88
Good!
41 users: 4.6 / 5
16 experts: 90 / 100
Terrain: Trail , Mud
Weight: Men 9.7oz / Women 9.7oz
Heel to toe drop: Men 8mm / Women 8mm
Arch support: Neutral

Verdict from 9.5 hours of research from the internet

10 reasons to buy

  • A significant number of consumers commented that the Inov-8 Roclite 275 is lightweight.
  • The majority of the users said that the running shoe is comfortable.
  • According to a purchaser who has tried it, the shoe was easy to break in.
  • It provides excellent traction on surfaces, based on some reviews.
  • Some of the testers commented that the shoe is breathable.
  • Several reviewers agreed that the Inov 8 Roclite 275 is durable.
  • A good number of consumers said that the shoe has a roomy toe box.
  • It is well-cushioned, according to some reviewers.
  • Based on reviews, the shoe is flexible.
  • According to those who have tested it, the running footwear is suitable for rocky and muddy terrains.

3 reasons not to buy

  • Some users observed that shoelaces are too thin. It needed to be double-tied to prevent loosening during the running activity.
  • A few wearers noted that the foot does not feel secure during the running activity.
  • A tester commented that the laces fall apart after several uses only.

Bottom line

Many people liked the Inov-8 Roclite 275. They accepted the features and technologies integrated into the shoe in a positive way. Moreover, the flexibility, cushioning, comfort level, and lightweight structure of this model were lauded by many users. Some purchasers complained of its thin and not durable laces but, overall, the Inov-8 Roclite 275 was admired by many because of its fantastic construction. and excellent performance on a wide variety of terrains.

Tip: see the best running shoes.

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Our reviews

92
/100 by Charles S., posted on .

For those who need an exceptionally durable, lightweight, slightly minimalist trail shoe for a vastly diverse range of running conditions, the Inov-8 Roclite G 275 is the perfect multitool for your feet.

 

Who the Roclite G 275 is perfect for?

I reviewed the non-graphene version of the G 275 back in fall 2019 and called it a "Jack of All Trades, Master of None." I found the Roclite 275 was a great shoe for basically any situation you could find yourself running in, but not perfect in any of them.

Since then, having taken the G 275 out in an extreme range of conditions from icy summits to muddy valleys to pavement, the shoe has really showcased its versatility and grown on me.

The addition of a more durable graphene outsole, a superlight carbon infused with the outsole's rubber that increases durability while cutting weight has also helped improve the shoe (graphene is indicated by the "G" in G 275, versus the plain old non-graphene "275").

 

 

Inov-8 calls the Roclite G 275 the "Swiss Army Knife of trail running shoes." But as someone who wouldn't trust a Swiss Army knife for anything other than wine bottle opening, I'd take that claim a step farther.

The G 275 is a Leatherman multitool for your feet. It is rugged and versatile, ready for just about any conditions and demands you could put it through.

It's just as effective running 20 miles along a snowy ridgeline as it is doing an easy recovery run on dry, crushed gravel park paths. The shoe feels great speeding through a tempo workout in muddy fields during a rainstorm or going on a light jog on the beach.

It isn't as specialized for a particular type of run or terrain as say, the Inov-8 X-Talon 200 which is built specifically for speed on a wet, muddy ground.

However, it is impressive just how well the G 275 works on such a wide range of different types of runs, surfaces, and weather conditions.

 

To test just how varied the terrain and conditions could get before the G 275 was pushed past its limits, I took it up a few mountains in the snow and ice.

 

This is not really the conditions the shoe was made for, but I figured if the G 275s could work well here, they'd work well just about anywhere. They didn't disappoint.

The Leatherman metaphor applies to the shoe's durability and dependability. After 50+ miles of wear, the shoe looks and feels almost identical from the outsole all the way to the upper as it did fresh out of the box.

As an extreme illustration, it should be noted that ultra-runner Jasmin Paris won a 268-mile rugged trail race wearing a single pair of the G 275s for the entire course, while other runners were swapping out shoes multiple times.

Finally, the multitool metaphor applies to the G 275's versatile fit and feel. It has a relatively accommodating upper that will work for a wide range of different foot shapes.

Meanwhile, its low stack height with an 8mm heel-toe drop will feel comfortable for everyone from the minimalist crowd to light heel strikers.

 

 

For an in-depth review of the upper, midsole, and outsole, continue reading each section below. For a comparison of how the G 275 stacks up against competing trail shoes, continue to the "Look at the Competition" section at the bottom.

In-depth review, from top to bottom

Upper

The Roclite G 275's upper is made of a relatively seamless mesh with a rubber toe cap and series of overlays at the midfoot for added protection and a secure fit.

It has more overlays and added padding at the hindfoot to lock in the heel. It is not as secure a heel fit as trail shoes with a truly rigid heel counter (like the Salomon Sense Pro 4), but still has plenty of support and snugness.

All in all, it makes for a good upper that'll feel comfortable for a wide range of foot shapes. It's wider than most Salomons, which have a reputation for running a bit narrow, but is still snug enough to feel secure while speeding down steep gradients.

While the toe box is fairly accommodating in terms of volume, it is a smidgen pointy in its shape. So for those who really like their digits splaying out a lot, you may want to stick with Altra trail shoes or Inov-8s with a wider last like the Trailtalon 235.

While the upper is good, I wouldn't say it's great. Inov-8 takes pride in designing their shoes from the ground up, starting with a purpose-built outsole, then designing the midsole on top of that, then crafting the upper last.

This has advantages in delivering the best, grippiest outsoles on the market and remarkable midsoles. However, it comes at the cost of uppers that feel, by comparison, like after thoughts.

The upper on the G 275 isn't bad. In fact, I like it a lot! But it is underwhelming compared to the near-perfection of the midsole and outsole.

It's awkwardly a little loose in the heel and midfoot while weirdly pointy in the toe box. It also has a smidge too much padding in the tongue, which causes it to crimp up a bit around the ankle.

The upper isn't dramatically off in any way, to be clear. I like the fit of the upper and feel secure and protected running in it, but it just doesn't feel as finely crafted as the rest of the shoe.

 

A couple of side notes about the upper

1) There are a lot of complaints in other reviews about the laces on the Roclite series of shoes. Reviewers say they're too long and too narrow.

I don't get these complaints. In my opinion, the laces are fine. The thinness comes from the laces being made of a paracord material that seems extremely durable.

I also never found the lace thinness to be an issue adjusting them even when they're caked in mud or ice. They're a little long, but not so long that they create a problem and can easily be tucked in or trimmed if they're flopping around.

I'd much rather have slightly long laces than too short laces, which you can't really work around and would need to completely replace. All that is to say, I think the lace complaints are just people finding something to nitpick about.

2) I don't usually comment on the design of running shoes. Personally, I've always felt that when you're out on the trails and your shoes are covered with mud, function counts for more than fashion.

 

That said, the new and improved colorway of the G 275's upper over the old 275 is a welcome improvement.

The previous blue and black colors had a blasé "dad shoe" vibe that would only fit in on the sideline of a little league baseball field and didn't do justice to the rough outdoorsy nature of the shoe (see old blue colorway in the photo below).

 

 

The new red and black Ferrari look, despite being a complete rip off of the Salomon S/Lab Sense 7 SG, is a much slicker look and more appropriate for such a tough, competition-ready trail shoe.

