Inov-8 Roclite 315

The Inov-8 Roclite 315 trail running shoe has good and bad sides that are almost completely mutually exclusive, which doesn’t happen that often. The shoe is responsive, but you can’t experience it due to lack of flexibility in the upper. The durability and protection are high up on the quality scale, but the shoe is known to break on the flex points precisely due to the stiff, sturdy, durable materials used in the upper. Ultimately, the stiff upper causes a perfectly comfy shoe to become painful after a while. This is something that could be dealt with – after all, it’s not the first shoe that needs the patience to be broken into, but it’s a hassle that most hikers don’t have time for. In the end, the question stands: is this a good shoe? Yes, if you need something reliable to walk around in, rather than run in. If you want a trail monster that will tackle every trail while providing flexibility and comfort, keep looking for the right trail shoe; it’s out there, we assure you.

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Pros & Cons
  • Tri-C technology + Endurance outsole with aggressive lugs
  • Durable materials
  • Very responsive sole
  • Protection from the elements and impact forces
  • Good support features
  • Cons
    • Stiff upper that affects the durability, protection, and responsiveness
    • Lugs are slippery on downhill paths
    • Not enough lateral stability
    • Not very comfortable
    • Key Features
      The outsole of the Inov-8 Roclite 315 features the Roclite outsole configuration with aggressive and efficient rectangular lugs that are capable of tackling technical terrains as well as level topography. The Tri-C outsole is comprised of three different types of rubber that range from soft to hard and sticky – especially in the forefoot and heel areas. Endurance, the brand’s most durable rubber, is also part of the Tri-C technology that graces the elaborate outsole of the Roclite 315. All of these technologies and compounds work in unison in order to provide a robust and reliable performance on a variety of terrains.
      The midsole unit of the Roclite 315 features the PowerFlow foam that increases the midsole’s already enviable responsiveness. The PowerFlow foam is made so as to absorb impact shock forces and turn them into kinetic energy that bounces back to you, enabling you to propel your foot forward during the toe-off phase of the gait cycle. In the midfoot area, right between the midsole and the resilient outsole, is a Meta-Shank, a 5-prong unit made out of stiff and sturdy material. Its purpose is to protect the foot from sharp rocks, alleviate the tension in your muscles and tendons, and also to work in unison with the PowerFlow foam layer and further increase responsiveness. Additionally, this trail shoe features a 2-Arrow Shock Zone. The Inov-8 technology has 4 levels of Shock Zone Arrows, from 0 to 3, the lowest one offering the most responsiveness and conversely, the highest one offering maximum underfoot protection. The 2-Arrow Shock Zone is an ideal blend of cushioning and responsiveness that will appeal to a broad audience.
      The Inov-8 Roclite 315’s upper is made out of durable, tear-resistant Kevlar Rip-Tek fabric. Instead of opting for traditional eyelets for the shoelaces, the Roclite 315 features the ADAPTERWEB cradle, comprised of several strips of highly resilient fabric that are integrated into the upper and allow for a custom, snug fit. The thick, stitched overlays cradle the entire foot, but are especially prominent on the back of the shoe, providing structure and a locked-in fit. Perhaps the least surprising part of a trail shoe is the protective toe cap that prevents debris from getting into the shoe and protects the foot from smaller rocks, and abrasive surfaces that cause wear and tear. For those who seek additional protection, the 315 features integrated gaiter hooks, making the upper equally as tech-oriented as the midsole.
      The official weight of the Inov-8 Roclite 315 is 315 grams or 11.1 ounces; however, a couple of runners have measured the half-pair of men’s size 9 to weigh 362g or 12.8oz. Whatever the shoe might weigh in your size, the important thing to note is that this is the heaviest trail shoe out of the entire Roclite line, the Roclite 290 being the lightest of the bunch. While this is heavy when compared to a regular road running shoe, it’s actually not that heavy of weight considering that this is a trail shoe made from sturdy materials.
