I’ve been meaning to write a review of my Inov-8 Roclite trail shoes for a while but I’ve been wearing them. Which means they got muddy and it took me a while to clean them for the photos! I should have photographed them as soon as they arrived and then wore them. But I didn’t. So apologies for the slightly muddy shoes.
I bought these shoes in September. I needed a pair of trail shoes for running off road but ones that weren’t too technical as I’m not fell or mountain running and have to run at least a mile on tarmac before I get to my trails. So, as a fairly new runner, I took advice from people at my club, on Twitter and on the Running Bug and the shoes that kept being recommended were Inov-8 Roclite and Solomon Speedcross.
Both companies specialise in trail running and both the Roclite and Speedcross were suitable for the type of running I do. In the end I chose Inov-8. What won me over was the fact Inov-8 confirmed the shoes are vegan, no leather or animal glue is used in the manufacturing, and the company has strong manufacturing ethics which extends to both workers and the environment. They also use a different last for men and women’s shoes, rather than the same last for both, which means the women’s shoes are a better fit.
I ordered them online and I was very impressed with then as soon as they came out of the box. They are lightweight, comfortable and fit really well. They are narrower than my road shoes and feel more snug, but still roomy enough to wiggle my toes. Like most trail shoes the toe area is firmer than road shoes which gives more protection from tree roots, rocks, stones and anything you might encounter on the trails.
I went for the Gore Tex (GTX) version as I wanted to keep my feet as dry as possible. Looking online Gore Tex shoes have mixed reviews, however I can say I am very pleased with them. They keep my feet dry and warm and I’ve had no problem with them getting filled with water. As someone with Reynaud’s my hands and feet can get extremely cold and having the Gore Tex layer keeps my feet nice and toasty, preventing them from becoming numb after running through puddles.
Having trail shoes is definitely a must if you run off road. The soles are quite different from road shoes with a more pronounced tread which helps to grip the ground. Recently I went for a run in my road shoes thinking I would only be running on tarmac. However, I had to make an unexpected diversion through some extremely muddy paths. I was slipping and sliding, and at one point grabbed on to a barbed wire fence to prevent me landing face first in the mud, thankfully missing the barbs!
A few days later I was on an even muddier path, running up hill, but this time in my Inov-8 Roclites. Goodness, what a difference. No sliding, no slipping, and I kept running (albeit a bit slower than on the flat). The tread on these shoes really grip through the mud.
The only thing I am concerned about is how much road they will take. The advice I got was the Roclite have a better sole for tarmac than the other Inov-8 shoes. Most of my runs always include a bit of tarmac, even the Stowe 10k trail race had some road. Where I run some tarmac is unavoidable but hopefully these shoes can take it and will keep me going for my trail half marathon I’ve signed up for in September!
I got my shoes in the sale at Wiggle for £60, but they usually sell for around £100. My shoes are Inov-8 Roclite 275 GTX, these have now been updated with a new Gore Tex construction and the new design is 282 GTX, which have a RRP of £110.
Maybe if you are only just starting to run off road you will wonder if you really need a second pair of shoes just for off road. If, like me, you started off road running in a dry summer then you can get away with road shoes but as soon as it gets wet and muddy or you start running on more uneven paths or through woods you should really think about buying a pair of trail shoes. They will give you more grip and keep you from slipping over, protect your toes if you trip over tree roots and help you run just that little bit faster.
Inov-8 have a wide range of trail shoes suitable for different terrains. I really like my shoes and really like their ethics.