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Inov-8 F-Lite G 300 Review:
Stable Lifting
By Contributor Ryan Flugaur

Inov-8 was founded in 2003 with the philosophy that an athletes’ interaction with the environment is the single most important factor when designing products. This is evident in Inov-8's trail and hiking shoes that provide great grip over a variety of surfaces using their graphene-enhanced rubber. I have worn Inov-8 hiking boots previously, but the Inov-8 F-Lite G 300 was my first time in one of their training shoes. It offers a different experience in the gym than that of many traditional running shoes and may be a good upgrade for those individuals looking for a more structured lifting shoe.

Inov-8 F-Lite G 300
Price: $150
Weight: 10.5 oz, 300 g (men's size 9)
Stack Height: 14 mm heel, 8 mm forefoot
Drop: 6 mm
Classification: Training Shoe


The Inov-8 F-lite G 300 is a versatile training shoe designed with both cross training and fitness in mind. It can easily transition from a stable platform during a max squat to providing the flexibility needed for dynamic tasks such as high knee ladder drills and cuts. The structure and fit of the shoe sets it up to perform excellently during certain gym tasks while lacking in others. Depending on your gym goals, this may be a good fit for you.


The Inov-8 F-Lite G 300 fits true to size in my men’s size 9. Like similar training shoes, the toe box fits slightly wide compared to a traditional running shoe. This allows the toes extra room to splay as they push into the ground when lifting. Individuals accustomed to lifting in a traditional running shoe will likely find the wider toe boxes of training shoes more accommodating for this reason. The tongue and sides of the shoe come together to form a slipper-like upper. This with the combination of a tubular shoelace design, which I dislike since it was hard to keep tight, made it challenging to securely lock down the upper and toe box during cutting tasks. This occasionally led to my foot slipping in the shoe during quick lateral drills. The heel counter provides an adequate lock down and I had no issues with heel slippage. During squats and lateral cutting drills the heel felt secure which helped make up for some of the insecurity in forefoot. Instead of a plastic heel clip like that found in the Reebok Nano X1, the F-Lite G 300 employs a “cage” that wraps around the mid foot to provide structure to the shoe. The laces are used to tighten the cage providing a secure fit to the midfoot. I was skeptical of the cage at first due to its plastic design, but it worked well helping to add structure to the shoe and kept the midfoot feeling secure. The F- Lite G 300 also has a firmer piece of material on the medial side of the shoe to assist with climbing ropes as most cross fit shoes do. 


In this section we will be exploring the different usages for the Inov-8 F-Lite G 300 that are unique to the design of the shoe. One of the strengths of the Inov-8 F-Lite G 300 is it’s stability through the midfoot and heel, particularly due to the cage which helps reinforce the shoe. This makes the F-Lite G 300 a good choice for squats and lunges due to the amount of security it provides. This comes at a cost of dynamic movement though.

While performing box jumps, drop jumps, and single leg  jumps in the F-Lite G 300 the cage and heel counter assist with providing a secure landing but the firm foam does very little to cushion the jump.  This makes the landing feel a bit more stiff in the knees and ankles. The platform of the shoe is also more narrow through the midfoot which can make balancing during a single leg jump slightly more challenging. The flexibility of the forefoot allows for a good push off and I had no difficulty achieving a 30 inch jump in the shoe. Overall, the shoes perform well for  jumping and landing tasks especially once I learned to land on the ball of my feet where the foam is slightly softer.   

