Two weeks prior to Leadville 100, in a frantic attempt to find the perfect ultra running shoe I bought Inov8s. What could have a been a complete catastrophe ended up being one of the best choices I made in picking a shoe. With it’s super gnarly cleat-like tread, low heel to toe drop, light weight, and simple neutral design these bad boys quickly claimed a Top 5 spot on my list of Best Trail Running Shoes.
Inov8 has long been at the forefront of more minimalist trail shoes, with their amazing forefoot freedom and natural stride. Form correcting devices, like mega bio shock abzorbing medial posting or <insert ridiculous sounding gimmick> are not present in these thoroughbred trail shoes. Simplicity at its core foundation, this company aims to promote a natural running stride. I have been training solely in New Balance MT101s and found it so hard to start training in bulkier shoes, it felt unnatural and forced. I knew I would have a long way to go and practically relearn how to run if I used any thing else but low drop shoes.
The Roclite 295s are a good balance between EVA foam and low to the ground feel for me and don’t try to “fix” my form. A couple features are the Fascia band that may or may not aid in propulsion efficiency(only reason I say this is because everyone’s stride is different, what may work for me might not for somebody else) and Meta-Flex which is a groove across the metatarsals to increase flexibility of the sole making it easier to forefoot strike. An added bonus is the overall light weight feel, its name literally stands for the actual shoe weight: 295 grams(~10.4 oz). This is mainly due to the simple design and lack of guidance/form aids. I also particularly liked the fit, I consider myself having an average man’s foot: regular heel, little wider forefoot, and medium middle section. The lacing system is what creates a comfortable yet snug and secure fit, each lace hole is extended to create “arms” that tighten around the foot but leaving plenty of room in the toe box. Lastly, I could not finish this review without mentioning the aggressive tread pattern of the Roclite series. The rubber nubs protruding from the sole create a cleat-like pattern capable of gripping trails in the muddiest conditions(this would have been super useful at Highland Sky 40). Able to take a beating while protecting the wearer without sacrificing its best features, the Roclite 295’s are the perfect blend for any distance trail runs or races.
Overall I am super satisfied with this shoe, I ran 40 miles in them with no problems, no foot fatigue, no bruising and no signs of the shoe breaking down prematurely. This is a great buy if you’re looking for something neutral, natural, low drop and light weight. Highly recommended if racing in nasty conditions is your thing.
Here are the basics of this particular shoe one last time:
- Very aggressive tread
- Snug mid-foot fit, roomy toe box
- Neutral and low to ground
- Flexible forefoot(meta-flex)
- Fascia bands(propulsion efficiency)