Super lightweight hiking boots that supply superb grip and excellent levels of comfort on the trails, with a little bit of ankle support thrown in.
Relatively low thermal qualities
Too flexible in the foot for really technical trails
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Inov-8 Roclite 345 GTX: first impressions
Transitioning from traditional hiking boots to these lightweight Inov-8 Roclite 345 GTX trail skippers is quite an eye opener, from the minute you lace them up.
Combining the light feel and track-clinging capability of a high-performance trail-running shoe with the ankle support and extra protection of the best hiking boots, the Roclite 345 GTX is a great choice for hikers who don’t want to dawdle.
The graphene-strengthened G-grip outsole – appearing here for the first time on a boot – seizes hold of challenging terrain like an angry gorilla, but also quickly shakes off mud, grit and snow thanks to the multi-directional claw-shaped cleats. This sole technology isn’t just a solid performer, however, it’s also genuinely durable, so you can be confident of getting many miles out this boot.
The Gore-Tex upper provides good weather protection, while a cushioned midsole supplies some suspension, absorbing the shock of downward foot placement while returning plenty of bounce back into your step.
The bendy blade of is, of course, double edged, and some of what you gain in flexibility and dexterity you lose in sturdiness, but Inov-8’s footwear is forged in the fells of the English Lake District and can deal with almost anything the elements throw at them.
• RRP: $190 (US) / £155 (UK)
• Weight (per boot): 345g/12.1oz
• Colors: Black / Black and Yellow / Brown and Red / Navy and Yellow
• Compatibility: Spanning the divide between trail shoe and hiking boot, these agile rock hoppers can handle fairly tough and technical trails up to low alpine level
Inov-8 Roclite 345 GTX: on the trails
We have tested Inov-8’s graphene-enhanced trail-running shoes over a long period of time, and always been impressed (in fact, the TrailFly Ultra G 300 Max won our inaugural award for the Best Trail Running shoe in Advnture’s 2021 Awards). So, now these soles have been deployed on hiking footwear, the question is, do they have the soul of a running shoe or a walking boot?
The honest answer is, a bit of both. These boots are so light that they positively encourage you to get a bit of a move on, even if you’re only intending to go for a walk. But, at the same time, the mid-height cuff supplies some degree of ankle protection, and enables you to negotiate all sorts of trails with extra confidence, even when you’re carrying a little bit of weight in your pack.
We tested them across various types of terrain and in a variety of conditions, including day walks on the tors and trails of both Exmoor and Dartmoor, some escapades along undulating paths through the Surrey Hills and along the South West Coast Path, plus some stiffer climbs and overnight adventures in the mountains of Wales.
In all instances they performed extremely well, but they were definitely in their element when we were moving fast, with a lightweight pack. The grip gives you confidence on tricky terrain, but they feel so light you find yourself trotting along at a pretty decent pace without thinking about it.
There is some ankle protection, but it’s not substantial, and I wouldn’t hike with a heavy pack on a multiday adventure with them, unless the terrain was pretty forgiving. The tongue is also very spongy, the laces are thin and the lace loops are minimalist, which makes doing them up tight enough to give a large amount of confidence quite hard.
That said, for day walks, quick fastpacking adventures and hut-to-hut hikes, Inov-8 Roclite 345 GTXs are hard to beat. The Gore-Tex upper keeps feet dry while letting them breathe, and the sole is excellent, supplying sensational grip, with lugs that should last a long time.
Author of Caving, Canyoning, Coasteering…, a recently released book about all kinds of outdoor adventures around Britain, Pat has spent 20 years pursuing stories involving boots, bikes, boats, beers and bruises. En route he’s canoed Canada’s Yukon River, climbed Mont Blanc and Kilimanjaro, skied and mountain biked through the Norwegian Alps, run an ultra across the roof of Mauritius, and set short-lived records for trail-running Australia’s highest peaks and New Zealand’s Great Walks. He’s authored walking guides to Devon and Dorset, and once wrote a whole book about Toilets for Lonely Planet. Follow Pat’s escapades on Strava here and instagram here.