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Inov-8 F-Lite 195 - Women's Review

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Price:  $125 List | $71.99 at MooseJaw
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Pros:  Breathable, comfortable, well-suited to a variety of CrossFit style workouts.
Cons:  Lacks support for heavy lifts.
Manufacturer:   Inov-8
By Audrey Hammond ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 17, 2017
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OVERALL
SCORE
  • Weightlifting - 20% 6
  • Running - 20% 8
  • Support - 20% 6
  • Sensitivity - 10% 7
  • Durability - 10% 5
  • Breathability - 10% 8
  • Comfort - 10% 6

The Skinny

The Inov-8 F-Lite 195 is the lightest model in the F-Lite series. It is great for running as well as any gymnastics or plyometric work. Lighter lifts go fine in these shoes, but with heavier lifts we wanted more of a supportive sole like that of our Editors' Choice winner, the Nike Metcon 4 - Women's. These shoes hold up well to rope climbs and they did help our feet grip onto the rope. We appreciated the breathability of these shoes and our testers described them as being comfortable enough for all-day wear.

New Version Available — January 2017
While the F-Lite 195 has been discontinued, Inov-8 has introduced a new, different shoe in the F-Lite 250.


Our Analysis and Test Results

The New F-Lite 250 vs. the Original F-Lite 195


While a significant deviation from the shoe we reviewed, the F-Lite 250 is the newest model in this series. While the 195 was originally intended as a running shoe, the 250 was built with CrossFit in mind and claims to be prepared for anything your WOD can throw at it. While we haven't tested this 250 just yet, we did work with reps at Inov-8 to compile the summary of updates seen below. Additionally, you can check out the differences here, with the new F-Lite 250 on the left and the original 195 we tested on the right.
Inov-8 F-Lite 250

Here's a summary of the updates:
  • Heel-Drop — This is one of the major differences between the 250 and 195. While the 195 we tested had a minimalist feel at 3mm, the 250 has a drop of 8mm. This tops the scales of the shoes we tested which averaged around 4mm, and puts it in a similar category of the Nike Free Trainer which also features an 8mm drop. We liked the 3mm heel-drop of the 195 for weight lifting, so we're interested to see how the 250 performs in this category.
  • Weight — While the F-Lite 195 was one of the lightest shoes out there at 6.9oz, the 250 is a bit heavier at 9 ounces, though still lighter than the Nike Metcon and the Reebok Nano.
  • Durability — The 250 was designed for CrossFit, seen in the numerous changes to accommodate such tough workouts. One of these is the rubber that has been extended on the upper construction to provide traction and protection during rope climbs. We haven't tested this to see how effective it really is, but it seems to be a nice addition.

Because we haven't yet tested the F-Lite 250, the rest of this review continues to reflect the F-Lite 195.

Hands-On Review


The Inov-8 F-Lite 195 weighs 7 ounces (198 grams) and has a special "Rope-Tech" reinforcement at the instep of the sole. The heel to toe drop is 3 mm. You can purchase this shoe in a subtle black or a variety of brighter options.

Performance Comparison


The F-lite series is popular in CrossFit gyms. We reviewed the lightest of the series  the 195  and were quite pleased with its performance.
The F-lite series is popular in CrossFit gyms. We reviewed the lightest of the series, the 195, and were quite pleased with its performance.

Weightlifting


This shoe has no problem handling some light to moderate lifts in the midst of a metcon workout. Once we started pushing the weights heavier though, we wanted a more lifting specific shoe. If you absolutely love going heavy on deadlifts for instance, check out the Reebok Lite TR - Women's.

Running


In our side-by-side sprint test, the Inov-8 F-Lite 195 rose above many other shoes in our review, feeling light and fast. One tester noted that "They have just enough support but are not too stiff." Overall, we preferred the Reebok Sprint 2.0 for running and gave it our Top Pick for Running WODs.

These shoes are wonderful for sprints and even longer distance runs. They do have a lower amount of cushion than traditional running shoes  but are still comfortable on the road.
These shoes are wonderful for sprints and even longer distance runs. They do have a lower amount of cushion than traditional running shoes, but are still comfortable on the road.

Sensitivity


When we test for sensitivity in CrossFit shoes we are searching for a shoe that is sensitive and responsive enough to let you know where your body weight is positioned on your foot. This shoe was one of the better shoes in our review in regards to helping us with body awareness. It even edged out the newest version in the Nano series, the Reebok Nano 7.0 - Women's, in regards to sensitivity.

Support


When trying to design a shoe that can do everything from running to lifting, it is hard to have the right amount of support for all movements. We were sometimes pushed forward onto our toes in this model because they lack the more supportive sole we needed for heavier lifts. The best shoe for support in this review is the Nike Metcon 3.

Protection / Durability


The Inov-8 F-Lite 195 have a protective piece of rubber at the instep of the shoe where the upper attaches to the sole. This rope guard does a good job protecting the shoe from damage during rope climbs, as well as helping your feet hang on to the rope. The Reebok Nano 7.0 also has protection from rope climbs with Kevlar reinforcements. The Kevlar is incredibly slick on the rope, however, and made us rely too much on our arms.

This shoe has a protective rope guard at the instep to keep it from being torn apart. This piece also adds some much appreciated gripping power on the rope  helping lead tester Audrey Hammond make quick work of this part of her WOD.
This shoe has a protective rope guard at the instep to keep it from being torn apart. This piece also adds some much appreciated gripping power on the rope, helping lead tester Audrey Hammond make quick work of this part of her WOD.

Breathability


The light mesh upper on this shoe makes it breathable, however, it is not the most durable material. One of our tester's personal pair has blown out on the pinky toes on each shoe. While we didn't notice this occurring during our three month testing period with a new pair, the design and material is largely unchanged and this could likely happen again.

The much older and much loved pair on the left have worn through the breathable mesh at the pinky toes. The newer models have a similar design and may also have the same weak point.
The much older and much loved pair on the left have worn through the breathable mesh at the pinky toes. The newer models have a similar design and may also have the same weak point.

Comfort


Although not as comfortable as the Merrell Bare Access Arc 4 - Women's, there were no major complaints about the fit of this shoe.

Best Applications


This is the perfect shoe for workouts that combine light lifts with sprints or jumping movements.

These shoes are a great choice if you are looking for an all-purpose CrossFit shoe.
These shoes are a great choice if you are looking for an all-purpose CrossFit shoe.

Value


Retailing for $125, these shoe are on the upper range for prices in this review. However, our testers know firsthand from their own older versions of this shoe that they do last a long time (it took a couple of years for those pinky toes to start showing). For another versatile shoe that is lower in price, check our Best Buy winner, the Reebok Nano 2.0 - Women's.

Conclusion


Lots of CrossFitters prefer to workout in the Inov-8 F-Lite 195. These shoes have a light and breathable design which is nice during intense metcon workouts. Similar to other lightweight and versatile shoes, however, you may want an additional pair of heavier lifting shoes in your gym bag.


Audrey Hammond