Midsole

The midsole of the Roclite G 275 is unique in that it has both a low stack height, low heel-toe-drop (8mm) minimalist feel, and a well-protected, moderate level of cushioning.

Most trail shoes swing entirely toward one or the other: a conventional amount of cushioning or a really minimal amount of cushioning. I love the middle ground design of the Roclite G 275's midsole.

It gives an exceptional ground feel and has plenty of pliability that allows the foot to flex naturally through the gait cycle.

 

 

Yet it still has enough cushioning to keep feet and joints happy over long distance runs on any surface softer than concrete (and even short jaunts on sidewalks to get to the trailhead aren't jarring).

It's a happy medium that avoids being so minimalist that feet are constantly stabbed by rocks on the one hand (like the New Balance Minimus is guilty of), but also avoids being too dense that there's no ground feel and the ride feels clunky (like the Altra Lone Peak might be accused of).

I also think the 8mm drop was a good choice. It's low enough that all but the total radical extremists in the minimalist crowd will be satiated on one end of the spectrum.

On the other, it's not a full 0mm drop so that most non-minimalist runners will still be able to wear the G 275 comfortably without being afraid of tearing their Achilles tendons.

The stack height is high enough that forefoot, midfoot, and heel strikers should all feel pretty comfortable, even when jumping down on to rocks.

Also, the foam's density is relatively plush, so even with its low stack height and excellent ground feel, the G 275 still feels softer underfoot than higher stack height competitors with denser foams like the Salomon Sense Pro 4.

My one word of caution about the midsole is that because it has a relatively low stack height, those with heavier impacting, longer gaits, or hard heel strikes might need something a bit more substantial in terms of cushioning (check out the Trailroc G 280, for example).

The G 275 is also completely neutral, and although it feels remarkably stable for a neutral shoe (perhaps owing to the pliable forefoot and secure midfoot-hindfoot wrap), those who need added stability features like a medial post should look elsewhere.

The G 275 does have a removable sock liner, though, and can accommodate inserts nicely for those with orthotics.

None of this is a complaint about the G 275, just a comment for readers who are trying to decide whether low, flexible arches or sensitive knees will be happy in this shoe or not.

Outsole

The outsole of the G 275 is where the shoe shines brightest. In my opinion, Inov-8 has had the best outsoles on the market since they entered the arena in 2003, and they've raised the bar even higher with the introduction of graphene rubber.

There are two impressive features of the G 275's outsole: its grip over a wide range of surfaces, and its durability.

In terms of grip, I found the G 275's outsole gripped perfectly on everything from pavement, to smooth dry rock, to wet muddy grass to snow and ice. On one run, I passed by hikers wearing crampons to ascend a snow-covered mountain.

Over miles of ice and snow, I never needed to pop on my Yaktrax, finding the G 275 gripped fine without them. I tried hard, but I couldn't find a place the shoe didn't stick.

This is impressive since there's usually a tradeoff between trail shoes gripping well on hard, smooth surfaces like solid rock or soft squishy surfaces like mud, but not both.

Shoes like the Salomon Speedcross and the Inov-8 X-Talon do the latter but not the former. The Salomon Sense Pro and Inov-8 Trailtalon do the former but are not great at the latter.

The G 275 does both very well. I found the Roclite G 275's outsole dramatically outperformed industry-leading outsoles from Vibram like the one on the Hoka One One Evo Speedgoat, Salomon, and Altra.

The Roclite G 275 isn't designed for ice climbing, but I figured I'd test them out in those conditions thinking if I could "get a grip" (Inov-8's motto) descending an ice wall, then we can all be pretty confident they'll get a grip just about anywhere.

 

Descending a frozen ledge, they gripped just fine.

 

In terms of durability, I found the G 275's outsole held up amazingly well. After 50 miles of wear, it looks and feels almost identical to how it was fresh out of the box.

The outsole also wore down noticeably slower than the non-graphene version of the Roclite 275 (see comparison photos below), and I have little doubt they'll hold up to 500+ miles of wear.

This exceptional durability has some members of the outdoors community jumping ship from brands like Salomon and headed toward longer lasting Inov-8 shoes.

 

The non-graphene outsole (blue) wore noticeably faster than the graphene version (red) after roughly the same amount of wear.

 

All this to say, yes, Inov-8's graphene outsoles are impressive. Not to deflate this accomplishment, but to temper the marketing hype a little, consumers should know two things.

First, the use of carbon in outsole rubber is nothing new. Continental (used in some Adidas running shoes), among others, has been experimenting with carbon-infused rubbers for at least a decade.

However, the use of this particular form of carbon—graphene—in running shoes is new. Kudos.

 

 

Second, in my experience, the durability of Inov-8's outsoles has never been the weakest link in their shoes.

I've always needed to put my Inov-8 shoes in the discard pile because they lost their cushioning, and/or their uppers stretched to the point where my feet started slipping around.

Because most Inov-8s are fairly minimalist in terms of stack height when the midsole cushioning loses its spring, it really loses its cushioning, and the shoe basically becomes unwearable.

There have been some efforts by Inov-8 to improve their midsoles with new foams like "Powerflow," but I still find the cushioning is consistently done before the outsole loses its grip.

The uppers on Inov-8s are also usually fairly minimalist and tend to start to stretch out and lose their snug fit long before the outsole grip is gone.

However, in the specific case of the G 275, I think the copious use of overlays (Inov-8 calls it their "Adapterweb") will greatly improve the upper's durability.

At 50 miles, the upper on the G 275 still feels just as snug as it did fresh out of the box. However, I expect the midsole foam (not the outsole rubber), will be the reason these shoes give out.

So for all the hype around graphene, next innovation Inov-8, if you're listening, more durable midsole foam, please.

In sum, I'm thoroughly impressed with Inov-8's outsoles, and graphene rubber is a noticeable, welcome improvement. I cannot think of another trail shoe with better outsole grip and durability.

The competition

The Roclite G 275 satisfies a tiny niche in the running shoe market: those who like a minimalist fit and feel, but still need a substantial amount of cushioning and protection for rough conditions over long distances.

That cuts out a lot of the competition already, and I struggle to think of other shoes that fit in a similar category. Most trail shoes are either significantly more built up in the midsole (e.g., the Salomon Sense Pro) or less (e.g., the Merrell Trailglove).

So, given the lack of real competitors and echoing what I said in my review of the non-graphene Roclite 275, I find that oddly, the Roclite G 275's biggest competition comes from within Inov-8's own trail shoe line up, with numerous other Inov-8 models outcompeting their own shoe.

Inov-8's range of shoes seems to have a lot of overlap between them, with each shoe model only varying in minutiae: a few grams here, an extra overlay there, or an extra centimeter in the lugs.

 

Near mirror images, the Trailtalon 235 (foreground) is lighter, more flexible in the upper, and has almost the same amount of cushioning as the Roclite G 275 (background).

 

It leaves me wondering what gap the Roclite G 275 is supposed to be filling, as there are many trail shoes offered by Inov-8 that do exactly what the Roclite G 275 does, but a smidgen better.

The Trailtalon 235 (foreground of picture above), for example, is a near mirror image of the Roclite G 275 (background of picture above). However, the Trailtalon 235 is lighter with a more flexible upper and offers about the same amount of cushioning, foot protection, and grip.

