The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of gear

Inov-8 BARE-XF 210 V2 - Women's Review

This shoe is optimized for gym use and cross training while less ideal for running or outdoor use
Inov-8 BARE-XF 210 V2 - Women's
Photo: inov-8
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $110 List
Pros:  Supple forefoot, Rope-Tec side grips, optimized for gym use
Cons:  Less optimized for running, less breathable
Manufacturer:   Inov-8
By Lyra Pierotti ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 10, 2020
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
50
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 9
  • Performance - 30% 5
  • Barefoot Accuracy - 25% 5
  • Weight - 15% 5
  • Traction - 15% 5
  • Versatility - 10% 5
  • Durability - 5% 5

Our Verdict

The Inov-8 Bare-XF 210 V2 shoe is an excellent shoe for weightlifting, cross-training, and especially rope climbing. It has extra durable and grippy Rope-Tec texture on the sides of the shoe for climbing ropes, and the profile is flat for an excellent weightlifting platform. On the flip side, this shoe is less ideal for running or speed drills because of the toe design. While the toe box is adequately wide if you size them right, it does have a more pointed shape, which makes the shoe articulate less precisely while running. Inov-8 did score the sole at the forefoot to make the toes easier to articulate, and this allows for excellent range of toe movement.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award 
Price $110 List$99.99 at Amazon$99.95 at Amazon$78.35 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$140 List
Overall Score Sort Icon
50
77
76
75
70
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Supple forefoot, Rope-Tec side grips, optimized for gym useLightweight, supple, breathable, excellent ground feel, 2mm removable insole, great valueLightweight, nimble, extremely minimal, moderate priceLightweight, precise, nimble, great foot strengtheningSoft and supple uppers, simple design, thin sole, durable materials
Cons Less optimized for running, less breathableLess durable, not water resistantPermeable to water and dust, some may experience frictionLess durable, too thin for rocky trailsLess secure fit for aggressive or uneven terrain
Bottom Line This shoe is ideal as a minimalist shoe for gym and cross training useThis is a performance racing flat that's great for so much more than just racingVibram continues to dominate the minimal shoe industry with this novel and exceptional shoeExcellent ground feel, nimbleness, and low weight combine under a very fair price priceA casual kick that performs like a purist minimalist shoe
Rating Categories BARE-XF 210 V2 Speed Force FiveFingers KSO EVO Vapor Glove 4 Softstar Adult DASH RunAmoc
Performance (30%)
5
9
8
9
8
Barefoot Accuracy (25%)
5
8
9
8
8
Weight (15%)
5
7
9
7
6
Traction (15%)
5
7
7
7
5
Versatility (10%)
5
7
4
5
5
Durability (5%)
5
4
3
4
8
Specs BARE-XF 210 V2 Speed Force FiveFingers KSO EVO Vapor Glove 4 Softstar Adult...
Style Training Barefoot performance Barefoot road Barefoot trail Barefoot road
Weight (per pair) 13.5 oz (size 10) 12 oz (size 10) 8.5 oz (size 41 EU) 11 oz (size 10) 12.5 oz (size 9U)
Stack Height (mm) 3 mm 4.5 mm (2 mm removable insole) 5 mm 6.5 mm 5 mm
Heel to Toe drop (mm) 0 mm 0 mm 0 mm 0 mm 0 mm
Outsole 3 mm w/ 1.5 mm lug depth 4.5 mm FeelTrue 3 mm 1.5 mm web, 2 mm lugs 5 mm Vibram OmniFlex
Midsole N/A Removable 2 mm insole 2 mm 3 mm N/A
Upper Material Mesh Mesh Polyester fabric Mesh and TPU Leather
Best For Gym Running, gym casual Running, gym Running, hiking Running, gym, casual
Width Options Regular Regular, wide Regular Regular Narrow, Regular, Wide

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Bare-XF 210 V2 shoe is an innovative design in minimalist gym shoes. This is a great shoe for cross-training and a fantastic asset when rope climbing.