Cutting and Running
When transitioning to cutting and running tasks the F-Lite G 300 struggles a bit.  The wider toe box is nice when lifting but being unable to securely lock it down during running tasks can make it feel too sloppy. When I tightened up the cage and double knotted the laces, a significant amount of upper material bunched up over the top of my foot. This extra material allowed for some side to side movement of my foot during cutting tasks. I was still able to perform my drills but I prefer a slightly snugger fit for these tasks. Running in the F-Lite G 300 is possible for short distances, such as a 1 miler in a MURPH, but it lacks many of the features seen in a typical running shoe to make it a comfortable running shoe for distance. I found the lack of a heel bevel to be my biggest issue as there is no clear landing spot for it to hit the ground. This made the shoe feel clunky with a poor transition from initial contact to midstance. This was accentuated by the foam firmness in the heel. There is a small amount of toe spring in the forefoot and this assists with providing a more natural toe off and helps to make the ride a bit more enjoyable.   

Strength Training 
Where the  F-Lite G 300 truly shines is during general strength training.  While performing a back squat and sled push, it does a good job keeping the foot and ankle stable and really feels good.  To be honest, the first time I lifted in this shoe I was surprised by how secure it felt given that it is not a true lifting but a cross training shoe.  The firmer foam, stiff heel counter, and midfoot cage really work well together to keep the foot planted into the ground.  The graphene rubber outsole also does a good job keeping the foot planted without slipping.       

In conclusion, those individuals looking for a true lifting shoe mainly used for lifting weights should lean towards the Inov-8 G-Lite 300. If your goal is to lift weights on occasion but also spend time performing classes, plyometrics, and running drills, the Reebok Nano X1 or Hoka Kawana may be a more solid option. The Kawana is a running shoe with characteristics that make it an improved gym shoe over more traditional running shoes. 



Stability in a training shoe is inherently different from stability in a running shoe as it serves very different goals. For this reason training shoes are typically constructed using much more rigid and firm foams. The goal in a running shoe is to help guide the foot during a dynamic task and depending on the shoe, provide assistance to the intrinsic foot musculature. In a training shoe, not only must the shoe provide stability during dynamic tasks such as running, cutting, and jumping but also static tasks such as squatting and single leg balance.

Just as in running shoes, training shoes offer different types of stability based on the wearers goals and needs. For example, the Reebok Nano X1 lacks the stability features of the Inov-8 F-Lite G 300 throughout the midfoot and heel.  This makes the F-Lite G 300 a better choice during squats and lunges but less mobile than the Nano X1 for cutting, jumping and running. I found my experience with both shoes to be very different and picking out the best shoe depends on your goals in the gym. Those individuals looking for a true lifting shoe mainly used for lifting weights should lean towards the Inov-8 G-Lite 300. If your goal is to lift weights on occasion but spend more time performing classes, plyometrics, and running drills, the Reebok Nano X1 may be a more solid option. 


As our team at Doctors Of Running begins to increase our scope to include training and gym shoes, it is interesting to consider what the possible benefits are of strength training for the runner. Questions such as “does it alter injury risk?” or “does it improve performance” still do not have clear cut answers in practice and literature.

Conventional wisdom and logic may point to a clear yes, but the difficulty of producing sound literature on injury risk reduction is too difficult to have clear support for strength training especially as it pertains solely to running. Therefore, since we don't have sound literature to support strength training for runners or literature that proves to be detrimental, we have to rely more on the knowledge and anecdotal evidence obtained from physical therapists, coaches, and seasoned runners in addition to sound physiological and biomechanical theory. 

As a doctor of physical therapy, my goal is to help individuals return back to their previous activity level pain free. Accomplishing this goal will likely come from a variety of training methods including stretching, strengthening, soft tissue work, and movement retraining. Strength training alone is likely not enough to accomplish that task and it should not be the only way you prepare as a runner. Looking into the research, a systematic review analyzed the effects strength training had on both acute and overuse sports injuries for athletes participating in a variety of sports.  All studies included in the meta analysis found that strength training programs reduced sports injuries by as much as 66% and the number of overuse injuries were cut in half. 

