Last updated: 30-Dec-19
The inov-8 ROCLITE 275 shoe is the newest addition to a collection of shoes that are created with graphene soles. Graphene is acclaimed as the world’s strongest material and is 200 times stronger than steel. Inov-8 has infused graphene into the rubber outsoles, making the studs stronger, more elastic and harder wearing.
The shoe was recently put to the test by record-breaking runner Jasmin Paris who says: “The Roclite 275 worked superbly, giving me excellent grip, including on wet rock, while also providing cushioning underfoot.”
I have tested the ROCLITE 275, the lightest and fastest shoe in the ROCLITE range, on a variety of surfaces, including dry paths, mud and wet rock.
There are two more versions of the shoe, the ROCLITE 290 and ROCLITE 315 GTX.
`inov-8 Ambassadors Nicky Spinks and Paul Tierney. Photo credit: James Carnegie
- Outsole: Graphene enhanced “G-GRIP”
- Flexibility: Shoe moves with your foot, allowing you to adapt, react and grip on unpredictable terrain.
- Protection: Hard wearing mesh upper for “superb protection, comfort and unrivalled durability”.
- ADAPTERWEB upper design, which allows the materials to adapt to your changing foot shape and natural movements.
- Upper materials also non-water absorbing
- POWERFLOW midsole that gives 10% better shock absorption and 15% better energy return than standard midsoles.
- “Next-generation” METAPLATE for “even more underfoot protection”
- Drop: 8mm
- Footbed: 6mm
- Lug depth: 6mm
- Width “3”: Midway between narrow (B fit) and wide (2E fit)
- Weight per shoe 275g
- Price £130
- Unisex fit
- Male and female colours
Pros: What’s good about inov-8 ROCLITE 275 shoe
When a top runner such as Jasmin Paris highly rates a shoe, many people will take notice. Jasmin used only one pair of the inov-8 ROCLITE 275 shoe to complete – and win – the 268-mile Spine Race outright. Read about her win here.
Photo credit: Pete Aylward
She was impressed with how the shoe adapted to her foot and lasted the full race, coping with different terrains. She reported that the sole offered great grip, including wet rock, and provided cushioning underfoot.
When testing the inov-8 Roclite 275, I was surprised by the level of cushioning. It is not super bouncy but also not hard underfoot. It’s a somewhere-in-the-middle compromise and I liked the cushioning a lot.
This is the sort of shoe I would use on hard-packed trails and in the summer on dry terrain so the cushioning is welcomed.
I also liked that the cushioning did not reduce the grip and feel of being close to the trail which meant my foot felt connected to the paths and trails as I ran.
The fit, apart from the too-wide forefoot (see below), was generally fine. The length of the shoe was good and the heel cup was the right shape and height for my foot and ankle (also see below). The heel cup is also a little cushioned, as is the tongue of the shoe. I like this although other runners might prefer less cushioning.
The upper fabric and design appear to be created to be longer lasting as the shoe is more structured and sturdier at the rear end than other inov-8 shoes. It doesn’t feel overly stiff, rather it is supportive and seems likely to be durable.
There is plenty of protection where you might need it while running off-road, such as a robust rand at the toe-cap. There is further protection along the sides of the shoe and up to the laces.
The heel area is made from a stiffer and thicker fabric for protection in that area. It’s great to see this level of attention to detail with different areas of the shoe being protected according to what they might face whilst people run off-road.
The mesh upper also lets out water fairly easily. The water does not flow out as quickly as with other inov-8 shoes because there is a fair amount of protection around the shoe, however it didn’t seem to hinder the outflow too much either.
The shoe performs well in terms of grip. The sole has larger lugs than I recall from a previous Roclite version but this is not detrimental. I like the deeper lugs and greater grip, especially in mud. We get a lot of mud in Scotland and I need a shoe with a sole that can keep me on my feet.
The grip seems almost elastic in how it works, rather like rubber suction. It doesn’t hold you back but it does feel grippy all around the sole.
I think that graphene does offer great grip and the sole definitely looks more durable than other inov-8 trail shoes. I found that the sole seems to work better in drier rocky conditions than wet.
Another bonus is the weight – at 275g it feels lightweight and very easy to wear, especially for a trail shoe with cushioning.
Photo credit: Fiona Outdoors
Cons: What’s not so good about inov-8 ROCLITE 275 shoe
The fit is not great for me. The mid-width is far too wide. In contrast, my husband, who has the same length of foot as me, found the shoe to be a great fit in terms of width, especially in the forefoot area. He said: “The forefoot is great. I usually find an inov-8 shoe to be too narrow, but this time it’s perfect.”
However, while I found the heel cup to be a good fit, my husband said it was too wide and low for him.
I would like to see inov-8 making a female specific shoe. Presumably Jasmin has a wider foot than me, or perhaps because she has a shorter foot the width was not such an issue.
My UK8.5 feet are long but not wide and so I had to lace the shoe tightly and this created wrinkles and bulges in the upper fabric. This also led to the laces being far too long.
Saying this, I do like that inov-8 has introduced a width scaling for their shoes and you can check this out on their website.
I do think it’s a bit strange to have male and female colours but not a different sizing. The “female colour” is pale blue while the “male colour” is dark blue which I think is rather old-fashioned.
The drop of 8mm is a bit too much for my style of more natural footed running. However, again, my husband disagreed with me. He really liked the 8mm heel-to-toe drop as this is what he is used to with his other trail shoes. This goes to show how we all like different things in a running shoe.
While the grip is great and far better than many other shoes that I’ve tried I found the Roclite 275 didn’t perform as well on wet rocks. This is strange because I have found that other new inov-8s with the G Grip have been excellent on wet rock but the Roclite 275 didn’t quite match up. It’s good but not superb.
Make sure you try on this shoe before buying. It will fit some people much better than others. The Roclite 275 is a good upgrade from its previous sibling with great cushioning (for an inov-8 shoe), good upper protection and generally great grip. In my tests, it felt a little less secure on wet rock.
Others to try
About the writer: Fiona is a keen runner, preferring off-road and hilly to flat and road. She lives in Scotland where the weather is fickle so needs to be prepared for all conditions.
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