Apr 21, 2009 at 7:27 pm #1235779
Hi everyone. I've read as many posts about Inov-8 as possible. I hike in the Adirondacks where the trails are very rocky. I currently use Montrail Namche, Salomon Mega Trek 6 or TNF Ultra 104a all of which have beefier soles than I would expect with the Inov-8.
The Inov-8s have received glowing reviews and would like to lighten the load but am not sure they would be appropriate for the Adirondacks.
Would the various Inov-8 shoes be able to handle the rocks? I've worn running shoes before and have had the bottoms of my feet become horribly sore from too little support from the shoe's bottom especially when descending on rocks.
Any thoughts would be appreciated.Apr 21, 2009 at 8:00 pm #1496036
I have the same question but specific for the Inov-8 370 mid-height boots, and for the John Muir Trail — has anyone hiked with them on the JMT? comments?
ps – when you reply, please indicate the duration of your hike, terrain conditions, weight of pack, and whether you used superfeet insoles or some other sort of 3rd party insole.
I am training with the INov-8 307s with the Green Superfeet Insoles in them.
Thanks!Apr 21, 2009 at 8:25 pm #1496044
@josh_kuntzLocale: Idaho & Montana
I have been wearing a pair of Inov8's for going on 3 years. I don't know the specific model, but I believe they are on the low-end of the padding spectrum. (they look similar to the current Flyroc 310). They are very light and flex easily.
I have worn the shoes on dozens of elk hunting trips (mostly 4-8 mile day hikes)in Montana carrying 8-20lbs. I also wear the shoes trail running and have done 2 sprint distance triathlon in the shoes.
For me they have been terrific in the rocks and on trails or other smooth terrain. I absolutely love the shoes and will definitely be getting another pair if/when I feel this pair eventually wears out.
I've had no trouble with the durability of the shoe and have had no troubles with my feet. I will say that I tend to have "durable" feet generally speaking.Apr 21, 2009 at 8:31 pm #1496046
@tarasbulbaLocale: Rocky Mountains
Edward, it depends on which Innov8 I guess as some of them are pretty light. I have experience with the 370 and 390 GTX, so I can only speak to those.
Since I also hike in the Namche at times I can give you an objective comparison. As you already know, the Namche has a fairly ridged sole with little flex except at the forefoot, and even that part is somewhat stiff. When I first started wearing them I was immediately sold, primarily because they performed in many respects like my vibram & leather hiking boots (good support, protection from sharp rocks) except that they were lighter and breathed better, which resulted in drier feet and thus fewer blisters. I thought man-o-man this is it! No more looking for a shoe that my feet like! Then I discovered a downside. The tread is unusual in that probably 50% of it is comprised of lateral bars, something I initially didn't give a second thought to at first. But after having my feet go out from under me SIDEWAYS, twice, which has never happened to me before with any other boot in decades of hiking, I would counsel others not to use these boots on solo, x-country excursions. However, they are great for rough trail use if you like that old school boot feel.
Enter the Innov8. At first I didn't know what to make of them…them seemed flimsy. Maybe even poorly made. Well, I'll give 'em a try I thought. It was like going barefoot or wearing moccasins…I could really feel the trail, but to my surprise, without feeling sharp stones poking through. The sole looks thin but really is tough (though in all fairness I recall reading about someone experiencing a delamination problem). And you won't have to suffer the shock of having your feet go out from under you sideways. The lugs on these boots are more like the traditional waffel stomper design and really grip.
But back to the moccasin-like feel of these shoes. They are so different that you can adapt a new style of walking from that require by a stiff boot. A stiff boot, by virtue of its construction, requires that you lumber along with heel strikes as the main defining action of walking, almost like goose steeping. In contrast, with a moccasin you can employ what Bob Wood in his book called the "Indian step": a style of walking long used by cross-country skiers, gymansts and, of course, Indians. It is a much more efficient way of travel…fast and light!
Anyways, to answer your question, yes, in my considerable use of these shoes both off trail and rough trail, they are adequate to the task and better than some.Apr 21, 2009 at 8:34 pm #1496047
I have a pair of TerRoc 330s. They're fine as long as I'm on the trail. I geocache occasionally and sometimes I have to do a minor bushwack to the cache. I've stopped wearing the 330s while geocaching due to the lack of protection on the top and sides of the shoes. I've been banged up a few times.
BTW, I believe Quoddy did the whole Long Trail in these.Apr 21, 2009 at 9:43 pm #1496060
When descending a mountain, and the trail is almost entirely rocks, something has to absorb the impact of the foot hitting the rock. If the shoe feels so flexible what is in the shoe that is absorbing the impact?
