All in all, I like these shoes, these are ones of the lightest and most flexible trail-running shoes I have. It is protective and stable enough, at the same time providing a light ride and a bit softer step, - a bit more freedom to the feet than in most trail-running shoes. I would not recommend this shoe for those runners, who prefer a firm shoe with rich padding, but if you look for light, soft, and fast trail shoes, give Roclite 290 a try!
- Very comfortable
- Reasonable price
- Stiff upper
- Not for cold and wet weather
Inov-8 Roclite G 290 review
My latest running shoe hunt was for a light, small and softer model of trail running shoes. The choice felt for Inov-8 Roclite 290 that promised flexible and versatile shoe designed for speed.
Design & fit
Design is quite simple, with no specific aspects to highlight.
As for fit, for my standard size 38 EU (5 UK) I picked size 38.5 EU (5.5 UK) and the shoe fits well. I would recommend choosing half size larger size than your standard. The width is neutral.
At first, the shoe feels very thin for an off-road shoe, but its features prove any doubts wrong. The shoe did not require time for breaking in.
Upper of the Roclite G 290
The upper is made out of non-water absorbing mesh (Adapterweb), which supposed to provide extra comfort and adapt to the changing foot shape and natural movements.
I would not call the mesh adapting feature very visible or obvious; it is clear that it is comfortable, but it is not too elastic – adaption is limited.
The shoe is great for summertime, for wet and snowy seasons additional preparation needs to be maintained to keep the ride pleasant. Mesh is breathable, in windy winter you will feel it, so warmer or waterproof socks are the must.
The Inov-8 Roclite G 290 is protective
The toe protection cap is made of a harder rubber-like plastic that serves its purpose, but the soft mesh part of the toe box still would not be the best option on the gravel or other trail with sharp rocks.
The heel counter is lightly padded and not too firm. Also, as the shoe is low-flat with a low drop (4mm), the heel collar part feels lower than most other shoes. It is comfy, but was lower than my usual, - adaptation time was just one-two runs.
Overall, the shoe is padded lightly, the tongue is padded a bit thicker.
The tongue is sewn to the upper with elastic fabric and sits well in a correct position. Lace holes are replaced with elastic bands. Laces themselves are long, personally, I prefer longer ones.
Nice midsole cushioning
It is advertised that sole construction features a Powerflow midsole that gives 10% better shock absorption and 15% better energy return than standard midsoles, and the addition of the next-generation Metaplate gives even more underfoot protection.
Based on a 180 km run so far, I would agree with reasonable shock absorption. Overall, it gives the right feeling and no evidence of joint pains.
Durable and grippy outsole
The outsole is made of graphene grip material that promises better traction and increased outsole durability on diverse terrains. This checks out, sole provides good traction.
It has proved itself on soft and muddy forest trails, beach sands, snowy pathways, and it is alright if the path includes parts of asphalt or pavement. Meanwhile, soles do not show any sign of wearing after almost 200 km. Looking forward to assessing durability in a long term.
Light and fast ride
With Roclite 290 ride is light, comfortable, and fast. A shoe is a good option for trail runners, who prefer lightly cushioned and breathable shoes.
My longest run in these has been 20 km, comfort level does not change within this length of the run.
Feels better on dry trails in colder weather as wind and water will get you through the mesh upperparts. For soft forest trails, muddy paths and hilly terrain this shoe serve perfect.