The only minor reason someone might go with the Roclite G 275 then, is that I found the Trailtalon had marginally less durability, owing in large part to the fact it isn't yet sold with the new graphene outsole.

As another example, the Terraultra G 260 is also lighter than the Roclite G 275, but actually has more cushioning and equivalent durability to keep joints happy over long-distance runs.

The G 275 then only really makes sense for runners who don't want the full zero mm heel-toe drop of the Terraultra or want slightly better ground feel. Again, really splitting hairs here.

To go back to the Leatherman multitool metaphor, I suppose if you have to run in only one pair of shoes across a wide range of different conditions, then the G 275 has its place.

However, with the exception of the occasional ultra-distance run over widely varied terrain. I personally would just prefer a couple of pairs of different trail shoes in the closet to call on depending on the demands of the day.

To overuse and abuse the metaphor: better to have a survival knife, a screwdriver set, and a hatchet rather than a single multitool. If you agree with this reasoning, then there are numerous specialist shoes that will make more sense.

For example, on wet, muddy runs, the X-Talon G 235 is significantly lighter than the Roclite G 275 and has deeper lugs. It's not quite as versatile as the Roclite, but significantly better for a single range of conditions.

That said, if you have to pick one trail shoe to run over a wide range of different conditions, I much prefer the Roclite G 275 to other generalist trail shoes.

The Roclite G 275 is less expensive, more accommodating to a wider range of foot shapes, more protective in the upper, more flexible in the forefoot, and only marginally heavier than the Salomon S/Lab Sense 7.

It is lighter (9.7 men's size 9) than the Saucony Peregrine 8 (10 oz). It gives more feel for the ground with a better-fitting upper than the clunkier-feeling (albeit lighter at 8.7 oz) Altra Superior 4, Salomon Sense Pro 4 (8.9 oz), and Brooks Puregrit 8 (9.3 oz).

It also provides noticeably better cushioning (especially on long, 10+ mile runs) than competitor minimalist trail shoes like the Merrell Trail Glove 5 or the New Balance Minimus 10v1.

All that to say, if you're looking for a durable multitool, the Roclite G 275 seems to beat out much of the competition. If you're okay specializing for unique circumstances (muddy ground, etc.), or sacrificing a bit of durability to cut weight, then there are better options on the market.

 

Comfortable in just about any conditions, the G 275 is the Leatherman multitool of running shoes.

Conclusion

Being modest, Inov-8 calls the Roclite G 275 the "Swiss Army Knife of trail running shoes."

 As someone who wouldn't trust a Swiss Army Knife for much more than wine bottle opening, I would take that metaphor a step farther: the G 275 is a Leatherman multitool for your feet.

It is rugged, versatile, and ready for just about any conditions or demands over the long haul. I found it was perfect for everything from a distance run along a snowy ridge, to a light recovery run through a park, to a speed workout across muddy fields in the rain.

The G 275 is not as specialized as other trail shoes like the Inov-8 X-Talon 200, which is built specifically for speed on wet, muddy ground. However, the G 275 is a near-perfect generalist.

It has some of the best, most durable grip on the market. There's accommodating and protective upper, just the right amount of low stack height midsole cushioning to keep feet comfortable running long distances.

If you need to pick one trail running shoe that can handle just about anything you could throw at it for hundreds of miles, the Roclite G 275 is the dependable multitool you'll want to pack.

Charles S. | Level 4 expert Verified
Charlie worked in specialty running for several years, with training in running equipment, biomechanical assessments, run/walk gait analysis, and Good Form Running technique. He coached a marathon training program and has competed in races from the 800-meter to the marathon distance, as well as Olympic and Ironman triathlons.

85
/100 by Charles S., posted on .

If you’re looking for a minimalist-feeling trail running shoe that is extremely versatile, very good in just about every situation but not perfect in any of them? Then the Inov-8 Roclite 275 is a solid option.

 

Who the Roclite 275 is perfect for

This shoe is a jack of all trades, but master of none. The outsole is exceptional and provides great grip on virtually every surface and weather condition you might come across.

Yet, the shoe’s outsole isn’t perfect for any one condition the way say, the Salomon Speedcross CS is tuned for wet, muddy trails. The cushioning of the Roclite 275 is great: it is highly flexible with a low stack height that gives plenty of feel for the ground.

The Roclite’s midsole has slightly too much foam to feel truly minimalist on the one hand and does not have enough cushioning to keep feet and joints comfortable over really long runs on the other.

 

 

The Roclite 275’s upper is also good: it is durable, locks in your feet, and protects from hazards on the trail. Yet, it also isn’t the most breathable upper for hot days and isn’t at all water resistant or insulated for wet or cold days.

In short, if you’re looking for an everyday trail running shoe that will get you through a variety of terrains then the Roclite 275 is a solid option. If you’re looking to specialize in any one direction, having a few pairs of more specifically-tuned shoes to choose from is a better choice.

The Roclite 275 is a multitool: it’ll get the job done in all sorts of scenarios but won’t be perfect for any one job. I would suggest shopping around.

There may be better options out there, even from within the Inov-8 trail shoe line (see “The Competition” section below).

In-depth review, from top to bottom

Upper

The upper on the Roclite 275 is good, and I’ve always been impressed by the range of foot shapes that fit comfortably in Inov-8’s lasts. The upper is snug and supportive in both the heel and the midfoot while providing space in the forefoot for toes to splay out.

The Inov-8 shoe’s overlays protect the foot well but are not too constrictive or stiff. They lock in your feet while running over technical terrain, but also give them space to flex and swell over longer runs.

 

 

I did have a couple of reservations on the Roclite 275’s upper. First, there are a few too many overlays, so it feels hot and lacks breathability on warmer days.

I prefer the more breathable, lighter, and more flexible upper on say, the Inov-8 X-Talon 200, which has a slightly sparser use of overlays. Second, the Roclite 275’s upper is not at all water resistant and does not drain especially quickly if you find yourself crossing a creek or getting caught in the rain.

It does drain better than your average road shoe, but not remarkably well compared to other trail shoes, for example, the Salomon S/Lab Sense 7, among other competitors.

Midsole

The midsole on the Roclite 275 is great, but not perfect, and puts the shoe in a weird position between being truly minimalist and being a properly cushioned long-distance training shoe.

I found the Roclite 275 has just enough cushioning to remain comfortable up to at most ten miles but starts to feel jarring on the legs after that distance.

I should note that a few ultra-runners have been known to finish 50+ mile races in Inov-8 of this stack height, but I wouldn’t recommend it for any but the hardiest runners, particularly outside of fell running conditions where the soft ground is providing some cushioning on its own.

 

 

That said, on shorter distance runs, the Roclite 275’s balance between minimalism and cushioning is actually pretty nice. The low stack height gives a terrific feel for the ground, allows precision foot placement in technical terrain, and lets the foot flex naturally.

At the same time, the shoe’s layer of foam (in tandem with its exceptional outsole, see below) keeps feet feeling well protected from any abrasions, much better in my opinion than truly minimalist trail shoes where you experience discomfort with every pebble you come across (like the New Balance Minimus, see “The Competition” section below).

Also, the midsole’s 8mm drop will feel comfortable to a wide range of runners and running forms from heel to forefoot strikers.

Outsole

The Roclite 275’s outsole is outstanding, and the single most impressive feature of the shoe. In my opinion, Inov-8 has the best trail outsoles on the market that offer the most grip over the widest range of surfaces.

