Inov8 - Roclite 315 GTX

The Inov8 Roclite 315, ideal for walking up Volcanoes as well as running. Mount Taranaki.  (© Joe Trottet)
Rating: **** (4 stars)

Recommended Retail Price: £145 from Inov8 or from UoG.

Overview


The Inov8 Roclite 315 is back and with a new extra durable upper. This shoe sits in the upper end of the Inov8 range with regards to weight but it is some way from being a pair of clogs. An ideal option for anyone looking at a trail shoe with a bit more durability whilst keeping elements of the lightweight members of the Inov8 family. With respect to the extensive range of shoes offered by Inov8, the Roclite series sits somewhere in between the Mudclaws/X talons (lightweight offroad shoes) and the Trail Talons (trail shoes) and offer a good level of offroad grip with the sticky rubber behaving well on rock. The Roclite series are available in 290, 305, 315 and 320 weights, the option of which will depend on personal requirements for trade-off between weight and durability.

The Roclite 315 tested in this review was the Goretex version but it is equally available at the same weight in a non-Goretex option. The choice of Goretex is usually a personal one but in this case we opted for as we felt these shoes would perform well as an approach shoe where this would come in handy.

From Inov8:

The ROCLITE 315 GTX® is the strongest, toughest, meanest, most durable lightweight trail running shoe we’ve ever made. With added protection from X-PROTEC fabric and GORE-TEX® invisible fit. This multi-terrain trail running shoe is ready for your next adventure and will stand up to absolutely any challenge ahead.

Fit Scale - 3 (medium width fit)
Drop - 8mm
Footbed - 6mm POWER FOOTBED
Lug Depth - 6mm
Midsole - POWERFLOW
Midsole Stack - 16mm / 8mm
Shank - META-PLATE
Sole Compound - TRI-C STICKY
Product Weight - 315g / 10.67oz

Fit


The shoe was a generally good fit for this reviewer's generally flat and wide(ish) feet. The forefoot remained spacious enough even at the end of longer races taking into account foot swelling. The reviewer found there to be some heel lift due to a generally medium heel fit. As with shoes generally, we would highly recommend trying on a pair before buying.

Great grip on rock (© Joe Trottet)

Features

The shoes boast a few features which we were well impressed with including:

- TRI-C STICKY rubber soles which we found to provide very good grip on rock, even when damp
- X Protec upper with the option of gaiters - The uppers are still looking good after 4 months of use which included some scree running .
- Powerflow midsole which claims to offer 10% better shock absorption compared to standard mid-soles - We were unable to really validate this claim without some degree of scientific testing so we'll take their word on it.
- Meta-Shank - This is probably the simplest of the shanks offered by Inov8 on shoes but it is very well suited to this model and provided very good protection.

The only feature we felt the shoes were lacking was a heel loop to clip the shoes onto a harness if being used as an approach shoe. Fair enough as Inov8 don't sell these shoes for that purpose but as some of their other shoe models have this it would have been nice to have.

Performance

We found the shoes to perform well in their function as a heavier weight running/training shoe. Although they are 'heavy', 315g for a pair of shoes is still pretty light on the grand scheme of things. The shank and mid-sole provide a decent level of stiffness so if you're after a flexible shoe, stay away. The flip-side, of course, is that on rocky and uneven trails, the stiffness provides a good degree of protection.

The grip on rock is good and it's nice being able to really trust the shoes. There's usually a penalty on rock with lugged shoes but this wasn't too noticeable and was very appreciated on wet and muddy terrain where the lugs do a good job. The lugs are 6mm deep and seemingly have a good durability based on the ~200km covered so far with them on a variety of terrains.

The outer fabric is as tough as Inov8 claim and we've been really impressed with how it's held up. The rubber rands definitely help to preserve the shoe 'hole free' which is a great benefit if you've opted for a Goretex model (but not if you soak the shoes through...).

Summary


Overall we found this to be a good tough all-around trail shoe which is ideal as a training shoe. It also makes an excellent approach shoe and even mountain biking shoe. The sleek look and design of the shoe means it isn't out of place walking around cities on your way to said activities which is definitely a plus.

Pros:
Tough, Impervious, Good grip on rock, Sleek design.

Cons: Price, Sweaty, Heel lift, Lack of heel clip.



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