Guest reviewer Caine Warburton offers up an early review of Inov8’s new Trailroc 245, the popular brand’s crack at catering to long course trail runners. Check out a review of it’s sister shoe the Trailroc 255 by NZ Editor Mal Law in edition #6 of Trail Run Mag’s zine downloadable at www.trailrunmag.com/zine.
They’ve arrived and with pedigree – Inov8’s new Trailroc range and specifically the 245s are the shoes worn by the recent winners of the Pikes Peak Marathon and the GORE-TEX Transrockies. Hitting Australia in coming months and already in New Zealand – the Trailroc range features 6mm footbeds teamed up with various heel to toe drops. There are three models: 235= 0mm drop, 245=3mm drop and 255= 6mm drop. All feature Inov8’s renowned never-let-go lug design, here with three different compounds.
I chose to pull on the 245 as this is most comparable to Inov8’s other shoes and let’s face it…they look wicked!
Firstly the 245 is a neutral running shoe with no arch support, typical of Inov8 designs. The footprint of the 245 is slightly wider than other models, which fits well with its long distance mission, allowing for foot swell and also accommodating those with a straighter, wider foot, much more common for runners in the Antipodes than in Europe, the market Inov8 first catered to.
The upper is comfortable and stitching minimal allowing it to be worn well without socks. There is a good amount of room in the toe box to accommodate toe splay, a factor which is most noticeable after about 40km.
The 6mm footbed of the 245 gave a remarkably soft and cushioned feel for an Inov8 shoe. I noticed when using this on the road that the extra padding hid the usual annoying feel of trail lugs on road. Despite the extra padding, the 245 is still extremely flexible, it does lack the “raw” feel of more minimal shoes like the X-Talon 190 but still retains enough feedback from the ground to let you run with a good foot strike on most surfaces.
The 245 retains a lugged sole but has used smaller and more frequent lugs in comparison to the larger and spaced out Talons of the 190 and Bare Grip. The 245 also utilizes a tri-compound sole, meaning that high-wear areas (toe – for climbing) are made from a stiffer more durable rubber, while the mid foot from a slightly softer longer lasting rubber and instep from sticky rubber (for rock hopping). This allows the shoe to perform well on hard pack, road and rocky terrain while still retaining some “bite” for softer surfaces.
I’ll be honest that the 245 isn’t as fun as the 190 for short, steep muddy courses as its smaller lugs and slightly larger footbed don’t allow it to conform to the ground as well. However the fact that it still feels comfortable after 40km+ and is kinder on the body after hours of running means it’s suited for a different, longer run use.
I have now put in 150-200km in these shoes with a good mix of road and trail. I have not noticed any unexpected wear and the lugs are holding up better than expected for the road running I have done in them. The upper on the 245 is more durable than that of the 190, so I do not expect to have any side blow out or toe holes anytime soon.
The Final Word
In the end this is a great shoe for a specific purpose…. It’s not suited to the likes of short course trail racing or fell racing like much as the Inov8 range; it serves one purpose and one purpose well – to go long. I would recommend the 245 for minimal runners looking for a long distance racer/trainer. I would also recommend the Trailroc series (perhaps more so the 255) to runners looking to change to minimal shoes, get closer to the ground and enjoy trail running.
Would I fork out my penny’s again for a Trailroc….Yes, indeed (and yes, I did for this pair)!
Caine Warburton- Ultra runner/ Coach
Great for > Long races, hard pack and soft trails, rocks, new minimal converts.
Not so great for > Short course racing, fell running.
Test conditions > Mixed trail, hard packed and soft soil, fire-trail, steep inclines/declines, road and technical rocky conditions. -150km
Tester > Caine Warburton – everyday competitive (or try to be) trail runner, completed North Face 100, B2H (2012 version), various Glasshouse races 30/50km, off road marathons, road marathons, road ultra marathons, short course trails races and cross country.
Tester mechanics > Minor pronator, mid foot trail runner, 73kg, US12.
RRP > AU$160 Approx.
Web > www.barefootinc.com.au (Coming Soon)