The Inov-8’s outsoles perform even better than outsoles on much more expensive, top tier shoes like Salomon S/Labs, and better than the industry standard Vibram outsoles on trail shoes from Hoka One One and Merrell.

I found the outsole on the Roclite 275 gripped perfectly on nearly every surface, the one exception being hard, smooth, and wet surfaces like shale rock or wood planks. Fortunately, most of us won’t be running on these kinds of surfaces very often.

 

 

To sing even more praise, Inov-8 has introduced graphene—a carbon substance mixed into the rubber compound—to the Roclite 275’s outsole, which further improves its durability without sacrificing grip.

I personally marginally prefer the Roclite 275’s outsole to the outsole on Inov-8’s soft ground specialist shoes like the X-Talon series. The Roclite’s lugs may have a tiny bit less grip than the X-Talons if you’re running through a slushy pig pen, but you more than make up for this in comfort when running on any number of dry surfaces from packed dirt to crushed gravel to pavement.

I found the Roclite’s outsole performs well on wet ground and soft ground while the X-Talon outsole only feels marginally better in the mud while feeling uneven and awkward on hard ground. However, hardcore mud racing fans may have other priorities and disagree.

The competition

Oddly enough, I’d argue the Roclite 275’s biggest competitors come from Inov-8 itself, with numerous other Inov-8 models outcompeting their own shoe. I’m a little confused by Inov-8’s widespread of shoes since they’re all very good but have a lot of redundancies between them, with each shoe only varying in minutiae: a few grams here, an extra overlay there, or an extra centimeter on the lugs.

It leaves me wondering what gap the Roclite 275 is supposed to be filling, as there are many trail shoes offered by Inov-8 that do exactly what the Roclite 275 does, but a smidgen better.

The Trailtalon 235, for example, is lighter than the Roclite 275 with a more flexible upper while offering an equivalent amount of cushioning, foot protection, and grip. The Terraultra 260 is also lighter than the Roclite 275 but actually has enough cushioning to keep joints happy over long-distance runs.

Then there are Inov-8’s specialist shoes that will make more sense for the many runners who select their shoes for particular conditions like mud races, for example, the X-Talon 200 which is significantly lighter than the Roclite 275 and has deeper lugs for soft ground.

That said, I do prefer the Roclite 275 to several competitors from other brands. It is less expensive, accommodating to more foot shapes, and more flexible in the forefoot than the Salomon S/Lab Sense 7.

It is lighter (at 9.7 oz for a men’s size 9) than the Saucony Peregrine 8 (10 oz) and gives more feel for the ground with a better-fitting upper than the clunkier-feeling (albeit lighter at 8.7 oz) Altra Superior 4.

It also provides a small but noticeable amount more cushioning than competitor minimalist trail shoes like the Merrell Trail Glove 5 or the New Balance Minimus 10 v1, allowing the foot to still flex naturally but preventing jolts of pain every time you come across a pebble. In the Roclite, you feel the ground but aren’t bothered by it.

By comparison, in truly minimalist shoes like the NB Minimus, I find it hard to really enjoy the trail because of how exposed the bottom of feet are to rocks, roots, and sticks.

Conclusion

I love Inov-8’s trail shoes in general. In my opinion, they have the best outsoles on the market, terrific uppers that fit a wide range of foot types, and in many of their trail shoes offer a unique midsole that provides a minimalist feel while still giving adequate protection and cushioning on rough terrain.

That said, Inov-8 has such a wide selection of shoes that they seem to have outcompeted themselves, and there are several Inov-8 shoes that can do what the Roclite 275 does, but marginally better (the Trailtalon 235 comes to mind).

Further, while the Roclite 275 does a good job in almost every situation, it isn’t perfect for any of them, so many runners will prefer a more specialized tool like the X-Talon 200 for soft ground or the Terraultra 260 for long runs.

For someone who wants a comfortable, fairly minimalist trail shoe that will keep their feet happy in a wide range of conditions over short- and medium-distance runs, the Roclite 275 is a great option.

However, do your homework and shop around: you may find a better option without even looking outside the Inov-8 brand.

Charles S. | Level 4 expert Verified
Charlie worked in specialty running for several years, with training in running equipment, biomechanical assessments, run/walk gait analysis, and Good Form Running technique. He coached a marathon training program and has competed in races from the 800-meter to the marathon distance, as well as Olympic and Ironman triathlons.

90
/100 by Mark Holbert, posted on .

The Roclite G 275 is a major change and best yet in the Roclite line for fast trail shoes. It boasts a responsive POWERFLOW midsole and flexible/breathable upper that solidly protects against mud and dirt. 

 

Inov-8-Roclite-G-275-upper.jpg

Details

        Weight     9.6oz, men’s size 9.5
        Drop     8mm heel to toe drop (16mm Heel to 8mm Forefoot) 
        Support     Rubber Outsole & POWERFLOW midsole
        Sole     Graphene-Enhanced 6mm lug “G-Grip”
        Upper     ADAPTERWEB Quick-dry mesh material with enhanced rubber support & partial waterproof materials

Lockdown

Roclite’s newest trail shoe features some super upgrades, including first and foremost, the Graphene grip soles with 6mm lugs for traction. After 200+ miles in this shoe, the “G-Grip” sole had barely worn and definitely has many more miles ahead.

 

Inov-8-Roclite-G-275-the-Midsole.jpg

 

I took the G 275 out on many different types of trails and conditions—hard-packed trails to the rocky coast, and some speedy hill work.

The shoe excelled in every department, with an exceptional feel for the land and grip/support over uneven terrain. Additionally, with the Roclite G 275, I could “feel” the terrain much better than Hoka Speedgoat or other shoes in this category.

Having run in several minimalist shoes and supportive trail shoes, I can confirm that this shoe is a balance of a faster and more responsive ride with a great transition in stride.

I felt secure and comfortable on the trails. As a result, there’s no knee pain or shin splints for me, even on long runs 10 miles+. 

Performance

As someone who is a mild overpronator with flat feet, it provides just enough support while focusing on the overall smooth stride.

Inov-8 is a dedicated trail shoe company and has paid attention to recent research—stability and support without hefty foam—but rather supports the foot by firmly holding the right position while being flexible in the right spots, leading to good overall alignment.

The ride is very smooth thanks to the POWERFLOW technology in the midsole, featuring a supportive heel that is not a heavy or dense material (see photo).

 

Inov-8-Roclite-G-275-outsole.jpg

 

The G 275’s mesh upper has a great snug grip on the foot and no overlays, but features inforced rubber leading up to the laces in the midfoot.

In fact, it’s the best fitting trail shoe I have worn this year, like an aqua sock with laces! It also has a good soft tongue connection with the upper and laces. 

It is quite flexible for the amount of protection and stability in the sole, which is necessary to provide the support and energy responsiveness in the sole reinforced with graphene. It also has just enough cushion and drop (8mm) to allow for a faster ride feel and responsiveness.

I felt it was easy on my legs at most distances’ training runs (up to half marathon distance), with a springier transition compared to other more cushioned trail shoes at runs of the same distance. 

As mentioned previously, it is a protective and responsive ride with good transition for midfoot to forefoot strikers. Although this is certainly not a minimalist shoe, I could still feel the terrain and rocks/roots, which is part of the joy of running for me.

