Inov8 F-LITE 195 Standard Review

Inov8 F-LITE 195 Standard Review

inov8 f-lite 195

Damn right I got the American paint job.

Looking for an incredibly versatile and functional training shoe? Say hello to the Inov8 F-LITE 195.

The Inov8 F-LITE 195’s are built for a wide range of fitness activities, from weightlifting to running to Crossfit and everything in between. They are the perfect blend of functionality, durability, and comfort.

Comfort Rating

Good lord, these shoes are so damn comfy. They are so lightweight, it’s sometimes easy to forget you’re wearing shoes at all.

The 195’s are as comfy as Vibram Fivefingers, with, in my opinion, much better protection agaisnt Mother Nature, especially cold weather. I always dreaded cold weather when I wore Fivefingers, but it’s not an issue with the 195’s.

Features

The Inov8 F-LITE 195’s are a minimalist shoe – meaning they are designed to closely mimic barefoot running or “running naturally”. They are INCREDIBLY lightweight and flexible. Weighing in at 7 ounces, they are probably lighter than the steak you ate for dinner.

Don’t let the light weight fool you, though: the Inov8 F-LITE 195’s do a great job at protecting your feet from the elements. Walking in the cold weather, I’d still suggest some heavier socks, but they are MUCH better in the cold vs. my experience with Fivefingers.

Functionality

The 195’s are a very versatile shoe, and can cover a wide range of activities. With very few exceptions, the 195’s should be the only athletic shoe you need.

Weightlifting

The F-LITE 195’s slightly raised heel makes them very functional for day-to-day weightlifting. I used to have separate shoes for squatting, deadlifting, and “everything else”. Now I do everything in my 195’s.

Obviously, these are not Olympic lifting shoes, and should not be viewed as a replacement for Olympic lifting shoes. If you’re attempting a world-record squat, maybe go with traditional powerlifting shoes. For the rest of us, they are a GREAT lifting shoe.

Running

I’m a big supporter of minimalist running. My knees, joints, and feet feel WAY better running in “barefoot” shoes versus traditional running shoes.

The Inov8 F-LITE 195’s are incredibly comfortable minimalist running shoes. Outdoor, indoor, treadmill – I’ve tested the 195’s on each surface and they pass each test with flying colors.

The light weight makes them very fun to run in – do sprints in these and you’ll feel like you’re flying, which is saying a lot for me, because my speed is often described as “mediocre”, “not very fast”, and “kind of like molasses”.

PLEASE NOTE – assuming you’ve used traditional running shoes your entire life, you’ll need to SLOWLY transition to running in minimalist shoes like the 195’s. You’ll be switching from striking “heel-first” to striking more with your mid/front-foot. Even if you’re in good shape, start off walking/running short distances and build up to your normal workout. Running in these shoes utilizes different muscles than traditional running shoes – trying to run your normal distances in the beginning will result in pain and potential injury. Please, be smart!

Crossfit/Functional workouts/etc.

I don’t do Crossfit. I also, at the moment, don’t do much in terms of “functional workouts”. So I can’t speak from experience. But, the Inov8 F-LITE 195’s seem to be designed for Crossfit and Crossfit-esque workouts. Burpees, box jumps, sprints, gymnastics, whatever.

I mean, any shoe with built-in rope burn protection (“Rope-Tec™ reinforcements” per Inov-8) just screams “You should wear these if you do Crossfit!”.

So what should I NOT wear the 195’s for?

As mentioned, get a pair of Olympic lifting shoes if that’s your main thing. I also would recommend avoiding basketball as the 195’s lack the ankle support necessary to avoid sprains and more serious injuries. Shooting around or playing H-O-R-S-E is fine. Pick-up games? Not so much.

Appearance

Obviously I’m going to be biased towards anything offered in red, white, and blue (other color combos also available), but these shoes look SHARP. Appearance may or may not matter to you; when it comes to working out, the function of the shoes matters more so than appearance, but why not have both? The Inov8 F-LITE 195’s allow you to experience minimalist running while still having the full protection you expect from footwear.

Although being “that guy with toe shoes” never bothered me when I wore Fivefinger’s, they do garner some funny looks out in public. Also, some people really struggle to put on shoes like Fivefinger’s with separate toe compartments. You can avoid all this hassle with shoes like the 195’s.

Conclusion

The Inov8 F-LITE 195’s are the best training shoes I have ever owned. They may be a bit pricey, but are well worth the investment. They provide great functionality across a WIDE range of activities, are incredibly lightweight, and look great.

If there is a flaw to these shoes, I have yet to find it. Highly recommended!

Click here to shop for the Inov8 F-LITE 195 at Inov-8.com, or click here to find a retailer near you.

Weight: 195G / 7OZ
Fit: STANDARD
Upper: SYNTHETIC, TPU
Lining: MESH
Footbed: 3MM
Midsole: INJECTED EVA
Shank: N/A
Drop: 3MM
Sole: F-LITE™
Compound: STICKY
Gender: MENS

 

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