Inov-8 Roclite 295

2012-03-04 09.16.17

I have been on an ultralight backpacking kick. For me, discovering a new hobby or activity means one thing – gear! I love any excuse to buy gear and backpacking/camping has some of the most exciting things. When it came to looking at shedding weight, I thought about what sort of shoes I really needed. I am really new to this but I soon realized, I am not really doing any serious trekking. I am not climbing Everest or doing extreme bouldering. So, did I really need full on leather boots? I did a lot of research online, in particular at BPL, and found lots of people mentioning Inov-8. Admittedly, I am a brand whore and I had never heard of this brand. I don’t really trust new shoe companies because I don’t feel like they’ve had time to prove themselves. I decided to take a shot anyway and ordered a pair of their Roclite 295’s. They are trail running shoes, which I later learned are a popular style of shoe worn by hikers, particularly those that don’t anticipate heavy terrain.

This past weekend, wore them on a camping trip. We really didn’t do any serious hiking, just up and down a steep hill to bring gear but I did encounter varied terrain. The Roclite 295’s performed great. The first thing you notice is how lightweight they are; just 295 grams (10.4 oz) for the pair. The only shoes I own that are lighter are the New Balance Minimus Trail and they are made for minimalist running. The way Inov-8 was able to shed this weight was with the upper. It’s very lightweight and has a mesh material. These are not waterproof shoes but because they have so much ventilation, they are quick drying. I would rather step into a stream with these shoes than standard shoes because how how fast the Roclites would dry. The mesh also keep your feet cool, which is a welcomed feature.

The 295’s don’t skimp on protection where it counts, though. The toebox is nice and thick and I never stubbed my toes against rocks or shrubs.  Lots of reviewers comment on the great grippy sole of the Roclite 295’s. Now, I can see why. The nubs are nice, thick rubber and they have a satisfying amount of give to them. They are firm enough to give feedback when you are trail running but soft enough to reduce impact to your lower body. I experienced no slippage of any sort.

Overall, I am very happy with the Roclite 295’s. I bought my pair from Zappos for just over $100 but I have seen deals at various online sites where you can get them for less. I think if the conditions where you are camping or hiking are right, it’s hard to beat these shoes. In fact, they are now my goto shoe for any sort of hiking or camping outtings.