More importantly, I never felt I was sinking into the midsole or that my shoes were getting stuck anywhere in the gait cycle. This, to me, indicates good responsiveness.

As I got more miles in the shoe and began trying to keep up with faster runners, I was grateful for the more racey feel to my turnover.  

 

Inov-8-Roclite-G-275-lugs.jpg

POWERFLOW Technology 

The new POWERFLOW midsole technology is wrapped around the crucial transition area, and it provided a responsive and fast ride due to this construction. This shoe does not feel low to the ground (6mm lugs and 16 mm heel), but does have a good feel for terrain and is responsive.

The POWERFLOW foam has 10% better shock absorption and 15% better energy return than previous and is the all-around gripping feel of the G-Grip sole. This resulted in a much better connection to the terrain I was running on, and also less likely of turning an ankle or feeling “above the ground”.

Weight

The weight is significantly lighter than many other trail shoes with this much support at about 9.5 ounces for a men’s size 9.5, including recent Hoka, Brooks, and New Balance trail shoes, which was great for my training and racing.

The sole is rigid against rocks and roots midfoot t due to the meta-plate shank, but flexible in the forefoot. For this same reason, they feel quite different in my running stride from some of my road shoes when I’m running on the trail.

I welcomed this trail shoe’s dedicated construction and thoughtfulness that went into the development of the shoe.

Style

Concerning style, this may be a moot point for some, but I enjoyed the simple patterns and limited color choices.

They stand out and are solid colors that pair well with black. Black is a great color to be dominant as most trails get shoes dirty pretty quickly.

I can also spray them off with the hose, and they look nearly good as new, due to the amount of water-resistant fabric and rubber coming up from the sole. The mesh also does not hold water to be heavier when you are running in the rain or through watery areas, and it is designed to dry quickly. 

Sizing and upper fit

For a foot on the slightly narrower side, the fit is snug and close to perfect. The fabric does not synch/overlap in the generous toe box area (see photo).

The shoe doesn’t bother my foot in any spots at all and fit is nearly seamless where the tongue meets the upper.

 

Inov-8-Roclite-G-275-trail-running-shoes.jpg

 

The upper is a combination of thin, very pliable, soft, non-stretch dual-layer mesh and waterproof rubber within a few inches of the sole. This has variation in appearance around the toe box where there is more firm material to protect the toe.

Through the ankle and midfoot, it is on the narrower side for a standard D width, which once again is perfect for my foot. It locks down the ankle quite well with a solid material used around the ankle cuff for a more rigid fit and sturdiness.

So, when I was slopping around in wet conditions, it did not slip.

The laces look like climbing shoe rope and seem just as tough. They glide smoothly through smaller rope-like loops sewn into the upper, rather than having holes in the upper as traditional running shoes.

This helped to produce fewer “hot spots” in my foot or lace burn when you really crank down on them to tighten and make it very easy/quick to lace up.  

The tongue isn’t built up but is nicely padded, which works well with the lacing system so as not to cut into the sock area. It is thin enough, but it also doesn’t scrunch or get caught folded over when tightening the laces at all.  

Durability

There are no issues at 200+ miles for me. My only real concern with the durability of this shoe was the material around the front flex point.

It looks thin, but it has proven very durable and works well at the flex point. It doesn’t put too much pressure on any one part of the shoe.

The lug pattern tread on the bottom has also held up incredibly well, which is rare for such a nice gripping material. The lugs are well distributed and spaced, so I don’t need to use a cleaning scrub brush to clear out mud and rocks but just spray them down quickly.

These are definitely not recommended for pavement runs. The lugs are small enough that a hard-packed trail feels good, and even in sandy areas, they held up well. Please note I am a 145/150 lb midfoot striker.

 

Inov-8-Roclite-G-275-fit.jpg

 

As a coach, I would recommend rotating them with another favorite shoe on the trails to let your foot adjust to this type of support and landing over time.

Lastly, they are extremely easy to slip on and off. However,  the upper part of the heel cuff is thin, so I would always recommend unlacing properly.

Pros

  • Rubber outsole & toe protection (mudproof)
  • POWERFLOW Midsole and all-around “Meta-Plate” shank technology has great energy return & helps keep supportive firm landing with good transition
  • Flexibility and breathability: BEST mesh upper I’ve worn in a trail shoe, great for hot weather and muddy/wet runs
  • Graphene Grip sole (G-Grip) that grips even in wet weather

Cons

  • Mesh thin upper may not equal winter running for some
  • Limited color options/designs
  • Not waterproof (which may be a plus if you don’t like the heavier/sweaty GoreTex type trail shoes, for trails runs in hotter weather)

Conclusion

To paint a more concise picture, it was the best overall trail shoe I have worn this year.

For those that prefer a cushy, cloud-like ride, this is not the shoe. I would classify it as a supportive racing flat of trail shoes, for varied and even technical terrain.

It shines in muddy, slippery conditions and areas with lots of rocks and roots. If you are only a hard-packed trail runner who runs in mostly dry conditions, you could probably get away with a lighter shoe without as much water protection and built up traction.

But why would you want to? I think this is already a light and durable shoe though, so it could easily be your all-weather workhorse for the season!

Note: It is definitely NOT waterproof, but repels water well and has that waterproof rubber around the bottom of the shoe and toe. With some warm socks, it may also work well for icy conditions and wintry trails.

Inov-8 has got the technology down and the energy return to make this an excellent light trail shoe that goes the distance, instead of focusing on building things up with this shoe.

They took what trail runners need most and left that minimal aspect to other areas. The POWERFLOW midsole feels solid and responsive. It has a good flex point midfoot and provided a smooth ride with good transition.

Also, this is the springiest and most responsive trail shoe I have ever worn. The shoe is very breathable and flexible due to its upper and offers plenty of room in the toe box.

Overall, I’d say it’s definitely worth a try for the price and could be your next go-to workhorse and racing trail shoe!

Mark Holbert | Level 3 expert Verified
Mark Lane-Holbert a.k.a. "The Running Anthropologist" has been a runner (almost) his entire life. He is currently a competitive marathoner and half-marathoner in the 40+ age group. He is also a race pacer and Galloway Group member. Lastly, he has coached MS/HS Track and Cross Country for nearly two decades. Mark loves to travel the world from Tampa Bay for his podcast and short running documentary projects, which explore the culture of running by highlighting unique events & communities!

95
/100 by Rachela Lack, posted on .

Five years of running and this is the first shoe I have tried from a British brand. The Inov-8 company was founded in 2003.

This brand appears to be a World Leader in a variety of terrain footwear. It definitely tells in this design! The Roclite G 275 shoe was designed to be their lightest and faster trail shoe.

 

Box opening

I love new shoes! The box opening is so exciting. Upon opening the box here my first thoughts!

Design

Definitely full of color and mixture of textures. They varied with hard mesh, rubber, and lots of heel cushion.

They felt light, not to Heavy coming in at 9.625 ounces they felt light. I loved the lacing system. The lacing system has loopholes, which I liked for easy threading.

Fit & size

I wear an 8 in US women’s size. These shoes will have a size guide on their website. The UK size was 5.5 that I ordered to be equivalent to the size 8. 

 

 

I almost felt after wearing them for 120 Miles I would consider a size smaller. However, I am not sure if the fit would have been better. 

Overall, the shoe felt good at this size; the shoe was not snug, slight loose feeling. My foot did not slip, and my toes were jamming or stubbing with all the up and down movement on different terrain.

