When I first started wearing trail running shoes as my everyday hiking and backpacking footwear, the Inov-8 Roclite 295 was my shoe of choice. I wore the 295 for just about everything, it was a very comfortable, long lasting shoe, with great grip and tread. I wasn’t a big fan of the latest update to the 295 so I switched to Salomon shoes for a while. I still exclusively wear Inov-8s as my everyday wear and gym shoe, and am really happy to have found a new option that works for hiking. The Trailroc line also comes with less cushioned and lower drop alternatives with the same great Tri-C™ compound outsole (235 and 245).
The upper on the 255 is a real mixed bag of things I really like and things I think Inov-8 could improve upon. The comfort of the upper is superb. I’ve had no blisters or hotspots with these shoes, and I’ve used them over many hot, dusty, and rocky miles. The anatomical last wraps and hugs my foot from heel to midfoot, while still giving my toes a lot of room to splay and stretch. The heel counter is very soft, but still holds the foot down nicely on the uphills. The material of the upper is great for breathability and is quick drying, but it’s a bit too porous for some of the trail I frequent and I’ve found myself having to empty things out far more often than usual. This could also be due to the fact that the tongue is not gusseted. I can’t fathom why shoe manufacturers still make trail shoes without a gusseted tongue. The rand that goes along the forefoot offers just enough protection to keep me from feeling the shock of any toe jams.
The midfoot on the 255 really shines. With 22mm in the heel and 16mm in the forefoot, the 255 has enough cushioning for 20+ miles days without being so soft that they lack stability. The META-SHANK™ III might be my favorite trail shoe rock-plate. I’ve bombed downhill over some really sharp rocks and the Meta Shank has kept my feet nice and protected each time. It’s able to do all this while still maintaining a great deal of ground feel and flexibility. The midsole on the 255 is the main reason I’ve kept this shoe on my feet this summer despite the fact that they inhale dust and debris.
The Trail roc Tri-C™ compound outsole has worked really well on all of the surfaces I’ve hiked on. Combining a sticky, hard, and endurance rubber, the outsole is engineered to provide the perfect surface in the places you need it. The lug pattern is made up by many shallow lugs that grip most surfaces really well and do a great job on hard packed and rocky trails. I haven’t hiked in any mud with these, so I cant say how well they do with shedding. I was happy to see the Trailroc line kept the Meta Flex from the Roclite outsole.