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 . . . .
INOV-8 Trailroc Series (255, 235, and 245 Pictured)
Designed for running on loose, rugged and eroded trails, the Trailroc wants to be your new buddy for when the going gets tough. This is a brand new design from Inov-8, available in three flavors to give you just the mix of cushioning and protection you need. It’s also the first Inov-8 shoe to use three different types of rubber compounds on the outsole to optimize grip and durability.
This series of light, low and nimble trail shoes is set to compete with the New Balance MT/WT110, along with the upcoming Asics Gel Fuji Racer and Saucony Kinvara TR.
What to Watch For
- Tri-C Compound: Inov-8 uses a soft sticky rubber on the toe and arch areas for improved grip, an endurance rubber spanning from the heel to the metatarsals for durability, and a hard sticky rubber on the medial and lateral forefoot for improved wear rate. Note that the sole is a uniform color on the sample shoes shown but will be three different colors in production to showcase the technology.
INOV-8 Trailroc 245 Outsole View
- 3 Offsets Available: The Trailroc 235 is a zero drop model. The Trailroc 245 has a one-arrow shock zone, measured in our sample shoe as a 4mm heel-to-toe drop, and the Trailroc 255 has a two-arrow shock zone, measured in our sample shoe as a 7mm difference between the heel and forefoot.
- Light Weight: All the Trailroc models break the 10.0 oz barrier, with the 235 weighing in at 8.3 oz, the 245 at 8.7 oz, and the 255 at 9.9 oz (Men’s sample size 9).
- Met-Cradle Lacing: Lightweight overlays help to keep the upper snug on your foot and hold your foot securely to the mid/outsole for confident performance wherever the trail takes you.
- Meta-Shank: Included in the 245 and 255, this built-in rock guard offers added protection from rocks and other ornery trail debris.
- Anatomic Fit: A wider toebox gives the toes room to splay out, particularly helpful for a midfoot strike pattern.
The Trailroc series has a targeted release date of July 2012. Based on prior new releases from Inov-8, we could see that date getting pushed back a month or more, so we’ll keep you posted as we get closer to summer. UPDATE: We are now expecting the Trailroc 235, 245 and 255 to arrive in late August 2012.