Let’s get down to the pros and cons

Traction

Pros

Traction is not going to be a concern with these shoes. So many lugs - the whole foot. Have 6mm it has great support for rooted climbs. 

I had limited slipping on rocks, even after going through wet terrain. Very good transition on various terrain. Also, the overall Rubber sole did not give me an uneasy feeling rolling through slippery rocks and wet conditions.

Con

With the whole shoe having all LUGS keep in mind it is like running with an extra layer on your foot.  Depending on distance, your foot may get tired or sore.

Performance while running

Pros

The shoe performance well overall good with minor little things.

I like the 8mm drop and sole compound. Because of the 8mm drop, I felt there was a good energy return - very responsive. It also allows it to be fast and provided a confident run. 

Con

During humid weather, the shoe felt slightly sweaty. This is probably due to the non-water absorption material.  

Comfort

Pros

I definitely wanted to check out the flexibility and wanted to make the shoe provided comfort especially because it is a trail shoe and they tend to be stiff.

Even though they are not flexible when you put them on, they are comfortable on your foot but remain stiffer than other trail shoes.

The sole compound features a G-Grip. It helps with comfort, and you can feel the cushion in the heel. The cushioned heel also provides you with a shock absorption benefit. 

Con

As mentioned in some of the other notes, the flexibility is a 50/50 con for me just because I think they are stiffer than other trail shoes. It will not ruin your runs between 10-20 miles but may make your foot tired if you take them past 30 miles.

Upper

 

Pros

Non-water absorption material works. I did not cross lakes but went through streams and socks remained in dryer conditions.

Con

The shoe did feel a bit sweaty.

Midsole

Their brand has the midsole featuring “Powerflow,’ and the Shank has a “Meta-plate." I think it adds that durable feeling, which in return provides confidence when running.

 

Outsole

The Meta-Plate does for sure, give your foot an extra safe feeling of protection. It is full of all the same lugs depth. I think with the whole rubber sole, and the lugs covering the whole outsole well prolong the durability and life of the shoe “miles.”

 

Price

The price of $135.00. 

Pros

This is a very affordable and competitive price, especially the way the shoe is designed and built. 

Con

Some may not pay this price for a shoe that is not really a race shoe. However, it will give you over 500 Miles plus. Very durable.

Performance

The terrain was all trail. Trail running in the spring/summer here consist of roots, rocks, dirt, streams, mud, mostly trails surrounded by trees! 

 

Total distance - 120 miles

Longest test run 17 miles, lots of 8-10 miles.

Pros

Perfect for these distances.

Con

I personally would not wear them for a 50 Miler

Conclusion

Guess what? I did not hate the shoe! I did all those miles not once saying, “God, I can't wait to stop running!”  

Also, never had any blisters or leg pain after wearing them. I personally like a slightly more flexible shoe. However, these I can not rule out over flexibility. 

By the way, I have worn shoes I would never run again in! But please give them a few more runs before deciding!  

Rachela Lack | Level 3 expert Verified
My name is Rachela, 43. I have ran 23 Marathons in 20 different States. I run to stay healthy with an average of 40-45 miles a week.

90
/100 by John Matney, posted on .

The Inov-8 Roclite G 275 is medium weight and very versatile trail shoe. So much so that it works really well on technical, muddy, and smooth single track.

There is adequate cushioning for distances up to 50K. The rockplate and toe guard does an exceptional job in protecting the feet. The outsole is very grippy on rock, sheds mud well and the traction is very, very good. 

 

Inov-8-Roclite-G-275-Design.jpg

 

Wearing this shoe for my first two runs, I set PR’s on two of my favourite trails on Mt. Diablo in California.

One of these trails - Eagle Peak - has a long steep downhill section that has loose rock and technical obstacles and on this trail, the shoe was outstanding! If you run on technical terrain or race, buy this shoe, you won’t regret it.

Specs

      MSRP       $135
      Weight       9.8 oz (M 9.5), 9.1 oz (W 8.5)
      Drop       8mm
      Rock plate       Yes
      Fit       True to size

A little history

In the North of England, particularly in the Lake District, the people take pride in their ability to not only survive in very tough conditions but thrive on them. Their sports reflect that, from the hard men playing football for Newcastle United to the sport of fell running. 

In fell running, races are held on large hills or mountains. Runners have to be skilled in running on very technical and steep terrain. Because the markings in these races are few and far between the runners have to find their own way over the obstacles.

In England’s Lake District, in 2003, Zimbabwe-born Wayne Edyspotted a gap in the UK off-road running market. He formed the company Inov-8 and designed a shoe that was specifically designed to be used for Fells running.

That shoe was the MUDROC 290 and it delivered the type of grip that runners had been craving.

The shoe became immensely popular in the UK and Europe and soon found devotees in the United States and Canada. In 2018, the company was purchased by the Japanese Sporting Company - Descent.

Decent is known for its ski equipment and apparel and has its own mountain history. Wayne continues to lead Inov-8, recently introducing the material grapheme into their shoes which they claim allows for their outsoles to last longer than any other material.

Cushioning

The Powerflow midsole will not be mistaken for a Hoka One One. However, I believe that there is plenty of cushioning for runs of 50K or less. The rock plate is called the Meta Shank by Inov-8 and is designed to offer both protection and flexibility.  

The plate worked really well for all but the biggest and sharpest rocks. I felt no pain after my runs on the rock gardens.

The midsole cushioning is more than adequate for anything short up to the 50K distance. I had no leg fatigue after my runs from the pounding of my local trails.

 

Inov-8-Roclite-G-275-Test.jpg

Traction

On the outsole, Inov-8 has covered the lugs with it’s innovative (pun intended) graphene which is intended to prevent premature wearing out of the lugs.

The 5mm lugs are positioned for excellent grip whether going up or downhill. That said, this is a trail shoe and you will feel those lugs while running on pavement on your way to the trailhead.

I was very confident of the traction while crossing creeks or going over smooth rock. After a few runs, I became a believer of Inov-8’s claims, the advantages of coating the outsole with graphene.

 

Inov-8-Roclite-G-275-Lugs.jpg

Comfort & fit

This shoe was designed for neutral runners and was very comfortable right out of the box. The upper is a medium weight mesh that is flexible and molded well to my feet.

The mesh was very breathable and drained quickly when I dunked them in a creek. As noted above, the traction was exceptional, on par with the Salomon Speedcross series, but not as narrow as the Salomon which I found to be uncomfortable.

The midfoot support is provided by the ADAPTERWEB which locked in the foot but was not constricting. The toebox is roomy but not sloppy feeling.

Strengths

  • Incredible traction
  • Comfortable upper
  • Very good protection
  • Very good value for the price

Weaknesses

  • Midfoot cushioning could be a little better
  • Laces tend to become undone if not double or triple knotted

Conclusion

I loved this shoe and am really looking forward to wearing it for this season's trail races. The traction was the best I’ve ever experienced on technical trails, smooth rock, water crossings, and muddy trails.

Unlike many other trail shoes, this was a comfortable shoe that works very well for training and would be outstanding as a racing shoe.

John Matney | Level 3 expert Verified
I was born in Eugene, Oregon and thus, was preordained to be a runner. I have been a competitive runner for almost 50 years. I've also worked at a running store and been a member of the Oregon Track Club and other clubs and have done some coaching. I've been asked, "Who makes the perfect shoe?" My response is always the same: "There is no such thing as the perfect shoe; there is only the perfect shoe for you."

