Pictured are my second pair of Inov-8 Roclite 285’s, (no longer in use). This was the only shoe that I’ve ever brought twice. Normally I’m on the hunt for something different each time I buy a new shoe, but these beauties really hit the spot.
They are a well constructed trail racing shoe with a slightly more aggressive sole than the average trail shoe, making them a very capable all mountain, all trail one shoe quiver. The rubber compound used on the sole is sticky and grips well on slimy wet rock and is even good on icey surfaces.
There’s a good mix of snugness and room for the toes, although nothing quite like newer minimal trail shoes on the market. You have to remember that this shoe has been around for a long time, and was one of Inov-8’s first “racing shoe” back in those dark days before the term “minimal runner” had been coined. So for a “pre-movement” shoe its pretty good. They are light weight, my size 10’s were about 300 grams, had a 6 mm drop and two “inov-8 arrows” worth of cushion.
I found that the EVA compresses down nicely after about 150 miles and at about this point the shoe takes on more of a minimalist feel, although I would still suggest that that we put them in the transition shoe or reduced shoe category due to the 6mm drop.
These shoes were my ultra shoes. I ran a whole load of training miles in them and did the 45 mile Beacons Ultra and the Welsh 1000 metre peaks race in my first pair. I ran my first race above 3000 metres – Course des Pérics in my second pair and did 4 months of training for a 50 mile race (which I didn’t enter finally). Each pair had over 500 miles on them before the uppers gave out. Shoe goo held them together a while longer but its never the same. The soles were still in good condition (not sticky though) when I eventually through them out.
If Inov-8 had decided to zero drop this model, I would without a doubt be running in them still. A zero differential Roc-lite weighing around 200 grams would be my perfect shoe. Later this year (2012) we will see the launch of the Trail-Roc range and and I am eagerly waiting to see what they come up with.