Hands-on Gear Review

inov-8 Roclite 305 GTX Review

Editors' Choice Award
Price:  $140 List | $140.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Water resistant, great traction, dries quickly, lightweight, responsive midsole, narrow fit
Cons:  Stiff fit, longer break-in period, unstable over super technical terrain, narrow fit
Bottom line:  This Editors' Choice winner is best for adventures in varied and unpredictable terrain.
Editors' Rating:   
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Weight (oz):  10.25 oz
Type of Shoe:  Traditional
Heel-to-Toe Drop:  8 mm
Manufacturer:   inov-8

Our Verdict

Roclite 305 GTX Discontinued - 2018
The Roclite 305 GTX has been taken out of production, but inov-8 still makes this shoe in a non-GTX version, retailing for $130. If you're still jonesing for that all-weather protection, check out the Roclite 315 GTX, which is a similar shoe to the 305 GTX and still offers your feet shelter from the elements for $5 more.

The inov-8 Roclite 305 GTX is an all-terrain warrior. This traditional trail running shoe is our Editors' Choice winner because of its exemplary performance in the areas of foot protection and traction. We loved its waterproof features that makes trudging through streams a breeze. The outsole features three different densities of rubber that sticks to pretty much any surface (including wet rocks!). We loved the responsive midsole that keeps feet comfortable and protected on the trail. In addition, we love its balance of protection and sensitivity that makes this shoe one of the best on the market.

Though this trail trotter has many perks, it also has a few downsides. While it has great traction and protection, stability is average at best with less lateral stability than the La Sportiva Bushido - Women's and Saucony Peregrine 7 - Women's. As a result, we can't recommend this shoe as the best for technical terrain (like we would with the Salomon Speedcross 4 - Women's). It also only really fits a narrow foot best. It's a great option for any length or style of run though. Take it for your next 5K or 50 miler, over mountain passes or nicely groomed single track. Rain or shine.


RELATED REVIEW: Best Trail Running Shoes for Women of 2018


Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Amber King

Last Updated:
Friday
May 26, 2017

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The inov-8 Roclite 305 GTX is our Editors' Choice winner because of its stand-out protection and traction on trail. You can take it anywhere you please - be it a blue bird day or a downpour.

Performance Comparison


The Roclite 305 GTX is our new Editors' Choice award winner for its stand out traction and foot protection.
The Roclite 305 GTX is our new Editors' Choice award winner for its stand out traction and foot protection.

Foot Protection


Scoring top points in this category, the inov-8 Roclite 305 GTX stands out above the rest for its water resistant upper and protective features. Integrated in the midsole is a second generation meta shank rock plate that keeps your feet protected from sharp rocks underfoot.


This protection is reinforced by 24 mm of Powerflow foam that absorbs shock and responds well, giving you a little extra bounce in your step. The gusseted tongue and impenetrable upper mesh keeps out pesky trail debris, while the hard and welded toe tap protects from unpredictable stubs. In addition to these great protective features, we loved the overall durability of this shoe. It is well constructed with materials that will protect you mile after mile.

Take a look at all the foot protection features: the hard toe cap  Gore-Tex overlays  and protective overlays. In addition  we love the gusseted tongue.
Take a look at all the foot protection features: the hard toe cap, Gore-Tex overlays, and protective overlays. In addition, we love the gusseted tongue.

We especially loved its waterproof GORE-TEX overlay. We ran over a variety of wet surfaces and was pleasantly surprised when our cotton socks stayed bone dry. Taking it through puddles and streams was no problem. In fact, we opted to run through them because…well…it's fun, and we didn't have to worry about wet feet! Not only is this shoe wonderfully protected, but it's the only one in our review that is actually waterproof. As a result, the inov-8 Roclite 305 GTX is considered the most protective shoes tested in this review.

The gusseted tongue is super comfortable and protective.
The gusseted tongue is super comfortable and protective.

