Inov-8 Trailroc 255 Tester Diary

By Jonathan
Running Warehouse Shoe Tester

For the last two weeks I have been like Goldilocks looking for just the right trail running shoe. I love to run in lightweight, low-profile trail shoes that provide a great feel for the ground. The Salomon Sense Mantra has been a recent favorite, but for some reason I recently began to feel the need for a little more cushioning. So I moved on in search of a little more impact protection:

  • Asics Gel Fuji Racer – First up was this light and low trail racer. Though it is super nimble and more flexible than the Sense Mantra, this shoe did not give me the extra padding I was looking for.
  • Merrell Mix Master 2 – Still light, low and fast, but I did not find the extra padding I have been seeking in forefoot. Next!
  • Salomon Speedcross 3 – Plenty of cushion, but maybe a little too much. While it was comfy and great for an easy day, it was just too much shoe to run in the next time out.
  • Asics Gel Scout – Funny thing about the Scout: while it provides great traction on the trails and good rock protection, I like the shoe better as a road shoe. I actually prefer the Scout for daily road use, to any current Asics road shoe. Alas, I wanted the Scout to be a svelte, yet protective trail shoe and it was just too much shoe for my current craving.

And after this shoe odyssey, I rediscovered the Inov-8 Trailroc 255. When I originally tested the Trailroc 255, I was testing the Trailroc 245 and Trailroc 235 at the same time. Since I am partial to lighter shoes, I ended up falling in love with the 235, liked the 245 and thought the 255 was a good shoe but in comparison to the lighter, lower versions it was not my preference.

But today, the Trailroc 255 hit the sweet spot. It was more flexible than the Sense Mantra and softer under the forefoot than both the Sense Mantra and Fuji Racer, while being way more streamlined, nimble and faster than the Speedcross 3 and Gel Scout.

For the time being, the Trailroc 255 is the trail shoe that is just right. But give me a few weeks or days . . . .

  • David

    Thanks Jonathan for the write up. I also vacillate between trail shoes. Inov-8 Trailrocs (235, 245 and 255), Pearl Izumi E-Motion N1, LaSportiva Helios and Anakonda’s. I like them all! Since you’ve run in both the Salomon Mantra’s and Inov-8 Trailrocs, my question is: what would you run in for an Ultra marathon which is 68 miles over very rugged and technical terrain with a lot of switchbacks? Also the course could get rain. Based on what I currently own, I’m opting towards the Trailroc 245 because they are nimble. Thanks!

  • Jonathan

    David, I can’t really answer the question directly but hope I can shed some light on the two shoes. The Mantra is quite stiff. Thus, I feel the shoe is at its best at faster paces. The Mantra does shed mud fairly well and traction is moderate in wet conditions. I find the flexibility of the Trailroc 245 to be more comfortable over a variety of paces. I haven’t used the Trailroc shoes in wet conditions, but I would expect them to perform well in the wet. If rock protection is a concern, I do feel that the Mantra delivers better rock protection.

  • David

    Thanks Jonathan for your response. Your response was quite helpful. You did shed light on each trail shoe. First off, it looks like it won’t rain. I went ahead and ordered the Mantra’s today from RW. I will get them tomorrow . From there, I will do a short run in them to get a feel for fit, comfort and protection. Won’t be much of an evaluation! I’ll follow up with you afterwards. I know this defies proto ol by not trying anything new just before a race, but I do things different than most!!!

  • Peter Andersson

    Funny thing about the Gel Fuji Racer: I actually like them better as an intervall track shoe (I’m not using spikes, I’m not THAT serious) than a terrain shoe, they’re just to slippery on rocks and leaves in the forest.

  • Julien

    Where can you place the peregrine in your “timeline” ?

    i ran it for long races (70k) and also have the mix master but the feeling is different… lighter, smoother, more flexible.

    The Peregrine seems to be similar to the trailroc, in term of sole thickness, but stiffer ?

  • Matt

    Of the shoes mentioned, the Peregrine is probably most similar to the Salomon Sense and Asics Gel Fuji Racer. It has a bit more underfoot protection than either of these shoes (and more than the Trailroc 255), but offers a similarly stiff ride.

  • Julien

    merci ;)