Inov- 8 Trailroc G 280 Trail Shoe | Review - Outdoors Magic

Outdoors Gear, Equipment, News, Reviews, Forums, Walking Routes and More at


Trail and Scramble Shoes

Inov- 8 Trailroc G 280 Trail Shoe | Review

A fast and super durable shoe made for rocky trails

The Trailroc collection by Lake District-based fell running brand Inov-8 has been around for a few years now. One of the earlier models in fact managed to make it into one of our previous editions of the Outdoor 100. Now for 2020, there’s a new model, one that boasts a breakthrough new material in its sole.

Who Is The Inov-8 Trailroc 280 For?

Speaking broadly, this is a shoe for trail, mountain and fell running. More specifically, it’s a shoe for runners venturing onto hard and rocky terrain. If you’re familiar with the trails around Wasdale in the Lake District, particularly the rocky, bouldery and compacted one that leads up Scafell Pike, we’d say this shoe would be right at home there.

As well as a new sole, the Trailroc also comes in some snazzy new colourways. Photo: Mike Brindley

Materials And Construction

We should of course highlight the new and crucial ingredient first. That’s graphene – the world’s toughest material. Funnily enough, this has its origins in the Lake District as well. It was created/discovered back in 2004 when a team of Uni of Manchester researchers managed to isolate the ‘stronger-than-steel’ carbon compound from some graphite mineral they’d dug up from a Cumbrian hillside. Since then, that compound has gone on to be used in all kinds of things, but Inov-8 were the first ones to stick it into shoe soles.

“The upper has a tough, durable and structured feel to it but without making the Trailroc feel heavy.”

We’ve already seen it used in Inov-8s Roclite 345 walking boots and the super impressive Inov-8 Terraultra G 260 and the brand seem likely to be sticking with it for good now.

The sole has a not-so-secret ingredient. Photo: Mike Brindley
A solid heel cup that keeps the foot in place when you're contouring. Photo: Mike Brindley
It has a good, reliable toe bumper. Photo: Mike Brindley

Anyway, as well as the super long lasting and surprisingly sticky graphene-based material in the sole you’ve also got a bunch of 4mm chevron shaped lugs to add a bit of bite as well.

As for the midsole, that features a full length lightweight shank to provide a little bit of rock for energy return and to block out any sharp and hard stuff underfoot. There’s also a shock absorbing (but not plush) mid sole that contributes to a fairly highly stack height of 20mm at the heel and an overall drop of 8mm.

The upper has a tough, durable and structured feel to it but without making the Trailroc feel heavy or too stiff and constricting. It’s mostly mesh and there’s a hell of a lot of PU lamination across it, along with a protective toe bumper.

Tester’s Verdict

Will Renwick editor of Outdoors Magic

“I’ve spent a lot of time running in the new Trailroc 280 over the last 6 months, mainly on the muddy and rocky slopes of the Preseli Hills in west Wales, and I’ve been impressed.

“To be honest, there’s not much difference between this model and the last one. Inov-8 would say it’s in their durability where they’d mostly differ but I’ve been using the previous model for two years now without any notable wear and tear so I wouldn’t say it was a change that was massively needed.

“What I think I like most about them is that tough sole unit. I find it lets me run over technical terrain with a lot of confidence but it also has just enough flex to let me bring my toes into the equation when running uphill.

“While I can definitely see the outsole as being most at home on dry and dusty trails, I haven’t noticed any issues with how it copes with any sloppy muddy stuff. Still, if you’re going to be spending a lot of time on that kind of terrain I’d say you’d be better off with the Terraultra G 260.

I’d say it can just about handle a bit of wet rock but you wouldn’t want to push things too far there.

“After what must be over six months of testing now, my pair are holding up very well.”

“There’s enough shock absorption for runs involving a lot of mileage, though there are certainly much more cushioned options out there (the Nike Pegasus Trail comes to mind, then there’s Hoka of course).

“Breathability is good. On a similar note, I’d say they take on water pretty easily, but they also let it out fast – as a good fell shoe should. So that’s not really an issue.

“Looking back to when I started out testing these, I’d say there was out-of-the-box comfort, but I do remember them starting to feel even more comfortable after a couple of big runs. I have them in my usual size (10) and found they fitted perfectly.

“After what must be over six months of testing now, my pair are holding up very well. So, all-in-all I’d say I’ve had a very positive experience with this shoe – apart from when I wore it while playing cricket and badly sprained my ankle. That doesn’t count though.

Inov-8 Trailroc G 280 Trail Shoe

Newsletter Terms & Conditions

Please enter your email so we can keep you updated with news, features and the latest offers. If you are not interested you can unsubscribe at any time. We will never sell your data and you'll only get messages from us and our partners whose products and services we think you'll enjoy.

Read our full Privacy Policy as well as Terms & Conditions.