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Inov-8 Roclite 295

rated 5 of 5 stars
photo: Inov-8 Roclite 295 trail running shoe

An excellent performer in almost any trail conditions.


  • Lightweight
  • Very breathable (they're not waterproof)
  • Grip like glue to the terrain
  • Rugged

So I've had these runners for over a year. They are excellent. They are still performing and have yet to show any real sign of wear and tear — even on the soles. I've given them a fair bashing and they are still holding up.

When I first got them I took them out of the box and straight on to the trail. No break-in was required. 

I generally run the Waitakere Ranges in these — winter and summer. In winter the tracks in the ranges are rain sodden mud baths. There is no such thing as a 'waterproof' trail shoe in these conditions. The mud puddles can come to mid calf on these tracks.  So there is little point in Goretex (or the like) trail runners. You will get wet no matter what.

Accordingly, the open weave uppers of the 295s are the great strength. They shed the water within a few meters of exiting a puddle (through the pump action of your feet). Warmth is maintained in winter by the wearing of merino running socks which quickly warm up even when wet.

Of course is summer these shoes are awesome. You can actually feel a breeze through them when you run.  There are no overheated feet in these shoes.

The soles of these shoes are their strength. The roclite sole is the best I've encountered. They are super grippy and sure footed.  Our trails are notoriously slippery (full of red clay). These boots grip the wet clay like glue.  I've yet to come a cropper (kiwi for 'slip over'). Tree roots are equally little problem for these soles — the proviso being that you hit them with the front of your sole and not the mid part (there's no grip there and the soles do slide at that point).

You get excellent proprioception with these shoes. The low heel to forefoot drop means your feet are close to the ground.  You can feel the ground through them. That said, the soles are not so light as to make the run uncomfortable later in your run (I'll easily do a couple of hours at a time each run). 

Basically, a great trail runner shoe!

This is my third pair of inov-8 trail runners, and my absolute favorite of the bunch (I also own a pair of Mudroc 280s and a pair of Roclite 318 GTXs). The shoes are lightweight, breathable, and roomy in the toe box. They run true to size.

I run a lot of wooded, rocky, and root-covered single-track in northern Kentucky, and the Roclite 295s are definitely my go-to shoe out of the five trail shoe models I run in. They provide an excellent feel for the trail, yet are more supportive than the Mudroc 280, making them capable of handling longer distances. I don't think I'd run a 50-miler in them, but I'd feel comfortable in using them for marathon distance and below on the trails.

The sticky sole compound helps prevent slips and spills on wet rocks and roots, and the breathable nylon uppers shed water quickly after being submerged in stream crossings. The cleat pattern on the soles also sheds mud well, and provides excellent traction in sloppy stuff.

The Roclite 318 GTX will still be my shoe of choice for winter-time running in sloppy conditions, but the new Roclite 295 is great for everything else.

Use: Marathon and shorter trail running
Break-in Period: None
Price Paid: 0.00 (Won a Contest)

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Price Historic Range: $36.00-$120.00
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