Our new partners, inov-8, have they kindly supplied us with some new shoes to test! Having looked through their new range I was drawn to and intrigued by the new Roclite range. Personally its not a shoe I would normally consider in their range as the RaceUltra, X-Talon and MudClaw have always been my go-to shoes. Having had some issues with the achilles I wanted to try a shoe from inov-8 with a little more drop and cushioning. So my choice was the Roclite 305 with 8mm of drop, 6mm foot bed and 6mm lug depth, for 80% of the trails we have in the UK this shoe looked to be the business!
Out of the box you notice just how much love inov-8 have put into this shoe. Firstly, it looks great - let's face it, how a shoe looks is part of why you purchase it. The shoe is also pretty lightweight for size, weighing in at 305 grams, hence the name.
This year inov-8 have added a slightly different lacing system, built around the anatomy of the foot called the Adapterweb. It adapts to the natural movement and swelling of the foot in motion, coupled with the X-Lock system that holds the heel down and offers excellent support. It takes a few goes to get the lacing just right for your foot but once it's set it's superb.
On the Trails
I have always been a massive fan of the fit and feel that inov-8 gives me and honestly I don’t think there is another brand out there that I could just pull on fresh from the box and run a marathon in. The Roclite 305 is even better, possibly the most comfortable shoe I have ever put on from inov-8. One of the standout features is that the tongue is part of the shoe (gusseted is the term I believe they use) making the upper one piece and it feels like your most comfortable worn in slippers. Out on the trail the Roclite gives a superb cushioned ride, with plenty of support in the ankle. For me a lot of my running is done on rocky costal paths and having confidence in a shoe is key - the risk of turning an ankle is pretty high, but I have been lucky so far in these shoes. With the addition of the the second generation Meta-Shank rock plate protecting your underfoot from rocks this shoe really is hard to beat. I think inov-8 were missing a really good cushioned shoe for ultra distance and harder packed terrain and the Roclite 305 is the one. The only extra I might like is a touch more toe protection for those alpine, mountainous rocky runs where you can stub your toe.
In conclusion, I would say this shoe suits those running in dryer, rocky, harder packed trails, forest fire roads and mountains! Pretty much everything but muddy grassy trails.
Fit – I am a size 10 and I have a size 10, I don’t need to upsize in inov-8 as I feel the toe box offers enough room in their shoes, however I would say the Roclite 305 does have a slightly tighter toe box than the TrailTalon (previously RaceUltra) but its not precision fit.
If you have any questions please drop us a mail or give the guys at inov-8 a shout.