Thursday, July 27, 2023

Inov-8 RocLite Pro G 400 GTX v2 Trekking/ Hiking Boot Review

Article by Sam Winebaum

Inov-8 RocLite Pro G 400 GTX v2 ($245)


The RocLite Pro G 400 GTX v2 is a highly cushioned light hiking boot with Inov-8’s graphene infused outsole and a stout ripstop nylon mesh upper with internal Gore-Tex XCR bootie. The Pro is designed for trekking and hiking long distances on all kinds of terrain.  As part of my testing, I took it for 3 days in warm weather on mostly pavement and gravel roads in Tuscany and for hikes in the White Mountains of New Hampshire where the terrain is very rocky, wet and steep. 


  • Most deeply and forgivingly cushioned and protective of boots tested in 2022-2023, especially at the forefoot
  • Very stable underfoot platform 
  • Meta-Plate Pro rock plate is effective for front protection and stability and goes unnoticed otherwise, not always the case with its competitors  
  • Very solid, any terrain traction that does not get in the way on the smooth, even with 6mm lugs
  • Expected great durability top to bottom


  • Upper favors high volume feet over lower volume
  • Thick dense and protective upper does not wrap the foot as well as it could and with GTX is notably warm (good in winter, not so good in summer)
  • Top hook system and lacing tends to loosen more frequently than ideal on rough terrain
  • Weight is on the upper end of the spectrum of light boots we have tested at 14.2 oz /402g
  • Lug depth could be reduced to drop weight as 6mm is a lot and 4mm would be plenty given the solid Graphene G-Grip rubber.
  • Pricing at $245 is way up there for boots in its class with competitors sub $200


Sample Weight: men's 14.2 oz  / 402g (US9) 

Stack Height: men’s 33mm heel / 25 mm forefoot 

6mm lugs 

$245 Available now.

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

The upper is made of a very rugged dense ripstop nylon with an interior Gore-Tex XCR bootie. There is a massive if pliable toe bumper as well as an external plastic heel clip that also connects in 3 places to the outer wall of the midsole for rear stability.

The round laces terminate in 2 sets of hooks on the upper edge of the molded mid height rear. Classic light boot stuff.  

My pair was a half size up from my normal US8.5 with lots of toe box width and height, almost Topo volume upfront. 

I wore thick SmartWool hiking socks which usually take care of volume issues and half sizes to large but still found the upper while decently secure for moderate terrain sloppier in fit all around than I prefer in a boot on rougher terrain.

Not many, and I would say almost no one should size up in this boot for width and volume and particularly so if you prefer thinner socks or your terrain is more technical. 

To maintain adequate hold and even then I had to re-tighten more frequently than I would like on technical rocky terrain.  I made a knot below the hooks, ran the laces backwards over the hooks and then laced them as tight as I could for my narrower to medium feet which helped.

I think the main issue is that the upper is not as foot conforming as it could be given the thick ripstop mesh and inner GTX bootie combination with the lacing and relatively pliable rear collars not helping. Things aren’t terrible but could be improved as below the platform is so impeccably stable. 

I will also note this Gore-Tex XCR upper is quite warm, and warmer than other waterproof breathable uppers I have recently tested including the GTX in the Saucony Ultra Ridge GTX compared below or the private label bootie in the VJ SpeedHiker. Hiking in 80 F feet temps in Tuscany had my feet very warm. I will note no blister problems at all in 3 long days with lots of pavement, but I did feel some very slight irritation on one foot during a day of very rocky trails in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I think movement in that big toe box is the issue on less smooth terrain.

We must not forget fall and winter. Here I think the Pro will keep feet warm and dry in snow and rain, assuming as always in heavy stuff you use a gaiter. It is really an upper designed for those kinds of foul conditions.


The Pro features Powerflow Max foam with a midsole stack height of 20mm heel and 12mm forefoot. Overall stack height is 33mm heel and 25mm forefoot. As mentioned in Upper, the heel cup and sides of the rear of the midsole are reinforced by 3 plastic extensions on each side..

The midsole is fantastic with lots of well felt energy return rebound from the foam and impeccable stability all without the usual firm feel of hiking boots or the thin feel of trail runners up front on technical trails. 

Trekking 3 days in Tuscany on gravel and pavement about 45 miles in total and on the far more technical rocky trails in New Hampshire my legs were essentially fresh the next day. 


The outsole is Inov-8 Graphene G-Grip with 6mm lugs. An all terrain outsole with quite tightly spaced lugs,  the  grip on slippery granite is excellent while smooth hard surfaces are also easily handled. Even with its rock plate the boot has a nice front climbing flex.