Traction


Another reason this shoe won our Editors' Choice was it's ability to hug the trail and stick to pretty much any surface. This shoe is equipped with 5mm multi-directional claw-shaped lugs with three different rubber densities that stick to everything from wet rock to snow. Of all the shoes tested, no other shoe did as well during river crossings or over wet rocks like this one. As a result it earned a nine of ten in the traction category.


In addition, when trudging through sticky mud, we noted that the mud would glom for a few minutes before being shed, which makes it a great option, not only for wet weather, but also muddy terrain. That said, it didn't perform as well as other contenders that are built for soft surfaces. So if you're in the market for a shoe that will stick better to the sloppiest surfaces out there, we'd recommend the Salomon Speedcross 3 or Salming Elements instead.

A look at the outsole that literally sticks to everything!
A look at the outsole that literally sticks to everything!

Overall, this shoe does great over all surfaces. We also thought it was perfect as a crossover option. The lugs don't wear down quickly on pavement (like the La Sportiva Bushido or Salomon Speedcross 4) and it sticks well to all surfaces - wet or dry.

The Tri-C lugs are made of three different densities of rubber  sticking to everything in its path.
The Tri-C lugs are made of three different densities of rubber, sticking to everything in its path.

Stability


In the area of stability, this trail shoe is average at best. For a trail runner, it provides a decent level of stability on less technical trails, but in comparison to other high scoring contenders like the La Sportiva Bushido and Saucony Peregrine 7, this shoe felt a lot less stable on technical terrain. With an 8mm drop, it sports a narrow forefoot and higher stack height that has it feeling more tippy and higher than other contenders.


While the X overlays along side the shoe provide good medial and lateral stability around the heel, the upper doesn't wrap the foot to enhance stability. Our testers also noticed that over especially rocky surfaces that they had to slow down more and take it slow (where they could just charge on with a different pair of shoe), otherwise the shoe would twist and bend. This meant less overall stability then the Salomon Speedcross 4 and other contenders.

While the X provides decent stability  the stability of this shoe is not nearly as good as other contenders that perform above and beyond.
While the X provides decent stability, the stability of this shoe is not nearly as good as other contenders that perform above and beyond.

If you're looking for a shoe that scores high points in most categories but is a little more stable, be sure to check out the Saucony Peregrine 7. This shoe sports a lower width: stack height ratio and feels much more stable over more technical terrain. If you're looking for the most stable shoe out there, but sure to look at the Salming Elements.

Comfort & Fit



Comfort
The inov-8 Roclite 305 GTX provides wonderful all-day comfort on the trails. Stacked with 24 mm of foam in the heel and 16 mm in the forefoot, this midsole is responsive and energetic. On the inov-8 website, they claim that the POWERFLOW midsole provides "10% better shock absorption and 15% better energy return". While we couldn't test these numbers directly we did observe the foam to be responsive (and harder) than most other contenders in this review.


That said, level of cushion and comfort doesn't compare to the HOKA ONE ONE varieties. For example, the new HOKA ONE ONE Challenger 4 features 28 mm of cushioning in the heel. This shoe provides ample cushioning that is SUPER comfortable, earning a perfect ten in the comfort category.

The great cushioning provides a nice cushioned ride all day long.
The great cushioning provides a nice cushioned ride all day long.

Fit
In terms of fit, we thought the adapter-web does a decent job of wrapping around the foot. It is more rigid and has a 10 mile break-in period. In addition, it is best suited for those with a narrow foot or for those that don't mind squeezing their toes into a narrow toe box - similar to the Salomon Speedcross 4 or the Salming Elements.

While this shoe is wonderful all-around we just wished the forefoot was a little wider to accommodate medium to wide feet. This shoe is truly best for narrow footed runners.
While this shoe is wonderful all-around we just wished the forefoot was a little wider to accommodate medium to wide feet. This shoe is truly best for narrow footed runners.

