Lightweight, waterproof and durable, the Roclite 315 GTX trail runners are designed to absorb the worst of the trail while providing excellent traction and comfort. This is my review:
The Roclites are built to be durable, yet lightweight. Part of the way Inov has achieved this is through layering of materials. The X-PROTEC upper is a combination of a soft, breathable fabric, rugged outer coating, with a layer of GORE-TEX Invisible fit technology laminated inside. The heel of the shoe houses a stiff heel cage to protect from impact, with a fairly thick midsole to better absorb shock. The shoes feature grippy, deep lugs, built in gaiter connections, and a padded, reinforced tongue to block out debris. They retail for $145 and weigh 10.7 ounces, on average.
What I liked
Starting with what I consider the most important aspect of any shoe, comfort, the Roclites do not disappoint. Within the first hour of wearing them around town to break them in. I instantly felt at home inside them. They are soft and devoid of any notable seams or creases on the inside. They bend and flex in all the right areas while still providing nice sole support and a bit of stiffness under the arch. The flat laces and careful fabric cuts create no pressure points on the top of the foot (a particular pet peeve of mine) and the toe box provides just enough room for the toes to wiggle, but not so much that the ball of the foot moves around. The heal is particularly impressive as it locks in place, without creating friction or tension. It cradles the back of the foot, providing a subtle amount of wiggle. They broke in fast, with them being trail worth in just a couple days of wearing them around.
Off-road performance is also quite good with the shoes providing excellent grip and mobility. The lugs are deep and rather soft, providing excellent grip in wet, muddy, or slippery conditions. The toe of the foot in particular sticks exceptionally well, making quick pivots and turning really consistent and predictable. Quick stops, scurrying up rocks, and over roots all feel great. The light weight and stability of the shoe make even uneven terrain feel safe and enjoyable.
Foot protection is also very good. The arch is stiff enough that landing directly on a pointy rock or hard root won’t easily bruise the curve of the foot, and the toe and heel are both reinforced with lightweight bumpers, making light impacts with rocks and roots inconsequential. The laminated outer layers of the shoe do a good job of resisting punctures from sharp sticks or sharp, angular rock ledges too.
Breathability is about what you would expect from a GORE-TEX lined shoe. They shoes are entirely waterproof, and I am yet to have that fail me, but that also reduces how much air can enter or leave the shoe itself. Most of the hot, moist air will escape from around the tongue and opening of the shoe, but some heat and moisture will diffuse out of the layers as well. It can build up a little warmth, making it a great cool or wet weather running shoe, but running in the scorching heat will be a little less enjoyable. Thankfully, I never had any concerning amount of heat or sweat build up, and they dry off quickly if they get wet on the inside from water splashing in. Basically, they’re a little warm at times, but overall very serviceable in this regard.
Durability has so far been very good. I’m not seeing any fraying, pulling apart at the seams, or any signs that the tread or sole is wearing down faster than it should. All the major seams are reinforced, and the layered/ laminated design means each layer builds upon the previous, merging the best properties of each. Overall impressions of the shoe are exceptionally high.
What I didn’t like
My only real concern with the shoe is that they do run narrow, so those with wider feet, especially at the toe, may find some fit issues. For me, they fit great, perfectly matching my relatively slim feet (although they widen considerably at the toe). Given the fabric doesn’t offer much stretch at the toe of the shoe, a less than stellar fit could be problematic for some.
I would like to see a little more color variety. The red on black looks great, but is quite bold and really doesn’t blend in for those who like to be a little more incognito.
The Inov Roclite 315 GTX Trail Runners are great shoes. They’re a delight to move in with their surprisingly grippy lugs, nimble midsole and lightweight build. Hopping over obstacles like rocks and roots is near effortless, and I rarely have any issues with stability or traction when wearing them. They move great, feel great, and have held up really well. I’ve even found myself wearing them around town on wet, rainy days just to keep my feet warm, dry and comfortable. I’ve found them to be rather nice for light hiking, and even biking with flat petals too. Basically, they’re great shoes that are easy to recommend to anyone who wants some fast, agile, lightweight trail runners.
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