REVIEW OF THE NEW INOV-8 TRAILROC 270 & 285
IN THEIR WORDS
The TRAILROC trail running range has undergone a complete redesign and is now back with a bang this season. The lighter model of the TRAILROC™ series, the TRAILROC 270 mens trail running shoe is perfect for fast running over hard and rocky trails. More protection, more support, more comfort, greater energy return and improved grip. The new TRAILROC 270 & 285 are now better equipped to deal with all hard-packed trails around the world, no matter how rocky. Supreme grip and underfoot protection, with a cushioned midsole and lightweight upper combine to deliver the ultimate shoe for running at speed over hard and rocky trails.
Lug Depth 4mm
Midsole Stack Heel 15.5mm / Forefoot 11.5mm
Product Weight 270g / 9.5oz
Lug Depth 4mm
Midsole Stack Heel 21.5mm / Forefoot 13.5mm
Product Weight 285g / 10oz
IN MY WORDS
OK so having put at least 50 miles in both iterations of this shoe, here is my verdict on the ‘new and improved’ TRAILROC. Disclaimer – I worked extensively with inov-8 on the activation of the shoe over the Summer, so picked up both pairs having worked with the brand. Don’t let that stop you from reading this honest and independent review though!
Personally, I think the 270 is the superior shoe because the slightly lighter weight, narrower fit and lower drop. And that suits my running style better. Would I wear the 285 regularly? Probably not, I’m not 100% convinced on the construction of the shoe and/or the breathability. Not to say it’s bad, it’s just not as good as the 270. On to the review.
I will be wearing the 270 a fair bit over rocky terrain in Chamonix (in a press capacity as I didn’t get a place in the OCC) and in Mammoth Lakes (training at altitude as I couldn’t make it out to Utah for the TNFEC). I think the 270 runs really well over hard-packed rocky technical terrain. The grip is good, but if it were wet I’d probably plump for an X-Talon depending on the mileage I had lined up. Also if the terrain were mixed, ie some road, some grass, dirt, mud, I would 100% choose the ROCLITE 290. That shoe is just a winner and by far the most comfortable, all-terrain trail shoe – of any brand – I have ever worn. You could also wear that shoe over ultra distance (as I chose to for the Peak Trails 50k).
Wait so why are we talking about other inov-8 shoes in a review of the TRAILROC? Because the inov-8 shoe line-up needs a little explaining! Here is a summary of the shoes I own and have run extensively in…
This is of course personal experience and totally dependent on a number of factors – weather, conditioning, mix of terrain etc. But how does the TRAILROC measure up?I have found all of the inov-8 range of trail shoes to be grippy, but the TRAILROC doesn’t do brilliantly when wet so it gets docked points. As for comfort, I’m not sure why, but the X-TALON212, TRAILTALON and ROCLITE are just winners. The shape of the upper and the way it locks-in on the foot is spot on. The TRAILROC is good, but perhaps could be a little roomier in the forefoot, and also the lacing system won’t stop debris getting into the shoe… literal room for improvement.
So in summary, I wouldn’t wear the 285 simply because it’s slightly too much shoe and too higher drop (8mm). Also I find it stiff and not particularly indicative of what inov-8 normally represents in its shoe range – minimalist, flexible, high-sensory footwear with excellent traction. The 285 would probably score a 5 or a 6. The 270 performs really well on rocky hard terrain, but there are a few glitches which means it doesn’t score much higher… it’s still quite stiff, not particularly comfortable to wear over 10 miles let alone north of 30. But the ride is still good, it still feels fast – as most inov-8 shoes do… personally though if I had a mountain ultra I’d run in ROCLITE and if I had a shorter mountain race I might even be tempted to wear X-TALON. Which relegates the TRAILROC 270 to last place in our chart. But still, if it sounds fit for purpose, I advocate trying this technical lightweight mountain runner from inov-8.
*** UPDATE *** Since this article was written I have worn the TRAILROC 270 a lot in the US trails in California. It was superb in these conditions. I had zero problems with fit and the shoe runs really well on dry pack trails, several of which had rocky descents which the shoe performed admirably on. Basically if it’s dry out and you have a trail run scheduled, wear the Trailroc if it’s technical and the Trailtalon if it’s not!
Available now at inov-8.com.
Here’s me on Cat Bells in the Lake District, photos thanks to Hilary Matheson.