Friday, August 23, 2013

Inov-8 Trailroc 245 (Review)

 
SPECIFICATIONS
Weight: 9.2 (size 9)
Stack Height: Heel (18mm), Forefoot (15mm)
Drop: 3mm

The Inov-8 Trailroc 245 is a light, low, flexible, neutral, comfortable work of art. In many ways the perfect trail shoe, after my third pair I must however unfortunately report that this middle installment in the three-shoe Trailroc family, ultimately comes up short.

I purchased my first pair of 245's in spring 2012 as a replacement for the New Balance MT110. I was looking for a more durable shoe to get me through the Hyner View Trail Challenge (race report).


Right out of the box the 245 appeared to be exactly what I was looking for. The upper is made of a thick mesh somewhat resembling burlap, albeit softer, which I expected to be considerably more durable than the plastic synthetic upper of the MT110. The soles feature adequate lugs, a necessity on tough Pennsylvania single track, and there is a thin rock plate in the mid-foot. The always important toe box has the generous space that minimalist runners demand.

No breaking in necessary. Straight out of the box (with my feet sockless as usual) I found my first pair of Trailroc's quite comfortable, but within a mile I realized something. I'd been taking the attached insoles of the MT110 for granted. I ended up stopping mid run to remove and carry home the insoles which had started to slip up over my heels the moment my feet began to sweat. Problem resolved, no big deal.
 
The second flaw of the Trailroc 245 to reveal itself was the laces. The laces themselves are round and overly thin, which results in difficulty maintaining tension at the location of the knot, causing the shoes to become loose overly soon during a run. This flaw too (is an annoyance) is easily resolved by replacing the laces. In this respect the MT110 again trumps the Trailroc, with its tight locking spiral laces

That initial pair of Trailroc's got me through Hyner comfortably, but with under 200 miles on them the third and final flaw was revealed. The seemingly durable “burlap” uppers began to develop multiple holes. The first hole on the outside of the shoe over the pinky toe, the second on the inside of the shoe parallel to the second lace hole just above where the plastic overlays attach to the outsole. These holes appear to be where the shoe flexes when running on the mid-foot or toe.
Otherwise in love with the shoe, I went through two more and each unfortunately developed the same flaw
Team Innov-8, I could have been a believer, but $120 a pair is too much for a shoe I can’t get more get 400 miles or more out of.


Purchase at your own risk.

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