While the heel and mid arch fit snugly, we did notice that there is not additional arch support like we observed in the Merrell Agility Peak Flex - Women's. We also noticed that this shoe is slightly smaller so we recommend to size up a half size if ordering online. Finally, because the upper's fabric is tightly latticed, this shoe is a little less breathable than the Saucony Peregrine 7 and the La Sportiva Bushido.

This shoe is best for narrow feet. If you're looking for a wider shoe be sure to check out the Saucony Peregrine 7 or the Altra Lone Peak 3 - Women's.

Weight


This shoe isn't the lightest out there, but it still feels nice and light on the trail. It weighs in at 10.25 oz when dry. When wet, it holds only 3.7 oz of water making it one of the least absorbent shoes tested.


We loved that it takes roughly four hours to air dry, and stays fairly dry on the trail with its Gore-Tex overlay. If you're looking for a lighter shoe, be sure to check out the Nike Terra Kiger 4 - Women's (8.55 oz) instead. Aside from that this shoe is a great choice for races and personal adventures alike.

With a sturdy build  this mid-weight trail shoe is perfect for training runs and races alike.
With a sturdy build, this mid-weight trail shoe is perfect for training runs and races alike.

Sensitivity


In most cases a shoe with ample protection sacrifices sensitivity. With the use of a rock plate this shoe boasts great sensitivity in addition to outstanding foot protection. It balances these two elements perfectly. The foam is responsive, but not so thick that you can't be nimble and quick to re-adjust foot position as needed.


If you like a sensitive shoe that also provides great protection, this is a great choice. However if you want a shoe that boasts a higher level of sensitivity, be sure to check out the only shoe that scored a perfect ten in this category - the Salming Elements. This shoe has minimal foam and no rock plate - providing intense sensitivity. If you're not ready for that, but you want a shoe with decent protection but a little more sensitivity, be sure to check out the La Sportiva Bushido.

Sensitivity is important while treading over unstable surfaces. Here we move over slushy snow and rock. The sensitivity of this shoe is perfectly balanced with foot protection so you can feel the trail  but stay protected from it.
Sensitivity is important while treading over unstable surfaces. Here we move over slushy snow and rock. The sensitivity of this shoe is perfectly balanced with foot protection so you can feel the trail, but stay protected from it.

Best Applications


Whether you're adventuring way into the backcountry or heading out on a training run after work, this shoe is ready to tackle the challenge. Built for the trails, it's a great option for short or long distances. It's also built as a mountain running shoe, ready to tackle varied surfaces and primed for unpredictable weather. If you're a runner with a narrow foot, this shoe is a great option!
Whether you're running a 5-mile route or a 100-mile race  this on and off-trail shoe is built to perform with a Gore-Tex overlay.
Whether you're running a 5-mile route or a 100-mile race, this on and off-trail shoe is built to perform with a Gore-Tex overlay.

Value


Priced at $140, this is one of the more expensive shoes tested. However, for the quality, it's worth paying $10-20 more dollars. We noticed the durability of this shoe is above the rest with little to no signs of wear and tear after almost 100 miles of testing. That said, if you're looking for the best deal out there, be sure to check out our Best Buy winner - the Saucony Peregrine 7. A shoe that actually scored a more points than the Roclite 305 GTX for a lower price.

Conclusion


If you're looking for an all-around versatile shoe that does well on a variety of surfaces, be sure to check out this year's Editors Choice award winner the inov-8 Roclite 305 GTX.

Early Spring testing is perfect to see how the Gore-Tex stands up. It turns out this shoe is in fact waterproof  and perfect for charging through puddles or overtop snow.
Early Spring testing is perfect to see how the Gore-Tex stands up. It turns out this shoe is in fact waterproof, and perfect for charging through puddles or overtop snow.
Amber King

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Most recent review: May 26, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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Rating Distribution
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5 star: 100%  (1)
4 star: 0%  (0)
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