Inov-8 have only been around as a company since 2003, but they’ve developed an impressive reputation for excellence in that short space of time. It helps that rather than attempting to be jacks of all trades, they cater pretty much exclusively to the running and fitness market, so all their energy and expertise can be focussed on developing the best trainers and gear for runners.
Their Roclite series encompasses several models, from boots to these all-out trail-running shoes. The range has proved hugely popular since it was first introduced around a decade ago, and the new Roclite 305’s look set to continue this trend.
Sitting in the middle of the Roclite range, at 305g these are slightly beefier than their super-lightweight cousin the Roclite 290. But the extra muscle means more cushioning and more support.
“These are an excellent pair of all-round trail running shoes, which have more than earned their place in the Outdoor 100."
We found the ‘Powerflow’ midsole felt impressively shock absorbent when out running (Inov-8 claim it “delivers 10 per cent better shock absorption than standard models"). Underneath this, the have added their ‘Meta-Shank’ feature, a rock plate that’s designed to align with the metatarsals and absorb any impacts from rocks or rough sections of trail.
The X around the ankle of the shoe (which Inov-8 call the ‘X Lock’ system) is designed to offer additional support - something that was definitely welcome when tackling uneven surfaces. With a drop of 8mm from heel to toe, these will suit most running styles. We certainly found them comfortable immediately, a sensation helped by the slipper-like tongue which is part of the upper rather than being sewn in. This has the added advantage of stopping stones or twigs from working their way into the shoe in the gap between the tongue and the outer.
The tread on the Roclite 305’s is chunky - each of the multi-directional claw shaped cleats has a large surface area, meaning they grip well on surfaces where other shoes might slip. And though these aren’t really designed for tackling snow or ice, they’re more than enough to handle most trail conditions you’ll encounter in the UK - from dry, skiddy summer trails to wet and muddy winter ones.
All in all, these are an excellent pair of all-round trail running shoes, which have more than earned their place in the Outdoor 100.
Inov-8 Roclite 30