I was given the opportunity to test the Inov-8 Roclite 305.
At the same time, I was also sent the Inov-8 Park Claw 275 GTX, that review can be seen here.
I was very excited to get these shoes in as I have some ultra-marathon friends that train in Inov-8 shoes. I had never personally run in their shoes until doing these two.
Once the shoes arrived, I had to decide which shoes I was going to test first.
The first morning after receiving them, we received 8 inches of snow which made it difficult to get out to the trails so the Park Claw got the initial nod to head out into the snow.
It wouldn’t take long before the Roclite 305 were to hit the trail.
Don’t fret they clean up.
Prior to my initial run, I tried on the shoes to make sure they fit and was pleased with the shoes overall. The toe box was more traditional than the Park Claw and the shoes had more support.
The exterior has a black X shaped support on both sides along the exterior rear of the shoe which helps give the heel support. There's also attached structure at the laces, Inov-8’s Adaptaweb.
The adaptaweb helps give the laces extra support in the mid-foot. Unfortunately, just like the Park Claw these shoes lack arch support.
I pulled the insoles to see why there wasn’t any support and found that the Roclite 305’s insoles were not manufactured well. I ended up using my professionally made orthotic insoles to give my foot the support that they need.
I understand that this gives the shoe an added leg up compared to the manufactures insole but since I was testing two pairs of Inov-8 shoes, and the originals were not manufactured correctly, I used them.
These are a good-looking pair of shoes. The green and grey help hide dirt and they look modern. The shoe has a very aggressive tread pattern with a nice thick toe guard.
I’m pretty bad at banging my toes on rocks and trees while running and was happy to see the nice toe guard. The mesh is breathable but not so much that I got my toes covered in sand and dirt.
The initial run was an easy 31 mile, 50K muddy course covering some rock and snow.
The run was a two loop route and I brought a second pair of shoes just in case I need to bail on these. To my surprise, I decided to keep them on for the entire run.
The shoes handled mud very well however they struggled greatly on ice and snow.
I found the shoes comfortable for the long run especially with my insoles in them (I believe though that these shoes would still perform well with the Inov-8 insoles).
I was able to get just short of 300 miles on these shoes to date and enjoyed almost all of them.
Over the 300 miles, the shoes saw 99% trail and the last 1% was on gravel or tarmac in a parking lot plus a short jog on the treadmill.
The tongue of the shoe is very well padded and offers protection for the top of the foot, from the laces and anything else that your foot might encounter.
The laces have never come loose or untied on me during a run and provided good support.
The soles of the shoes have many well placed multi-directional lugs that are very deep. On each lug, there are little nipples to help with additional traction.
I do believe that if the lugs were sipped instead of the nipples, these shoes would be at the top for traction of any shoe that I have personally ever run in.
The soles are broken into three different sections, the forefoot (Meta-Flex), the mid foot (Metashank), and the heel (Terradapter).
The cuff of the shoe is made with a soft texture that if you run without socks won’t irritate your ankles in the least.
And the uppers are very breathable so unfortunately, it allows water to easily fill the shoe.
When I encountered water crossings, I knew that I was going to get my feet very wet, however, it runs back out quickly and will dry out decently.
The good part about all the water is that the shoes clean up very well.
I was amazed at how well these shoes handled mud. I could run through the really deep sticky type of mud and I would hear the suction forming around my shoes.
As I would step out, I could slight tug on my shoes but they always stayed on. Thinking that my next step was going to be a very heavy mud-laden step, I continually found myself surprised at how little mud was trapped in the lugs.
After 300 miles, the shoes look almost as good as the day they arrived.
The toe guards don’t appear to have taken any damage and the tread on the bottom still looks new. There are some dirt that got stuck in small seams but that’s about it.
I shot a short slow-motion video so that you can see the shoe in action on the treadmill. You can see that there isn’t any roll of the heel inward or outward.
Aside from the manufacturing of the insoles, I found the quality of the Inov-8 Roclite 305 to be top notch.
