Testing the Inov8 Bare-X Lite 150

imagesHmmmmm how to describe the Bare-X Lite 150s????

I’ve had these shoes for 2 months now and I’m sitting on the fence as to whether I love them or not. Which I guess, is a statement in itself. At this point I need to point out that I have been recovering from hip injuries (too much cycling!) in the test time, but I think that has made some aspects of the shoes clearer in some ways. By that I mean, I truly needed to run light and evenly on my feet to help with my rehab and I didn’t find that these shoes provided me with that.

I took these puppies on a variety of terrain, mostly in remote Northern Territory communities, ranging from road to rocky trails and sandy paths. These shoes excelled for me when the trail was rocky and sharp. No question the sole is durable as the marketing claims, with no signs of wear. Definitely useful for runs where the risk of puncture wounds are high. I haven’t trialled the New Balance trail shoes but I imagine these would fall in a similar category, despite being marketed as a road shoe.
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On the road though, and on softer surfaces like a sandy trail or grass, I just couldn’t shake the sensation that my feet were slapping the ground and I had to really concentrate on my technique and cadence. I put this down to the rigidity of the sole, particularly the mid-back half. There is good amount of flex at the level of the ball of the foot (MTP joint line) but from there back there is virtually nil. This makes it difficult for your foot to adapt to undulations in the ground.
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A further gripe for me is the instep. Perhaps I’m too used to wearing totally flat shoes with absolutely no or very minimal arch support, but the X-lite had too much for me and I was very conscious of it.

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The good
Light! These shoes weigh in at a paltry 150 grams (clever name eh?), which is a massive feature for me. They felt light on my feet and were far more enjoyable to wear without socks. I love the 0mm heel drop, if only it could have continued through the mid foot. I found them wide enough and the toe-box was quite comfortably wide as well. I did find the sizing though a touch on the larger size compared to Vivobarefoots and Vibrams (but I actually suspect they size on the smaller side rather than innov-8’s being large).

For me one of the best features was how easy it was to get them on and off. I know it seems petty but it’s something I value, especially when I cast my mind back to when I started out with my Vibrams and I was struggling to squeeze my toes in! These no doubt would make for an excellent triathlon shoe.

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The look, as usual, was quite contentious. They only come in lairy colours. Mine as you can tell in the pictures started out as bright orange. Everyone knew that I had a new pair of shoes. It was a bit much for me initially but I must admit it grew on me. Certainly an appropriate colour for a Balmain Tigers (oops sorry, West Tigers) supporter. Conveniently it was also a pretty close match for the red dirt I was running in, so they didn’t look quite so dirty.

Taking em through the dirt!

Taking em through the dirt!

Summary
A reasonable shoe at a reasonable price ($99). For me these shoes are great if you are in the process of transitioning to a 0 mm drop/minimalist shoe, running on sharp and rocky trails or for everyday whether in the gym or heading to the shops. I will keep wearing mine, but not for my usual runs.

Please note:
I was asked to review these shoes on behalf of RunStopShop I have no affiliations with the website and I do not work for them. For the record I recieved the shoes within 3 days of ordering, which is rate Melbourne to Darwin! Melbourne customers also get 3hr delivery!

By Sam

BM in Sport and Exercise and BA in International studies (German Major) completed at the University of Technology, Sydney.
Master of Physiotherapy at the University of Sydney.

Interests: I am an exercise enthusiast full stop! I play or have played football, tennis, basketball and dabbled in waterpolo and underwater rugby! Recent sporting interests are cycling and barefoot running! I also love watching all codes of football/rugby.

Physiotherapy: Due to my interests in sport and health I am fascinated in human movement and physiology. In addition to musculoskelatal physiotherapy I’m also interested in neurological (stroke, brain injury and spinal cord injury rehab), and cardiopulmonary (heart and lung function and rehabilitation) physiotherapy:

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