A Review Of The Inov-8 Bare X-Lite 150 Minimalist Barefoot Running Shoe
I'm always on the lookout for a great training shoe for the gym that also has uses when I'm running too. I tend to be a mid to front of foot striker when I run as a result of my cycling background and this channelled me down the avenue of trying a barefoot style running shoe.
The Inov 8 Bare X-Lite 150 is realistically a stripped down racing shoe. It's ultra lightweight nature might not mark it down as a running shoe for everyone but I've found it to be exceptionally good in the gym for the treadmill, crossfit sessions and weight training.
The Inov-8 Bare-X Lite 150 In Orange
Ultra Lightweight Barefoot Running Shoes
The Bare X-Lite 150 weighs a paltry 6.1 ounces in a US size 9 and boasts a radical zero differential between the 7mm stack height of the heel and forefoot. This adds a closeness to the ground which will be loved by gym rats looking to nail their Squat PB's.
The 150's despite their extremely lightweight aren't the lightest shoes that British company Inov-8 offer. That prize is currently owned by their Road Extreme 138's although my personal choice of the Bare X-Lite 150's came down to a rather astounding EBay deal meaning I picked up a pair for around $30 brand-spanking new.
My Initial Impressions On The Bare X-Lite 150
When picking up my parcel at our office reception my initial thoughts were that whoever had sent me the package had actually forgotten to put the shoes in the box. They are so light that in some ways it would be easy to confuse them with a pair of household slippers.
Upon opening the package the bright orange colour almost shone outwards like one of those treasure chests you see in children's films like The Goonies or in cartoons. Quickly I had a gaggle of work colleagues surrounding me, enquiring at what I'd got in the box- Even though many of them are not even runners or remotely sporty.
Individually the shoes feel feather light and exude speed. I just knew they would be a fast shoe and the bone structured shoe pattern struck me attention too.
Trying on the shoes they're definitely in the realm of carpet slippers but with a degree of support you would expect from a high level running shoe. The toe box feels roomy, but not overly so and my only gripe was that my narrow ankles might have a slight issue around the rather wide feeling heel area which lacks the additional padding often associated with a more regular styled running shoe.
As many runners and gym goers haven't been yet been exposed to the Inov-8 brand I still get the occasional gym rat or bunny come up to me and ask about the shoes. They even were passed around our office on arrival for a few of the fellow UK size 10 wearers to test out the fit. The age of internet shopping it seems has limited what many people choose to do as the indecision on whether something fits has led to people tending to resonate towards the same brand for each purchase so it's amazing how something new prompts a test from a few gym goers.
7mm Stack Height at Forefoot and Heel
Quick Tie Lacing System Makes The Bare- X Lite 150 Great For Triathlon And Multisport
The Inov-8 Bare X Lite 150 features a quick-tie lacing system for ease of entry and lace tightening. This makes them a great shoe option for triathlon and multisport events where there is the need for a fast change of shoes. The downside of the system is that it seems to pull the laces together in a uniform manner which can cause some pinching around the foot as a result.
Multisport athletes looking for a short distance triathlon or duathlon racing shoe will find the quick tie lacing system allows the control over lacing that a set of elastic laces will not generally offer.
A Review Of Running In The Bare X-Lite 150's
Upon taking the Bare X Lite 150's out onto to roads you straight away notice a degree of extra ground feel when compared to my other current shoes. That sense of road feel translates in that you are able to feel the fine gaps in the pavements which you generally don't have an issue with when wearing a regular running shoe. There is a degree of cushioning however and the sole itself does have a degree of rigidity which offers protection. Running over a stone isn't the most enthralling experience but unlike the experiences I've heard from others with some other minimalist running shoes it will not quite have you crying out in agony.
As someone from a cycling background my running style has morphed over the years from a rear-foot striker in my youth to now being more of a mid-to forefoot striker which falls in lines with the anatomical actions of minimalist running which this shoe is targeted towards.
The lightness of the shoes encourages a fast gait cycle while helping you really increase your running cadence. Having used them for runs up to around 5 miles I'm happy to report that I love using these shoes for road racing events and see them as ideal for short distance runs at the end of a triathlon too.
I currently mainly run country through Sherwood Forest which I can see from my bedroom window and is a runners paradise but I wouldn't use the X-Lites on the rough and rugged paths and single-track which is interspersed with jagged tree roots. I'll keep the Bare X-Lite 150's for road use and gym use for that reason.
Inov 8 Bare X -Lite 150's For The Gym And Crossfit
My Favoured Use For The Bare X-Lite 150 Shoe Is The Gym
While designed with a focus on minimalist running I have found that the X-Lite 150 minimalist shoe comes into it's own when put into a gym style environment with particular focus on classes like circuit training and crossfit in my quest towards next years UK Spartan Race series.
The low profile and small amount of cushioning gives exceptionally good levels of control during lifts. I personally feel that they can add a couple of extra kilos on my squat PB when wearing them. The lack of any difference in height between heel and forefoot allows an almost barefoot experience while offering stability around the heels to really take lifting performances to higher levels.
The shoes are also fantastic on the treadmill too as you'd expect from a barefoot running shoe.
Inov-8 Founder Wayne Edy on the X-Lite 150
What's Your Shoe Of Choice For Minimalist Barefoot Running?
We're always on the lookout for your feedback here on hubpages. What shoe do you use at present for barefoot running? We'd love to hear from you.
Liam Hallam (CyclingFitness on Hubpages)
Liam Hallam (author) from Nottingham UK on December 28, 2014:
Thanks Easy Exercise. For a barefoot type shoe these do offer a reassuring level of protection under the foot especially when compared to the hideous looking five-fingers shoes.
Kelly A Burnett from United States on December 08, 2014:
I want to buy those! I love barefoot running but need my feet protected - I am a tenderfoot! Great information.
truparad0x on November 18, 2013:
Nice read. How would you compare these to Brooks Pure Connects? I usually run in more cushioned shoes, so the Pure Connects has a bit of a "learning" curve right now for me.