Inov-8 Road-X-Treme 138 Review

You can’t beat running in barefoot-style shoes for developing technique on the road. In spite of this, I think that most minimalist converts would agree that it’s nice to have a little bit of cushioning and my Vivobarefoots are starting to get tatty so I decided to give the Inov-8 Road-X-Treme 138 a try.

The 138’s have all of the main features of a barefoot-style shoe (wide-ish toe box, excellent ground feel and omm drop) whilst providing a little bit of midsole and a racing-flat feel. 

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  • 0mm heel-to-toe drop
  • 11mm stack height
  • Mesh upper with seamless interior for sockless use
  • Light weight at 155g for my UK size 9.5
  • Built on Inov-8’s ‘natural’ last which has more room in the toe box than some of their other models
  • Dual-Compound ‘sticky fusion’ outsole

What’s Good About Them

  • Firm midsole which provides a little bit of cushioning without compromising propreoception
  • Racing-flat feel with a fit that is secure but sufficiently spacious around the toes
  • Excellent water drainage (although they also let water in very easily!)
  • Fantastic grip even on saturated, dirty road surfaces
  • Removable 3mm insole to customise feel and cushioning
  • Very flexible
  • Interior is extremely comfortable for sockless use with no abrasion points

What’s not So Good

  • The toe box isn’t as spacious as some barefoot-style shoes which was fine for me but it may cause problems if you have wide feet.  See my comparison with the Vivobarefoot Breezy Lite in the picture gallery.


It’s quite remarkable how the feel of the shoes can be changed by removing the insole. When you wear them with socks and the insole installed, they feel more like a racing-flat but without either of them they feel significantly firmer and more spacious around the toes.


The Road-X-Treme 138 provides all of the benefits of a barefoot-style shoe whilst being more usable in the real world. Now that I’ve been wearing them for a few weeks, I feel like it would be almost masochistic to revert to a more minimal shoe and this probably explains why Inov-8 have dropped the ultra minimal, Bare-X Lite from their 2014 rangeIt’s a slightly clichéd thing to say but you really do forget that they are on your feet and the balance between firm cushioning and ground-feel is perfectly judged. 

This product was purchased by the author.

Where You Can Find Them (Affiliates)

You can check pricing or purchase the Road-X-Treme 138 here at Amazon

Get Involved!

Do you have any questions or comments about the Inov-8 Road-X-Treme 138? Please leave your thoughts below!

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