Looking for a versatile and bomber trail running shoe? The inov-8 Roclite 305 stands out for its protective features, durability, and amazing outsole. It is designed to tackle everything from the techiest of trails to the pavement. The shoe is responsive, offering easy transitions on any terrain. In addition, it is surprisingly sensitive with a lightweight design. Don't be afraid to cross rivers as the impenetrable synthetic upper is breathable and super quick to dry. Overall, we love this trail shoe for all of its amazing performance. That said, we have a few caveats with stability and fit that didn't earn it the Editors' Choice award this year.
inov-8 Roclite 305 - Women's Review
Cons: Unstable, fits only a narrow foot best, absorbent upper
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The inov-8 Roclite 305 stands out for its bomber protection and fantastic outsole, making it versatile for everything from the road to the most technical and steep of trails.
Earning a high score for protection, this shoe offers an impenetrable upper, underfoot cushioning and a rock plate for added protection. The upper is made from a synthetic webbing that wicks away water while going over streams. The Powerflow foam is stacked in the heel (24mm) and in the toe (18mm) and it absorbs shock and springs back.
The tongue is gusseted for a great fit and protects from pesky debris getting into the base of the shoe. While the toe cap provides some level of protection, it's not very hard and we found stubbed toes getting a little sore on the rockiest of terrain.
The outsole on this shoe is absolutely bomber! We were close to giving it a Top Pick for this reason. The 5-mm lugs are sticky and burly, providing excellent bite on all trail surfaces.
The lugs are durable with lots of surface area, so they don't easily rip off when running over paved surfaces. In addition, when we took these puppies through some seriously sticky mud, it shed the mud just fine, without slip or slide. Overall, this shoe has one of the best outsoles in this review.
In the area of stability, this trail shoe is average at best. When trying on the shoe, your foot feels nice and low to the ground and the heel feels quite stable when walking around. However, when running, the overlay harness provided doesn't quite wrap around the volume of the foot appropriately. In addition, the stack height has you feeling a little bit tall, while the more traditional heel to toe drop (8mm) pushes you forward.
Since the forefoot doesn't have a super wide toe box, foot splay can't counter for this, making it less stable overall. When approaching rocky sections of the trail, our testers found themselves slowing down to account for this. While we are being critical, we must say that this shoe demonstrates better stability than a handful of other shoes in the review…and the level of stability is appropriate for a trail runner…it's just not perfect, only average.
Comfort & Fit
This shoe sports an average level of comfort. The uppers are nice and thin while the gusseted tongue stays in place during each run. This allows flexibility and ample comfort around the heel and Achilles. The 24mm of foam in the heel provides responsive cushioning that isn't too soft and doesn't break down over time. Overall, we think this was a comfortable shoe, as long as the fit works for you.
The fit of this shoe sports a toe box that is narrow for those with medium to wide feet. However, our narrow footed testers thought the toe box to be quite roomy. From top to bottom, there is ample volume. The heel cup fits nicely and didn't slip when running up and down steep trails. That said, there is no additional arch support, but because of the ample cushioning in the heel, this is a good shoe for those that are either heel or forefoot strikers.
This lightweight shoe feels good to wear for long days on the trail. Weighing 9.5oz, it's not the lightest nor is it the heaviest out there. While it wicks away water, it's not waterproof, and the overlay absorbs quite a bit of water (4.85 oz) Overall, this is a great lightweight shoe that can get waterlogged, but drains quickly and dries fast.
While protective elements typically sacrifice sensitivity, this is not the case with this trail trotter. The thinner cushioning in the midfoot of the shoe (only 16mm) in addition to the compact rock plate, it actually feels a lot of the hazards of a trail. The sole is not rigid, but flexible, moving around rocks and roots. If you seek a sensitive shoe, we are happy to report that this is a great choice.
Built as a mountain and fell running shoe, it's ready for the most technical of trails. It features quality protective elements that are balanced by a lightweight design and a super bomber tread that does well on all surfaces. Wear it on the road, on the trail, or up a mountainside. It can double nicely as a light hiking shoe as well.
With a no price point of $130, this is a high-value option! During our many miles of testing, it stood up demonstrating no wear and tear, even after plunging it through water and over super sharp scree fields. Definitely worth the money.
If you seek a shoe that is versatile, protective, with a kick-ass tread, the inov-8 Roclite 305 may be right up your alley. Just make sure you're okay with a more narrow toe box!
— Amber King