Founded on June 11, 2003, inov-8 is the brainchild of Wayne Edy, a former consultant in the outdoor industry, who spotted a gap in the off-road running market for innovation.
Initially operating out of a coach house in his garden and then an old church hall, both in the North East of England, Wayne launched his first shoe, the mudroc. Aimed at fell and mountain runners, it weighed just 290g and delivered outstanding grip through an aggressive outsole.
Zimbabwe-born Wayne quickly became a regular at off-road races across the UK and Europe selling the shoe out of the back of his pickup. Later that year, New Zealand athlete Melissa Moon won the World Mountain Running Trophy in a pair of mudroc 290 shoes she borrowed on the day of the race in Alaska. The shoe was an instant hit.
Building on that success, Wayne launched three more off-road running shoes and pioneered the arrow system, based on the height difference between a shoe’s heel and toe. The system provides a transition-focused approach for committed athletes to develop a more natural running technique.
Inov-8’s stripped-back, minimalist footwear range continued to go from strength to strength as athletes wanting to push boundaries discovered the brand.
This was the case in the US in 2009 when a then relatively unknown functional fitness community discovered the low-profile inov-8 f-lite 230 shoe as perfect for their high intensity workouts.
Today Inov-8 trades in over 60 countries around the world and boasts more than 80 shoes, meeting the needs of off-trail, off-road, road and functional fitness athletes. It also has a global team of athletes who compete at the extremes of sport and stretch limits.
The team includes UK-born Joe Grant, who raced 350 miles across the Alaskan wilderness earlier this year in the world’s longest human-powered winter ultra-marathon, the Iditarod Trail Invitational, and Brendan Davies, who recently won the high-profile TNF 100km trail race in Australia, shattering a course record previously held by three-time Skyrunning champion Kilian Jornet.
This summer inov-8 will also launch its first running apparel range, tested by international mountain runners.
Wayne said: “I am proud of what we have achieved, it has been an amazing ride so far. We are not followers, we carve a new way, and that’s why our products are different.
“And we will not let up. We will continue to sweat innovation and provide outstanding products for committed athletes wanting to run fast on all terrains and smash hardcore workouts.”