First off, I wanted to thank my bro Clayton for getting these boots for me, and I want to thank INOV-8 as well for sending us three pairs of boots and shoes to rate. So, let’s get into talking about this boot. In the short YouTube video I did a quick assessment of the boot and by leaning on my background with footwear I knew this was going to be a model that I instantly liked. This boot is a transition between a running shoe and a walking boot. The company designed this boot for people who intend to move quickly and efficiently over mixed terrain.
I wore the boots everywhere. It didn’t matter if I was wearing it to wash the car on top of concrete or taking it out for a long hike on rocky trail. I put this boot to the test. Right off the bat I liked the look and thankfully the fit was perfect. They are very stylishly designed with clean and simple lines; looks good when worn with jeans, tactical style trousers, or even your shorts.
I liked the softness of the thin outer material The boots are made with a lightweight, breathable, mesh upper that encapsulates the foot yet isn’t too restrictive when your foot undulates as it strikes the ground. There is minimal internal movement. I didn’t even bother to break them in. They felt very comfortable over my toe box, mid-foot and heel. The shoes can be ordered in a standard fit or a wider fit for those who want to avoid slippage or tightly fitting boots. The boot’s support should be good enough for most people.
The boots come with a nice solid GORE-TEX® reinforced toe-box. I discovered the protection to be very adequate after I stuck a tree branch on my hike this morning. The GORE–TEX membrane provides a good waterproof barrier. I wore them through part of the summer and my feet never overheated. If you get your feet wet the boots will dry quickly. One thing I noticed on today’s hike. I wore them with shorts and short socks. I felt the collar could have been made a bit taller because debris kept falling into it a few times as I crossed through bush. However, if you’re not stomping through dry grass, or dusty trail where pebbles have a habit of getting inside footwear it’s likely you’ll be fine. Excellent for running trail across rocky crags and most loose soil. Great for going over rising or falling terrain. Good for stomping over stones and root covered trails.
These boots do provide more ankle support and protection than your standard trail shoe. The boots come with a nice hoop that can be used to pull your footwear on you quickly. The laces are strong and very long. I had to double tie my boot laces because they sagged nearly to the floor. The laces are reinforced with strong eyelets that are part of the thin exoskeleton that lay over the flanks of the boots. The heel is reinforced with a nice sturdy skin.
It weighs about 10 ounces per foot in a men’s size 9.
The outsole is flat like a zero drop shoe. There isn’t much of a heel to these boots. This allows your heel and fore-foot to make contact with the ground easily and to react quickly with a fast toe-off. They really do hold to the ground like glue; light and grippy. I wore them while hiking over rocks, dead branches, leaves and other kinds of mixed terrain; no slipping evidenced even when crossing over wet grassy fields while trekking uphill. Their moderate, cleat-like, lug pattern offers traction on just about anything other than slimy mossy rock.
The boots use what INOV-8 describes as a multi finger polymer Meta-Shank™ that is meant to “align with each individual metatarsal for increased underfoot impact protection and flexibility.” I found this to be a little to much pressure on the bottom of my feet because of the plastic outsole; this is the main reason why I recommend using an insert.
I recommend using inserts if you feel the inserts that INOV-8 provides are too lean. Find a good pair like Superfeet. The soft upper makes for great comfort for the top of your feet but the base-plate of the outsole is somewhat wanting. There simply isn’t enough padding. This is easily correctable.
One of the pitfalls of having light boots with a sheer material is they will wear down faster than heavier boots with a more robust material. Something to think about when you purchase a pair; know what your intended purpose will be. However, I think these passed the test. They continue to hold up beyond the summer and after a good amount of abusive wear.
CONCLUSION: The Inov8 Roclite 286 is extremely comfortable to wear and very durable. These can be used as a shoe for trail running or hiking. I do not recommend these as a tactical combat boot. Look for material that is more robust and durable.
Functionality: 5/5 Excellent
Weight: 5/5 Very highly recommended
Durability: 4/5 Could be rated higher, but will need more time to test.
Cost: 3.5/5 $159.00 Average running shoes are $110.00. I felt that this should have been more affordable as it is nearly akin to a shoe but with a higher collar.
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