Minimalist Round 2!

It is hard to believe I have been running in minimalist shoes for nine months. A few months back I outlined my introduction to minimalist shoe training and racing. I highlighted my opinion on running in minimalist shoes, described their performance, and made some predictions on the specific shoes I was currently wearing.

Well, after another couple of months, I would like to reflect on what has changed or remained the same about my original post. A big thanks to Kyle Roberts at Revolution Natural Running (RNR) for providing me with some excellent samples to try out.

Inov8 F-Lite 230

My first pair of Inov8 F-Lite 230s finally checked out. They racked up a grand total of 1,001 miles. This was a bit shy of what I predicted after logging 461 miles in these shoes, but not by much—and still a solid lifespan. Also, consider that I wore this pair for the entire 100 miles on the Western States Trail and the entire 50 miles on the Ice Age 50.

The part of the shoe that finally went was the left inside, by the big toe, where the fabric ripped away from the base of the shoe. I was surprised at how well the sole of this shoe held up. If the toe box was bigger or stronger, I'm sure the soles could have gone quite a bit further. Overall, I was very content with the longevity of the Inov8 F-Lite 230s. In fact, I liked them so much a grabbed a second pair. I’m excited to see if my second pair of the 230s will develop in a similar fashion, or if I will be able to milk a few more miles out of them. Even if not, 1,001 miles is double what we're told to expect from a pair of shoes.

Inov8 155 Road X Lite

My pair of Inov8 155 Road X Lite are still going strong. So far they've counted 940 miles. These are a great pair of shoes for smooth surfaces. They have held up great despite their very light frame (155 grams, hence the name).

With a heel-to-toe drop of 3 mm, these are great for someone who has some miles under their legs in a low-profile shoe, and great for someone trying to work down to a zero-drop shoe. I've used these for races, workouts, and long runs. My guess is the sole will wear through before anything else falls apart on the shoe. The fabric and toe box are still in phenomenal shape.

In my previous post on the topic, Minimalist Shoes, Maximum Durability, I estimated that I'd get close to 1,000 miles out of this pair. I am pleased to say I am confident they will surpass that by a healthy margin.

Inov8 Bare X Lite 150

The Inov8 Bare X Lite 150s are a pair I have not reviewed in the past. I have racked up 619 miles in these shoes since getting them from Revolution Natural Running in Wauwatosa, WI. Like the 155s, I am continuously surprised at the durability of this shoe. It is incredibly light, and so flexible that I can crumple the shoe up into a ball.

When I first put these shoes on, I loved the feel, but I thought I would blow through them quicker than the first two minimalist shoes I tried. I am pleased to say that these shoes show no sign of going out any time soon, and will likely last as long as the 155s. They are fantastic for racing and workouts with their feather-like weight of 150 grams. The 150s are minimalist throughout with no laces and a zero-drop heel-to-toe ratio. After a few runs with these, you will be able to literally slip them on hands-free and hit the road. I have used the 150s for races, workouts, and long runs.

However, they are a road shoe, so it is wise to stay clear of sharp rocks. I have taken these on trails, but have found I have to tiptoe through the nasty stuff, so I typically stay on the pavement with these shoes.

Skora Form

I was really excited when Kyle at RNR told me he wanted me to try out the Skoras. I knew very little about them, but Kyle said I would love them, and so far all his suggestions have been great to me. They are a bit heavier than the Inov8 150 and 155 shoes, but they look and feel extremely durable.

They also have a lot more protection for the heel and forefoot. There is enough there to absorb small stones. This has allowed me to take them on trails. In fact, I raced the JFK 50 Mile in them, which has some technical trail (Appalachian Trail) and a gravel tow-path. I never had any sharp shots to the foot when running on the gravel or technical sections.

And they're great for roads. They have a unique rubber sole (see specs below) that really grips the pavement well. I love these for road speedwork. It almost feels like wearing spikes on the track. The sole seems to be quite resistant to wear, as can be seen in the picture. Even after running 300 miles in them, you can’t see any wear on the actual sole.

The comfort in these shoes is top notch. In fact, I have probably walked as many miles in these shoes as I have run in them, so these shoes probably have over 500 miles of overall movement in them. My estimate is that these shoes will easily eclipse the 1,000-mile mark (running miles, not counting the walking miles I have done and will do in them).

Here are the technical specs of the Skora Form:

  • REALFIT™ last
  • Pittards Armor-Tan Goat upper
  • Pittards WR100X Sheepskin lining
  • Asymmetrical lacing
  • Anti-slip microfiber heelpad
  • No-tongue design
  • Elastic heel strap
  • Reflective details
  • 4mm Ortholite sockliner
  • High abrasion rubber
  • Zero-drop construction
  • Stitch-down construction
  • 9mm forefoot/heel stack height (13mm with insole)
  • 8.2 oz/235 grams

As always, please post any questions, comments, or personal experience you have in regards to the topic of minimalist running.