      Breathable mesh material is positioned in the forefoot and vamp area of the shoe, as well as the lateral midfoot area. The mesh density is well thought-out, too, because the holes in the mesh are too narrow and dense to let debris come through into the shoebox. This protective aspect of the breathable upper mesh is a welcome trait, especially on long, tiring hikes. As the cherry on top, this mesh material is tear-resistant, so it doesn’t lower the overall durability of the shoe. However, when it comes to overheating, the dense mesh fabric doesn’t provide enough airflow to keep your feet dry in the summer months.
      Regarding the sizing of the shoe, the Inov-8 Roclite 315 uses the standard measurements and the widths available are B-Medium for women and D-medium for men. When it comes to the comfort itself, runners are divided on whether they like the shoe or not. Some hikers claim that the shoe is ready to wear right away and that it offers amazing comfort. Others claim that the stiff and sturdy materials used in the upper in order to increase durability have turned out to be pretty uncomfortable – at least for the first few times, you wear the Roclite 315. A lot of runners have complained about the volume of the shoebox and the lack of locked-in feeling it should provide, as well as the stiff Kevlar Rip-Tek fabric that creates unnecessary pressure on the toes during the toe-off. The toe box itself is roomy enough for the toes to move around and stretch. On the other hand, some runners have expressed satisfaction with the snug fit that the shoe provided, as well as the integrated tongue. Even though the Roclite 315 isn’t uncomfortable to everyone, this stiffness of fabric is a problem that could be overcome by just running through the lack of comfort for some time, after which the fabric would adjust to your feet. We don’t blame you if you don’t want to go through that whole ordeal, though.
      Clunky, robust, techy and charming – that’s how we would describe the Inov-8 Roclite 315 trail shoe. It isn’t beautiful, but it’s appealing in a nerdy way. On top of that, the colorways of the shoe are well combined so as to create a contrast that isn’t too flashy or boring. On the front of the shoe, you’ll find “Roclite 315” written in small rubberized accent letters, along with the small foot logo on the tongue.
      Let’s get one thing clear: this is a durable shoe that will still be in very good condition after logging 350-400 miles. This means that it can easily go to 600, which is an enviable number, given the terrain the Roclite 315 is supposed to tackle. However, stiff upper materials that were meant to increase durability can have an ultimately negative effect on the shoe. Due to the stiffness of the protective upper layer, the shoe is prone to breaking, precisely at the point where the foot bends the most during the gait cycle. Of course, each persons running style and forefoot flex levels are different, but the issue still stays. This won’t affect the overall durability of the shoe too much, but it could affect the protective, anti-debris properties of the upper.
      Comfort may be lacking in the Inov-8 Roclite 315 trail shoe, but protection does not. First off, the major protective element of the shoe is the very PowerFlow midsole unit that delivers 10% better shock absorption and 15% better energy return than standard midsoles. Additionally, the Meta-Shank positioned in the midfoot not only encourages energy-return but protects the foot from rocks and various sharp objects that might found be on the off-beaten trail. Additionally, the stiff upper materials offer amazing protection from the elements, from debris to mud and wet grass – you name it. This shoe resembles a tank in that sense – which obviously has its drawbacks, primarily when it comes to flexibility and speed.
      The 2-Arrow Shock Zone and the PowerFlow foam work in sync to ensure that the balance of responsiveness and cushioning skews to the side of responsiveness just enough to leave you surprised by the springiness of the Roclite 315’s sole. The shoe isn’t very cushioned – although it could be much, much firmer if it wanted to, which makes the shoe’s response and its ability to propel the foot forward impressive. However, the constraining aspect of the sole’s responsiveness is the inflexibility of the upper which prevent you from really using all the kinetic energy that the sole is returning to you. This makes for a bittersweet feeling of being in a responsive, bouncy shoe and not being able to develop much speed.
