Facts

Terrain

Road

Shoes best for road, track and light gravel. See the best road shoes.

Trail

Shoes best for trail, off road, mountains and other unstable surfaces. See the best trail shoes.

Good to know

As long as you stick to the road or path, and if you want just one running shoe, buy a road running shoe.

Arch support

Neutral / cushion / high arch

Shoes for runners who do not need any additional arch support (Around 50% of runners). Best for people with normal, high or medium high arches. See the best neutral shoes.

Stability / overpronation / normal arch

Shoes for runners who need mild to moderate arch support (Around 45% of runners). Best for runners with a low arch. See the best stability shoes.

Motion control / severe overpronation / flat feet

Shoes for runners who needs a lot of arch support. Best for runners with flat feet. See the best motion control shoes.

Good to know

- Rule of thumb: If in doubt, buy neutral shoes to avoid injuries.
- More about arch support in this video.
- Find your arch type by following steps from this video.

Daily running

Cushioned shoes for your daily easy running. Great comfort. See best shoes for daily running.

Competition

Lightweight shoes good for races, interval training, tempo runs and fartlek. Here are the best competition running shoes.

Good to know

If you want just one pair of shoes, buy a shoe for daily running.

Price
$120
Weight
Men: 10.2oz
Women: 10.2oz
Show more facts

Road

Shoes best for road, track and light gravel. See the best road shoes.

Trail

Shoes best for trail, off road, mountains and other unstable surfaces. See the best trail shoes.

Good to know

As long as you stick to the road or path, and if you want just one running shoe, buy a road running shoe.

Neutral / cushion / high arch

Shoes for runners who does not need any additional arch support (Around 50% of runners). Best for people with high or medium high arches. See the best neutral shoes.

Stability / overpronation / normal arch

Shoes for runners who needs arch support (Around 45% of runners). Best for runners with a normal arch. See the best stability shoes.

Motion control / severe overproanation / flat feet

Shoes for runners who needs a lot of arch support. Best for runners with flat feet. See the best motion control shoes.

Good to know

- Rule of thumb: If in doubt, buy neutral shoes to avoid injuries.
- More about arch support in this video.
- Find your arch type by following steps from this video.

Daily running

Cushioned shoes for your daily easy running. Great comfort. See best shoes for daily running.

Competition

Lightweight shoes good for races, interval training, tempo runs and fartlek. Here are the best competition running shoes.

Good to know

If you want just one pair of shoes, buy a shoe for daily running.

The height difference from the heel to the forefoot, also known as heel drop, toe spring, heel to toe spring or simply drop.

There are many opinions about what a good heel drop is. We do not recommend any in particular. Lean more in this video.

Summary

We spent 7.6 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

10 reasons to buy

  • Many purchasers liked the visual aesthetics of the Inov-8 Roclite 290; they wrote that the colorways were nice to look at.
  • A number of runners noted that they really felt comfortable while wearing this trail running shoe.
  • Runners were generally satisfied with the performance given by this shoe; they stated that it allowed them to be more confident and secure while traversing the off-road paths.
  • A reviewer felt that its lightweight nature was adequate and agreeable for his adventures in the great outdoors.
  • The upper was able to hug the foot in a snug and secure manner, according to a tester.
  • The outsole’s grip capability was reliable, a runner noted.
  • The general durability of this shoe received some praise from those who have tried it.
  • A purchaser commented that the toe cap was able to prevent forefoot stubbing.
  • Inov-8’s strategic placement of the lugs keeps mud from clinging to the outsole.
  • It scored points in the opinions of a handful of runners for its flexibility.

4 reasons not to buy

  • It ran half-a-size small, according to several testers.
  • A handful of reviewers wanted a gusseted tongue to keep trail debris out.
  • It felt too narrow for a few runners.
  • The ventilation is compromised because of the dense and tightly-woven upper, according to a few reviewers.

Bottom line

Many runners were able to enjoy the performance of the Inov-8 Roclite 290. They commented that it was efficient and capable when it came to their adventures in the great outdoors. They liked the looks of this neutral shoe, as well as its comfortable mid-sole and its moderately aggressive outsole. There were those who had some concerns with it, but the nitpicks didn’t lessen the overall happy experience of consumers.


Rankings


Ratings

4.3 / 5 based on 32 ratings

5 star
69%
4 star
13%
3 star
9%
2 star
3%
1 star
6%

My Rating

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.

Are you an expert? Apply to contribute here.

90 / 100 based on 12 expert reviews

  • 95 / 100 by RunRepeat • Matthew Leonard • Level 3 expert

    If you want a trail shoe that you can just lace up and then head out onto any terrain, and not even have to think about until you take it off at the end of the run, then this is that shoe.

  • 92 / 100 by RunRepeat • Paul Myatt • Level 3 expert

    The Roclites are more about long distance comfort than all out speed. They don’t feel super heavy but not super light either. The tread and cushioning allow you to run at a good pace that you can keep up for a fair while.

  • 100 / 100 by Men's Running • Men's Running • Level 3 expert

    Overall? A great choice for any trail runner. It feels light, flexible and reliable when put to the test.

  • 86 / 100 by Backcountry Edge • Luke • Level 3 expert

    The Inov-8 Men's Roclite 290 is a lightweight, durable, all-around shoe.