With sturdy-bottomed boots the impact can be spread over the entirety of the bottom of the boot. How is that impact dispersed with a flexible-bottomed shoe like Inov-8 to avoid one's foot bearing the lion's share of the brunt of the force?Apr 21, 2009 at 9:48 pm #1496061
Having not used Inov-8(but thinking about getting a pair for rocky terrain myself), runningwarehouse.com offers free shipping in both directions, plus they seem to have good prices. So there is no cost to ordering a pair and trying them out around your house.
The Inov-8 website is pretty detailed about what shoes are good for what activities. There's a description of various types of terrain/activities. and you can click on each and see their recommendation for best to least best for each.
As far as 'feeling the trail', my understanding is that that is one of the the thin soles and the flexibility that comes with that is one of the postitvie features of Inov-8's. If you're able to do it often enough, your feet will toughen up over time. I recently took the Orange Superfeet out of my Salomon trail runners. I put them in because I could 'feel the trail' with the standard insoles. However, the superfeet added about 1.5 oz per shoe. I found that the lighter protection for my soles bothered me at first, but after a few trips running over fire roads with baby fist sized rocks, I wasn't bothered as much. (Maybe because I just paid more attention to wear I put my feet). There's a thread somewhere about barefoot hiking and how our feet are actually ruined by modern footwear. I'm not about to go barefoot, but I'm willing to explore less padded shoes that allow my feet to walk more naturally.Apr 21, 2009 at 9:57 pm #1496062
@tarasbulbaLocale: Rocky Mountains
Wiia, quite right. That was just a regionalism, you might say. But as the body of the post says, their apparent fragility belies their ability to handle rough terrain.
Wiia, you deleted your post that I was responding to. Oh well.Apr 22, 2009 at 5:26 am #1496099
Monty – you have used the 370 and 390 and, in your original post, you mention that they were "adequate to the task and better than some".
I am not quite sure what that means. Would you kindly expand on that comment. Thanks.Apr 22, 2009 at 7:26 am #1496128
I've worn my 390's on three trips now (including this past weeknd) and am putting them on the back shelf for the rest of this hiking season. I hike mostly in northern PA – lots of rocks and uneven surfaces. I really wanted to like these boots (they felt great from the moment I first put them on) but they don't give me enough support or cushioning. At the end of each day the bottoms of my feet are absolutely killing me.
I'm a big guy (250 lbs) and, even though my pack weight never tops 20 pounds, I think I may be pushing the limits for these shoes. Note: I haven't tried any inserts or other cushioning because I've never had to with any other boots.
I'm going back to my Asolo's for my longer trips and will keep the 390's for sometime in the future.Apr 22, 2009 at 7:40 am #1496134
Kevin, describe your Asolo's — model name, is it mid-height, weight. Breathability? Etc. Thanks!Apr 22, 2009 at 7:54 am #1496139
My Asolo's are the FSN 95 GTX "Lightweight" hiking boots. They're mid-height and have always been very comfortable. I haven't weighed them but will tonight when I get home.
My feet don't get hot in them, but I don't think I'd ever describe them as "breathable." I've worn them for a number of trips in Rocksylvania and have never had foot pain like I did with the Roclites, even when doing the same trail.Apr 22, 2009 at 8:14 am #1496146
Kevin thanks, I see the sibling boots by Asolo are about 140 grams lighter, such as the Asolo Lander mid-heights. 476 grams versus 615 grams for a single man's size 8 UK boot (single boot not pair).
Ever try those on?Apr 22, 2009 at 8:27 am #1496152
I've hiked exclusively in Salomon trail runners over the past 3 years (XA Pro 3D) and have recently tried Inov-8 Flyroc 310's. The jury is still out on them (for fit reasons) but after one trip, I can tell you one thing I like better than the Salomon's is the sole and its tread. The lugs are much deeper than the Contragrip sole Salomon uses on runners. It's beefier and grips much better in mud/wet terrain. It holds well on loose & wet rock. I've not used them long enough to determine how durable they are compared to Salomon.
I think you are more interested in the mid sole and padding the shoe affords. Regarding the Salomon XA Pro's vs. Inov-8 Flyrocs I'd say the two shoes are about the same in underfoot protection, with the slight edge maybe going to the Flyrocs. I don't find the added foot flex (of which I don't notice much difference) touted by Inov-8 to make much difference in discomfort a rocky trail might cause. To sum up, if trail runners have presented issues for you in the past the Inov-8's are unlikely to produce different results.Apr 22, 2009 at 8:52 am #1496159
@johnnybgood4Locale: New Hampshire
I use the RocLite 295 with a custom superfeet insole for hiking in the Whites of NH and Maine, and I will never use boots again except when crampons are necessary or its really cold.Apr 22, 2009 at 9:25 am #1496169
I haven't tried any other Asolo boots – I put the FSN 95's on and instantly loved them.
