Inov8 multi-activity shoes were originally designed for trail- and fell-running, but they have been widely adopted for less strenuous use, with many people wearing them all day. Travellers and ‘fast and light’ hill-walkers will love them too. This is a Gore-Tex XCR-lined waterproof version, so it will keep your feet drier than most. The upper is made from mesh too, so breathability should be as good as it can be considering there’s a waterproof lining. The toe and heel areas are reasonably supportive, while abrasion-resistant layers improve durability. The outsole has a very aggressive pattern of lugs that make this ideal for mud and grass but also surprisingly good on rock too. The soft flex is ideal for running or walking fast, while the light weight makes the shoe far less tiring to wear than most other footwear.
The toe box is softer than most, which limits the protection it can provide. Also the upper is very soft, so again not as protective as leather shoes. Some shoes use more durable uppers, while others simply offer more support for the foot.
Upper: mesh upper; Gore-Tex XCR waterproof lining
Sole: Flyroc with dual density midsole
Sizes: 3 1/2-13
Weight: 840g (pair, size 11)
Made in: China
Stores in England: 70
Verdict: Ideal if you want to travel fast and light and keep feet reasonably dry, but be prepared for less support, less foot protection and durability compared to some others.
First published in Trail magazine, April 2008