Inov-8 Roclite 320 | Trail Runners

Inov-8 Roclite 320

For the last eight months I’ve been wearing a pair of Inov-8 Roclite 320s as my primary trail shoe. I had been watching the trend towards switching to lightweight trail runners instead of more traditional hiking shoes/boots with great interest, but I have been slow or reluctant to make the move myself, until recently.

One of the main reasons I chose the Roclite 320s was for support. I am flat footed, which means that my ankle rolls inward when I walk, called pronation. The 320s are a very stiff shoe, even now after a couple of months of wearing. They were initially too rigid in the arch and took few days of hard wearing to stop giving me a sensation of pressure in my arch – a problem I have with a lot of shoes unfortunately, but it did go away eventually.

John Roan (Mountain Ultralight) recently wrote about his experience wearing his “hideous lookingMizuno Wave Cabrakan trail runners, and by all accounts they sound like another quality brand.

Even though it took me a while to make the switch to trail running shoes, I’m pretty sure I could never go back to traditional boots. I feel like I’m a little late to the game, but my feet are grateful that I finally caught up with the latest foot technology, which is pretty hard to admit to as a self-confessed geek.

So, now I’m wondering, what other brands and models of trail running shoes are worth taking a look at? John has piqued my interest in Mizunos for sure and there are a lot more styles of Inov-8 shoes to consider.  What other types or brands of shoes are you all liking/using right now? It would be great to know what shoes are working and what ones aren’t.

Disclosure: The author owns this product and paid for it using their own funds.

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  • Now that my pack weight is mcuh lower, I am looking to try out some trail runners sometime this summer. I have heard a lot of good things about the Inov-8 shoes so I will definitely keep these in mind. (Unfortunately I will have to order them and try them out this way though, but so far my foot has been pretty good about being comfy in a lot of different shoes, in my correct size.) One thing I am concerned about though is how much I will feel through the bottom of the shoes on rocky terrain. Don’t want to end up with bruised soles… So, in that respect, how would you say these do? Also, I do not want any type of waterproof liner, just mesh so that it will dry out as fast as possible.

  • Stick, these types of trail runners do great on rocky terrain, but they’re not boots. So, you will feel the rocks and bumps in the soles of your feet a lot more than you do with rigid soled hiking boots. The flip side of that is that your feet will breathe better and water will pump out of the shoes after one or two steps, letting you feet dry in no time – it’s almost magical.

    I’m getting used to the more flexible sole feel on uneven terrain, but so far I’m liking them. Much, much lighter on my feet and yet still quite a lot more rigid and supportive than regular running shoes.

    I’d suggest going to your nearest outdoor store just to try on a pair or two to get a sense for what they feel like. One downside is that the uppers are made from very lightweight material that can get ripped easily, effectively ending the life of the shoe. And they’re not cheap.

    Let me know how your experiments go. Cheers!

  • I will be wearing the Inov-8 Terroc 345 GTX on my 5,000 km walk along the E4 (starting in Spain on the 1st of March). Have been wearing the non GTX version for the last few months and I’m very pleased. I’m not sure how long they will last and should know exactly at some point in the next 7 months.

  • Hey John, great to hear from you. I’ve heard good things about the Terrocs so they should serve you well.

    Good luck on your upcoming E4 walk. I for one will be tracking your progress with great interest. It’s a fine thing you are doing. You’ll be heading off on my birthday :-)

    I wish you safe travels and excellent adventures. Cheers!

  • I have 320 trail shoes and their good. But at the moment I use Lasportive Crosslite shoes. Top shoes but not as much support as the 320 Inov-8 for long multi day walks.

  • Inov-8s didn’t fit for me: my heels were constantly raw or taped and the lining in the heels was one big hole and the midsole totally collapsed after some 250-300km of use.

    But trail runners are great for hiking so after some searching I switched to La Sportiva Wildcats. Great shoes, a tad heavier but they fit well for me (deep and secure heel cup, wide forefoot).

  • Martin, thanks for the heads up on La Sportiva Crosslites. I checked them out online and they get very good ratings. It wasn’t a brand I was very aware of.

    korpijaakko, that’s a second vote for La Sportiva. It sounds like you had a pretty bad experience with your Inov-8s – I wonder if they were defective in some way? I have to say that I haven’t experienced those issues myself. But I will add that the Inov-8 shoes in general run at least a half size smaller than my normal shoes, so if you had your usual size they might have been too small – only you could tell.

    Thanks to both of you, I’ll be checking out La Sportiva for sure. Did either of you order online or did you try them on before buying? Just curious.

  • The Inov-8s were right size (I first ordered a bit too big shoes and changed them) but might have been defective. But the more likely reason is the shape of my heel (I really need on deep and secure heel cup) and pronation with heavy built body which caused extensive strain on part of the midsole and led to collapse of the relatively light material. Carrying heavy pack on military reserves marching competition probably didn’t help this.

    I ordered both shoes online. For me La Sportiva seems to be true to average Scandinavian footwear sizes but run narrow (I’ve tried some three models), but the Wildcats are quite roomy compared to their other models.

  • korpijaakko, thanks for the extra feedback and details. It’s hard to know if they were defective or just could withstand the amount of abuse you gave them, either way it’s not good.

    It’s great to hear that the La Sportiva shoes worked out for you and makes me eager to check them out when I have an opportunity. The best part about blogging is the comments and community feedback – what a great way to share our collective knowledge. Thanks!