Recently, during the very hot weather that England has been experiencing it decided to rain for a few days, turning the hard and dry trails back into wet, sticky and very slippery mud. My favourite trail shoes are still by far the Vibram FiveFingers Spyridon LS (see here for full review: http://caveman-clarke.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/vibram-fivefingers-spyridon-vs-spyridon.html). But in very wet and sticky mud, the limited depth of the lugs can lead to them quickly clogging up leaving you back to slippy-slidysit-on-your-butt-before-long style running on ascents and descents. Therefore, for these wetter conditions I am still looking for a minimalist, bareform trail shoe with a little more grip. This is why I decided to try the Inov-8 Trailroc 150; Inov-8's latest and very minimal trail runner for serious barefoot enthusiasts.
Upon opening the box the colour scheme immediately blew me away. Not to everyone' liking, they are certainly very 'bright'. Picking them up I was amazed how light they felt, and how extremely flexible they were. Good start! The grip was what I know I needed, as I have previously tried the 235 version; one of the best shoes I have run in recently until they both ripped and deteriorated in the same place on each shoe...disappointing! They also came with removable insoles shown in the picture on the left. This shoe is still a little too narrow fitting for a lot of people, but the last is improved from a lot of Inov-8's other models.
Wearing them sockless, as I would prefer to run in them, sadly was not as comfortable as I had hoped for. The upper material is similar to the New Balance MT00's. It consists of a thin, almost tent-like material (albeit a lot stiffer) with a pattern of tiny rip-stop squares. Therefore, upon flexing at the metatarsals, the material bends in one given place across the toe box creating a crease across the shoe. In the past with the MT00's this soon caused blisters at the bend point and later led on to quite rapid deterioration of the uppers in the form of large rips. I very much doubt this shoe will be the most durable of comfortable shoe you will ever wear, but it certainly is light! I would therefore recommend wearing these with a thin pair of socks to avoid blisters half way through your long weekend run!
The grip is amazing. It is the perfect balance of grip for wetter runs as well as not being too aggressive for dry outings or any hard-packed dirt or pavements you may come across during your runs. I certainly have to issue with the grip, and I also like the minimal feel as Inov-8 have stripped away the cushioning and left your foot really close to the ground. Top marks for grip and ground feel.
Running in them:
It really is a mixture between the Trailroc 235 and the New Balance MT00. Very light, good ground feel, great grip and holds well on your foot but a tad too narrow fitting for my liking and not all that comfy across your toes. After not long at all running I was aware of the upper material rubbing the top of my toes and starting to cause a blister. Therefore I decided these would have to be worn with thin socks to avoid problems. I personally prefer to wear my trail shoes sockless so this was a tad disappointing.
If your looking for the grip and the fit of Inov-8's I would personally go for the Trailroc 235 as it is far more comfy. If your looking for something lighter, less cushioned and closer to the ground, and you don't mind the possibility of a narrow fit and needing to wear socks to make them more comfy then these could be for you.
Any comments please feel free to voice your opinion. If you agree or disagree comment ahead below.
More reviews coming soon, but until then, Happy Running!!!
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