This may sound fantastic but when analyzing further it may not mean as much as you think. First, none of the studies were running specific. The studies included individuals playing soccer as well as performing a military specific training program. Second, the strength training  programs designed in the studies were aimed at accomplishing a specific goal as opposed to generalized strengthening regiments.  For example, a pre-season hamstring strengthening program was developed with the aim of preventing hamstring injuries in soccer athletes. Running strength programs are typically established with generalized fitness and strength in mind and not targeted to one specific area unless that individual is recovering from injury or specific deficits are being addressed.       

Despite the lack of specific evidence related to strength training in runners to decrease injury, there are still reasons it may be beneficial.These reasons include increased load tolerance of the muscle, increasing stiffness of tendons, and improving activation of muscle groups. If you have the ability, a physical therapist can assess for motion restrictions or strength deficits that are commonly associated with certain conditions to help individualize your strength training program. For example, weaker calves may put a runner at risk of plantar fascia pain. Through studies measuring EMG activation we also know what muscle groups are most important for running. These include calves, quadriceps, gluteus medius and maximus, and hamstring just to name a few and therefore increasing the capacity of those muscles in specific ways may be helpful despite not having the research to back it up.    

At the same time, be aware that strength alone is not enough to save you from injury and runners must also abide by other “rules”. For example, it would not be smart for a body builder to begin a training program running 30 miles a week when he never ran before. Despite his strength, he is at an increased risk of injury due to the training error of running many miles early in the training phase. In the end, know that incorporating strength training into your running program is good but understand strength alone is not enough to save you from poor training errors and faulty movement patterns. 


Lauersen JB, Andersen TE, Andersen LB. Strength training as superior, dose-dependent and safe prevention of acute and overuse sports injuries: a systematic review, qualitative analysis and meta-analysis, British Journal of Sports Medicine 2018;52:1557-1563.


To make the INOV-8 F-Lite G 300 a more well rounded cross training shoe I feel there are a few small improvements that can be made. First, the tubular laces should be replaced with flat laces to provide a more secure lock down. Second, I would love to see the “cage” integrated into the sides of the shoe to remove the external structure. This could be accomplished by using a thicker material over both the medial and lateral quarters to provide extra structure to the upper. The New Balance Vongo v5 adds structure this way using thicker stitching over the sides of the shoe and uses the laces to lock it down.  Last, to improve running functionality, adding a slight bevel to the posterior aspect of the heel would help smoothen the transition from initial contact to midstance. In doing so, the heel will become slightly less secure while lifting but it would greatly improve the overall ride of the shoe while running. 


Overall, the Inov-8 F-Lite G 300 is a versatile and stable trainer which performs best during static lifting. This is accomplished by keeping the foot planted and secure while performing a heavy squat, sled push, and deadlifts. When used for sprints, cuts, and dynamic drills the F Lite G 300 feels a bit too clunky especially when compared to the more nimble Reebok Nano X1. The combination of sock-like tongue and tubular shoelaces also make it hard to lock down the upper, occasionally allowing the feet to slip with dynamic tasks. For this reason, individuals with narrow feet will likely find the F Lite G 300 too sloppy throughout the toe box and may benefit from going down a half size if they prefer a snugger fit when lifting.


Fit: B/B+ (Sock-like tongue and tubular shoelaces can make for a difficult lockdown.  Not as critical with strength training but the foot can become sloppy with dynamic tasks)                    
Performance:  B+ (Excels at more traditional weight lifting but can become sloppy with dynamic tasks) 
Stability: A (Very stable trainer for static tasks thanks to cage, solid heel counter, flat bottom, and firmer base)

Personal: A- (This has become my main lifting shoe for lower body leg days when I'm not running or performing dynamic tasks.)    
Overall:  B+ /A- (Overall a great lifting shoe but the characteristics that make it a good trainer also take away from its functionality of a running and sprinting shoe.   In saying this, performing short runs such as those in a MURPH should still be no problem for the Inov-8- Lite G 300)     


Price: $150 at Inov-8 (Non-Affiliate Link)

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Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your
local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the  people at Inov-8 for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run run as well as a warm up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

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