Sunday, 3 August 2014

Womens Inov-8 Trailroc 236 review

Inov-8 Trailroc 236
It is with great excitement that I bring you my second guest review! After previously being really impressed with the mens Trailroc 235's, but discovering after only 150km that the uppers split across the metatarsal flex point, I was keen to see any improvements that Inov-8 may have made in the 236's.The Inov-8 Trailroc 236 has proved a very popular trail shoe for women in both training and racing situations, and with the help of my wife Hannah I hope to help you make the choice of whether this may be the trail shoe for you. I have been sending her out on the local trails in all weathers and dragging her to races across the country to enable me to interrogate her on the pro's and con's of the women's specific shoe in the well-known Trailroc series. And so, it's over to Hannah to fill in the blanks.....

CC: Why did you buy the Inov-8 Trailroc 236?

Hannah: "I was after a more minimal lightweight trail running shoe with good grip, as my road shoes were not cutting it in wet weather. I didn't want to spend huge amounts of money and I came across these on offer in my local sports retailer, so I thought I would give them a try."

CC: I sadly found the durability of the men's Trailroc 235's not up to scratch, as they split at the metatarsal flex points after 150km. How many Km's have you run in these and how have you found the durability of the 236's?

Hannah: "I have no idea how many Km's I have run in them, as I don't have one of your fancy GPS watches yet, but I run a couple of times a week and have had these shoes for a year now and they are not showing any signs of significant wear and tear. They do get cleaned after running in muddy conditions though, which always helps increase the life of a trail running shoe, as mud is slightly acidic which, over time, eats into and weakens the stitching, materials and glue." 

No wearing on the metatarsal flex points this time!
CC: How comfortable are they?
Hannah: "Personally, not extremely comfortable; because they are a minimal trail shoe I find them less comfortable than the more cushioned road shoes I wear to fitness classes and work, and I find the soles quite ridged compared to other minimal shoes I have, such as the New Balance Minimus I wear to Bootcamp sessions. I haven't had any blisters or hot spots so I don't have any complaints with the comfort and the shape is perfect for my very narrow feet."

Quite a narrow fit, ideal for people with narrow feet
CC: What is the grip like?
Hannah: "I think it's really good for what I need. For muddy fields, grass footpaths and slightly technical terrain they provide a good all-round level of grip, however I don't like them on pavement or road sections as they are too clumpy, like most trail shoes. The only time I have found the grip to fail is on sticky mud when the tread pattern clogs up and you lose the effect the lug pattern should have to keep you from slipping."

Inov-8 Trailroc grip is great for varied trails
CC: What is the best thing about these shoes and what would you like to see improved, if anything?
Hannah: "The best thing about them is their reliability and trustworthiness. Every time I put them on I know they will perform well, grip well and not cause me any comfort issues or blisters. I also think the design is pretty cool too, which is always a welcome bonus! The only thing I would like to see improved slightly is if Inov-8 could make them a bit more comfortable by increasing the flexibility of the sole and softness of the uppers. But this is being picky!"     

CC: Would you buy these shoes again and why?
Hannah: "Yes, definitely! They always perform reliably every time I wear them. I just put them on and go, no issues! If you start noticing things about a shoe it is usually because of a slight problem. When you put on your shoes and just run, you know the shoe is right for you and the terrain your running on. These do just that for me."

CavemanClarke's take on the Trailroc 236:
With the popularity and proven track record of the Trailroc series this shoe seems to have been a real success in the minimalist trail running world. The original Trailroc's that I trialled many moons ago suffered with poor durability across the metatarsal flex points, and resulted in splitting after only 100-150km, but later models seem to have improved on this. At close inspection of the Trailroc 236, the area that usually falls foul and splits seems to have been injected with a clear glue substance to strengthen the upper material and prevent splitting. Combine this with a slightly narrower foot of some runners and these shoes seem to perform effortlessly for their user. If, however, you have particularly wide feet you may find the durability of the uppers will be reduced somewhat due to stretching of the upper material to accommodate your wide feet. 

All said and done, my wife loves them, and that means more miles together on the trail. Just please don't get them too dirty, as I know just who will be given the task of cleaning them up again!

Hannah loves getting her Inov-8's dirty!
She also loves getting her husband to clean them for her!
Happy running everyone!

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