Inov-8 Roclite 285

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.





5 thoughts on “Inov-8 Roclite 285

  1. Hey!
    Cool review.
    Don’t they run a little big? I0m the same size you are. Do you recommend to go half size smaller? I read other reviews that it might be good to do that.

    • Hi!

      Great to know this. The size will be good then. This review is really good.
      Even though the shoe is not a current model any more, it’s good to read about it. I found a really good prize on ebay so I decided to get it 🙂
      Now that you have already used and tried the Trailroc’s and other’s, which would be your favourite Inov-8 shoe?

      • Hi,

        I still haven’t tried the Trailroc’s. unfortunately I can’t spend that sort of money on a shoe that has problems with upper durability, I’ve heard rumours that this will be addressed with the next generation of shoes… Will wait on that one. For my money the Roclite 243 is the best Inov8 shoe, it’s pretty much a 285 but with slightly less heel rise – basically what I’ve been after for a while… Full review coming soon! Other than that I’m interested in trying the Mudclaw 265 (also 3mm drop)

  2. Hello Nick,

    Ah, ok. They recommend me the trailroc’s a lot, but as you say, they are expensive and haven’t had a chance to get them as well. So the upper of those is not so good? I’ve heard that the blue/lime model (the first one) had some problems with the durability, but that the red/black ones got improved and should be better.
    When do you say the new ones come out?
    I will try the Roclite 285 that I got and then probably try as well the Roclite 243 (the newer). Since I’m on my way to the more minimalistic shoes and transition, these I thing will we great to start.
    Where do you live and run? Any facebook page to follow you or anything?
    Looking forward for the Mudclaw review.
    I’m form México and since the Spartan Races started here, I’ve know some of the Elite racers sponsored by Inov-8 that have come here to run. 🙂


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