Inov-8 Roclite 275 G-Grip Review | Trail Running Shoe Reviews from Northern Runner
How Does the New Roclite 275 Fit, Feel and Perform?
A lot of customers find the Inov-8 range confusing. Lots of shoes designed for different types of trail running that the Inov-8 marketing team describe with similar phrases making it hard to find the shoe that will work for you on the terrain you run on. The Roclite trail shoe range has always been the most versatile shoe. A shoe that would do a bit of tarmac, hard packed trails, cushioned enough for some muddy bits and you would get round the local fell race too. The last version of these shoes didn’t cut it with our customers. They were a bit inflexible and the shape didn’t fit many customers well. Which gave them a slappy type feel when running on firmer terrain. The added bit of stiffness actually made them a very good walking shoe better than the previous version.
Roclite 275 Drop & Width
The latest shoe in Inov-8’s Roclite range is the Roclite 275. This is a replacement for the Roclite 305. It is 8mm heel to forefoot, so a shoe designed for more of a heel striker. The last/width is the same medium last as was used for the Roclite 305, 290 and 315. This is wider than the precision fit and narrower than the standard fit. On Inov-8’s fit scale where 1 is the narrowest shoes they make and 5 the widest they have rated the Roclite 275 as 3. In reality the upper pattern allows the toes to spread more and so it feels a bit broader than the previous Roclites. The toe box is also a touch less pointy, which also allows the toes to spread better and gives a more comfortable fit without being too broad for those with narrow feet.
Roclite 275 Ride & Cushioning
The ride of the shoe is also a great improvement, with the midsole being a touch softer. This has made the shoe a bit more flexible, so the Roclite 275 isn’t ‘slappy’ like the Roclite 305 and feels much more comfortable and springier on the tarmac. That means Roclite 275 is versatile enough to do a bit of road running on your way to your trail. The flexibility also means that the shoe moulds to the ground better than the previous shoe, which gives the 275 a better ride on the mixed terrain trails too.
Roclite 275 Grip & Graphene!
The outsole is the same pattern with the same stud depth as the Roclite 305, 290 and 315. It’s a flat stud, which feels good on hard trail with enough surface area not to slide. Yet is has enough stud depth to bite into softer ground to provide an adequate grip.
The key change to the outsole is that it is now made of Inov-8’s sticky rubber mixed with Graphene. Graphene has been shown in laboratory tests to increase the stretch, flexibility and durability of the rubber. This makes the sticky rubber outsole last 50% longer than it used to, which will make it last as long as the harder ‘Endurance rubber’ that Inov-8 uses on its Ultra trail shoes. Previously the stickiest rubbers where reserved for the more race orientated soft ground shoes like the X-Talon 210. The outsole on these shoes even when used on soft ground wears down quickly, which is why it is only used on the racing orientated trail shoes. Graphene has changed all that and the outsole of the Roclite 275 is as sticky as the outsole of the X-Talon 210, yet there is no sign of wear even though I have used the shoes on a large variety of terrain including some road for a few hundred miles.
The Graphene/Sticky Rubber outsole gives you the security of grip. On wet rock or wood the shoes grip well. You can stride across wet stepping stones in streams knowing that the outsole will grip as well as anything. Wet stone steps or wet tarmac are equally no problem to this outsole. The sticky rubber is also softer than the more endurance rubbers used in the past which gives the shoe a softer feel on impact.
I think that the Inov-8 Roclite 275 is a massive improvement to the previous model. It looks like this Roclite will now do what the Roclite was intended to do which is be a very versatile trail shoe.
Other shoes to consider:
Scott Supertrac Ultra RC:
An equally grippy and durable outsole. Deep enough for mud but, OK on firmer trails and a bit of tarmac too.