Running Shoe Rivalry

I have recently been placed in a very tough spot. One that I didn’t expect to ever encounter. I’m in love with 2 different running shoes. Last year I was lucky enough to discover my favorite running shoe – the Inov-8 Bare-X Lite 150’s. There are many reasons I fell in love with this shoe: SUPER-light, compact, one-piece upper, slim fit…but best of all is the lacing system, which makes them the perfect transition shoe for multisport events. They’re so easy to slip on – right out of the box. No need to buy triathlon-specific laces. They feel great, they look great, and they perform great – what’s not to love? Our love affair blossomed as these shoes led me to victory in France. I hadn’t worn them all winter, and then broke them out in March for the Cary Classic Duathlon. Slipping them on before the race reminded me how much I love these shoes – when I wear them I just want to run – FAST!

Recently I acquired a pair of Inov-8 Road-X-Treme 118’s. When I opened the box it was love at first sight. The style and colors are enough to catch your eye, but the slim profile, light weight, and super-breathable upper made them even more appealing. Then I noticed the tongue design – it is integrated on one side and open on the other. Brilliant! I slipped them on and they felt even better than I imagined. That glove-like feel is just one of many things I love about the Inov-8 line. This shoe felt like it was made specifically for me 😉 What I love best about the tongue design is how I can cinch the laces nice and tight – snug around my foot. But there is no bunching of the tongue or shifting of the tongue like I’ve encountered in other racing shoes. Laces flapping around drive me absolutely bananas, so I love that the open side of the tongue is the perfect place to stash them. I couldn’t wait to put these bad boys to the test!

And that’s what I did last weekend. Track workout Saturday followed by the Valley Forge Revolutionary 5 mile race on Sunday. Just as I expected – the shoes were built for speed! They felt so natural – almost like wearing nothing! I placed 4th overall and ran a PR against a tough field of talented and decorated women. A Serbian middle-distance runner who qualified for the 2012 Olympics in the 1500, a bronze medalist in the 10,000 meter at the 2012 British Olympic Trials, and Keystone Track Club’s Katie O’Regan who just ran sub-3:00 at Boston less than a week prior to this race. Fierce!

Turns out there is room in my heart for two loves – there’s no reason for a rivalry. Both shoes have a place in my racing toolbox. The Bare X-Lite 150’s will continue to be my multisport shoe, and the Road-X-Treme 118’s will serve me well for track workouts and running races.


Bare-X Lite 150 vs. Road-X-Treme 118

5 thoughts on “Running Shoe Rivalry

  1. Pingback: Review: Road-X-Treme 118 | Home of the #Committed Athlete

  2. Pingback: Review: Road-X-Treme 118 | HOME OF THE #COMMITTED

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  4. Hi Laura, Happy New Year I just googled innovate road extreme and found your blog with – amazingly – a photo of my two favourite running shoes. I have been out of running for a while and when I started again I have looked around for more of these shoes (I am in the uk) and I cannot find any. Have you found any shoes that are as good as these that are currently available. All the best Helen

    • Happy New Year to you as well & kudos for getting back into running! I now run exclusively in Altra – the wide toe box and zero drop design works best for me. The Vanish-R is their lightest, most minimal road shoe. The Kayenta has the integrated tongue and sock-like liner with a bit more cushion. And my current favorite road shoe is the Escalante Racer – perfect amount of cushion, lightweight, and a very snug and comfortable upper. Best of luck in finding your new favorite!

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