The barefoot running forums were going crazy over the weekend after @Inov8UK posted then quickly removed this picture on Twitter last week. According to Inov-8's Spring 2011 retailer workbook, the company is working on a line of more minimalist footwear.
The Inov-8 Evoskin is a foot glove similar to the Vibram FiveFingers but made of silicon. The silicon will mold to your foot and individual toes, acting as a second skin and offering up some protection from the terrain.
Inov-8 also plans to launch their first zero differential shoe, the Bare-Grip 200. This Inov-8 true barefoot running style shoe will feature no cushioning, no midsole and no rise in the heel. Perfect for barefoot running enthusiast who want a bit more protection than what a silicon sheath would have to offer. The Bare-Grip 200 will posses an aggressive tread sole for wet, muddy, harsh trail conditions.
Inov-8 is positioning their entire footwear line to allow you to make a gradual transition from normal, highly cushioned running shoes to those with little to no differential or cushioning. According to "Inov8Insider" in the online forums, consumers will be able to transition down the Inov-8 Shoc-Zone range, measured in arrows, as they see fit.
The 4 arrow Shoc-Zone shoes have a 12mm differential, lower than most shoe brands, but offers Inov-8's maximum underfoot protection. This may be the first proper trail shoe for someone who is used to wearing the big road shoe brands.
The 3 arrow Shoc-Zone shoes, such as the Roclite 295 and Roclite 315, have a lower heel with 9mm differential and medium underfoot protection. The 2 arrow Shoc-Zone is used in most of Inov-8's "off trail" shoes such as the Mudclaw, X-Talon and Mudroc.
These 2 arrow trail shoes have an even lower heel than both of the above with a 6mm differential. The trail shoes are very flexible, enabling good proprioception which enhances balance. Due out soon, the 1 arrow Shoc-Zone X-Talon 190 and F-Lite 195 will have a 3mm differential and will be even more flexible and light.
I can't wait to take a look at the Inov-8 Evoskin, Bare-Grip 200 and all of their minimalist footwear at Outdoor Retailer later this summer. What do you think? Do you like the direction Inov-8 is going by offering you an entire range of differentials and cushioning?