Inov-8 Trailtalon 290 review

As winter sets in, and mud takes over, I need a pair of decent trail shoes that can take me from my doorstep to the local woods in London. I recently bought a pair of Inov-8 Trailtalon 290 online, and having put them through a few long-ish (up to 18 miles) multi-terrain runs in London and in the Cotswolds, I have decided to write a quick review.


I will start with what they is not. With 4mm deep lugs, they are not going to cope well in deep mud - you will be sliding around. I feel more confident running in my Roclite in similar situations. However, Trailtalon's lug pattern seems to be surprisingly effective at shedding mud, and I actually think they offer much better grip than the other shoes with similar lug depth that I have worn, including the Parkclaw.

Road feel

Living 2 miles from the nearest wood, I need a pair of shoes that would not turn running on tarmac into a chore. Specifically, I don't want a pair of shoes that constantly remind you that you are running on a bed of pointy studs every step you take. The Trailtalon really excel in this department. I can run for miles thinking that I am wearing a decent pair of road shoes.

Fit and comfort

Another reason I bought the Trailtalon was because I wanted a pair of comfortable shoes for an upcoming ultra. The event was cancelled due to Covid, so I cannot comment on how comfortable they are for ultra-distance running. However, having done a few long-ish runs in them, I certainly appreciate the wider toe box. They are roomy enough without compromising control.

Weight and material

They are, and certainly feel, light. One more point I will highlight is how fast-draining they are. Having run through many ankle/calf/knee-deep puddles in them, I am impressed by how quickly they dry out, after just a few minutes of squelching strides. In my opinion, there is nothing worse than a pair of poor-draining shoes in the winter.

I will probably write a long-term review after running 200+ miles in them, but for now I think I have found the perfect pair of road-to-trail shoes.


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