Inov-8 Terroc 330
Use: hikes of various kinds, running
Break-in Period: a week
Weight: roughly 1.5 lbs/pair
Price Paid: $80
I have used these shoes for short hikes of 1-35 miles, and in all kinds of terrain and weather conditions. While far from being an avid trail runner, I've also taken them for a spin up and down some mountain trails to see how they work as running shoes. The Terroc 330 is far-and-away the best shoe (excluding boots) that I have ever owned, and while not perfect for a number of reasons, they are as close as I could reasonably expect.
I chose to buy these shoes as an experiment. I have had a couple of severe knee injuries, and after much trial, decided that I needed to try something both less supportive (of body and psyche) and less demanding (of body). Bingo. My feet and ankles have gained a good deal of flexibility and strength while using these shoes.
Details: the sole is unusual in that the toe is almost without any padding at all, and it takes some adaptation to get used to it. Conversely, I've never owned shoes that felt like they allowed my toes to contribute to traction(!). That said, I would not use these on broken, large rock trails (e.g., High Sierras) with a heavy pack. To be fair, these are advertised as running, and not trekking shoes.
Meanwhile, the traction is nothing short of amazing on certain kinds of terrain-namely rock, mud, dirt, loose gravel, and notably on well-frozen ice. It's like having tentacles on my feet! On very wet rock, such as streams and their shores, the traction is less effective.
Arch support is usually an issue for me. These are passable though not ideal. Running on very hard flat surfaces (concrete) is a little straining, but on bedrock I've noticed very little wear or pain in my feet.
The uppers are about as supportive as a sock and the lacing system servers more to fit the shoe to the foot than to support it. Some people may not like this, but I found that the design was pretty effective in that steep descents were not typified by the disconcerting wobble I get from stiffer make/models. These are not to be worn in the wet and cold, of course.
At last, these things are surprisingly durable. I've used them for over 18 months and only now is the sole starting to peel apart. The heels have lost some stiffness, but generally, my Terroc 330's feel like they did when I bought them. The Toyotas of ultralight trail shoes.
Break-in Period: 0-1 day
Weight: 1.5 lb./pair
Price Paid: $80
I love these shoes! They are very light and airey. They feel less cushioned than most trail runners, but I prefer this. This makes them very stable, and I have yet to roll my ankle with them. The uppers are very simple, leaving out all the flashy decorations that most shoe companies put on their shoes. The lacing is effective and lets you fine tune the fit. They are very breathable; I can feel the wind blowing through them. I would actually prefer a little less breathability. The grip is fine. I tried them on dry, wet, and sandy rock, and they have better grip than my hiking boots.
My only complaint is with the mesh uppers. I prefer a thin, solid nylon upper (but not Gore-Tex which is too hot). Here in the southern California mountains and deserts, many of our trails have fine, dusty dirt. With mesh uppers, this dirt goes right through to my socks, then to my feet and toes. After a few hours, I have all this grit on my feet, and my socks are loaded with dirt.
Weight: 29.3 ounces
Price Paid: $69
Inov8 Terroc 330 Review
As soon as I put on the Terroc 330's, purchased online at REI, I knew I'd end up returning them. As some reviewers have mentioned happening to them as well, the side of the shoe, on my right foot only, rubbed against the bottom of my ankle bone, as if the shoe was cut too high. But because of one review where someone had the same problem and said that it went away on trail, I decided to keep the shoes and wear them out.
On my first hike of six steep miles on trail I experienced initial irritation leading to debilitating stinging pains as the shoe struck my ankle bone at each painful step. I tried to massage the top of the shoe in an attempt to soften or bend the side down, to no effect. The next day my ankle bone is sensitive even in my old shoes, which never caused me any problems, and I'll have to switch to sandals until it heals.
Even if you try these on in the store and don't feel any irritation I noticed the soles of the shoes, while sticky and grippy, also collect mud and small rocks. Otherwise I thought they were fine, lightweight shoes, but only for my left foot.
Use: trail running
Break-in Period: none
Price Paid: $85.99
Perfect trail runner. I've never felt this comfortable running trails. You feel as if your foot is a part of what you're running on.
Where to Buy
The Inov-8 Men's Terroc 330 is not available from the stores we monitor.
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