The lightest shoe here at 520g, the inov-8 Roclite 295 is the least obviously supportive and least cushioned choice. Its impressive weight and simplicity combined with a robust rubber rand and sticky sole grip make this shoe great for experienced trail runners and lightweight walkers on long, rugged, rocky adventures.
inov-8 designs footwear so that it doesn’t interfere with the natural function of the foot. They describe their shoes as having a ‘secure, intimate fit that’s almost like running barefoot’. So it comes as no surprise to find that the Roclite 295 has the least cushioning in the test and a snug, light fit with breezy mesh panels, made more robust where necessary with a substantial rubber rand. The lacing at the top can be slightly tricky to work out at first, but do persevere, as the way it loops round means that they are locked into place while you do up the bow, which makes it easier to get a secure fit.
I could immediately feel most of the lumps and bumps of the path beneath my feet in these lightweight shoes. They are less cushioned than the Vasque Aether Tech and the La Sportiva Crosslight, which is great for more experienced mountain goats used to less foot support, but a long run or walk on tarmac would be much less fun. They will benefit from the increased level of responsiveness as they pound along rough tracks and trails or take lightweight walking to the next level. The sole unit is not as aggressive as the aforementioned shoes either, but although the lugs are not so deep or pointed, the stickiness of the rubber and flexible sole makes this shoe grip very well as it moulds around uneven terrain.
Upper 3D airmesh and synthetic leather
Liner synthetic mesh
Sole Roclite sticky rubber compound
Sizes unisex 3-13 including half sizes
Weight 520g (pair, size 5.5)
Made in China
Stores in the UK 43
Stockist details (01388) 744900; www.inov-8.com
Verdict: Buy the inov-8 Roclite 295 if… you’re quite an experienced hill-runner and lightweight walker who wants a very light shoe for running on steep, rocky, grassy, muddy paths without the cushioning or support interfering with the natural movement of your foot.
Review by Claire Maxted
First published in Trail magazine May 2009