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Inov-8 Bare-XF 210 V3 - Women's Review

This is a great pair of shoes for gym-based training such as circuits, weights, HIIT, and court sports
Inov-8 Bare-XF 210 V3 - Women's
Photo: Inov-8
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Price:  $120 List | $120.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Comfortable, soft, stylish
Cons:  Pointed toe limits toe splay
Manufacturer:   Inov-8
By Lyra Pierotti ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jul 20, 2021
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65
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 9
  • Natural Feel - 40% 7
  • Weight - 20% 6
  • Traction - 15% 6
  • Versatility - 15% 6
  • Durability - 10% 7

Our Verdict

Inov-8 has been, well, innovating excellent minimalist footwear for many years now. The Bare-XF 210 V3 looks a little more stylish with a more "normal" looking pointed toe, but this limits the amount your toes can splay inside the shoe — something we really like in our minimalist footwear. Outside of that, the soft and supple sole provides excellent traction and proprioception for gym-based activities, and that same narrower profile may be more desirable for certain court sports or indoor soccer. Depending on your needs and preferences, this could be a great shoe for you, but it falls short on a few things we prefer for running.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $120.00 at Amazon$105 List$89.99 at Amazon$115 List$79.95 at Backcountry
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Pros Comfortable, soft, stylishLightweight, supple, breathable, excellent ground feel, 2mm removable insole, great valueLightweight, nimble, extremely minimal, moderate priceVersatile, durable, comfortableLightweight, sock-like fit, simple
Cons Pointed toe limits toe splayLess durable, not water resistantPermeable to water and dust, some may experience frictionNot the lightest, less casual appeal for wearing around townLess versatile, too minimalist for untrained feet
Bottom Line This is a great pair of shoes for gym-based training such as circuits, weights, HIIT, and court sportsThis performance racing flat is fun for a variety of workouts and terrain typesThis shoe is a truly novel concept that is as close as possible to being barefoot in a closed-toe shoeA true all-rounder, these minimalist shoes are highly versatile and comfortable in a variety of settingsThis shoe is so light and nimble you'll barely know it's there
Rating Categories Inov-8 Bare-XF 210 V3 Xero Speed Force Vibram FiveFingers... Xero Shoes HFS - Wo... Merrell Vapor Glove 5
Natural Feel (40%)
7.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
Weight (20%)
6.0
7.0
9.0
6.0
8.0
Traction (15%)
6.0
6.0
6.0
7.0
7.0
Versatility (15%)
6.0
7.0
5.0
8.0
7.0
Durability (10%)
7.0
6.0
4.0
6.0
6.0
Specs Inov-8 Bare-XF 210 V3 Xero Speed Force Vibram FiveFingers... Xero Shoes HFS - Wo... Merrell Vapor Glove 5
Style Barefoot gym training Barefoot performance Barefoot road Barefoot road Barefoot trail
Weight (per pair) 13.5 oz (size 10) 12 oz (size 10) 8.5 oz (size EU 41) 13.5 oz (size 10) 11 oz (size 10)
Stack Height (mm) 4.5 mm 4.5 mm (2 mm removable insole) 5 mm 7.5 mm 6.5 mm
Heel to Toe drop (mm) 0 mm 0 mm 0 mm 0 mm 0 mm
Outsole 1.5 mm lugs, inov-8 rubber 4.5 mm FeelTrue 3 mm 5.5mm FeelTrue® Vibram EcoStep
Midsole 3 mm Power Footbed Removable 2 mm insole 2 mm 2mm removable Feel The World® insole N/A
Upper Material 3D airmesh Mesh Polyester fabric Mesh Mesh and TPU
Best For Gym, casual Running, gym, performance Running, gym Running, gym, casual Running, gym
Width Options Regular Regular, wide Regular Regular Regular

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Inov-8 Bare-XF 210 V3 is a mouthful to call by name, but worth talking about! This is a very light and supple minimalist shoe well suited to weight training, HIIT, and agility sports in a gym setting.

Performance Comparison


The Inov-8 shoes are great for gym training.
The Inov-8 shoes are great for gym training.
Photo: Lyra Pierotti

Natural Feel


This shoe made us feel as if we were wearing a cloud around our feet. It is light and soft, with a very supple sole. It hugs the foot closely without feeling at all restrictive and is comfortable with or without socks. It's also breathable enough to keep your feet comfortable through a hard workout.

