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

Breathable minimalist shoe, good for running and light lifting.
The original 195 that we tested.
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Price:  $120 List | $59.24 at Amazon
Pros:  Breathable, comfortable, well-suited to a variety of CrossFit style workouts
Cons:  Lacks support for heavy lifts.
Manufacturer:   Inov-8
By Brittany Page ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 11, 2019
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56
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 11
  • Weightlifting - 20% 5
  • Running - 20% 7
  • Support - 10% 4
  • Sensitivity - 5% 9
  • Protection and Durability - 10% 6
  • Gymnastics - 20% 5
  • Breathability - 5% 6
  • Comfort - 10% 4

Our Verdict

The Inov-8 F-Lite 195 is the lightest model in the F-Lite series. This minimalist shoe is good 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 Reebok Nano 9 - 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 they are comfortable enough for a few hours of wear.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award  
Price $59.24 at Amazon$97.48 at Amazon$68.67 at Amazon$129.00 at Amazon$87.67 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Breathable, comfortable, well-suited to a variety of CrossFit style workoutsExtremely versatile, durable, comfortable, good for runningVersatile, comfortable, light feelingIncredibly comfortable, will tackle everything you find in a CrossFit workout, can wear outside of the gymGood shoe for lifting and a general CrossFit shoe, great for rope climbs
Cons Lacks support for heavy lifts.Upper material bunches when tightly laced, heavyNot the best for really heavy liftsNever wanting to take them off, fun patterns will cost you a little extra, sell out quicklyBreathability, squeaking nose
Bottom Line Breathable minimalist shoe, good for running and light lifting.Ditch the bag of specialized shoes and get yourself an all-around; these are our new favorite.The CrossFit Speed TR is a great choice for your everyday CrossFit needs and comes at an excellent price!If you want to avoid a bag full of specialized shoes and go for one all around shoe, then search no further; these shoes are amazing.An improvement over the previous version; the main difference being the flexible soles, which offer higher performance during runs.
Rating Categories Inov-8 F-Lite 195 - Women's Reebok Nano 9 - Women's Reebok CrossFit Speed TR NOBULL Trainers - Women's Nike Metcon 4 - Women's
Weightlifting (20%)
10
0
5
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
8
Running (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
7
Support (10%)
10
0
4
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
Sensitivity (5%)
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
7
Protection And Durability (10%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
Gymnastics (20%)
10
0
5
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
8
Breathability (5%)
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
7
Comfort (10%)
10
0
4
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
Specs Inov-8 F-Lite 195... Reebok Nano 9 -... Reebok CrossFit... NOBULL Trainers -... Nike Metcon 4 -...
Upper Synthetic/mesh, TPU Flexweave Monomesh and hotmelt overlay SuperFabric 3D print
Width Options Regular Regular Regular Regular Regular
Weight (Measured) (One size 5.5 shoe) (Ounces) 5.875 9.125 8 oz 7.875 7.375
Heel to toe drop (mm) 3mm 4mm 3 mm 4mm 4mm
Length (cm) / Fit 24cm 25cm / normal 23.5cm 25cm

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Inov-8 F-Lite 195 is the original training shoe when it comes to CrossFit. Rewind about seven years, and almost everyone had a pair of these on. The F-Lite 195 weighs 5.9 ounces (170 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 brown or white, now deemed the F-Lite 195 Classic.

Performance Comparison


Inov-8 F-Lite 195 left vs. Vivo Primus Lite right.
Inov-8 F-Lite 195 left vs. Vivo Primus Lite right.

Weightlifting


This shoe has no problem handling light to moderate lifts amid metcon workouts. Once we started pushing the weights heavier, though, we were left looking for more support. If you absolutely love going heavy on squat cleans, for instance, check out the Reebok Nano 9.

We had no problems with light to mid weight barbell work  but once we got heavy we were in need of a bit more support.
We had no problems with light to mid weight barbell work, but once we got heavy we were in need of a bit more support.

Running


In our side-by-side running tests, 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 more cushion from the NOBULL Knit Runner for running and gave it our Top Pick for Running WODs.

This shoe felt light and fast during our running. Just the right amount of support without being stiff.
This shoe felt light and fast during our running. Just the right amount of support without being stiff.

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 edged out every shoe in our testing besides the Vivo Primus Lite, in regards to sensitivity. This should be no surprise as these two were our minimalist shoes.

No surprise here  but this minimalist shoe topped the charts when it comes to sensitivity.
No surprise here, but this minimalist shoe topped the charts when it comes 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. The low-profile, minimalist design of this shoe makes it good for bodyweight movements, squats, and light lifting. We were sometimes pushed forward onto our toes in this model because they lack the more supportive sole we needed for heavier lifts. We did have an issue with the removable insoles shifting forward into the shoe during training sessions.

Protection / Durability


The F-Lite 195 has a protective piece of rubber at the instep of the shoe, where the upper attaches to the sole. This "Rope-Tec" rope guard does a good job protecting the shoe from damage during rope climbs, as well as helping your feet dig in and lock on to the rope. The 195's rubber outsole performed well indoor and outdoor on wet surfaces and even loose dirt. Our testers did feel that the shoe was lacking protection on the front toe box, which is put through a lot during CrossFit workouts.

The Rope-Tec rope guard protected us from damage during rope climbs. We were able to lock the rope in between our feet easily.
We didn't have any major complaints during handstand push ups in these  but we did feel they were lacking protection on the front toe box during our workout.

Breathability


The light mesh upper on this shoe makes it breathable and quick to dry; however, it is not the most durable material. One of our tester's pair has blown out on the pinky toes on each shoe where the forefoot area begins to crease. While we didn't notice this occurring during our two month testing period with a new pair, the design and material are largely unchanged on the "Classics" and this could likely happen again.

The light mesh upper is breathable and quick to dry  but the creasing in the toe box after repeated use tends to wear out easily.
The light mesh upper is breathable and quick to dry, but the creasing in the toe box after repeated use tends to wear out easily.

Comfort


Although not as comfortable as the Vivo Primus Lite, there were no major complaints about the fit of this shoe. The width of this shoe is B - medium, but both the heel and the toe areas of the shoe felt narrow.

Value


These shoes 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 Nike Air Zoom Elevate.

Conclusion


The Inov-8 F-Lite 195 used to be the preferred shoe by CrossFitters when it came to a good shoe for their intense workouts. These shoes have a light and breathable design, which is nice during intense metcon workouts. Similar to other lightweight and minimalist shoes, however, you may want an additional pair of heavier lifting shoes in your gym bag.

This is the perfect shoe for people interested in barefoot and minimalist training. This is a lightweight running shoe that performed well in workouts that combine light lifts with sprints or jumping movements.
This is the perfect shoe for people interested in barefoot and minimalist training. This is a lightweight running shoe that performed well in workouts that combine light lifts with sprints or jumping movements.


Brittany Page