Inov-8 Trail Roc 255
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$120, 10.1 ounces, www.inov-8.com
Inov-8’s latest trail-running shoe comes in three levels of cushioning and heel-to-toe drops. The 255 has a six-millimeter drop, the 245 has a three-millimeter drop and the 235 has a zero drop.
Stiff TPU overlays extend to the laces and wrap the heel to help secure the foot. And the flat, slightly stretchy laces were easy to evenly cinch and stayed tied.
Knobby lugs added cushion and a slightly built-up medial wedge provided arch support. While the thick mesh upper felt hot during summer runs, testers found that it breathed and drained well in cool temps.
Traction: The shoe is designed for loose, rugged trails. Grippy traction is achieved with three different lug densities on the outsole—the rubber is thicker and more aggressive on the outside of the shoe and softer near the arch. Testers found the knobby, half-inch-spaced, multi-sized lugs reliable on most surfaces.
Best For: The Trailroc excels on rocky, loose trails, while still handling smooth dirt and even asphalt. Thanks to the multi-density outsole, the tread also held up well over rugged, mountain singletrack.
Fit: Several testers said the shoe felt somewhat “boxy” and wide through the mid-foot. It best fits a medium- to high-volume foot.
The Downsides: Testers complained of bunching in the upper and a “loose-fitting feel around the arch.” A suede-like rand does little to protect toes and adds bulk. The un-gusseted tongue allowed in debris.
Tester-Monial: “The combination of traction, responsiveness, comfort, stability and ground feel—all in a low-profile shoe—is amazing.”
—Louis Brenner, Pocatello, ID