Summary

We spent 5.7 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

6 reasons to buy

  • Mesh and TPU make up the main upper unit and they bring comfortable and breathable coverage.
  • The GORE-TEX® membrane adds waterproof support for a better and more effective performance under wet conditions.
  • Many testers appreciated the inclusion of pull-loops in the tongue and heel sections, which enabled them to put on and take off the shoe with ease.
  • A 6mm contoured insole adds more cushioning and support to the foot.
  • The mid-sole unit is lightweight, and it’s capable of cushioning the foot responsibly while also handling impact forces.
  • The outsole unit has been tuned to function well on the trails, giving traction over many types of terrain.

2 reasons not to buy

  • Many of the complaints were about the narrow fit, especially in the mid-foot section.
  • A few testers noted that the upper section near the forefoot split open and expose the interior.

Bottom line

Protection from the elements, flexibility and control over the terrain; that’s the purpose of the Inov-8 Rocklite 286 GTX. This shoe has been designed to deliver a trail-optimized performance that’s great for those who want to have adventures and treks through the off-road paths. It’s reliable and efficient.

Facts

Update:
Terrain: Trail
Arch support: Neutral
Weight: Men: 10.1oz | Women: 10.1oz
Heel to toe drop: Men: 6mm | Women: 6mm
Pronation: Neutral Pronation
Arch type: High arch
Use: Jogging
Waterproofing: Waterproof
Material: Vegan
Features: High-top
Strike Pattern: Midfoot strike
Distance: Daily running | Long distance | Marathon
Technology: Gore-Tex
Brand: Inov-8
Type: Low drop
Width: Men: Normal | Women: Normal
Price: $128
Colorways: Black
Size
Small True to size Large
See more facts

Rankings

A top rated Trail running shoe
It has never been more popular than this April

Expert Reviews

Experts are runners, who post reviews at youtube, directly at RunRepeat or at their own websites. Each expert is categorized from level 1 to level 5 based on expertise. See stats on expert reviews and how we calculate scores here.

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85 / 100 based on 3 expert reviews

  • 86 / 100 | Backcountry Edge | | Level 2 expert

    Designed for fastpackers and adventure racers, the Inov-8 Men's Roclite 286 GTX is a super lightweight and nimble boot that offers really good grip and protection.

  • 82 / 100 | Spotter Up | Level 2 expert

    It can be used for trail runnnig. I can also be used for hiking, it's gonna be used for fastpacking. It's gonna be great on mixed terrain like sand or dirt.

  • 90 / 100 | Trailspace | | Level 1 expert

    These boots are like running shoes to wear and I was able to cover far more distance than with my more conventional harder soled leather boots.

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  • First look | Shop Zappos |

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  • Soft, rocky, and uneven trails are going to be easy work for the Inov-8 Roclite 286 GTX. This shoe is able to manage itself on multiple types of topography, making sure that the wearer is well-protected and supported throughout their adventures. Featuring high quality trail-specific components, it’s sure to deliver great service.
  • The upper unit of this waterproof shoe utilizes breathable fabrics that are comfortable and flexible. They allow the foot to move naturally through the stride, making sure that it won’t feel restricted or fettered. Air is able to enter the shoe because of the breathable nature of these fabrics. Waterproof support is afforded by the GORE-TEX® membrane, which is one of the most reliable technologies on the market.
  • The platform of this shoe uses a lightweight foam that’s responsive and flexible. It feels great on the underfoot because of its springy nature. It is also able to protect the foot from impact during the landing phase of the gait cycle. A 6mm foot-bed adds contoured support and improves the cushioning.
  • The outsole unit of the Inov-8 Roclite 286 GTX uses a sticky rubber material that’s great when it comes to protecting the rest of the sole unit from wear and tear. Abrasion won’t be any hindrance to the shoe, because this layer guards it well. As part of its purpose, traction over dry and wet surfaces is afforded by the lugged design of the outsole.

The Inov-8 Roclite 286 GTX has a regular shoe length. This shoe comes in sizes that follow the measurements to which many are acclimated. The heel and forefoot sections have medium widths, though the midfoot area is narrower. It accommodates those whose foot-dimensions are normal or a bit narrower.

Sticky Rubber is a used for the outsole unit. It’s meant to deliver high levels of traction over wet surfaces. It’s an efficient way to let the wearer be more in control of the topography the topography they’re stepping on. The Rocklite™ outsole design has been tuned to function well on terrain that is softer and more loose. Multi-surface traction is essentially provided by the Inov-8 Rocklite 286 GTX.

A lightweight Ethylene vinyl acetate foam is used for the mid-sole unit. It responsibly cushions the foot and allows it to move more naturally through the gait cycle because of its flexible nature. It also attenuates shock well, keeping the wearer safe from discomfort when striking the foot on the ground. An arrow system has been molded into the mid-sole unit. For this trail shoe, the 2-Arrow Shoc-Zone™ is utilized. It means that the mid-sole is able to mix responsiveness and underfoot protection responsibly, making the wearer feel as comfortable as possible with every step. A 6mm foot-bed adds contoured support and additional cushioning, which is helpful for those long-term adventures on the trails.

A breathable mesh material is used for the upper unit. It has an open construction, so it allows air to keep the foot cool and dry at all times. TPU overlays strengthen the upper unit. They also cause the fabrics to wrap around the foot in a snug but customizable way because they’re connected to the lacing system. Each adjustment made to the shoelaces cause the upper fabrics to follow suit. The GORE-TEX® waterproof membrane fully protects the interior from water infiltration. It’s lightweight and breathable, so the wearer’s foot stays well-ventilated, even while being shielded from wetness.

Comparison

Author
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Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.

jens@runrepeat.com