The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

inov-8 Roclite 305 - Women's Review

This past Editors' Choice winner is versatile with an amazing outsole that will stick to any surface.
Inov-8 Roclite 305
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Price:  $130 List | $130.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Protective, quick-to-dry, amazing outsole, quite versatile
Cons:  Unstable, fits only a narrow foot best, absorbent upper
Manufacturer:   inov-8
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 9, 2018
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73
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 15
  • Foot protection - 30% 8
  • Traction - 20% 9
  • Stability - 15% 6
  • Comfort and Fit - 15% 6
  • Weight - 10% 6
  • Sensitivity - 10% 7

The Skinny

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.


Compare to Similar Products

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.

Performance Comparison


This protective and ultra-versatile trail runner was a contender for Editor's Choice award because of its stand-out performance!
This protective and ultra-versatile trail runner was a contender for Editor's Choice award because of its stand-out performance!

Foot Protection


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 toe cap and upper mesh are both nicely crafted and are extremely protective from trail hazards.
The toe cap and upper mesh are both nicely crafted and are extremely protective from trail hazards.

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 midsole is responsive and integrates a rock plate for added protection.
The midsole is responsive and integrates a rock plate for added protection.

Traction


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 outsole offered by inov-8 is one of our favorites. Its durable lugs stick to all sorts of surfaces!
The outsole offered by inov-8 is one of our favorites. Its durable lugs stick to all sorts of 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.

These burly lugs feature a rubber composite that sticks to wet rocks and a plethora of other slippery surfaces.
These burly lugs feature a rubber composite that sticks to wet rocks and a plethora of other slippery surfaces.

Stability


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.

The harness system does a good job wrapping the foot. While it enhances stability (in addition to the shanks in the midsole) the narrow fit makes this shoe feel a little less stable than those with a wider toe box.
The harness system does a good job wrapping the foot. While it enhances stability (in addition to the shanks in the midsole) the narrow fit makes this shoe feel a little less stable than those with a wider toe box.

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.

The X-system provides reinforcement so the shoe doesn't lose its shape while compressing and bending in different directions.
The X-system provides reinforcement so the shoe doesn't lose its shape while compressing and bending in different directions.

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.

This shoe has a medium to narrow fit. It provides great support throughout with a neutral fit overall. Some arch support exists  but not much. The foam is extremely responsive as well.
This shoe has a medium to narrow fit. It provides great support throughout with a neutral fit overall. Some arch support exists, but not much. The foam is extremely responsive as well.

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 shoe feels smaller for its size. We would recommend sizing up a half size for optimal fit.

Weight


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.


Sensitivity


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.

This shoe flexes and conforms to the trail underfoot. The built-in rock plate allows enhanced sensitivity to help you figure out balance as you move forward on those unstable surfaces.
This shoe flexes and conforms to the trail underfoot. The built-in rock plate allows enhanced sensitivity to help you figure out balance as you move forward on those unstable surfaces.

Best Applications


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.

Unstable trails? No problemo. This protective shoe will have you flying without hesitation.
Unstable trails? No problemo. This protective shoe will have you flying without hesitation.

Value


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.

Conclusion


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