The shoe has longitudinal grooves in the forefoot that allow the foot to flex along the metatarsal arch and dramatically improve the natural movement and feel for your foot. Our only disappointment is with the slightly narrower toe box. For our testers with strong feet, well-transitioned to barefoot running, our toes like to splay a lot for stability (when you don't have motion control in your shoe, your feet have to do the work). The uppers are soft enough that it wasn't bothersome, but we would recommend another model for those with a lot of toe splay.

The soft and supple sole ensures a natural feel underfoot.
The soft and supple sole ensures a natural feel underfoot.
Photo: Lyra Pierotti

Weight


The 210 V3 gets average marks for weight. A pair of size 10 women's weigh 13.5 ounces — well under a pound, which is great. The uppers are a little more generous and padded, likely contributing a few ounces. But given these shoes are best for gym and casual use, this is hardly an issue.

Additionally, the weight of the shoe is well balanced between the sole and the uppers, which makes for excellent and balanced swing weight, well suited to use on courts or indoors for agility training.

The relative light weight makes these shoes feel nimble for agility...
The relative light weight makes these shoes feel nimble for agility training.
Photo: Lyra Pierotti

Traction


The 210 V3 sole is best for indoor use on courts, wood flooring, and rubber gym flooring. These shoes provide great traction for direction changes on smooth surfaces but are less well suited to trails or rough terrain outdoors. They have minimal lugs and very soft rubber. The soft and thin sole improves foot proprioception and allows your foot muscles to work to provide grip and stability as well. The grooves in the sole allow the metatarsal arch to flex and the lateral and medial arches as well — an excellent design feature.

A unique feature of this shoe is striping along the inside and outside surface of the upper materials. This is labeled "ROPETEC" and is excellent for any rope climbing you might be doing as part of indoor circuit training.

The soles are tacky for gym floors and the reinforced side panels...
The soles are tacky for gym floors and the reinforced side panels are great for climbing ropes.
Photo: Lyra Pierotti

Versatility


This Inov-8 model is most well suited to indoor use or smooth surfaces such as outdoor courts. The main things that drive this limitation are the softer, smoother sole rubber and the lighter mesh uppers with minimal toe rand. However, these limitations also optimize the shoe for its intended use: gym settings. This is an excellent barefoot-inspired shoe for circuit training, CrossFit, agility, court games, and weightlifting. With the pointed toe and smooth outer materials, we really liked these shoes for indoor soccer.

Indoors, the Bare-XF 210 V3 are highly versatile; outdoors, they are...
Indoors, the Bare-XF 210 V3 are highly versatile; outdoors, they are best used for casual use or light road running due to the soft and less textured soles.
Photo: Lyra Pierotti

Durability


If used for its intended purposes, the 210 V3 is plenty durable. This shoe is ideal for gym training. It's even optimized for rope climbing with added durability on the inside and outside of the uppers. Conversely, taking these shoes outside will wear out the softer rubber soles faster. The uppers will take on dirt in the mesh, and the toe rand doesn't extend far enough around to protect the main stress point at the pinky toe from debris or just the repetition of toe flexion on a long-distance trail run.

These held up well to lots of movement - the suppleness of the shoe...
These held up well to lots of movement - the suppleness of the shoe prevents it from having any stress points.
Photo: Lyra Pierotti

Value


These shoes are a bit pricey, though about average for this field. That said, they are very well made and well suited to gym training, so if you're looking for this kind of shoe, you will get a lot of hours of use and long life out of them.

Conclusion


The Inov-8 Bare-XF 210 V3 is a great minimalist indoor training shoe. The light, thin, and supple sole makes for excellent proprioception in agility courses. The sticky rubber allows for quick changes of direction on courts. The soft, light, and breathable uppers make the shoe comfortable at a variety of exertion levels. This is a great shoe for indoor training or casual use.

Another fun gym session in the Inov-8 Bare-XF 210 V3!
Another fun gym session in the Inov-8 Bare-XF 210 V3!
Photo: Lyra Pierotti

Lyra Pierotti