Shoes are one of the things I try to pay the most attention to when looking at trail running gear. With good shoes, you have fun and don’t think about them too much. My experiences with less than ideal shoes (for me) have led to slipping more than I’d like and dealing with blisters on an almost predictable basis.
Inov-8 Roclites have been my go-to shoes for years. I’ve had good experiences with previous models that have accompanied me on all sorts of missions, from muddy trails in the Waitakeres to week-long endurance races (where I still didn’t mind putting my shoes on each morning!). This is my first experience with the inov-8 305’s, however, and I was keen to give them a test run.
When looking for new shoes I prefer going to a physical store and having a look in person. This gives you the opportunity to try them on, run around inside, and ask any questions you may have. Different makes and models have different sizing, shape, width, and even placement of stitching that could affect your ability to wear the shoe, so it’s worth trying several different ones to see how they work for your foot. Trying the shoes on in the afternoon and with socks you’ll wear out on the trails helps as well.
As I have found with previous models of the Roclites, these fit well out of the box for me. My initial thoughts were that the 305’s were a little heavier than previous models I’ve owned, but they are still comfortable and I didn’t notice the weight after a few minutes. The tongue of the shoe is different this time, being stitched in place right to the top of the lacing. It turns out this is pretty effective at keeping out sand, dirt, and small bits of trail from the front of your shoe, which I think is awesome. It has led me to lace the shoe a little loose a couple of times, so I’ll have to have a play with the lacing system and see what works best for me. Speaking of lacing systems, laces can be adjusted all different ways help put more or less pressure on certain parts of the shoe, they don’t have to stay like they were in the store.
The uppers seem durable, and I think they are heat-sealed, rather than stitched together. I was particularly interested to see this when looking at the different models a short while ago, as I’ve had a tendency to wear holes in a particular spot on the front of trail shoes, on either side of my foot. The soles also look durable with 6mm lugs that work well on all but the muddiest of trails. One thing I’ve always appreciated of the Roclite models is their versatility on a wide variety of trails, as they are not too aggressive, but they have enough tread to feel secure running off road. I feel that the sole tends to be a little ‘sticky’, giving good grip on a majority of surfaces; this has increased my confidence a lot on uneven ground and downhill trails. Another plus is that they’re really easy to clean…
I can definitely recommend the Inov-8 Roclite 305’s and look forward to wearing them out on more trail runs. There are a vast range of trail shoes to choose from and finding the make and model that fits best definitely leads to a better trail running experience.
Race Motivator for the Bivouac Outdoor Wild Auckland Trail Series