The laces always stayed laced, the tread wear is amazing and I have had no bad seams where dissimilar materials are stitched together. The shoes wore as well as any shoe that I’ve ever had.
Pro: Amazing mud eating trail shoes
Con: No real arch support
Buy these if you have low arches and enjoy technical trail running, especially if you’re a mudder.
Avoid these if you need to have arch support and only run on the tarmac.
Other shoes to consider: Scott Supertrac RC
I like the Scott slightly better but I think you would be happy with either. See my review of the Scott here.
Inov-8—A brand with a reputation for making some of the most respected trail shoes on the market and one which I was keen to try. I picked up a pair of Roclite 305 and hoped for the best.
The Roclite ticked my boxes: it's not a heavyweight but is cushioned, has an 8mm drop to suit my heel striking ways, and is designed for use on harder trail surfaces.
I mostly run on forest roads and trails, which vary from smooth and well-groomed, to harsh, loose, stony ground with small sections of dirt. I had high hopes.
Out of the box, the shoe is rugged-looking and clearly protective, with a substantial toe cap to shield your forefoot from rocky terrain.
They don't look exceptionally quick or cool, but that doesn't really seem to be what Inov-8 is about. Function with maybe just a smidgen of fashion—a shoe with purpose.
Note the prominent lower stack and flexibility on the forefoot
The minute I tried on the shoe, I was hooked; it just felt great!
It had a lower stack than what I had been used to, but this was a positive for me. It felt connected to the ground and instantly incredibly comfortable, which, looking at the shoe, I didn't expect.
On the foot, the Roclite feels much lighter than the claimed 305g weight. The Powerflow midsole is cushioned but supportive and feels great underfoot—just the right amount of cushioning for me.
The upper feels light and airy on the forefoot with the Meta Flex groove on the outsole, providing flexibility to add to the spritely feel. The Adapterweb lace loops allow for a precision fit, drawing in the upper at four points to provide a secure, locked-down feel.
Due to the substantial toe bumper, the front of the shoe can be unforgiving if you haven't got the fit quite right. I had issues during my first run in these with my foot slipping forward and causing discomfort to my toes. But, a quick stop and change to lace lock to keep my foot secure solved this.
The outsole is where Inov-8 is known to shine, and the Tri C Sticky compound doesn't disappoint. The directional claws, flat and wide, help with ground feel and grip well on a variety of surfaces.
I feel confident and protected cruising over rocky terrain. The only issues I have had with grip were on steep, tricky grass, and dirt section of my usual run where I lost my footing on two occasions.
Disappointing in a trail shoe, but not entirely surprising given that this is not the surface the shoe was made for.
I have been a little disappointed with the wear to the lugs where I heel strike. But, it's not entirely unexpected given the soft rubber compound they have used. I can't see the sole lasting more than 300 miles for me.
Wear to the sole. Am I expecting too much?
Having run over 100 miles in the Roclite 305, I can say that it's a very comfortable and versatile shoe with great ground feel. It's my current go-to for anything up to 20km runs, both race and training.
My pair are just a little neat on my feet. And, with a half size bigger, I'm quite confident I could rack up some big miles in these. Inov-8 athlete Jasmin Paris wore this model to win the 2019 Spine Race, which at 268 miles is no walk in the park.
I wear a UK10/EU45 in most shoes, and the Roclite 305 is pretty true to size. But, I'd like a little more room for longer runs. It sizes a 3 on Inov-8's fit scale with 1 being the most precise and 5 being the widest.
If you are considering purchasing an Inov-8 shoe, it's worth paying attention to this scale. I contacted their customer service with a question before buying, and they were accommodating and efficient, which always inspires confidence in a manufacturer.
This is a rock-solid trail shoe providing ample protection and great performance in a relatively lightweight package. The Inov-8 brand has a very loyal following, and I can see why.
This is a very well-thought-through shoe. It's a shoe that I have become very attached to and would confidently recommend to anyone who regularly runs on rocky or hard ground.
The Roclite isn't a jack of all trades, but it is a master of some!
