Inov-8 Trailroc 245
This trailrunner may be a lightweight, but it's a heavy hitter when it comes to function. Light weight, good grip, and moderate longevity makes for an excellent three-season shoe on the trails. Low footdrop and minimal padding provides just enough foot protection from below while keeping your center of gravity low.
- Toe protection
- Mesh allows dirt in
I have owned several other Inov-8 shoes, and this is by far the best model I've purchased to date.
Living in East Tennessee, most of my hiking is on trails in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. My hiking there ranges from three day backpacks to long day hikes. Daily mileage ranges from 12 to 30 miles. Trails there are not overly rugged but are quite varied. Loose soil, duff, rocks, roots, mud and stream crossings are common.
The Trailroc 245 is a loose fitting shoe, and it is designed that way. This is also one REALLY comfortable shoe. This is one of Inov8's minimalist designs. Expect your foot to slide a bit in these shoes, but be assured that good gripping tread will always be under your foot whether your foot has slid forward or toward the heel. The tread grips well on most surfaces encountered in a three season environment. Hopping on logs, fording rock-lined streams and stepping on roots present no problems.
Being a minimalist shoe, it does NOT have a lot of padding; however it does have "just enough". If your main terrain is concrete, asphalt, or other compacted surfaces, this is not the shoe for you. Most other terrain is soft enough not to require as much padding.
The fabric has enough stretch to allow your feet to swell over the course of a long hike without causing discomfort due to tightness. It's also flexible enough to allow thick or thin socks as desired merely by adjusting the laces.
Be aware that toe protection is minimal. You probably won't get your foot stabbed by a sharp stick, but you sure will feel a rock if you hit it with your toe. This shoe is also good for dayhiking or lightweight backpacking. I did try wearing the shoes with a 25 lb pack, and I could have used more padding for that. Less than 25 lb, and the padding was fine.
As far as support goes, there really is none. Its low cut design is well below the ankle. Support is provided by offering a low center of gravity to keep your feet well balanced on the ground. As with most minimalist shoes, don't expect much in the way of arch support. (The theory is that by using minimalist shoes, your feet will become stronger and not require as much internal bracing.)
This shoe works quite well in about any condition above freezing. It's not waterproof, but it drains exceptionally well resulting in rapid drying. The same mesh that allows it to drain, also allows it to breathe well. Above freezing or into the 90's, one can expect to remain comfortable. These shoes also wet out in the shallowest of puddles. The open mesh doesn't provide any resistance at all to water penetration. The mesh is also open enough to allow fine dirt to enter the shoe through the fabric. If it is wet and cold, this shoe is not a great option without some from of added warmth from socks.
Being a lightweight designed shoe, it's not the most durable shoe. I put about 800 miles on mine last year. At the end of the 800 miles, the tread was still fine, but the toe box had some punctures and the inside was well worn. They weren't pretty, but I would not have hesitated taking them on another 20 mile hike even in their worn condition.
Would I buy another pair? I already did! Pair number two has about three hundred miles on them, and I fully expect to get another five hundred like the last pair. Hopefully Inov-8 will continue making this model as I really like them.
I really cannot think of what I would change on this model as any changes would most likely reduce another of the benefits. More toe protection would make for a heavier shoe with a tighter fit. More water resistance would make for slower drying and less breathability. Inov-8 does offer the 235 with less padding and the 255 with more padding and toe protection, but i believe the 245 is the sweet spot.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $109
Lugged slipper that will take you everywhere you need to go.
- Slipper-like comfort
- (Slightly) wide fit
A fantastic trail shoe that will server about 90% of all my trail running needs. For smooth hard dirt, a pair of road racing flats will likely feel a little faster and have more pop, and for Sludgy winter runs a shoe with more lug and a thicker upper will be a little more protective, but this is a slipper of a shoe.
The only reason it doesn't get 5 stars is that, for me, I like a little snugger fit. It should be noted though, that I am very picky about fit.
The mesh upper is true Inov-8 quality with nice overlays to secure the barefoot-ready upper to your foot. I am a big fan of the f-lite 195, so this fit a tad looser. But it still is very secure and I have no problem bombing super technical off-trail route with this shoe. Nice low heel collar.
The midsole is plain and consistent, no complaints and no surprises. That's a good thing, in case you were wondering.
The outsole rocks, it hooks up like crazy. The lugs are awesome, especially when you combine them with the flexibility of this shoe. I don't know that the three kinds of rubber compounts make much difference, but traction is unmatched unless you venture into the fell running scene.
Overall, a fantastic trail offering from Inov-8, they really nailed it with this series!
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $100
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