inov-8 Hiking Shoes
In this article, we’re going to discuss the differences between inov-8’s hiking shoe models and how each can benefit you.
Next, we’ll help you to choose which model would be the best for you based on the type of hiking you’ll be doing — short day hikes, overnight backpacking trips, etc.
So let’s hop into it.
How inov-8 hiking shoe technology improves your performance
inov-8 Roclite G 315 GTX -- lightweight and versatile day hiker
The Roclite G 315 was built to handle various types of activities and terrain. It’s good for hiking trails littered with obstacles like rocks, roots, even mud. You can also use it as a trail runner, on smoother paths where you feel like picking up the pace.
inov-8 designed this shoe with an aggressive outsole. It has multi-directional 6mm lugs that help you trek through muddy or slick terrain. And it has a rock plate that protects from sharp objects underfoot.
Also, this shoe has a Gore-Tex layer to help keep your feet dry through rainy conditions. Though it’s not a fully waterproof hiking shoe, so keep that in mind when splashing through puddles.
The 315 is meant for lower level trails without steep hills to climb up or down. But, the outsole is aggressive enough to pull its weight if you decide to traverse a hill or two. Just know there isn’t any ankle support.
Hiking on trails that are slanted or have steep inclines can put a lot of strain on your ankles. For this type of you’d want a boot with a higher cut for ankle support.
What you’ll notice:
The midsole cushion is firm to absorb shock and return that energy into your next step. Unlike a plush cushioning, which your foot sinks down into, the 315 bounces you forward.
- Light & Flexible
The upper is bendy and adapts to your natural foot movements. And without a bunch of stability tech, it’s also very light so you can cruise along your hiking trail.
inov-8 Roclite G 345 GTX -- lightweight speed hiking boot
The Roclite G 345 won the top prize for fast hiking boots by The Great Outdoors. It also won the top pick by Trailspace for 2019.
Inov-8 built this boot to be durable with decent stability but they also wanted to make sure it didn’t slow you down.
The 345 is flexible and lightweight thanks to the mesh upper. It also makes it very breathable.
The 345 has a waterproof lining. Just know that a mesh upper can’t stop water from getting in the boot when fully submerged.
Many hiking boots can have a rigid feel. The Roclite 345 was designed to offer ankle support but to also be flexible so you can move freely. This makes it great for climbing hills or jumping over obstacles.
The 345 would be great for speedy hiking adventures with a lightweight backpack. But if you’re going on longer hikes, carrying heavy equipment, you'll need a shoe that can handle the extra weight.
What you’ll notice:
- Comfortable and Roomy
Straight out of the box you’ll notice how comfortable these boots are. The midsole has decent cushioning with great responsiveness. And, the toe-box has just enough room to wiggle or splay but not so much that you feel your feet are sliding around.
Hiking boots are often bulky and stiff which can weigh you down. This boot was designed to give you the ability to explore the trails without putting a speed limit on your pace.
inov-8 Roclite Pro G 400 GTX -- speed hiker with ultimate durability
This boot won the Footwear of the Year Award from The Great Outdoors for 2020.
The Pro 400 was built for ultimate durability while trekking through rugged terrain. Inov-8 kept this boot lightweight so it doesn't slow you down.
Designed with a ceramic-coated upper, it’s very durable against abrasion as well as wear and tear. Having material that is tough as diamonds means this boot can take a beating.
The Roclite Pro 400 was the first to combine the graphene outsole with a ceramic upper. The two paired together gives this boot outstanding durability.
Of course, all that durability comes with a heftier price tag. Just something to keep in mind when choosing the best type of shoe for you.
What you’ll notice:
- More cushion
This is inov-8’s most cushioned hiking boot. It has a higher stack to give you more underfoot cushion and protection. Also, the ankle collar is padded for additional comfort and stability.
- Requires Maintenance
The ceramic upper material needs to be wiped dry before putting the boot away. If left damp, the fabric tends to get moldy and can also crinkle up.
How do I choose the best inov-8 hiking shoe for me?
There are a few things to keep in mind when deciding which hiking footwear best fits your needs:
- The type of hike you’ll be going on
- The weather condition for the day (or trail landscape -- streams, rivers, etc.)
- The weight of your backpack (if you have one)
- Your level of hiking -- beginner VS experienced
Casual day hikes
For a casual day hike, you’ll be going on shorter hikes with little-to-no equipment.
You’ll want a lightweight versatile model like the Roclite G 315 GTX.
The 315 can be used as trail runner on smoother paths. And it’s also great for heading off the beaten path where you’ll encounter hills and various types of debris.
Adventurous hikes are often longer treks, and often with more technical terrain -- slanted landscapes, hills, obstacles, rocks, etc.
For this type of hiking, you’ll want a shoe with solid ankle support. You'll also need a bit of flexibility so you to traverse any obstacles with ease.
The Roclite G 345 GTX would be a good choice. It is a mid-cut boot that supports your ankle but isn’t rigid so you can still have great flexibility.
And, since this boot has a mesh upper to help keep it lightweight and breathable, it makes this a speedy model as well.
If you plan backpacking, where you’ll be hauling a ton of equipment, you’ll need a stability shoe for balance. You’ll also need enough cushioning to support the extra weight.
The Roclite Pro G 400 would be a good choice. The Pro 400 is extremely durable thanks to the ceramic upper. And it protects your feet from extreme weather.
This boot is more cushioned than any other inov-8 hiking model. This makes it ideal for supporting all the extra weight you’ll be carrying.
If you need an option that is less expensive, you might appreciate the Roclite 370. Durability and cushioning would be compromised with a cheaper model. But, you could add an insole for extra comfort.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I wear trail running shoes for hiking?
Short answer: Yes. A trail running shoe would be fine for a light day hike.
Slightly longer answer…
For more difficult terrain, most trail shoes won’t have enough ankle support to protect you. And for overnight backpacking hikes, typical trail shoes lack the cushioning to support the added weight you’ll have to carry.
Whenever possible, it’s a good idea to have a separate shoe that’s designed for the activity you’ll be using it for.
How often should I replace my inov-8 hiking shoes?
A good hiking shoe should give you a good 350-500 miles of wear.
There are a couple of indicators you can watch for that’ll let you know it’s time to replace your hiking shoes:
- If the lugs begin to wear down, and no longer digging into the terrain they used to
- If you notice that your foot is slipping around in the shoe then the upper may not be as secure as before
- If you start to notice achy joints, knee or back pain, it could be a sign that the midsole is worn out
I need help deciding: Which would be the best hiking shoe for a beginner?
inov-8 Roclite G 315 GTX -- This would be a great hiking shoe for a beginner. It’s a versatile shoe that offers a little bit of everything you need for a moderate day hike. And, being a lightweight shoe, it won’t weigh you down leaving you feeling fatigued.
And its cushion is on the springy side, as opposed to the pillowy side. This is nice if you plan on going a little faster.
Inov-8 Roclite Pro G 400 GTX -- For more adventurous hikes, you’ll need a boot that can support the weight of your pack.
The Pro 400 has a mid-cut ankle for support. You’ll also appreciate the amount of cushioning for comfort and protection.