Inov-8 has combined a weightlifting-style powerheel and wide toe box with enough midsole cushioning to reduce the impact on your knees during short runs. The result is a unique shoe that feels stable when moving heavy weights, but still comfortable. The only drawbacks were that it felt a little less nimble than other CrossFit shoes and it didn’t hold my heel securely when rowing or performing burpees. People with narrow feet like me will benefit from trying it on before buying.
- Stable sole ideal for weightlifting
- Comfortable upper
- Good cushioning for running
- Wider fit than others
- Less nimble than others
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Inov-8 is originally a trail-running brand from the Lake District in England, but it’s developed a cult following in the CrossFit community. Every time Coach has spoken to CrossFit trainers about what they’re wearing on their feet to inform our selection of best CrossFit shoes, Inov-8 shoes are mentioned in the same breath as Nike’s Metcon and Reebok’s Nano lines.
Having worn these shoes at least five times a week for more than a month, I can see why. The Inov-8 F-Lite G 300 is the best CrossFit shoe I’ve worn for weightlifting, with a roomy toe box and stable heel providing the solid foundation needed to squat, clean, jerk and snatch with confidence. Yet there’s enough midsole cushioning to stop short running intervals from ruining your legs.
It offers quite a wide fit and this, combined with my slightly narrow feet, meant my heels didn’t feel as locked in place as they do in my NoBull Trainer. However, this was the only significant downside I could find after weeks of training.
Inov-8 F-Lite G300: Price And Availability
The Inov-8 F-Lite G300 costs $155 in the US and £145 in the UK. This puts it at the more expensive end of CrossFit shoes, but it’s known for being hard-wearing and that matched my experience, so you can be confident you’ll get a return on that investment.
How I Tested The Inov-8 F-Lite G 300
I wore my pair for five weeks of training, a period when I was preparing for the CrossFit Open, using them for every session bar the occasional run. I train five times a week in a CrossFit box and my garage gym, and my typical session lasts 90 minutes, including weightlifting, gymnastics, a metcon and bodybuilding-style accessory movements. I also complete an EMOM or run as an active recovery session on one of my rest days. I used the G300 for one 4km run, but switched to other shoes for subsequent runs.
The Inov-8 F-Lite G 300 has a considerable stack of foam 14mm high under the heel, making it closer to the last two iterations of the Nike Metcon than to the NoBull Trainer or my older Reebok Nano 6. This took some getting used to for plyometric movements like burpees, because the Inov-8 felt a little less nimble than other shoes I’ve tried. However, I wouldn’t want to overstate this: The G 300 is still an impressively light 300g, and the outsole gripped well on both gym floors and lifting platforms.
The upper comprises a hard plastic cage, reinforced rubber Rope-Tec lining around the front of the midsole, a sock-like upper and breathable mesh on the forefoot. The wraparound upper cage pulled the shoe in tight around the midfoot for a supportive fit.
I experienced a problem with the fit around the heel. Online comments agree that the fit is wider than most, and I have somewhat narrow feet. Where CrossFit shoes I’ve used in the past have locked my heel in place, the Inov-8 shoe allowed a degree of vertical movement. This was only evident for exercises such as box jumps and rowing, so it detracted only slightly from the overall performance.
The G 300 also stood up well to five weeks of intense training, including strict handstand push-ups against my rough garage wall—the only wear and tear was some scuffing on the exposed foam around the heel.
Is the Inov-8 F-Lite G300 Good For HIIT?
In comparison with your average gym trainer, the Inov-8 F-Lite G 300 is a good pick for HIIT workouts. It’s light, and has a breathable upper and cushioning foam in the midsole for explosive movements like tuck jumps and burpees. But when picking a CrossFit shoe for HIIT, I prefer a tighter-fitting shoe with a slimmer profile and more flexible outsole. The Inov-8’s stiffer, more stable sole is brilliant for lifting, but I didn’t feel as nimble in it as I did in other shoes.
Is The Inov-8 F-Lite G300 Good For Resistance Training?
There is no CrossFit shoe I would rather squat in. This is in large part down to the excellent Graphene-infused powerheel, which is more rigid than the soles of most CrossFit shoes, offering great power transfer and stability for Olympic lifts. The wide forefoot also helps you maintain your balance when performing exercises like split jerks.
Is The Inov-8 F-Lite G300 Good For Running?
The Inov-8 F-Lite G300 is a top choice for running for a CrossFit shoe. This shoe won’t beat the best running shoes when covering distances greater than 3km, but a pair should be able to see you through shorter distances.
Taking on a workout with running intervals of 200-400m—interspersed with box jumps, burpees, wall walks and deadlifts—I found the Inov-8 comfortable and supportive. The foam in the midsole offered more cushioning than the NoBull Trainer and Nike Metcon 5, leaving my knees feeling fresher than they have during other run-heavy sessions.
Is The Inov-8 F-Lite G 300 Worth It?
The Inov-8 F-Lite G 300 is a great shoe for anyone whose CrossFit training has a weightlifting bias. The stable sole and Graphene powerheel offer excellent stability for weightlifting and bodybuilding leg exercises. It’s more expensive than most, but in my experience it’s built to last, and although it has a wider fit, it’s unlikely to be a problem unless you have narrow feet. I would want a more flexible outsole for WODs with a high proportion of plyometric exercises, but if there’s a heavy barbell involved I’ll be lacing up the Inov-8s.
If you have narrow feet but still want a solid CrossFit shoe for weightlifting, the TYR CXT-1 could be the answer. I found it offered a more snug fit that locked my heel into position, but still provided plenty of stability thanks to the added width of the wrap-around side gripper that surrounds the back of the shoe. If it’s a more malleable sole you’re after, I recommend the NoBull Trainer, which offers a natural feel during explosive movements like burpees and box jumps.
Harry covers news, reviews and features for Coach, Fit&Well and Live Science. With over a decade of training experience, he has tried everything from powerlifting to gymnastics, cardio to CrossFit, all in a bid to find fun ways of building a healthy, functional body.