Inov-8 Trailroc 245 Review
Just over a year ago I discovered Inov-8 and it’s been love since first sight. As my collection has grown into what some might call an obsession, I have had the opportunity to try almost every off-road shoe that Inov-8 makes. When Inov-8 announced last month about their new shoe the TrailRoc, I knew this was one I needed to try. After two races and over fifty miles in the my TrailRoc 245’s over the two weeks, I have a good feel for them.
ABOUT THE SHOE
The TrailRoc’s come in three different versions the 235, 245, and 255. For those unfamiliar with Inov-8 they have simplified the shoe naming process. TrailRoc refers to the sole of the shoe and the number accompanying it refers to it’s weight in grams. Because Inov-8’s are more minimal shoes they also make the all important heel-toe differential easy to understand with their arrow system. Each Arrow (represented on the heal of each shoe) represents a 3 mm differential. So what does all that techie talk really mean, simply my new TrailRoc 245’s are the new TrailRoc sole, weigh 245 grams (8.6oz), and have a one arrow (3 mm differential).
These shoes were designed with Inov-8’s anatomic fit which allows for more room in the toe box for your feet to spread out. Those with wider feet, like me, will like the extra room as compared to other models. The outer mesh on the shoe allows for water to drain well in muddy and wet conditions.
IN THE FIELD
After a few weeks of testing of these shoes in varying conditions I can safely say I have put them to the test. I have raced twice in them, trained on and off trail, as well on dirt and paved road conditions.
My initial feeling when I put on these shoes for the first run was the amount of room in the toe box as someone with a wider foot it was a welcome feeling to give me feet some room. As I headed out of my house and down the dirt road I could feel the road under me but the cushioning in the sole helped prevent foot damage on sharp rocks. Initial signs were good, but it wasn’t until the Spartan Race in Amesbury that I would really put them to the test.
After racing my first heat in Amesbury I set out on the Spartan Chicked heat to run again on Saturday and put these TrailRoc 245’s to the real test, an obstacle course race. The trails were muddy and in sections pretty slick. I was weary that the tread would not hold up like my X-Talon 190’s. As I progressed through the course the TrailRoc 245 did not disappoint. I had no problems with even the slickest muddy section, hopped from stump to stump, was able to toe into the traverse wall, and climb the rope with ease. The shoes drained well (a key in OCR) and I was pleased with the performance.
Back at home after the race I transitioned into trail running with a weight vest, even with the added weight the shoe still seemed to perform well. It has become my go to shoe for training. A key feature of this shoe that has saved me several times are the rounded lugs on the edges of the sole. This helps when your foot hits a rock or root funny and helps the foot naturally move instead of rolling an ankle.
Over the past weekend I put the TrailRoc 245’s to an even tougher challenge, the Moosalamoo 14 Miler trail race. This was a technical and brutal trail race with lots of elevation gain and downhill running, as well as thick shoe sucking mud. I was impressed with the uphill performance but even more with the downhill as I leaped and jumped over rocks, roots, and trees I was still able to maintain my balance. The race ended up being 15 miles and my TrailRoc’s propelled me to a win in my age group and top placings overall for women. This shoe can definitely go the distance.
After weeks of using and testing these shoes, I have come to the decision that they are great for longer Obstacle Course Races (Anything over 8 miles) and trail racing distances. It is an extremely versatile shoe that transitions from dirt roads, to the toughest of trails with ease. For the shorter races I am still sticking to the X-Talon 190’s. However, when I look at all the shoes in a row in my house the TrailRoc’s are the first I grab for a workout whether it be a trail run, boot camp, or outdoor circuit workout these are the shoes for me.
The casual OCR racer will find this the perfect shoe for racing and training and the three versions of the TrailRoc will suit a variety of runners needs. It transitions well and will be able to serve several purposes. For the more competitive racer I still recommend the more aggressive X-Talon 190. I recommend ordering a half size larger than your street shoe size on both shoes.