Having run in Inov8 trail shoes for a few years, specifically the early generation Roclite and the Mudclaw models, I jumped at the opportunity to take part in their training retreat held in the Lake District.
One of the pieces of kit we got to try out was a pair of the new Roclite 345 GTX boots. Featuring Graphene Grip – dubbed ‘the worlds toughest grip for fast hikes and all-terrain adventures’, I really wanted to put the Roclite 345’s to every test I could think of. Hiking, scrambling, running (on and off road), and even coasteering and weaselling made it in there.
There is certainly no question about it, the Graphene Grip is phenomenal. From scrambling on the narrowest of ridges, walking up steep-angled wet slabs, and dealing with the muddiest and boggiest of descents, these boots have given me great confidence in my foot placement. Their light and flexible structure and well-placed deep lugs mould easily to small toe holds allowing for delicate movements while there is enough cushioning for the flatter, rocky paths. I also tried these boots on a 3 mile run to work one morning to test their cushioning on pavement. While they handled the hard surface, I certainly wouldn’t push them much further as I wouldn’t do this with any other trail running shoe. Nevertheless, they are great for walking around a city for a day and the Goretex keeps the rain and wind out.
Coasteering was perhaps a more ambitious test but to be honest they were perfect. As the boots sit higher on the ankle, they didn’t feel like they would pull off in rougher seas and their lightness meant they floated, making swimming easier. Even when completely soaked through they still performed well on the wet rough rocks when scrambling in and out of the sea.
As these are very light compared to traditional hiking boots, on average 345g a pair, these boots offer the all-day comfort of a trail shoe, some support around the ankle, and the light-footed manoeuvrability required for some of the ridgier routes. The only downside to this would be the longevity of the upper. Coming down a few scree and shrubby slopes could potentially start working through the light textile. However, this is yet to happen and so far I have been impressed with the rough and loose terrain these boots have withstood. The inclusion of graphene, the sole’s rubber is also reported to last 50% longer than the average shoe making these a more sustainable choice as you wouldn’t need to replace them as quickly. One thing to bear in mind is that these boots allow the ankle to be more engaged when walking compared to a heavier boot, so require more precise foot placement to avoid any rolls.
I usually take a half size up from my normal running shoe size for hiking boots. As the Roclite 345’s are based on the trail running version of the Roclite, I chose a running fit. They are a 3 on Inov8’s 5 point fit scale (1 being the narrowest, 5 the widest), a bit wider than I expected for my narrow feet. However, with my orthotic insole and a thick merino sock these are a comfy hiking fit with enough tighter precision for running and scrambling. I recommend trying them on with a good sock and any required insole before purchasing as this will affect the fit.
Due to their low weight, tough construction, great grip, and comfort these are honestly my go-to shoe for pretty much every summer activity. A cross between a trail running shoe and light hiking boot, they are a great travelling and backpacking shoe where one pair would need to do it all, from parks to peaks. If you are used to a heavier traditional boot these will feel very different, but if you are looking for something lighter for summer day hikes, these are a great option.
These boots were given to me by Inov8 to test out, however, I have freely chosen to write this review and would gladly have paid for a pair.
You can purchase the Inov8 Roclite 345 GTX right here.
Written by Meg Moodie of Nevisport Glasgow