Inov-8 Roclite 345 GTX - A lightweight trail running shoe and hiking boot crossover
The Inov-8 Roclite 345 GTX is the perfect combination of lightweight, low profile cushion, aggressive traction, and moderate support, all in a waterproof package. This shoe is a great hiking boot for primarily trail runners, and a great trail running shoe for primary hikers.
Overall, this is a very comfortable and practical shoe, though Inov-8 could definitely improve a couple of aspects in the next iteration.
This review will examine ten important aspects of the Roclite 345 GTX.
The Roclite 345 GTX is an aggressive trail running/hiking shoe. The outsole consists of a slab of lightweight yet durable carbon rubber, which features deep multidirectional lugs.
These lugs securely bite into mud and snow. The rubber is not sticky enough to provide traction on sheer ice, but it will bite into any surface with any amount of giving.
The Roclite 345 GTX has a relatively thin midsole. The midsole is made of a lower density and softer cushion, so despite the thickness, the Roclite is still adequately cushioned.
The softer midsole comes at the expense of protection. When running and hiking on rocky terrain, every sharp rock can be felt through the midsole.
The midsole does not feature a rock plate to compensate for this, which allows for more ground feel. A ride that some feel is more natural, and others feel is uncomfortable.
Overall, the Roclite is a moderately comfortable shoe. The outsole provides enough traction to prevent uncomfortable slipping.
The midsole is soft and comfortable on terrain, which is a little less rugged, and the upper is lightweight and streamlined for a hiking boot. Therefore, it cannot provide the same amount of plush cushion that a heavier shoe could, but I am still happy to venture in this shoe all day.
There is some Goretex stitching in the heel area, which was a little uncomfortable. The inner lining of the shoe is not soft at all; I have to wear socks to prevent hotspots and blisters.
Another issue with the comfort of the shoe is that the laces don’t hold my feet in the right places to prevent my feet from sliding forward and jamming the front of the shoe when descending steep terrain.
A final issue with the comfort is that the shoe does not feature a substantial toe bumper, so my toes often bash the front when I hit a rock. These aspects need to be improved in future iterations of the shoe.
None of these issues are catastrophic but could be improved.
One of the biggest advantages of Roclite is the Gore-Tex liner. Gore-Tex is a membrane-permeable by air (but not by water), which provides both waterproofing and breathability.
My feet stay dry when walking through streams, snow, mud, and wet grass. Beware, rainwater will still enter the top of the boots, and it drains much more slowly.
These boots are best paired with waterproof gaiters for complete waterproofing. The upper also does not allow any debris to enter the shoe, which is fantastic.
The Roclite is impressively breathable, considering the Gore-Tex lining. My feet never heated up too much, but I also never used the shoe in the hottest summer months.
This shoe will never be as breathable as similar shoes without the Gore-Tex liner, so it is a tradeoff between wet and hot feet.
The Roclite has a long narrow fit. This shoe is not suited for those with wide feet. This shoe is tricky since the laces don’t hold down the foot very well; it must be exactly the right fit, or else it won’t perform well. Make sure to try on the boot first.
The Roclite is mainly a neutral shoe, though, being a boot, it inherently has some extra stability features.
There is a slight medial post, which helps with overpronation. Most notably, the boot hugs the ankles providing notable ankle support on uneven terrain.
As the name suggests, the Roclite 345 GTX weighs 345 grams or 12.17 ounces. This is extremely lightweight for a mid-height boot.
The part of the upper that rises above the ankle adds considerable weight, so I only use this shoe when I specifically need that feature.
An important aspect of any trail running shoe is the protection it provides your feet. The Roclite is a moderately protective shoe.
The outsole and midsole provide some protection from underfoot menaces, but it is not substantial. The toe bumper only provides the toes very minimal protection from trail hazards.
The upper is very strong. I have accidentally stabbed the toebox with my hiking poles many times.
Other shoes would break in this situation, but these did not. Although the upper is very tough, my feet still are susceptible to trail hazards since it is so thin.
Overall, this shoe is lacking in protection but makes up for it with the lightweight design. This shoe is great for those who tread carefully!
The Roclite has exceedingly good quality construction. The outsole rubber is very durable, the upper is very tough, and the midsole is decently durable.
The midsole will likely wear out before the other aspects of the shoe because lower density foam tends to be less durable. Even still, this shoe will still last around 500 miles, depending on the usage.
Despite all of my gripes with this shoe that I have focused on, this is a very good quality running and hiking shoe that I will likely wear out.
It could certainly be improved in certain areas. My favorite lightweight hiking boot is the La Sportiva Blade; I would only choose the Roclite 345 GTX in instances where there will be a mixture of trail running and hiking.
That being said, my pair of Blades is worn out, and I am happy wearing these instead at the moment. For Inov-8 enthusiasts, especially those who love the more minimal shoes such as the Trail Talon 235, and who are looking for a hiking boot, this is a fantastic option.
For others, this is a shoe definitely worth trying on. The Roclite 345 GTX is quite unique since it has a thinner slab of softer cushioning. Most comparable have much firmer or thicker cushioning.
If this appeals to you, check it out!