The running forums are abuzz again as traditional trail running shoe company Inov-8 previews their Fall 2011 lineup where it appears they are migrating natural running from the trail to the road. In the works are a new minimalist road shoe line, the Road-X series, as well as a new barefoot running line, the Bare-X series.
The Road-X Lite 155 ($110) is the lightest of the minimalist road shoes at 155 grams. To achieve this weight, Inov-8 got rid of the rubber outsole and replaced it with a one piece sole until using high density EVA foam. The Road-X Lite 155 features a 1-arrow cushion rating and 3mm heel to toe drop.
The Road-X 233 ($105-pictured above) gives you a 2-arrow level of cushion by adding less than 100 grams in weight and a 6mm heel to toe drop. The Road-X 255 ($100) for men and Road-X 238 ($100) for women are 3-arrow cushion level shoes with 9mm heel to toe drop.
Once you have worked your way down the Road-X line of minimalist road shoes, you will be ready to hit the new barefoot running line. The Bare-X Lite 150 racer features Inov-8's new anatomical last with zero cushioning. Weighing 150 grams, this barefoot running shoe has a 7mm midsole with a true zero heel to toe differential.
The Bare-X 200 is similar to the Bare-X Lite 150 but adds a 3mm layer of rubber bonded to the sole to increase durability. Weighing just 50 grams more, the Bare-X 200 is meant to be used for training.
The new Inov-8 minimalist road shoe and barefoot shoe lines will be released in Fall 2011. There is some debate about whether or not the Bare-X line will actually come out earlier this summer. Fingers crossed.