I do think the pattern could be less dense with greater contact areas for each lug and for sure lower lugs. 6mm lugs add to weight (rubber being the heaviest material in a shoe) and are only really useful at those depths in deep mud and snow as far as I am concerned.

Ride, Conclusions and Recommendations

The hiking ride is about as good as it gets underfoot with lots of energetic, very stable and leg saving cushioning. Of the boots I have tested this year it has the best midsole for those reasons. The traction is outstanding on wet rock and not overly present and a bother on smoother terrain, but I do think reducing the lug height would be a good idea as it would also reduce weight.

The Pro is somewhat held back by the voluminous and comparatively not that foot conforming or that secure hold of the upper on more technical terrain, at least for me. The dense, durable mesh upper and Gore-Tex bootie make them a comparatively warm boot, great for winter and fall wet and cold conditions but not ideal in full summer heat.

I would say their best uses are multi day treks on moderately but not super technical terrain (due to the upper and not the platform) and on firm surfaces such as gravel roads and even pavement in cooler and wet conditions.

Sam’s Score: 8.8 /10 half of my deductions are for upper hold and half for steep $245 pricing. Every aspect of the boot and especially its stable cushion being great.


Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

 Left to Right: VJ SpeedHiker, Saucony Ultra Ridge GTX. Inov-8 RocLite Pro G 400 

Saucony Ultra Ridge GTX  (RTR Review)

The Ultra Ridge has the same underfoot chassis as the Xodus Ultra trail runner, so a carrier of firmer EVA foam with a supercritical foam core, a woven rockplate, and an outsole with more spaced out lugs than the RocLite. It is lighter by 0.7 oz at 12.72 oz in US9 for a 32.5 mm heel / 26.5 mm stack height and has 4.5mm lugs (so almost the same as the VJ's). 

It’s upper is a much more foot conforming and secure Gore-Tex and mesh with a more versatile lace up, such that laced tight to shoe level then looser through the two sets of hooks  they make a fantastic stable trail runner while laced all the way up tight they have better top hold than the Inov-8. The RocLite is more deeply and protectively cushioned especially at the forefoot and more stable underfoot (but not at the upper) but is not a shoe one can really also run with as one can the Saucony. 

The RocLite’s outsole is clearly superior on all surfaces especially wet and steep ones while the Ultra Ridge’s is fine on smoother dry terrain. In terms of fit,  the Saucony is slightly lower volume up front but far more locked down. I suspect the Inov-8 upper will prove longer lasting as I am already seeing some evidence of wear in the Saucony. This said for its amazing versatility from trail running to hiking the Saucony is a great choice while for long days on the trail in moderate terrain the Inov-8 will keep you fresher underfoot.

Aku Selvatica GTX (RTR Review)

More classic boot than new age trail runner platform with a boot top, the Aku  at 485 grams/ 17.01 oz is considerably heavier and also considerably more supportive. Its foam is denser, its platform lower and is as stable as the Inov-8. It is a better choice for heavy loads in rough terrain but is not as cushioned. It is the only shoe of the three with Vibram Megagrip 

VJ SpeedHiker  (RTR Review)

The SpeedHiker, like the Ultra Ridge, is based on a trail runner platform (the Speed Ultra) with a relatively soft single density EVA foam and a rock plate. The SpeedHiker upper is very similar to the RocLite, a dense ripstop mesh with a waterproof breathable bootie, in the case of the VJ their own which I found not as warm. 

The fit, especially at the top collars of the Speed Hiker, is more secure and requires fewer on the move tightenings. This is in part due to the fact it has a full lace up to the top and no hooks as the RocLite has. 

The SpeedHiker is somewhat lighter and higher stacked and its plate more noticed (rigid and snappy) making it not quite as stable underfoot but more agile and, as with the Saucony, with a more secure if lower volume upper. Traction is close, and both are excellent, but I think the VJ’s Butyl rubber is slightly stickier and softer and yet more confidence inspiring that the Graphene Grip on tricky steep wet rock.

Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 66 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. 2022 was Sam’s 50th year of running. He has a decades old 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the just sub 1:40 range if he gets very very lucky, training 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah be it on the run, hiking or on nordic skis. He is 5’9” tall and weighs about 164 lbs, that is if he is not enjoying too many fine New England IPA’s!

Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

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Anonymous said...

Very nice to see hiking shoe/boots reviews as well. Enjoy your stay in Tuscany or New Hampshire, whereever you are at the moment.

I would like to point out the Scarpa Ribelle Run XT, the more hiking oriented version of the Ribelle Run. It's pretty amazing as a hiking shoe.

Sam Winebaum said...

Thanks we love to hike and will try to get that Ribelle and give the a spin!
Sam, Editor