80
/100 by Calvin Hemmings, posted on .

I bought three of these pairs of Inov-8 Roclite 275 for the NDW100, the UTMB and general jogging all this year. The market price from Inov-8 was initially £130 per pair, but with a 30% discount, this was reduced to £91 per pair.

 

 

Nowadays, you can get them a little bit cheaper in a sale. Nevertheless, £91 is what you would expect to pay for a good quality trail running shoe.

After completing JOGLE in April 2019 with the Altra Torin 3.5 Mesh, I was glad to be back jogging on trails rather than on asphalt.

 

Specifications:

  • Brand: Inov-8
  • Model: Roclite 275
  • Fit: Standard Fit
  • Pronation: Neutral
  • Size: 9 (UK); 10 (US); 43 (EURO)
  • Colours: Black/Blue; Black/Yellow; Red/Black
  • Weight: 275 grams

 

Heel to drop

The heel to toe drop is 16 mm as per the Brooks calculation but using Inov-8 different calculation is 8 mm. The 16 mm drop is calculated as the midsole being 20 mm plus the heel height outsole of 28 mm, which equals 48 mm. 

 

 

The midsole is 20 mm plus the forefront height outsole of 12 mm, which equals 32 mm. The heel height of 48 mm minus the forefront height of 32 mm equals a heel-to toe-drop of 16 mm. A larger heal drop would mean this encourages a heel strike.

 

Inov-8 Roclite 8mm drop

 

As I have a supinator gait (one where the outside of the heel strikes the ground first), I'm trying not to have a heel strike where the wear pattern is neutral. This would make the trainers last longer.

This would also increase running efficiency and speed and make you less prone to injuries, particularly in the knees and hips. I experienced a wear pattern on the outer side of the sole, but this was more to the fact that I have a supinator gait.

 

Supinator gait left the studs worn out on the right trail shoe on the outside

 

Inov-8 claim that because the midsole has an 8mm drop, there is a 10 percent better shock absorption. I don't know whether I could agree with 10 percent, but there is certainly some absorption when jogging.

 

Inov-8 Roclite 275 shock absorption with Graphene symbol

 

The downside is that the absorption is at the heel and not at the forefoot. If your gait is a midfoot or forefoot, you can increase your cadence as you can push off once striking the ground.

For me, I'm trying to have a forefoot or midfoot strike pattern to increase my cadence. There's probably some scientific reason why not, but I'd like to see more cushioning at the forefoot.

Inov-8 also claim that because of the 8mm drop, there is a 15 percent better energy return. This is also due to the lightweight and flexible rock plate design. This supposedly gives underfoot protection.

I'm not convinced in jogging long distances. Like in the NDW100, I certainly felt the impact on my forefoot, particularly the metatarsals—especially when striking numerous stones.

 

The rock plate design in the middle of the Roclite 275

Grip

Although I could compare the grip to different makes and models, I'm just going to keep this in-house by comparing the grip on the Inov-8 Roclite 275 to the grip of the Inov-8 Terraclaw 250.

The Roclite 275 has hexagonal studs compared to the triangular stud shapes of the Terraclaw 250.

 

The hexagonal Roclite 275 studs with the dimples still intact

 

For many reasons, the grip on the Roclite 275 is better than the Terraclaw 250. The former has the Meta-Flex Graphene grip compared to the Dynamic Fascia Band found in the Terraclaw 250.

Secondly, the studs on the Roclite have a height of 7 mm whilst on the Terraclaw 250 is only 5 mm. Two millimetres does not sound much, but it does mean the grip will last longer before being worn down.

Thirdly, the studs are bigger in diameter. On the Roclite 275, they are 20 mm x 15 mm at their longest length. In comparison, the stud diameter on the Terraclaw 250 is 13 mm x 10 mm. More grip surface area means more grip on wet, muddy trails. 

Lastly, the Roclite 275 studs (unlike the Terraclaw 250) have little dimples. However, after a long run (12 miles), this has been worn down. I would have preferred if these dimples could have been implemented throughout the whole of the height of the stud and not just on its surface.

Imagine the scene: You are walking uphill with no trail just wet and muddy grass, which has turned to slush. You are not relying on trekking poles for extra grip—just your Roclite 275.

They got me up the hill without trekking poles and without losing my footing, just like what happened on numerous occasions at UTMB.

Hard-wearing upper

They are certainly not waterproof (although they don't claim to be). I did experience wet feet dashing through puddles and the like at the forefoot but certainly not at the heel.

Imagine the scene—you've trodden through a deep puddle, and your front feet are soaked. Once you've recovered onto a dry patch, you certainly can feel the water disperse out of the trail shoe, making your feet drier.

 

No wide toe box but the hard-wearing upper

 

The design does not have a wide toe box, so I did experience rubbing on my right small toe. The size was one size larger than I would normally accommodate, so I would have thought my feet had even more room to spread.

 

Rubbing on the right foot small toe

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Comfort
  • Value for money
  • Cushioning and responsiveness

Cons

  • Loud noise when running after high mileage
Calvin Hemmings | Level 2 expert Verified
Hi, my name is Calvin Hemmings. I enjoy running and have been running since 2009. I am in a constant search for challenges as I moved from running 10k's to marathons to ultra-marathons. After some research, I came across JOGLE (John O'Groats to Lands End). After completing over 10 marathons and 25 ultra-marathons, I completed JOGLE in 21 days (2018) and 17 days (2019). Now, I'm looking for a new challenge.

89
/100 by Andrew Fairclough , posted on .

Does any other sport offer a greater degree of versatility than running?

It really is the sport that keeps on giving which is the reason why, even as an experienced road runner, I grasped the opportunity to review the Roclite 275 trail running shoes with two hands…. well, two feet to be exact.

 

 

My review is written from the perspective of an experienced road runner transitioning to the world of trails.

Key features

Outsole  Graphene-enhanced 'G-grip'
Powerflow midsole 10% better shock absorption
Underfoot protection Next generation META-PLATE
Heel drop 8mm
Weight 275g per shoe
Price £130

First impression & aesthetics

Even before you have taken the shoes out of the box, Innov-8 have you chomping at the bit to pull the Roclite 275 on your feet and hit the trails; screaming at you from inside the box.

Up close and personal, these shoes are easy on the eye. In comparison to any conventional running shoe, you can immediately notice robustness and design geared towards the potential obstacles a trail runner so often encounters.

 

 

Of these features, the graphene-enhanced grip (G-grip) outsole and the hardwearing mesh upper immediately stand out.

Although, I should also add that such is the aesthetic appeal of these shoes my wife immediately stated ‘They would go really well with your black jeans’ not a running benefit but an additional selling point none the less!

Weight

The Roclite 275 is the fastest and lightest shoe in the Roclite range and as reflected in its name, each shoe weighs only 275 grams.

However, given the level of cushioning within the Roclite 275, it comes as a surprise that the shoe offers so much agility coupled with adequate protection without feeling like you are wearing a pair of wellies.

Fit

I found the Roclite 275 generous in their sizing so I would consider ordering a size smaller on my next purchase. This is saying something as I wear a UK SIZE 11 for the most part.

