side that meet the laces all make the Road-x 155 look very slick.

The first day I wore these to work I got nothing but lots of “Wow!” from people all day long. Lots of curious questions, and interest, everyone wanted to know where they could get a pair. And there’s something about that particular shade of yellow that seems to make people smile, apparently. It’s a happier color than I ever realized, and seeing as how I run a gym, wherein I want people to be happy, have fun, and come back, these shoes have rapidly become my go-to pair for work.


I have more than put these shoes through their paces. I have done a workout that included 100m sprints. I have done max-weight back squats. I have done 400m, and 800m runs, box jumps, double-unders, and everything in between. These shoes are the real deal. They feel light as a feather, they provide just enough protection from the abuse my feet would suffer if I CrossFitted barefoot, and they breath well enough even in the 90 degree heat/humidity where I work in Pasadena.

As I mentioned above, the Road-x 155 has a very thin, flexible in-sole liner. It comes out with great ease, and without it the shoe is even lighter, even more flexible, and has even greater ground feel. Unfortunately for me, the pair I was sent are about a half size too big, so when I took out the liner my feet swam around in them to a dangerous degree. I will bet if you get a pair that fits right, these would be a dream without the liner. I would prefer them without it.

Bottom line, these shoes are great if you want to avoid cushioning and padding and overblown support. They provide just a little protection for the kinds of crazy things we do in a CrossFit setting. Beyond that, the Road-X 155 doesn’t alter my gait in any perceptible way, and it holds up well for work. My NB Minimus Trails may be spending a little more time in the closet in the future.


As I stated above, I felt like all the cool things that New Balance did right with the NB Minimus Trail, they did completely wrong with the NB Minimus Road. If you’re looking for a minimal shoe for running, jumping, lifting, throwing, etc., this may be a good shoe for you. It’s by no means a true “barefoot shoe” but if you want a low heel, a very light and flexible platform with ample toe-box room, this is definitely a good choice, and despite my first impressions on the color, I wouldn’t change a thing about them at this point.


While I love them for CrossFit, I hesitate to recommend the Road-X to the running community as a whole. The suggested mileage on these is only 300 miles. I know runners that would take that distance down in less than two months. At $110 per pair, that will get expensive very quickly. I can only assume that those numbers are a little on the conservative side, but the true lifespan of a pair of Road-X 155s is too new to know at the time of this review. If you spend the weeks and months to run a pair into the ground, drop us a comment with how many miles it took. We’d love to hear from you!

The Inov-8 Road-x 155 is out for sale, and can be found at any authorized Inov-8 retailer. For one option (who happens to be a site sponsor!), check out The Shoe Mart — they’ve got them for $110 (MSRP) and they ship free (Read reviews on the Shoe Mart here).

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By Joey

I'm a strength and conditioning coach, running coach, and Owner of a [url=]CrossFit Gym in Thousand Oaks, California[/url]. When I first discovered the "barefoot" movement, and minimal shoes in 2009, I jumped in too far, too fast and messed up some toes. I needed a transitional shoe to ween myself off a 30 year addiction to cushion and padding. Yes, I said addiction. Bad shoes are like a drug. It's time to break the habit!

8 replies on “Inov-8 Road-x 155 Review”

Uh, the entire Inov-8 line is designed for running, for trail running in particular (well, maybe not the Road-X as it’s Inov-8’s introduction to the road shoe market). A lot of the Inov-8 models will get much more than 300 miles, trust me, I’ve been training/racing in Inov-8s for a lot of years now. The limiting factor seems to be the uppers. That F-Lite upper is all mesh and so tends to tear at the outside metatarsal flex point eventually. Other Inov-8 models are more resistant to that type of wear.

Yeah, I think the 300 miles thing is probably a bit conservative. I was just passing along what Inov-8’s own rep told me about them.

Having said that, this outsole is a little on the soft side though. It doesn’t have the firmer outsole of the 195 or the 230. That will make a big difference in the durability from the preceding models.

I recently bought these shoes for my running training. I haven’t ran too far in them yet, but did a light 2 mile in them and they are simply amazing. The comfort and fit is perfect! Also, if you are skeptical about the bottom. It is a really good grip! My last trainers were Nike Free’s and I will never go back! My school won’t let me train in my Five Fingers.. The color also is weirdly attractive.

How is the toebox on this shoe? How does it compare to the Minimus Trail, which I find to be very comfortable (I agree 100% that the messed up on the road, when the trail was great).


The toe box, much like the Minimus Trail is great. The Trail has a bit broader room across the tips of the toes, whereas the Road-x is a bit closer to coming to a pointed tip, like traditional marshmallow running shoes, but it’s still not bad. And like I said in the review, the fabric of the upper appears to be that same light, stretchy mesh that the Trail used, so the toes can bend and flex pretty freely.

don’t all shoes ‘suggest’ strongly to replace them after 300miles? I remember pissing off a running store salesman by saying ‘oh yeah get those shoes i’ve put >1500 miles on them. he said “sshhhhh!! no come back and replace them soon!”

but amazing how these 155s are lighter weight than my Vibram FFs!

With 2 pairs of 195s, a pair of x-Talons (212), Mudclaws (333) and a pair of 155s – I can honestly say Inov-8 know how to make a shoe. The 155 is at best on tarmac – even a slightly loose surface effects your stride. But on the right surface the 155 is amazing – light and superfast. The ability to “ghost” past other runners as you move in near silence is a fantastic sensation.

With 3 pairs of VF5s, 2 pairs of Vivos and 5 Inov-8s – I do at least get to rotate the shoes in order to maintain their life.

A great addition to any runners shoe cupboard – especially if you want to run a quick one!

Great review.

What about the shoe size itself. I’ve read comments about going down half size.
Did you feel you should have done that? Do do you recommend me to stay on my regular 10US size?
I do a lot of Crossfit and I’m looking something alternative to the classic Rebook Nano’s, so how bad would you recommend these for Crossfit WOD’s?


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