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Inov-8 Roclite 275 trail running shoe review

Inov-8 Roclite 275 trail running shoe is a lightweight all-terrain wondershoe that can handle rocky and technical trails in any conditions

Inov8 Roclite 275
(Image: © Getty)

Our Verdict

As an all-terrain shoe the Roclite 275 absolutely excels. It’s comfortable straight out of the box, keeps you upright on even the slippiest of wet rocks, and the materials are super robust.

For

  • Featherlight light but highly durable
  • Exceptionally grippy
  • Instantly comfortable

Against

  • Not as comfortable on sealed surfaces

First thoughts

Inov-8 Roclite 275 is the latest piece of footwear by the brand that's much beloved by British trail runners. Some of the country’s brightest lights like Damian Hall and Jasmin Paris smashed records while wearing these very shoes.

Weighing in at just 275g (clue in the name), the combination of comfort and traction control offered by these extremely lightweight shoes is sensational. As with all Inov-8’s recent releases, this high level of performance is founded on the technology and material used in the soles.

The Inov-8 G-Grip family all feature a rubber outersole made from graphene. This is a substance extracted from graphite and claimed to be the planet’s sturdiest material. It's 200 times stronger than steel no less, but also boasts impressive elasticity to offer excellent grip (via 6mm lugs) as well as durability.

The ‘powerflow’ midsole delivers both cushioning and rebound, and a rockplate provides extra protection for your foot – just in case something does manage to get through that graphene.  The upper is made from a mesh that manages to be lightweight but exceptionally hardwearing, and which is capable of expanding to allow for swollen feet after a long day on the trails.

On the trails

I’m notoriously destructive when it comes to shoes, but I’ve given these shoes well over 1,500 kilometres of abuse on all sorts of terrain, including midwinter off-piste exploits on Exmoor and Dartmoor, and the only thing that has completely failed on them so far has been the laces.

The mesh is now finally showing some signs of fatigue, and the lugs on the heels are gradually disappearing, but that’s after near-daily use for over a year, because these have been my go-to shoe for nearly all my running jaunts.

It pales in significance next to the fleet-footed exploits of Damian and Jasmin, but I did set a FKT in these shoes, on a 57km jaunt along the Limestone Link Trail that connects the Mendip Hills and the Cotswold Hills, and even at the end of that I was in no rush to take the 275s off – such is their all-day comfort level.

I’m just about to start testing a pair of Inov8 Terraultra 270s, but I know I’ll still revisit the 275s.