The laces, however, do go a small way in compensating for the extra room. They are long and sturdy, allowing you to pull the shoes tight and fasten the shoe securely. Although, I did ensure I wore sport two pairs of socks on a number of outings.

Around the ankle, the fit is notably comfortable and holds well around the midfoot, which is certainly a benefit for more ambitious terrain. Moving to the front of the shoe the toe box offers plenty of room for the toes to splay.

Construction

Inov-8 profess to have designed a shoe that is the ‘Swiss army knife of shoes.’ It is evident throughout the shoe that the Roclite 275 was constructed with protection in mind. 

The attention to detail as demonstrated by the thick and (sporting the shoe name below) at the front of the shoe is a testament to this. At the very least, you will not risk stubbing your toe, but these shoes offer much more than that.

 

 

The mesh upper is non-water-absorbing and protects the foot well in wet, muddy conditions. These meant my feet remained dry and yet while running in harder dryer conditions (which came as a surprise during April in Wales) the mesh allows the feet to breathe.

While the heel area in comparison consists of a stiffer fabric for added protection again, reflecting attention to detail, the midsole with POWERFLOW technology offers the much needed cushioning while the G-grip aids with traction (more below).

Midsole

The Roclite 275 features a POWERFLOW midsole with an 8 mm heel drop.  The more experienced runner might point towards this level of heel drop, encouraging a more pronounced heel strike.

 

 

Personally, for me, whether you strike with the heel or the mid-foot a more cushioned ride is something I consider preferential when encountering the obstacles synonymous with trail running.

Further to this Innov-8 claim that the POWERFLOW midsole gives 10% better shock absorption, which your knees undoubtedly will thank you after negotiating any particularly challenging inclines.

It is an achievement that the shoe offers a level of cushioning without compensating for the level of grip. This means your feet feel connected to the paths and trails at all times but in relative comfort.

Outsole

As mentioned previously, the outsole consists of an enhanced graphene grip, which allows for better traction and increased durability. 

While running at a relatively fast pace on wet, muddy challenging declines, I could have been forgiven for briefly envisaging myself as some sort of mountain goat/Spiderman crossbreed such was my confidence in the traction of the sole.

 

 

The marked difference between how a conventional running shoe would perform on any wet decline in comparison to the traction and confidence that the Roclite 275 give is a reason to purchase these shoes alone.

Performance

I have been a runner for the best part of 20 years, and even, so I feel privileged that I had the opportunity to review the Roclite 275. Not least because they are such a quality shoe but also because they have allowed me to explore the world of trail running.

Prior to setting out on exploring the trails around South Wales, I had anticipated that I would require a shoe that would not only be durable but provided adequate protection and comfort.

With all of this taken into account, the Roclite 275 ticks many of the boxes. From a comfort perspective, the shoe is not perfect as I experienced with the shoe feeling less forgiving over longer distances in dryer weather.

However, I found it to be a versatile shoe and adapts well to the ever-changing elements. It really does come into its own on the more treacherous wet, rocky terrain.

As mentioned earlier Inov-8 claim that the Roclite275  is the ‘Swiss army knife’ of trail running shoes.

If by this claim they mean the shoe is adept enough to adapt to any trail running obstacle then Innov-8 might well have a point..... still on that basis, they could always build in a pair of tweezers. 

Durability

I have run in my Rocilte 275 shoes for approximately 50 miles to date. Within that mileage, they have encountered a variety of terrains from rocky, wet, and muddy to dry, cracked and flat. 

I think it is fair to say these shoes have certainly been put through their paces. Whereas my recent road running shoes show signs of wear and tear after a similar distance, the Roclite 275 shoes have lasted the course.

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Supreme grip

Cons

  • Fit slightly on the larger side
  • Potential for upper to pinch slightly on longer runs

Summary

The Roclite 275 has given me a new lease of running life in my trail running journey.

They are an ideal running shoe to hit the trails, and whilst I accept that prior to this review, I was not considered an avid trail runner. I certainly know what to look for in a good running shoe.

 

 

The Innov-8 Roclite 275 provide comfort, protection, and durability, which I would consider to be the key features of any decent trail running shoe. Such is their prowess; I can’t wait to enter my first trail running a competition and put them to the test in a race environment.

However, in the meantime, I can’t find any shoes to wear out with my wife tonight, now where did I put my 275?

Andrew Fairclough | Level 2 expert Verified
Hi, my name is Andrew and I'm a qualified tennis instructor and rugby enthusiast. It's my dream to inspire others to join running for health benefits. Current PB's are 18:06 (5km) and 1:26 (half marathon).

- The upper of the Inov-8 Roclite 275 features the ADAPTERWEB technology. This component of the running shoe aims to provide a snugger and more secure fit from the heel to the forefoot.

- Utilized in the outsole area is the G-Grip. This graphene-enhanced rubber is focused on providing a better grip on a wide variety of surfaces. This is also essential in increasing the durability of the platform, making it withstand the hazardous nature of the trails.

- Improving the energy return is the responsibility of the PowerFlow. This material is described as a unique midsole compound that aims to increase shock absorption as well.

The Inov-8 Roclite 275 is a trail running shoe that is intended for those who have neutral foot mechanisms. The footwear utilizes the standard measurements when it comes to its sizing.

On a scale of 1-5, the Inov-8 Roclite 275 is graded 3. Grade 1 represents the most precise fit while Grade 5 has the representation of the widest fitting toe box.

The Roclite outsole material is integrated into the Inov-8 Roclite 275. This component of the shoe is described as a trail-specific outsole that is strategically designed for mixed terrains and hard-packed trails.

Along with the Roclite is the moderately aggressive lug pattern. The lugs offer impressive grip on both hard and soft surfaces.

Located at the forefoot area is the Meta-Flex groove. The primary purpose of this groove is to promote a more natural forefoot flex in the toe-off phase.

Utilized in the footwear is the G-Grip. This material is a graphene-enhanced rubber that is meant to deliver the right amount of traction needed by the runner. This rubber also aims to provide added durability.

The PowerFlow is utilized in the midsole of the Inov-8 Roclite 275. Described as a unique midsole compound, this material aims to improve energy return and increase shock absorption.

Extending from the forefoot to the midfoot is the Meta-Shank. This material is focused on providing a more flexible underfoot impact protection.

Acting as a rigid lever arm is the Fascia Band. This feature of the shoe runs from the heel to the forefoot area. This band is essential in releasing energy in every stride. After releasing energy, it allows the runner to efficiently and effectively propel forward.

A Hard Wearing Mesh is integrated into the upper of the Inov 8 Roclite 275. The primary focus of this material is to provide the foot a more breathable and lightweight coverage throughout the run.

Supporting the forefoot is the ADAPTERWEB. This component of the shoe aims to provide a more secure fit without compromising comfort.

The Roclite 275 comes with gaiter hooks that allows runners to easily connect the gaiter to the shoe. The gaiter is essential in keeping debris out of the foot chamber.

Size and fit

True to size based on 56 user votes
Small (16%)
True to size (82%)
Large (2%)
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Forefoot fit
Narrow Wide
Heel fit
Narrow Wide
Toebox
Tight Roomy

How Roclite G 275 compares

This shoe: 88
All shoes average: 85
58 99
This shoe: $135
All shoes average: $130
$60 $250
This shoe: 9.7oz
All shoes average: 10.4oz
5oz 24oz
Author
Jens Jakob Andersen
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