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inov8-bare-xfAfter a person goes to “Elite-Fitness” for a while that person will become a “Elite-Fitness” person, and when that person is at “Elite-Fitness”, the “Elite-Fitness” person will be in contact with the “Elite-Fitness” floor.  Sometimes people buy a small layer to put in between their body and the floor, so that when they are standing, there is a division between the two “Elite-Fitness” entities.  Sometimes the divisions that they buy are just regular running shoes, or cross trainers from Nike, or even skateboard shoes or indoor soccer sneakers.  In these cases, there is a divide between the flow of “Elite-Fitness”, a few centimeters of non-“Elite-Fitness”.  This means that the “Elite-Fitness” in the floor is sometimes hindered when it tries to transfer up into your legs and core to help you get that bar over your head.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could find something to stick on your foot that would not hinder the flow of “Elite-Fitness”, but would fully connect your “Elite-Fitness” body with the “Elite-Fitness” floor?  Does such a thing exist, or must we all workout in bare feet?  Fortunately, Inov-8 has engineered a shoe that is itself just a little bit of “Elite-Fitness”, so that it not only does not impede, but it actually accellerates the flow.

Innovative Inov-8

I don’t know if you noticed, but if you speak out the name “Innov-8” and listen to yourself, it sounds exactly like when you say the word “innovate,” which means “to improve a design with a new idea.”  If you want to test this, just record yourself speaking both words back to back, then listen and see if you can tell the difference.

They have lived up to the word that is the pun of their name with this shoe, the Bare-XF 210.

The Inov-8 Bare-XF 210 is a beautiful shoe.  None but the most perverse in heart and distorted of eyesight would deny it.

The Inov-8 Bare-XF 210 is a beautiful shoe. None but the most perverse in heart or distorted of eyesight would deny it.

Why “Bare”?

No, it’s not “bare” because it does not wear the garments of many features, nor is it unclothed of style.  It is called “bare” because it mimics the bare foot.  Of course, you could save money and just go bare footed, but what will happen to your toes when the jump rope wire hits them, or when the box splinters, or what about the skin when you run onto a shard of wildly lacerating glass?  Something uncomfortable will happen.

But does something good happen when bare feet are used?  Yes.  The muscles of the feet are exercised, proper form in running is utilized, and the person feels connected to the ground and to nature.

Is there some way to get the “good” from bare feet and get rid of the “bad”?  Why, yes, of course.  That’s what Inov-8 has done with this shoe.  They provide a hard rubber outsole that can stop the glass and the pain of gravel, but that is still flexible enough to give a workout to all the little muscles in your feet.  Not only this, you’ll also feel that “connection” with the ground, because there is no heel-to-toe drop, just like with bare feet.

The midsole clearly shows the anatomy of the sole.  There are little lines of less rubber where the foot bends.

The midsole clearly shows the anatomy of the sole. There are little lines of less rubber where the foot bends.

Why XF?

Take a careful look at the “X” in the pair of letters, “XF.”  It’s just an X, you might say at first, but if you really think about it, it could be two separate lines that have been crossed.  Back in grade school, before they used QWERTY keyboards and Swype, kids would write by hand, and often times in order to make an “X” the child would draw one slanted line, then cross it with a mirrored slanted line.  If you think about it even more, instead of just calling it an “X”, you could say that it’s a cross.

Let’s assume that the first letter means “Cross”, then what do you suppose would be the meaning of the next letter, the letter “F”.  Fire, Fun, Friendship, Fone; nope, none of those, and that’s not even how you spell “phone”, you know.  I’ll just tell you: the “F” means “Fit”.

Now, if we put the two together, we get “Elite-Fitness”.  Why didn’t they just call it “Elite-Fitness”, you might ask?  It’s because the name “”Elite-Fitness”” is trademarked, and can only be used by certain people, like those who pay the affiliation fee and companies like Reebok and ESPN2.

Anyways, I guess Inov-8 was pretty Inov-8-ive (nice) with the name of the shoe.  But were they as innovative with the function of the shoe?

Yes, this shoe lives up to its implied name.  It has several features that make it specifically useful for “Elite-Fitness”:

One.  The toes are protected with some rubber.  Why risk smashing your toes with loose weights, kicking them into boxes, or severing them with ultra-razor-wire speed ropes?

Two.  The sides are protected with some rubber.  Rope climbing, anyone?  I ask that because what I’m about to say pertains to you: these shoes will hold up under the rope climb.  There are little squares of rubber that go up the sides of the upper in order to prevent the friction from a rope climb or rope slide from burning through your valuable shoe.

Three.  The bottom of the outsole is sort of sticky.  What if you try to do a split jerk and on landing, with over two hundred pounds of weight over your head, your foot slides out due to insufficient friction?  Don’t let that happen to you.

Why “210”?

I am glad that you are curious.  All companies have unique names or numbers to help themselves and the customer differentiate between products.  For this shoe, Inov-8 has decided to use the number “210”.  There are other Bare-XF shoes with different numbers, and they have different designs.  There is the “200”, which is just a different color without the rope protection, and there is the “260“, which I will review soon, which has Velcro straps and better protection from rope burn.

But aren’t there any drawbacks?

There may be two specks of dust on a gem, but who will even notice when they are mesmerized by its rare and intense beauty?  So it is with the Inov-8 Bare-XF 210’s: they are really so wonderful that it almost makes me blush to mention anything negative about them.  But since you asked, I will tell:

  • The stickiness of the outsole will wear as you wear these shoes outside.  Of course, of course.  So if you want them sticky all the time, just keep them off the street, otherwise, they’ll become like other shoes.
  • The rubber that protects the upper from rope burns won’t last forever.  But, does anything last forever?  Even tatoos can be removed, and that by a beam of light.

Should I Buy them or Not?

I have less knowledge about your current situation than you, but from what little I do know, I would guess that you should buy them.  I know that I often will spend many hours researching a product before I buy it, and you might be doing the same for shoes.  In my opinion, if you are looking for a good general-purpose “Elite-Fitness” shoe, you don’t need to search any longer and waste your valuable time.  The Bare-XF 210 really is a great little shoe that everybody gives five stars.  I would order them from Zappos.  You’ll get free shipping and can return them, no questions asked, if you don’t like them.