Inov-8 Roclite 335 ($150)
The Roclite 335 is a light (approx. 11.8 oz /335 g) "boot" designed for running and fast hiking in cold conditions. It is in the line based on requests from customers in Canada and Scandinavia for a winter running option for cold conditions. dIt features a thin layer of Primaloft Gold Insulation Eco insulation beneath a tight weave water resistant soft shell type upper. Underfoot it shares the agile and flexible midsole platform of Inov-8 warmer conditions Roclite trail runners, so this is no lumbering near hiking shoe. It's rubber outsole has the brand's new graphene infused G-Grip compound for outstanding durability in a sticky type rubber outsole.
I put them to the test running on a variety of snow covered surfaces from looser packed powder to very hard packed snow.
- very light weight for a boot,
- roomy and broad for winter weight socks,
- warm but not overly so, focused on cold snow conditions.
- agile and flexible, a real trail runner,
- outstanding "tacky" grip on very hard packed snow.
- upper is not waterproof /breathable, less utility for shoulder season conditions,
- broad and extensive lug surface coverage was not as grippy in softer powder as soft ground shoes are.
- tongue could be a bit denser in padding to better bridge side wings given thin cord laces.
Lug Depth 6mm
Midsole Stack 16mm / 8mm
Overall Stack: 22mm /14 mm (not including footbed)
Sole Compound GRAPHENE GRIP
Product Weight 335g/ 11.07oz
The black and gray upper is highlighted by the bright blue laces and blue lateral mid foot stability plastic. The look can go anywhere from trail to town.
The 335 has a thin layer of Primaloft Gold Eco insulation. During my testing during runs down to the low teens Fahrenheit or- 10 C, and even moderate several degrees above freezing my feet staying pleasantly and tingly warm but never got overheated or soaked by sweat.
The laces are thin cords. While they work decently my sense is broader flatter laces would improve the foot hold especially at lace up.
On very hard packed snow, not quite ice, the outsole of the 335 is indeed tacky with outstanding grip front and back from the compound and the large surface contact areas from its 6mm lugs. Stability at mid foot is provided by a plate.
On snow the ride is agile and fun. There is no sense of running a boot here yet there is welcome additional support from the cuff, and warmth. The 335 is flexible, low to the ground and responds extremely well. Climbing and descending are clearly a forte although the roomy, soft shell front of the upper and lacing system can feel a touch out matched pushed hard.
Live in cold climes with lots of snow and slippery conditions? The 335 provides a warm running alternative for comfort and speed in winter conditions. It is a lively, protective, warm boot at the weight of many summer trail runners. If you tend to get cold feet during winter running it is a great new very runnable option, I found it great for snowshoeing, snow running, and around town. If it is powdery adding a gaiter is important. The 335, is a somewhat "specialized" run and fast hike shoe for cold climates and does exactly what it set out to do: keep your feet warm and moving fast. If you are looking for the same ride in a Gore-Tex version consider the Roclite 345.
-0.3 for thin laces and overly soft tongue at lace up. Not a comfort issue but a lockdown issue.
Hoka One One Speedgoat Mid WP (RTR Review)
The closest non Inov-8 comparison is the Speedgoat Mid. It has a water proof breathable upper and similar high cuff with slightly better overall foot lock down, It is massively cushioned and stiff which is not ideal or needed in a winter snow running shoe. Come spring it will have wider utility and distance potential than the Roclite as a running shoe for rough terrain and fast hiking It's outsole performed slightly better on soft snow and not quite as well on firm snow. For pure winter and some fall and spring cooler days and if you value warmth and agility pick the 335, for 3 season (spring, fall, winter) and for water proof breathable wet conditions performance pick the Speedgoat.
Read Sam's full run bio here
The product reviewed was provided at no cost. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.
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