Inov-8 Trailroc 245 – 2014 Update Review
Feb201408

The Trailroc range has been very popular since it was released a couple of years ago and I was immediately interested in them due to the anatomical shape and clever multi-purpose outsole. However, I decided against giving them a try after reading various reports of problems with the mesh tearing around the metatarsal flex-point. Inov-8 have sought to rectify this with the 2014 update of the Trailroc 245 by making some major changes to the design of the upper (see below).

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Specification

  • Stack height of 18mm in the heel and 15mm in the forefoot, resulting in a 3mm drop (running warehouse)
  • 310g weight for my UK size 10
  • ‘Meta Shank 3′ rock plate which protects the midfoot and metatarsals
  • ‘Tri-C’ outsole which provides soft, grippy rubber around the toes and arches and more durable rubber in high-wear areas
  • Built on Inov-8’s ‘natural’ last with a spacious toe box and anatomical fit

What Has Changed Since The Original Trailroc 245?

  • New tighter-weave mesh material for increased durability
  • New design for the TPU Overlays to increase flexibility
  • New colours (blue & black)

What Are They Designed For?

The Trailroc range is aimed at the minimalist end of the market and designed to promote ‘natural foot function’. There are 4 different versions of the shoe and all of them offer slightly different levels of drop and protection. The 245 sits around the middle of this range with a 3mm drop and a rock plate. According to Inov-8, the outsole is designed with hard and loose conditions in mind but I also found that they performed well in moderate mud (see below).

Fit And First Impressions

When I fist took the Trailrocs out of the box, I was quite surprised by how much material has been used in the construction of the upper and this gives them an attractive but somewhat ‘chunky’ appearance. I think this is mostly down to the toe box which is deep and high-volume although not especially wide for an ‘anatomical’ shoe design. I ordered a size 10 by accident but this turned out to be a happy mistake because the fit was just about perfect and this tallies with other reports that the Trailrocs run slightly smaller than some of Inov-8’s other shoes (I usually take a 9.5).

Performance

When I first set out in the Trailrocs, I was struck by how cushy the upper felt on my feet. The thick tongue and generous padding are very comfortable and the deep forefoot allows you to wiggle your toes around like you are wearing your favourite slippers. The upper provides perfect security, confidence and comfort for general trail use but they are not as snug or ‘dialed-in’ as shoes built around inov-8’s performance last (nor are they meant to be).

I initially thought that the Trailrocs seemed a little stiff but this seems to have improved a lot with use and I’d say that they are probably the most flexible shoe I have tried that has a full midfoot to forefoot rock plate. The midsole/rock plate combination also provides a lot of underfoot protection whilst remaining low to the ground and very stable. I think I’d even rate this balance of protection vs feel above that of the Salomon Sense 3 for technical terrain. The Tri-C outsole is incredibly versatile and works well on hard, soft and wet surfaces. They aren’t grippy enough for really steep mud but they are perfect for most conditions and excel on runs where you need to link soggy footpaths together with short sections of road.

The Trailroc 245 is an excellent, multi-purpose trail shoe but they wouldn’t’ be my first choice for mountainous terrain or trails with a lot of big rocks as they don’t have a rand around the toes and I think this would leave them quite vulnerable. This highlights a small reservation that I have about the shoes as the sole unit provides more cushioning than I really like for general-trail use but the upper isn’t protective enough for the mountains so it’s almost a bit of a miss-match for me.

This makes me wonder if I’d of like the Trailroc even more if I had chosen one of the models that sits at either-end of the range instead of the 245. The zero-drop Trailroc 235 doesn’t have a rock plate and could be a better choice for general-trail use as they are lighter and even more flexible. On the other hand, If I was regularly running on terrain that necessitated a rock plate I’d go for the 255’s because they have a proper rand for extra toe-protection. Perhaps the 245 will come into its own for longer runs on non-technical trails where a protective upper isn’t necessary but the rock plate would provide some forgiveness after spending a long time on your feet. This is highly subjective but I guess I’m saying that it’s well worth taking the time to pick the right version for you.

Durability

I’ve managed to run about 40 miles in the Trailrocs so far and the upper is holding up very well at this early stage and the material shows no sign of tearing or going ‘fluffy’ (which can be a precursor to tearing). As usual, I will keep this post updated and report any problems.

Conclusion

The Trailroc 245 is a very versatile shoe and I really like it but as with all Inov-8 models, I would encourage you to carefully consider both type of terrain you are going to use them on and your personal preference for cushioning, drop and protection before deciding which model to buy. This highlights the awesome way in which they design their product range to allow you to pick exactly the right combination to fit your needs. An overview of the Trailroc range can be found here at the Inov-8 website.

These shoes were purchased by the author

Where You Can Find Them (Affiliates)

The new versions of the Trailrocs are available here at Wiggle. & Amazon

I make every effort to ensure these reviews are as objective and honest as possible to help you decide if a product is right for you. This takes me a lot of time and effort and if you are interested in a product I have reviewed, you can help me keep the site going by placing purchases through the links and adverts at no extra cost to yourself. Thanks for your support.

Get Involved

Do you have any experience of the new Trailrocs? Do you have a question? Please leave your thoughts below!

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4 comments

  1. James b says:

    Regarding durability….I’ve run about 180 miles in mine and they have just split in the exact same place as every other pair of inov8 shoes I’ve owned.

    • dlevente82 says:

      This is strange. Probably due to foot strike. Maybe you are too heavy on your forefoot and should be having a more snappy stride, or maybe working outwards. Or undersized maybe and the shoes are small for you ?
      I have a large yeti feet, size 47 and do not have any issues with them. In fact I ran more than 3000km in the older version. Also the same distance in a previous F-Lite and X-Talon 212 too. Non of them split nowhere. I found that these are one of the most durable shoes in the market.
      Snappy forefoot strike, with placing the feet straight on the ground, no duck feet neither pigeon toe ing, 88 to 92 cadence. Maybe better understanding your biomechanics would preserve your shoes a bit better !
      Also washing the shoes at least once in every two weeks, will preserve the meshes life. Dust, mud and other crap inbetween the fibres, causes friction and slowly will cut away the textile, starting at microscopical level, then later on you’ll see the seems getting fluffy.
      http://evolutionexpress.blogspot.fr/2015/03/inov-8-trailroc-245-review-comparison.html
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhvWJOOP-5g

      Hope it helped

  2. Rob B says:

    Great Review, I headed straight here after being attracted to some on Start Fitness
    My lightweight summer trail shoes need replacing and looking for something both light and preferrably minimal these may do the job for my summer trail Marathon. Having run a full Marathon in lightweight trails i`m going to guess they`ll be upto the job.

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