Inov-8 Roclite 315 GTX Trail Running Shoe Review

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The Inov-8 RocLite 315 GTX is out, and it has become my favorite go to winter running shoe.

First Impressions

The RocLite 315 GTX feels like a tough, no… a bulletproof lightweight trail running shoe. The new X-Protec upper feels impenetrable and ready to deliver the ultimate in protection and durability. The toe box is fortified and well protected. The RocLite is equipped with a reinforced hybrid tongue that will stop any and all debris from entering the shoe.

Bulletproof Upper
Gusseted Tongue

The outsole has multi-directional, claw-shaped cleats, each with a wide contact area, that should provide unbeatable grip over unpredictable terrain. The spacing between the cleats will allow for quick release of any debris. The Inov-8 RocLite 315 GTX is a rugged trail shoe that is clearly designed for difficult conditions.

Check Out Those Lugs

RocLite 315 GTX Outsole Traction

The standout feature of the shoe is the aggressive RocLite outsole that uses three sticky rubber compounds to increase grip and durability. The hardest, most durable rubber is on the heel, with a medium rubber up the center for increased traction and a softer rubber on the edges for grip and security with every stride. The lugs are large and highly effective on anything soft or loose, such as snow, sand and mud. The RocLite allowed me to cruise comfortable on snow trails and slippery roads without to much thought of losing traction. The outsole material is also quite sticky, so that traction is maintained on harder surfaces such as rock. The overall ride of the RocLite 315 is a bit on the stiff side, but this helps maintain energy efficiency on both soft ground and uphill climbs. One might think that the large outsole lugs would have a tendency to catch on trail obstacles, but this was never the case. The protection is excellent, as there is a meta-plate that sits between the outsole and midsole, providing enhanced shielding underfoot from roots and rocks.

RoLite Outsole – Superior Traction

Midsole Cushioned Ride

The responsiveness of the Roclite 315 is definitely above average, and really helps to maintain energy efficiency on softer surfaces. The PowerFlow midsole delivers better shock absorption and better energy return and is excellent when climbing hard up hill, particularly when the grade is steep enough that the heel does not come into full contact with the ground when pushing off. The low forefoot height and 8mm drop of the Roclite 315 are definitely conducive to faster running on soft trails and snowy surfaces. The lower forefoot make for an extremely agile shoe that can easily handle precise foot placement at speed. Similarly, the heel stays out of the way despite the 8mm drop—because of the low overall stack height. On hard surfaces, the large outsole lugs felt slightly cumbersome and seemed to slow down my turnover. However the responsiveness of the shoe did compensate for this. 

Upper Comfort

The upper of the Roclite 315 has an external heel cage that wraps around the rear of the shoe and provides amazing support in the heel. Delivering this extra hold aids in foot stability and helps fatigue to maintain a better gait. Built around the natural anatomy of the foot, the AdapterWeb met-cradle adapts to the natural movement and swelling of the foot in motion which makes for a very comfortable feel. Security and fit were both excellent.

External Heel Cage
AdapterWeb Met-Cradle

The added protection from the X-ProTec fabric and the Gore-Tex invisible fit makes this the only shoe that has ever kept my foot warm from the start of my subzero temperatures runs. With every other shoe that I have ever run in, when the temperature is below zero, my feet would get cold minutes into the run and usually take about a mile before they would warm up. Not so with the RocLite 315 GTX, they stayed warm and never got cold, this is just one of the reasons why this shoe has become my favorite winter running shoe. The Gore-Tex membrane in the RocLite is bonded directly to the upper, which eliminates any wrinkles and folds, so pressure points and blisters are nonexistent and the freedom of movement and flexibility is increased. The Inov-8 RocLite 315 GTX really is built to endure tough conditions, the upper, the toe box and the sole are all constructed to take a repeated beating and just keep asking for more.

Specifications

UPPER

  • Invisifit Gore-Tex is bonded directly to the upper for waterproofing and a smoother fit.
  • Kevlar Rip-Tek upper material provides ultimate durability while still providing ventilation.
  • ADAPTERWEB Cradle is a synthetic webbing upper that supports the forefoot and provide a secure fit.
  • X-LOCK System uses welded overlays to hold the heel securely in place.
  • Toe Cap increases the upper’s durability and keeps toes safe from bruising on trails.
  • Gusseted tongue is integrated to the upper to keep out debris.
  • Gaiter Hooks on the shoe allows for easy and secure attachment of a gaiter to keep out debris.

MIDSOLE

  • PowerFlow is a unique midsole compound that delivers increased shock absorption and energy return.
  • Meta-Shank extends from the midfoot to the forefoot in a 5-finger fashion, for flexible underfoot impact protection.
  • 2 Arrow Shoc-Zone provides moderate underfoot cushioning and an 8 mm heel-to-toe drop. This is inov-8’s medium level of cushioning on their 0-4 arrow scale.

OUTSOLE

  • Roclite is a trail outsole built with a moderately aggressive lug pattern. It is intended for use on hard packed trails and mixed terrain.
  • Tri-C Compound combines three different outsole rubbers for excellent grip and decreased wear.

Final Thoughts

The Inov-8 Roclite 315 GTX is packed with features to provide the necessary traction and comfort that you need to run confidently over ice and snow all Winter long. I have put more than 80 miles in these shoes to date and they have exceeded my expectations every step of the way.

For more information visit:   www.inov-8.com      MSRP $145

Mark Ranum: Mark is an outdoor adventure seeker, living in the beautiful state of Michigan. He loves trekking hundreds of miles through the wilderness, whether on two feet or two wheels, always looking for the next new trail or road to see where it will take him.
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