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Inov-8 X-Talon 255 review: a simple but effective trail running shoe with excellent grip

Lightweight but tough, the Inov-8 X-Talon 255 is a low-slung, fell-tearing race shoe

Inov-8 X-Talon 255
(Image: © Inov-8)

Our Verdict

With 3mm drop, massive grip and a tough upper, the Inov-8 X-Talon 255 blend simplicity with performance.


  • Tough
  • Ferocious grip
  • Decent value


  • Could be too much volume for shallow feet

First impressions

The Inov-8 X-Talon 255 is the wide-fitting version of Inov-8’s legendary X-Talon shoe – a classic in the British fell-running scene, where you’ll hear the adage, ‘Mudclaws for winter training, X-Talons for race day.’

Some will see this wide version as spoiling the precision feel of the slimmer X-Talon, while others will feel these add a longer-run versatility and toe-splay fit. Inov-8’s Stickygrip outsoles are famously clingy, and on the X-Talon a tough upper should see you through a long lifespan.


RRP: $155 (US) / £120 (UK)
Gender availability: Men’s, Women’s
Weight (per shoe, men’s UK11): 304g / 10.7oz
Colors: Blue & Green
Drop: 3mm
Compatibility: All trails 

On the trails

The extra width brings plenty of toe-wiggle room for those wanting to feel the strength of their feet through the toe-off stage of their gait. Lacing over the mid-foot and a secure fitting heel cup ensure a solid lockdown although runners with shallow or medium width feet may find there’s more volume up front than required. They still manage to contour well – there’s never any feeling that they’re cumbersome. They feel as light and nimble as you’d expect for a racing fell shoe.

You’d also expect grip, and Inov-8 do not let us down – 8mm sticky rubber lugs bite into soft terrain superbly, and stick to hard rock with equal tenacity. And when your trail takes you on short, hard-packed sections the thin midsole – from 5mm under the forefoot to 8mm under heel – is compliant enough to carry you on comfortably until the route turns fell-ward again, and the X-Talon’s are back in their happy place.

Ground feel is plentiful without being painful. I found the width a touch wider than I might need but, more critically, I found the shoe’s volume seemed expressed through height. The collar came up a little high and bothered my ankle bones a bit.

But get these on peat bogs and they come alive; they make you feel like a fell slaying pro!

Mid-pack fell-plodder Paul has been writing about his outdoor adventures for about ten years. Initiated by a move from Coventry to the Peak District in 2010, Paul quickly evolved from jogger, reluctant gym-goer and occasional camper to full-blown fell-obsessed trail runner and wild camping adventurer. Paul’s 2016 attempt at the Cape Wrath Ultra was only curtailed (on day six!) by an infected big toe; the story of its Vesuvius style release, with supporting photos, is something Paul is too keen to share.