At the beginning of December I was lucky enough to receive a test pair of the INOV-8 Roclite 315. I directly wondered if this new version could be any better than the Roclite 305 which I really like as multi-terrain trail shoe and which was one of my favourite trail shoes this year (together with the Trailroc 285) – see my earlier reviews on the Trailrun goodies review page.
I tested the Roclite 315 these last six weeks, accumulating in total 360 kilometres in very diverse circumstances including snow / sleet and rain, thick / thin / sticky and deep mud, forest / grass / road / gravel and stony paths, short / long and multi-day trails.
With these experiences I feel comfortable to write down my thoughts of the Roclite 315.
In the ever increasing INOV-8 Roclite family you will also find, besides the 305 and new 315:
- a little lighter version: the Roclite 290 (4mm drop);
- a version with Gore-Tex for both the 305 and 315: the Roclite 305 GTXand Roclite 315 GTX;
- a boot-design (both with or without Gore-Tex): the Roclite 325 (GTX) and a new version of the boot-design (Gore-Tex only): the Roclite 320 (GTX).
I have no experience yet with these other versions.
INOV-8 writes that the ‘new’ of the Roclite 315 is in the ‘upper part’ of the shoes. The mid- and out-sole are unchanged compared to the Roclite 305. On close inspection of the shoes I could indeed not observe any differences other than the ‘upper’. For this I will focus my review mainly on the ‘upper’ but first …
First the numbers and data – from the brochure.
- The Upper, with the ‘new’ in green:
- X-PROTEC upper for ‘ultimate’ protection and durability.
- A reinforced hybrid tongue stops all debris from entering the shoe.
- Just like the 305:
- On-the-shoe gaiter hooks offer a more secure attachment system that allows you to attach the ALL TERRAIN GAITER to the shoe (it works!).
- ADAPTERWEB lacing system adapts to the movement and swelling of the foot in motion.
- X-LOCK system supports and holds the heel in place.
- PowerFlow cushioned mid-sole together with a molded, 6mm footbed creates light underfoot comfort.
- Tri-C rubber compound and multi-directional claw-shaped cleats, each with a wide contact area, providing a good grip over unpredictable terrain and the quick release of debris.
- Stone protection utilising the Second-generation META-SHANK.
- Fit: 3, which for INOV-8 means: the ‘middle’.
- Weight: 315gm. I measured 362gm for UK size 9. So maybe a better name would be the Roclite 360 :).
- Midsole Stack: Heel 16mm / Forefoot 8mm.
- Drop: 8mm (INOV-8 two Arrow indication).
- Lug depth: 6mm (how deep are the ‘rubber points’ of the outsole).
- Footbed: 6mm
I will divide my experiences in positive or negative and make where applicable a comparison with other shoes. Obviously, this is all very much runner dependent. I will describe why I think a feature is + or – but in the end, as always …
‘The proof of the pudding is in the eating’ –
Choose your own treat after running on these shoes yourself!
(Maybe Ice-cream or a warm chocolate)!
The Roclite 315 keeps the same positive features as a wrote in my review of the Roclite 305, mainly:
You basically ‘stand like a rock’ and feel supported from all sides.
This is a truly multi-terrain shoe.
However, during this wet December month I also experienced that for truly muddy, or snow covered trails the Roclite 315 misses the lug depth and aggressive outsole design of for example INOV-8 X-Claw 275. The multi-terrain feature results in a well thought of compromise which you notice when looking for the limits.
The integrated tongues gave me the comfortable feeling that the shoe is ‘wrapped’ around my feet, leaving no room to glide or cause friction.
The lacing system may not be designed for this purpose but the ADAPTER Web gave me the option to tie the laces quite tight around my feet.
Protection. I noticed that the Roclite 315 ‘new upper’ provides more protection against getting wet feet when running through the early morning wet grass, or muddy trails. This is probably due to the change in the upper of the shoe, the so-called X-PROTECT layering. The protective layering extends a little bit longer towards the mid part of the shoe and both the top part and integrated tongue are made of a more durable and by the look of it more water-resistant mess (see picture below).
Wear and tear. After 360 kilometres the shoes are still in good condition with less wear of the upper front mesh as I experienced with the Roclite 305 (see right picture below). However, the right shoe showed breaks on both sides in the protective layer, just at the point where the shoes bends the most when running (see two left pictures below). Maybe it has to do with my running style that only the right shoe shows this wear. I am not sure, but it was not something I expected more over not when the Roclite 315 is promoted as having a more ‘increased durability’.
After contacting INOV-8 UK they were more than happy to change the shoes for a brand new pair, an nice example of the generous after sale support you expect from a premiere brand like INOV-8. They also asked me to post the shoes to them to investigate the problem further with a first reaction being ‘unlucky to get a Monday morning shoe’. I will update this post when I have more information.
Beside what I mentioned above I do not have any other real negative issues with these shoes. The ‘new upper’ seems to protect my feet better against wet grass and mud. They perform well in multi-terrain but have obviously their limits when going into more extreme environments with a lot of mud or snow.
Only other thing, I would suggest to change the name into Roclite 360, this comes closer to the real weight and sounds even more ‘cool’ :).
I think the INOV-8 Roclite 315 is worthy new member of the Roclite family, keeping up the high standards of this sturdy designed, multi-terrain trailrunning shoe with a very comfortable ‘wrap around your foot’ feeling.
Would I change them now this instance for my favourite Roclite 305’s, not really. But I would buy them as replacement when my 305’s are worn out for the additional protection.
What are your experiences? I would appreciate if you would like to share them.