Condition after 100+ miles
-5 for specificity of grip
-5 for wear on sole
-5 for cost (based on rrp of £145)
Good to know
- The Inov-8 Roclite 305 is a running shoe that’s meant for varied trails. This iteration in the Roclite stable has been created with more cushioning, protection and traction, therefore allowing the neutral runner to take on any distance. It has vibrant yet consistent color schemes; these shoes aren’t too showy, but they’re neat and cool-looking.
- The upper unit of the Inov-8 Roclite 305 features durable yet breathable mesh material. It makes up the main fabric of this model. It provides protection and ventilation for the foot of the runner. Synthetic webbing is also used here, and it wraps around the foot in a secure manner, but it also adapts to the motion and shape of the foot during the running session.
- Protective elements are present in this running shoe. There’s a rubber toe cap, which prevents stubbing. A Meta-Shank is placed in the midsole to protect the underside of the foot from jagged trail objects. A gusseted tongue prevents small debris from infiltrating the inner foot-chamber.
- The mid-sole unit of the Inov-8 Roclite 305 makes use of a foam technology that’s responsive and durable. It is capable of returning energy to the runner, as well as absorbing impact shock during foot-strike. This shoe incorporates the 2 Arrow Shock Zone, which delivers a combination of comfortable cushioning, responsive performance and protection for the underside of the foot.
- This version utilizes a Tri-C compound, which is basically three rubber compounds mixed to make a robust outsole system. It is capable of delivering traction on different types of surfaces. It doesn’t wear off easily, as well. The gripping lugs on the surface are moderately aggressive. They function well as clamps that cling to surfaces.
The sizing schemes used for the Inov-8 Roclite 305 are of the standard. They follow the regular preferences of runners. The available width for both the men and women’s versions is medium. It is able to accommodate the runners who have medium sized feet. The semi-curved shape of this shoe mimics the natural curve of the human foot.
The outsole unit of the Inov-8 Roclite 305 features the Tri-C Compound, which is a high-quality material that’s made from 3 different rubber units. It protects the mid-sole from the abrasive nature of the trails. It is also responsible for surface traction, which is important for every run. The outsole is sturdy and grippy as the Cascadia 13 from Brooks Running.
The Roclite design of the outsole has a lug pattern that’s moderately aggressive. It’s efficient on multiple types of surfaces, from soft ground to hard-packed topography. The gripping lugs face different directions, which is helpful when it comes to upward and downward traversals.
The Meta-Flex™ is a horizontal flex groove in the forefoot area. It facilitates natural flexibility, and it’s helpful when it comes to making the toe-off more natural and enabled.
A unique underfoot cushioning material is used for the Inov-8 Roclite 305. Called the PowerFlow, it provides the runner with 15% better return of energy and 10% better shock absorption than regular mid-sole foams on the market.
A Meta-Shank is added to the midsole. This rock plate shields the underside of the foot from potentially injurious objects or surfaces while traversing the great outdoors.
This running shoe employs a 2 Arrow Shock Zone, which means that the midsole has an 8-mm drop and a combination of responsive cushioning and protection for the underfoot.
Durable mesh material is used for the Inov-8 Roclite 305. It covers the foot and keeps it secure. Its breathable nature allows it to provide ventilation for the runner, even after long-running sessions on the trail.
The ADAPTERWEB Cradle is a webbing that’s made of lightweight synthetic materials. It supports the foot and keeps it wrapped in a secure fit. There are no stitched sections when it comes to this system, so it’s also able to give a smooth coverage.
The X-LOCK System uses overlays that are welded onto the rear of the upper. Shaped like an ‘X’, these medial and lateral add-ons hold the rear of the foot in place and prevent it from going out of the shoe unintentionally.
A rubber Toe Cap guards the forefoot by acting like a protective layer against rocks and other surfaces.
A Gusseted Tongue prevents small debris from entering the foot-chamber and causing any discomfort to the runner. Gaiter Hooks are added to the upper. They allow the runner to attach protective gaiters if the need for more anti-debris protection arises.