  • 87 / 100 by Ian Corless • Ian Corless • Level 4 expert

    The 290 has many of the characteristics of the 305 and 325 and quite simply is a shoe that is lighter, more flexible and less cushioned for faster/ shorter runs for an efficient runner. The outsole is the same, the upper is almost the same but incorporates the ‘Y’ Lock instead of the ‘X’ lock and all these elements make sense to me.

  • 90 / 100 by Trail & Kale • Alastair Dixon • Level 3 expert

    With all that said, I think its quite clear that I really enjoyed running in the Roclite 290s. I cant wait to put more miles in with them.

  • 83 / 100 by Run Ultra • Fiona Outdoors • Level 3 expert

    The cushioning is fine, so long as you do not venture on to hard and stony trails where you can feel [sic] they stones under the foot.

  • 93 / 100 by Moor Outdoors • David Searle • Level 1 expert

    I highly recommend these shoes, they have performed fantastically on every run I have taken them on so far, are highly versatile and look fantastic.

  • 91 / 100 by thepianorunner • Heidi Davies • Level 1 expert

    I can honestly say, I will be using the ROCLITE 290 frequently over the coming months; both for my training preparation for the up and coming mountain season and also for racing on the mountains and trails over the summer.

  • 90 / 100 by Kong's Adventures • Kong's Adventures • Level 1 expert

    I've used them in snow, I've used them through soft mud, I've used them down steep hills, and I've used them on steep climbs, and I've been really impressed.

  • 90 / 100 by Kong Adventure • Dan Roach • Level 1 expert

    After a week with these awesome all-rounders, my opinion has been cemented. If you want one shoe to fit them all, or an entry level shoe for getting into off road running, this is hands down the best shoe money can buy.

  • 88 / 100 by Northern Runner • Charlie • Level 1 expert

    The fact is, after a few longer runs the shoes have become much more flexible and a bit softer underfoot too, which is great.

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These are visual presentations, not reviews


Updates to Inov-8 Roclite 290

  • The Inov-8 Roclite 290 is a performance trail running shoe for runners who have a neutral foot-pronation. This model in the Roclite stable of off-road shoes is lightweight and flexible. It has a non-bulky design that’s unlike most of its ilk. It also has a smooth and consistent upper construction, which makes it visually appealing.
  • The upper unit of the Inov-8 Roclite 290 utilizes a lightweight and breathable mesh in order to provide comfortable coverage for the foot of the wearer. The open construction of this material maintains ventilation, which is helpful when it comes to long trail running sessions. Synthetic webbing and welded overlays hug the foot in place and prevent it from wiggling inside the shoe.
  • The mid-sole unit of this running shoe makes use of a foam technology called the PowerFlow. It provides responsive cushioning and shock absorption, making the runner more energized and enabled with each step. The second-generation Meta-Shank in the mid-sole serves as a shield against rocks and other debris on the trail.
  • Three different rubber compounds are used for the external sole unit of the Inov-8 Roclite 290. They work together in order to protect the mid-sole and the foot of the runner from abrasion and other aggressive objects on the trail. A moderately aggressive lug pattern is present in this shoe. It’s designed for various types of ground, even rocky and uneven terrains.

Inov-8 Roclite 290 size and fit

The Inov-8 Roclite 290 has a standard running shoe length. It comes in sizes that follow the regular preferences of runners. The available width for the men and women’s versions is medium. It allows those with medium sized feet to acclimatize well to it. The semi-curved shape mimics the natural curve of the human foot.


Outsole

The outsole unit of the Inov-8 Roclite 290 features the Tri-C compound, which is a combination of three rubber units that work together to provide high-quality traction and protection against surface abrasion. It doesn’t peel off easily, as well.

The Rocklite design of the outsole has moderately aggressive gripping lugs. This design allows the shoe to be efficient on multiple types of surfaces, including hard or rocky trails.

The Meta-Flex™ is a horizontal groove in the forefoot section of the shoe, and it allows the runner some flexibility in order to move more naturally through the gait cycle. The forefoot toe-off is the phase that benefits most from it.


Midsole

The PowerFlow is a cushioning technology that’s present in the Inov-8 Roclite 290. It provides the runner with 10% more shock absorption and 15% better energy return than most industry-standard mid-soles. It’s responsive, flexible and it doesn’t sag easily.

A rock plate called the second-generation Meta-Shank shields the underside of the foot from rocks and other potentially injurious objects on the trails. Its presence doesn’t sacrifice the flexibility of the shoe.

This shoe has a 1 Arrow Shock Zone, which means that it has a 4 mm drop, as well as medium levels of responsiveness and cushioning.


Upper

Breathable mesh is used for the upper unit of the Inov-8 Roclite 290. It protects the foot and keeps it comfortable by accommodating airflow into the foot-chamber. It’s also light and flexible.

The ADAPTERWEB Cradle is a webbing that’s made with synthetic materials. It wraps around the foot in a secure manner, and adapts to the motion and swelling of the foot during each running session.

The Y-LOCK System is made of welded overlays that keep the rear of the foot in place, thus preventing wobbliness and unintentional shoe-removals.

A Toe Cap acts as a shield that prevents objects and surfaces from causing pain or injury if the foot collides with them during the run.

There are Gaiter Hooks on the shoe. They allow the runners to easily affix gaiters if they want additional protection from debris.