Performance Comparison


The supple forefoot is our favorite feature on this shoe as it...
The supple forefoot is our favorite feature on this shoe as it allowed us to easily spread and raise the toes.
Photo: Lyra Pierotti

Performance


The Bare-XF has a complicated and difficult-to-remember name for an otherwise simple and memorable minimalist shoe. This pair is designed for cross-training and gym use, and we agree. The toe is shaped into a narrower point, so we sized up a little bit to get the toe space we wanted. This provided adequate toe box room, but it meant that when running, we sometimes felt the toe bend and catch on the ground during push-off. However, for slower-paced activities on flat ground, such as gym workouts, this is an excellent shoe.

Rope climbing is a strength of the Inov-8 Bare cross training shoe...
Rope climbing is a strength of the Inov-8 Bare cross training shoe with the Rope-Tec reinforced sides.
Photo: Lyra Pierotti

The stack height is very minimal at 3.5mm thick, allowing excellent ground feel. Sometimes, if we were inattentive, we could nail our heel on a rock or sharp gravel — but that confirms a level of barefoot accuracy!

The sole is scored in the forefoot to allow improved bending. At first, we thought this must be gimmicky. However, we noticed it meant we could lift our toes much easier than in otherwise similar shoes. During this review, we noticed that we enjoy the ability to not only spread our toes but also to lift them when standing or walking. These shoes felt more soft and supple in the forefoot as a result of that scored sole.

Barefoot Accuracy


The Bare-XF shoes do not look like your classic barefoot or minimalist shoe, but they are well disguised. The zero-drop sole is very thin and supple at just 3mm thick, and if you size appropriately up, you'll find adequate space to spread your toes wide. The scored sole also lets you lift your toes easily, which we enjoy in our minimalist footwear.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Weight


The Bare-XF shoes score in the middle of the pack for weight in this review at 13.5 ounces for a size 10 women's (41.5 European). They are an excellent lightweight footwear option.

Traction


These shoes feature Inov-8's proprietary rubber sole, which is supple, sticky, and grooved enough to provide some traction on wet or dust-covered surfaces. The stand-out feature of these shoes, however, is the Rope-Tec rubberized ridges along the inner and outer surfaces of the sole which aid when climbing ropes.

The tread on the Inov-8 Bare shoes is optimized for cross training...
The tread on the Inov-8 Bare shoes is optimized for cross training and not meant for outdoor activities as much.
Photo: Lyra Pierotti

Versatility


These shoes are not designed for trail or inclement weather, but we managed to stay dry when splashed with water. They are very breathable in the toe box and along the upper foot, but the sides are rubberized with Rope-Tec for rope climbing, which impedes breathability. As such, this shoe is better suited to gym workouts and agility training and less so for aerobic activities.

Durability


This is a durable shoe if used for its intended purposes. The toe box is a relatively soft and light mesh material, and the toe rand does not extend far enough to protect the materials on rocky trails. However, this is a shoe for gym and rope climbing use, and it is well designed to hold up to those activities.

Value


This shoe is a little more expensive than some of the barefoot shoes we tested, and it is less versatile. It is not the best value as such, but if you do a lot of gym workouts and cross-training, and you're looking for an excellent minimalist shoe for that, this pair will hold up for a long time and perform to a very high standard.

Conclusion


The women's Inov-8 Bare-XF 210 V2 cross-training shoes are at home in the gym and while scaling a rope. They breathe well enough for lower-end aerobic activities and are durable in all the right places for gym-related activities. These are also a very enjoyable pair of shoes to wear casually around town if you like an athletic look.

We enjoyed the Bare from Inov-8 for a wide range of gym workouts.
We enjoyed the Bare from Inov-8 for a wide range of gym workouts.
Photo: Lyra Pierotti

Lyra Pierotti