EMS sells the Superfeet custom insoles near me. I have a trip planned at the end of May where I could try my Roclite 390's again (with the new insoles) and see if it makes a difference. This is a unique trip in that we're planning to cache some gear at our first night site so I could leave my Asolo's there to use for the rest of the trip (just in case). We'll see.Apr 22, 2009 at 11:30 am #1496200
Did you try the 295 without superfeet first? If so, did you ind then uncomfortable on the White's rocky trails?Apr 22, 2009 at 11:38 am #1496202
@johnnybgood4Locale: New Hampshire
Did you try the 295 without superfeet first? If so, did you ind then uncomfortable on the White's rocky trails?<<<
I can't recall exactly when I started using the superfeet. I'm pretty sure though that for me the standard insert would not be beefy enough for that terrain.Apr 22, 2009 at 11:40 am #1496204
@mikefaedundeeLocale: Under a bush in Scotland
I've put a few miles into my Inov8 Roclite 295's and have found them very comfy. 95% of my hiking is off-trail on rocky, boggy, mountainous terrain. The Inov8 range is aimed at the off-road running fraternity mainly, and most runners are pretty slim. The cushioning might not be enough if you're a big guy.Apr 22, 2009 at 11:41 am #1496206
That's what I thought. I might try the insoles.
BillApr 22, 2009 at 2:55 pm #1496251
@adrianbLocale: Auckland, New Zealand
I've worn through 4+ pairs of Terroc 330s, 1 pair each of Flyroc 310 + Roclite 295s on all sorts of terrain, rocks, scree, snow, mud, steep, flat, whatever. Never had any issues with sore feet from lack protection or support.
It may just be something your feet get used to, rather than trying to pick a protective shoe. That said, the Terrocs have a bit stiffer sole than some of the other Inov8s (I choose it for the fit though).Apr 23, 2009 at 1:27 pm #1496544
Well, yesterday I went for a trail run with the new 305s and loved them. Soft, cushiony and very light. No problems hitting rocks or tree roots. Haven't taken them up the mountain yet which I will do.
Today, I went on a hike in the Adirondacks with the 318GTX and they were awesome. Roclite is a perfect name because these shoes rock! I was stepping on and bouncing off rocks all day and the shoes performed like a star. My feet feel fine. I was concerned they would feel like they were pounded with a two by four. No way. Going on hikes each of the next three days so I'll put these two pair to the test.
I am a Inov-8 believer after only two days.Apr 25, 2009 at 11:17 am #1496935
Just finished a hike today and the trail was almost entirely rocks. The 305 performed beautifully. Plenty of cushion…they gobbled up the rocks. I could rock hop and motor down the mountain without any stress on my feet. They still feel fine.
I'm in my middle 50s and have never, ever worn any hiking shoe that comes close to these. I will echo what someone said earlier…. I will never wear another hiking shoe until winter arrives and I need crampon capability. I may play around with different models.
So, I feel I've answered my question which started this thread. The answer is, yes, the Inov-8 can not only handle rocky terrain, they tear IT apart; not the other way around.Apr 27, 2009 at 12:51 pm #1497316
@chrisnLocale: Canada west coast
I have a pair of Inov8 Roclite 320s and only felt they didn't have enough underfoot protection on one hike last year. The Salal Creek trail isn't developed and follows the rockbed of the creek for most of it's 10 mile length. The rocks range from good size pebbles to bowling ball size and none are very stable. After the creek bed, you are on to glacier moraines. You finally get relief on volcanic pumice flats. I started feeling a pain just behind the ball of my foot of one foot when I stepped on a rock there (which was most of the time since that's my balance point). I think a thicker insole (I just had the stock one) would have helped.Apr 27, 2009 at 1:16 pm #1497322
@jkrew81Locale: White Mtns
in theory you are correct that you need some shock absorbtion, and Inov8's while "flimsy" in comparison to other shoes do still have cushion. What I have found is with a lighter shoe like these you tend to get into the habbit of placing your feet instead of thumping down the trail. It is similar to being barefoot, but with a fair amount of protection. You will feel the rocks under your feet, but it is not like you will feel every stick and pebble like you would in a pair of Vibram 5Fingers. I have used 4 pairs of Inov8's and they have all been awesome but the Roclite 315's are my overall fav's for what I do….
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