Dave Woodhead's photos from the Keswick Commonwealth Mountain Race show that nearly all the top runners are wearing these shoes, so I thought they were worth giving a bash.
The first thing you notice about the X-Talons is how super-light they are. So light in fact that you almost feel like you're running in bare feet. I wasn't too sure about the widely spaced laceholes and funny shoelaces, but am getting used to these now. My first race in the X-Talons was the Two Breweries, but I hadn't laced them up properly so this wasn't an ideal test.
Last weekend I used them for the Dunbartonshire Cross Country relays at Garscube. They were perfect for this course and helped me clock the fastest and 2nd fastest veteran male laps.
The following day I used them for the FRA Relays near Ennerdale, and once again they felt good, with excellent positive grip on steep grass.
The X-Talons are of course much lighter than the Inov-8 Mudclaw 330, and also have the advantage that with the studs more widely spaced they don't get so clogged with mud or pick up stray stones.
So all in all, a phenomenally lightweight hill shoe with excellent grip that makes use of Inov-8's special sticky rubber compound.