      The Inov-8 Roclite 315 is a neutral trail shoe made for people with normal, medium-high and high arches. Additionally, the upper is so sturdy that it makes you feel supported from all sides – whether you want it or not. The external heel cage helps the upper lock the heel in place and the integrated ADAPTERWEB cradle lacing system enables you to really tighten the fit, although there’s no comparing this shoe to the sock-like fit of some regular running shoes we’ve encountered.
      The Inov-8 Roclite 315 is a rock solid trail shoe, suitable for off-road trails, mountains, hiking and various rocky or otherwise unstable surfaces. The robust lugs featured on the outsole add greatly to your confidence when tackling technical trails by offering stability from the ground up – at least on uphill hikes. Several people reported that they had a bad experience with the Roclite 315 on descents, due to the fact that the lugs didn’t bite into the ground the same way they did on an uphill or flat trail, causing hikers to slip.
      While we wouldn’t call the Inov-8 Roclite 315 a pricy shoe, given the fact that it’s still the in the two-digit territory, we’d still be very cautious about spending the cash on a shoe that is widely held as uncomfortable, in which you’d have to spend hours in. On the other hand, the shoe does have extensive support features as well as responsiveness and protection, so if you’re down with experiencing pain for a while before you get used to the shoe and the shoe gets used to you – there’s no doubt that this is a shoe made of high-quality materials that have left a lot of people in awe.
      The aggressive lugs on the outsole provide great traction on technical trails and allow you to tackle rocky surfaces with ease. The traction quality lowers when it comes to downhill hikes, in which case the lugs will be of little use. The three different rubbers on the outsole do contribute to the grippy ride that the Roclite 315 ensures (for the most part), with the stickiest rubber being positioned below the heel.
      As previously mentioned, the Roclite 290 is the lightest shoe of the Roclite family, and it’s the most flexible as well. As for the 315, the flexibility of the forefoot is pretty satisfactory, and several people described the shoe as nimble. However, the problem of stiff upper and midfoot Meta-Shank remains, taking away from the Roclite 315’s potential for flexibility.
      The stability provided by the Meta-Shank, the lacing system, and the external heel cage is very useful when it comes to tackling the trails. However, a lot of hikers noted that the low-top collar and the fact the shoe is built to be high and narrow at the same time contributed to their insecurity and lack of stability during lateral movements. That being said, it all depends on the type of trail you choose, really. A lot of people felt very stable in the Roclite 315 and had words of praise for all the stability features it offers.
      The midsole of the Roclite 315 isn’t very thick, to begin with – the heel stack height measures 16mm, while the forefoot measures 8mm, creating a standard 8mm heel-to-toe drop. The 8mm drop is a good compromise zone that can suit the needs of both 4-mm and 12-mm lovers, with minor adjustments in the gait cycle.
      Key Features
      ● Tri-C technology + Endurance outsole
      ● PowerFlow foam midsole with Meta-Shank 5-prong unit
      ● 2-Arrow Shock Zone
      ● Stiff and inflexible Kevlar Rip-Tek fabric upper
      ● Limited breathability
      ● Depending on your running style they can cause pain in the forefoot
      ● Durable, although the protective upper layer has been known to break due to a lack of flexibility
      ● Lots of protective properties
      ● Trail, off-road and mountain shoe
      ● Good support
      ● ADAPTERWEB cradle lacing system
      Bottom Line
      The Inov-8 Roclite 315 is an interesting trail shoe, to be sure. We feel like it would be the best choice for hikers – not runners, who don’t enjoy trail running or fast-paced hikes and are willing to exchange flexibility and some of the comfort for a high-quality build with extensive protective properties. However, if you’re looking for a competition shoe, we don’t think this one would be a good choice, no matter the level of responsiveness it offers on paper. The Roclite 315 is a useful shoe to have in our trail shoe rotation, but choosing it to be the only trail shoe you own would be a risky move, to say the least.
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      Backcountry Link
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      Holabird Sports Link
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      Moosejaw Link
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      See Deal
      Road Runner Sports Link
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      By Lizzy Pavlovic
      Last updated:
      Where to buy
      Best offer on: Jul. 27. 2021

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