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Monday, 24th July 2017
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First look at the new inov-8 Trailroc

by editor
Sunday 2nd July 2017
Tags  inov-8   |   Trailroc   |   inov-8 trailroc   |   inov-8 Trail Talon
 
 
Circumstances dictated that we took a slightly backward approach to testing out the new Trailroc 285 from inov-8. Rather than follow the normal route of a ‘first look’ at the shoe, without having tested it, followed by a review once we’d really put it through its paces, we’re doing a first look having actually tested it out fairly rigorously! 
 
The circumstances that dictated this involved a quite long race on exactly the sort of ground that the Trailroc is designed for - the Lavaredo Ultra Trail in the Dolomites. I was taking part in this race 10 days after receiving the shoes. Not ideal timing and, as we all know, wearing new shoes for a big race isn’t always very sensible, but too tempting an opportunity. 
 
The Trailroc is designed for hard-packed trails, rock and a bit of mud. I’m completely new to the Trailroc, though I’m very familiar with (and a big fan of) another inov-8 shoe which is designed for hard-packed trails - the Trail Talon. 
 
My first impression was that the colours and design were very understated (the women’s version I had were black with a purple sole). No  brash, flashy shoes here. It’s a ‘getting down to business shoe’, rather than a ‘look at me’ shoe. They were also very comfy from the off. Like the Trail Talon, the insole has that nice squishy feeling. The fit feels fairly narrow, which worried me as I like a nice wide toe box. 

Trailroc collage
Before and after Lavaredo

They don’t look massively cushioned but on the run they’re deceptively good in this department. I can say this with confidence having done a 23 hour run in them! Lavaredo Ultra Trail is mostly rocky paths and they coped with hour after hour of this without me feeling it. The other massive positive I discovered on this terrain was that the rubber bumper around the toes (rock guard?) is very, very tough. When my I reached that point in a long run when you’re no longer picking your feet up very well and you start to catch your toes on rocks, these saved me from a lot of pain. 
 
As well as lots and lots of rock, Lavaredo also has plenty of forest trails with tree roots and mud. The grip, which looks kind of like a mountain bike tyre, was great on wet rock and loose rock and it held its own on tree roots. It coped fine with the mud, though the tread isn’t very deep and isn’t designed for major mudfests. Lavaredo also has a lot of climbing and a lot of downhill, including a 9k descent at the end. Here I was really glad of the narrower fit. My toes had plenty of room to spread but my foot didn’t move around and create any blisters. 
 
Probably the biggest compliment I can pay the Trailroc, apart from the fact that they saw me round a very rocky, very hilly ultra comfortably after only a few wears, is that I wore them home the next day (I’d only taken sandals with me and it was raining). Normally my feet would be horrified if I brought   yesterday’s ultra’s shoes near them but actually, they were fine. 
 
I could sum up my first impressions of the Trailroc as: a tough, sturdy shoe on the outside, and your foot feels really cushioned and protected inside. The outside says ‘let’s party’, the inside says ‘night on the sofa’. I’ve got lots more running to do in them before a full review will follow.
 
The new inov-8 Trailroc is out later in July 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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