Shoe News: Crossfitters Rejoice, Innov-8 is Here!

Crossfitters and minimalist junkies alike will LOVE this news: As of today, 2/8/12, all six Marathon Sports stores have received an initial drop of the Innov-8 F-Lite product line!

For those unfamiliar with the brand, Innov-8 is a UK-based footwear brand wholly committed to natural running. From their website:

"We believe in natural running. Natural running involves taking running back to its most innate form, letting nothing alter the natural biomechanics of the foot and body. Natural running relies on the strength of the runner’s feet and legs rather than the cushioning or support of a shoe. The foot controls the shoe, not the other way around."

What that means, in practical terms, is that Innov-8 footwear is as much about the user as it is how the shoe is used. A focus on lightweight, minimal, and functional designs means the shoes are a great offering for runners looking to expand their palette of minimalist footwear, and for crossfitters looking for a secure, natural, and grippy means to a better workout.

Now, onto the goods. We brought a pair of unisex models from the F-Lite line, the F-Lite 230 and the F-Lite 195. As you might have guessed, the numerical naming scheme is a reference to each model's respective weight (in grams, you know, because they're British). To spare you the calculation, the 230 and 195 weigh 8.1 and 6.9 ounces, respectively, both lightweight by any standards.

The more important numbers to crossfitters and minimalist runners, however, come from each shoe's heel-toe offset. 

To wit, the F-Lite 230 bears a healthy 6mm offset, which is less than traditional trainers by about 6mm, but still higher than shoes like the New Balance Minimus, Nike Free 3.0, and even Saucony's Kinvara. For those looking to bridge the gap between traditional trainers and more minimal offerings, the 230 is a great intermediate offering. 

For those looking for a truly minimal feel, however, the 195 is the way to go. Featuring a 3mm offset from heel to toe, the F-Lite 195 looks and feels flat, allowing for an extremely natural utilization of the midfoot for minimalist runners, and an exceptionally purposeful platform for those of you dabbling in the crossfit world.

Both models feature a largely overlay-free upper with a snug fit. The few overlays that adorn the upper are strategically placed and 

designed specifically for grip: think about your most recent rope climb, and you'll know what we mean.

Here's the vitals from the Innov-8 Website:

The Innov-8 F-Lite 230 and 195 retail for $110 and $120 respectively.