I got the X-Talon 240’s in for test, what, a year ago? And it’s high time I spoke about them.
The Gore-Tex lined Roclite 288’s earned the nickname of Suicide Socks, but the X-Talons are the rightful owner of that title. The upper is softer, and does feel more like a sock than a boot. Add the thin sole unit and your feet feel pretty damned bare. What surprised me though was the lack of lace pressure, the thin tongue held no horrors, and the X-Talons are unexpectedly comfy. This extends to the trail, and the mixed terrain of my Kilpatrick hills routes suits the boots perfectly, the naked feeling is quickly lost and replaced by a sure footed confidence. The myth that you bash your toes and twist your ankles in lightweight footwear is just put about by nayayersto circle the wagons of doubt around their own fears. I’ve had less problems with my feet in the past few years that I’ve had in all my previous lives, other than when I spend 3 years as a centipede in the late 15th century.
But I digress. The sole unit is a cracker, soft rubber and grippy lugs, it will bite securely into soft ground and there’s enough give on the long-ish lugs to make hardpack issue-free. You can feel every detail of the ground under your feet too, boot wearers will take some time to get used to that, and feet will get tired, but fit feet will love the positivity you get from the tangible connection to the ground.
So why get a non waterproof boot when the trail shoe version is available and lighter? One reason is keeping the crap out of your sock with the higher ankle, another is heel fit. A lot of folk have issues with Inov8’s heels, and these boots address that indirectly, you can fit various insoles without popping your foot out of the shoe altogether like you would in the X-Talon 212’s, and have a chance at getting some of the benefits of that sole and flexibility.
Specialist? Not necessarily, if they fit, you’d be in for a surprise on the trail in these.