Inov-8 makes lightweight running shoes for all environments with a variety of soles and cushioning. They’re a fairly new company in the outdoors market, having been around since 2012.
I recently bought their new roclite 280 shoes for hiking and a bit of trail running.
“The roclite™ 280 is a great value all-round off-road training shoe. This highly cushioned and lightweight model offers excellent levels of upper durability and protection. Featuring Inov-8’s on-the-shoe gaiter pockets, so the Inov-8 race ultra™ gaiter can be attached, and all debris kept at bay.”
The feel of these shoes as you put them on is great. They fit like a glove – they comfortably ‘hug’ your feet but leave plenty of space for your foot’s natural expansion during exercise. They also have a wide toe-box to let your toes move freely while you’re on the go. I usually suffer pretty severely from blisters, but the roclites haven’t given me any so far.
I was happy to finally go back to normal laces. Most trail running shoes on the market feature quicklaces nowadays, and I’m not a big fan of them, as they often become loose when wearing the shoes for a long time.
I’ve tested the shoes both on trail and grass. The grip is excellent for gravelly paths and some easy scrambling, but they’re no a replacement for stiffer approach shoes when it comes to harder scrambling. The protective rand on the front of the shoe protects your toes from stones and makes the shoes more hard-wearing. Even though the fabric is thin, it is pretty sturdy.
The ‘280’ in roclite 280 is their weight in grams, with these being one of their less minimalist and therefore less lightweight shoes. More weight should make them more robust, and also means they have more cushioning in the sole. This makes them perfect for trail running but also great for a long day of hiking on paths. They are more comfortable than most approach shoes or hiking boots, which means you’ll want to walk even further in them, and your feet won’t feel as hot and sweaty at the end of the day.
Another noticeable feature is their excellent breathability. I could truly feel the wind passing through them as I walked, which felt great. This also means they dry out really quickly if you step in a puddle or boggy ground.
It is a great shoe both for trail running and hiking. Lightweight, very breathable, and at an affordable price, it will easily become my favourite summer hiking and running shoe this year.