Inov-8, purveyors of great shoes, beloved of fell and trail runners all over the land (recent launch here). Known for grippy tread in the slippiest of mud. Nowadays also known for hiking shoes too with their new Roclite Pro.
My previous experience of inov-8’s hiking range was pretty similar to their running shoes. In fact, the ROCLITE G345 GTX hiking boots, that I’ve been wearing for the last year, are pretty much a ROCLITE trainer with an ankle support. They’re super light, really flexible like a trainer, and a very similar fit.
Step forward the ROCLITE PRO G400. I was expecting it to be similar to the ROCLITE hiking books – essentially an inov-8 trainer with an extra bit round the ankle. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The ROCLITE PRO is a fully-fledged hiking boot with a lot more clout than the ROCLITE G345. But, importantly, they don’t suffer from some of the downsides of regular hiking boots.
The ROCLITE PRO feels good and sturdy when you first put it on, but it’s still light for a hiking boot at 400g. The tongue and ankle are well padded and make your foot feel comfortable and well protected. There are good solid metal loops for the laces, so you can get a really good fit. There’s plenty of room for your toes to move around but your foot still feels like it’s held in place nicely, so it won’t slide around and give you blisters.
The boots have a GORE-TEX enhanced upper with a ceramic coated fabric and I’ve found them really waterproof. Much more so than the ROCLITE G345 hiking boots, which are also waterproof but just don’t give as much protection. Again, the ROCLITE 345 boot is more like a waterproof trainer, but the ROCLITE PRO is more like a full protection hiking boot.
One thing the ROCLITE PROs don’t have in common with hiking boots, though, is rigidity. The sole feels much more flexible. They are enhanced with graphene for strength and durability, but this also allows the rubber to stay flexible. They’re also, as you’d expect from inov-8, nicely grippy. No worries about slipping down muddy hills. All in all I’d say that if you’re looking for a tough, durable, comfortable and flexible boot for fast hiking or a lot of use, then the ROCLITE PRO is a great option. It’s a really major departure from anything inov-8 has done before and it shows how serious they are about the hiking market.
Visit the inov-8 website here.