Inov-8 Bare XF 210 Review

The Inov-8 Bare XF 210 is a great running companion that provides a fast, lively ride over any distance from 1500-m to the ultra marathon, on any terrain, too!

Inov-8 Bare XF 210 Review
The Inov-8 210 provides all the comfort of feeling barefoot without being unstable, and is a solid choice for runners, cross-fitters, obstacle course warriors, but is equally perfect for every day, causal wear!

The Inov-8 210 has a barefoot-first design that includes a zero-drop, ultra-thin, fully flexible sole, making for a smooth glide of your forefoot strike on each step when you run.

What is more, the Inov-8 210 is actually one of the most top-rated barefoot shoes for obstacle course races and has become the preferred cross-fit shoe by many! This is because the Inov-8 210 is incredibly lightweight, but highly durable enough to last mile after mile without weighing you down. Not just that, the entire shoe, even the sole, is super nimble and agile, allowing the underfoot to move more independently on uneven ground.

Sole Specifications

The Inov-8 210 sits on a 3-mm razor thin, completely flat sole that has a surprising amount of durability, lasting well over 600 miles! The sole is also very smooth and sticky and extends up the side-walls, providing exceptional grip for rope climbing. 

Inov-8 Bare XF 210 Review
The Inov-8 210 sole materials are thin without sacrificing durability required by runners logging extra running miles. The sole is also thin enough to feel your forefoot strike, helping keep your forefoot strike in line, while shielding the foot form harm.

Bottom line, the Inov 8 210 sole is built not only for versatility and functionality, but definitely built to last!

Inov-8 Bare XF 210 Review
The Inov-8 210 sole features full-coverage of indented grooves to add more flexibility for a more adaptable underfoot. 

No matter how slick the surface is, the traction-oriented sole is made of same sticky rubber compound as most climbing shoes, offering reliable protection and grip when running on wet, unstable surfaces as well as on easy dirt roads to steep uneven terrain and on gym floors.

The inov-8 210 also comes with a 3-mm removable insole if you desire a more smoothing of the terrain.

Upper Specifications

The mesh-lining coupled with synthetic overlays throughout the Inov-8 210s upper not only sheds weight off the entire shoe, but ensures large air-intake to keep your feet cool.Inov-8 Bare XF 210 Review

Despite being so light and airy, the upper has excellently durable inner sidewalls, made of RopeTec, structured to deliver a solid clutch for rope and obstacle climbing. This is a feature most minimalist running shoes don’t have. Even better, the upper material thickens and is more robust at the toes, providing ample rock protection, providing more comfort and confidence to tackle challenging trails and OCRs.Inov-8 Bare XF 210 Review

More important, the upper is fully functional and ergonomical thanks to the sufficiently rounded and wide toe-box that prompts your toes to expand naturally to enhance stability. Not to mention, the uncluttered upper completely moves fluidly with your feet, giving your foot strengthen a boost.

For a more natural-feel, the upper features a contoured collar around the ankle as well as thicker padding behind the tongue for added comfort.

The upper also feels great without socks and actually seamlessly wraps the foot like a sock! The shoe is also Machine washable as well.

What’s the Inov-8 210 Good for?

The Bare XF 210 is an extremely versatile, being supremely useful for long and short distance runs and short sprints on ANY surface. As I stated earlier, the super sticky sole makes the 210 a smart choice for Tough Mudders, Spartan Races and other obstacle course events.

The 210s can also be used for hiking, cross-fit, power-lifting, weight-lifting, box jumps, jump rope, agility workouts and are incredibly comfortable for every day wear!

How the Inov 8 210 Compares to Other Barefoot Running Shoes

The 210 has a wider toe-box than the New Balance Miminus and offers slightly more protection against trail debris than most Vibram FiveFingers, but the added protection doesn’t compromise ground-feel.

The Invo 8 210 has more structure than the Merrell Vapor Glove 2, making the Inov 8 210 feel a little more sturdy, more robust and more long-lasting in terms of outsole-life.

Final thoughts

The Inov-8 210 is really a multi-terrain, multi-purpose minimalist running shoe that delivers on all fronts, yet barely feels like you are wearing anything on your feet. Everything about this shoe has a real role to play in making your workout experience more productive and enjoyable!


If you’re interested in the Inov-8 210, you can get your paws on a pair here! For a sizing tip, get the shoe a half-a-size, or even one size larger than your regular size.

The 210 isn’t the only barefoot minimalist shoe Invo-8 offers, you may also be interested in the Bare-XF 260, too!

If you’ve enjoyed this review, you’ll love my other reviews, here, on other barefoot-inspired running shoes that’ll help bring out the best in your forefoot running form.

If you’d like, you can support Run Forefoot and help keep it going by making a donation in any amount of your choosing:

Or, you can also support Run Forefoot by shopping at the following top minimalist shoes brands, and be sure to bookmark the links:

Be Lenka:

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Bretta Riches

"I believe the forefoot strike is the engine of endurance running..."

BSc Neurobiology; MSc Biomechanics candidate, ultra minimalist runner & founder of RunForefoot. I was a heel striker, always injured. I was inspired by the great Tirunesh Dibaba to try forefoot running. Now, I'm injury free. This is why I launched Run Forefoot, to advocate the health & performance benefits of forefoot running and to raise awareness on the dangers of heel striking, because the world needs to know.
Bretta Riches

P.S. Don't forget to check out the Run Forefoot Facebook Page, it's a terrific place to ask questions about forefoot running, barefoot running and injury. I'm always happy to help!

1 Comment

  1. I have been using a competitor barefoot shoe for many years and like them. I would like to learn more about your peoduct and possibly try a pair.

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