What makes one trail shoe more appealing than another? Well, that may depend on your running style, but for the most part, it all boils down to traction, comfort, durability, and protection. While few shoes are going to check all of the boxes, the Inov-8 Roclite 290 sure does its best to try. This is a shoe that is revered by both new and experienced runners for its ability to marry form and function with total ease. With revolutionary technology and the best grip in the business, could this be the right trail shoe for your next endeavor?
The Best Traction You Can Buy
Think that’s a profound statement? You won’t after you put on a pair of Inov-8 Roclite 290 trail shoes and put them to the test. The 6mm deep-set lugs and sticky rubber allow this shoe to hold on tight to any surface, including traditionally hazardous ones like grass or mud. These work particularly well on technical trails with diverse terrain. The revolutionary G-grip formula means the rubber itself is sticky yet very durable. The lugs we mentioned above? Those are thoughtfully spaced to grip well on hard and soft surfaces without wearing down too quickly. This shoe truly offers up one of the most aggressive traction patterns you can buy today.
A Sensitive Shoe with Just Enough Protection
Fans of sensitive trail shoes rejoice, the Roclite 290 has figured out how to include some protection without affecting the overall sensitivity of the shoe. For protection, there is a generous 11mm of midsole cushioning right in the heel. With the 6mm insole and 6mm lugs on the outsole, the overall stack height is a pretty paltry 23mm. This isn’t a super cushioned shoe that’s going to cradle your every movement. Instead, Inov-8 opted to give just enough protection, while upping the comprehensive sensitivity. This is a shoe where trail-feel really comes through, but don’t think that means the shoe itself is thin or unreliable. Anyone who enjoys a thin low shoe with some protection will think these are truly heaven sent.
An Excellent and Stable Landing Platform
Too often in trail shoes, stability is overlooked in favor of flashier components. Inov-8 wanted to offer superb stability and a landing/take-off platform that works as it should. Thanks to that low stack height mentioned above and a measly 4mm heel-toe-drop, you’re closer to the ground than you would be in most other trail shoes. It is thin underfoot, which allows the shoe to easily gel with whatever is on your path. With that said, you’ll never feel unstable, largely thanks to the innovative Adapterweb foot cradle system. A thin cord sandwiched in the upper works to effectively hold the foot right where it should be, even while running.
Average Width and Ample Comfort
Right out of the box, this is a shoe that is going to be comfortable with every step. You won’t need to take the time to break-in your shoes before a run, nor will you contend with the shoes stretching out too much after use. Right inside the upper, Inov-8 thoughtfully ditched seams and anything else that could result in painful rubbing.
They also thought to include an airy mesh that creates a breathable environment, keeping your foot from sweating or becoming too hot. These also drain effectively when exposed to water. The width is average and the length is as expected. Narrow footed-runners will still feel contentedly cradled while those with wide feet will enjoy some epic splay when they hit the ground.
Overall, the Inov-8 Roclite 290 shoes check a lot of boxes. They’re not perfect, but they’re certainly as close as many runners are going to get. With excellent traction, adequate stability, and unmatched comfort these are a well-designed shoe that stands up to mother nature.