Published on September 27, 2013
inov-8 Trailroc 235
At RunningMonkey we’re long-term admirers of inov-8, their trail shoes have taken us across some of the harshest environments imaginable and we’ve rarely been let down by the tech or the spec. With a passion for barefoot, it was with much anticipation that we set about testing the inov-8 Trailroc 235.
If you’re looking for minimalist, slipping on the Trailroc 235 is like putting on a silk sock or donning a pair of ballet shoes; weighing under 250g (men’s UK size 8, pair) it’s the closest to running truly barefoot you can get without getting mud between the toes. The synthetic upper has light raining running off, but will soak with heavier weather or if (frankly when) you hit a deep puddle and the toe protection isn’t as tough as if could be – though clearly everything here is designed to keep the weight down and the shoe discreet.
As you might expect from inov-8 the sole makes the shoe. Constructed from three types of ‘sticky’ rubber compound with varying flex and hardness, the lugs are deep enough to tackle almost vertical climbs and the distribution and design has fantastic lateral grip too. Thrashing around in mud with the Trailroc 235 has been a deep pleasure.
It isn’t just the weight and minimal (honestly non-existent) cushioning that make these a barefoot shoe though. The 235 is a zero-drop design, so no differential from heel to toe, delivering a completely natural feeling run with easy mid- to forefoot strike. However if you’re looking for a transitional shoe when making the switch to barefoot – or don’t want to make the full leap and still want a (small) degree of cushioning – then the Trailroc 255 offers a 6mm footbed and the 245 a 3mm one.
The comfort level was impressive (although a slight Achilles notch would have helped) and the soles felt puncture-proof if not quite as protective of underfoot detritus as something like the New Balance Trail Minimus MT10.
We always expect pretty good things from inov-8 and with the Trailroc 235 they didn’t disappoint. RRP £110.