The brands of today are far more adept at making boots look very stylish; but looks aren’t everything. From past experience the best-looking boots I’ve had the fun of testing happens to have been the worst. Can these Inov-8 Roclite Pro G 400 GTX boots bring more than just good looks?
What Inov-8 says:
A lightweight, flexible hiking boot for serious outdoor adventures. Featuring a Graphene-Grip rubber outsole and a Schoeller® ceramic-coated fabric upper, the ROCLITE PRO G 400 Gore-tex delivers unprecedented strength and durability over any terrain in all weather conditions.
Improved Graphene-Grip for unrivalled traction on any terrain.
Keep Feet Dry. - GORE-tex delivers waterproof protection frorm the elements and optimum climate comfort for your feet.
Extra Protection - Upper made with super-tough Schoeller ceramic-coated fabric for outstanding durability. There’s also a rubberised toe rand for comfort and protection on any terrain.
Lightweight - Ultra-thin Graphene-enhanced rubber outsole saves on weight without compromising on durability.
Flexibility - Revolutionary META-PLATE PRO provides flexible underrfoot protection and external heel support.
Inov-8 Roclite Pro G 400 GTX on test:
With several days in the remote regions of Snowdonia National Park, covering up to 40km a day and climbing 3-5 mountains in the same time period, from dawn to dawn, chasing down ultra runners across plateaus and peaks.
You could say the Inov-8 Pro G 400 boots had a lot to deal with straight out of the box, especially handling the tall order of 14 hours on my feet and a huge variety of terrains.
I’m very glad I was advised to move up a size for these boots. Typically I would be a size 12 and have used Full leather B2 winter boots, Nubuck leather, fabrics and all sorts of materials over the years so when I was advised use a size 13 for these boots I was confused but took the advice on and very glad I did. Given the tall order and the task at hand, if the boots didn’t hold up and left me with blisters and struggling to walk I would have lost out on some great opportunities.
Scrambling, hiking on tarmac, gravel and scree, running down mountain paths and through boggy woodland and plundering through plenty of puddles and mud pits and putting 85km and over 2,500 metres altitude in a little over 2 days and the boots performed perfectly.
On the granite lumps and slate on the peaks of mountains I felt like a spider climbing across a wall, which is just as well given I had only my feet and one hand free and several thousand pounds worth of camera kit in my other hand, whilst peering over a 400metre drop.
Straight out of the box, the Graphene grip and lightweight Schoeller coating fabric performed perfectly, time and time again. Keeping me secure, comfortable and most importantly kept me shooting for the project. No ultra runner or opportunity was missed.
The overall Invo-8 pro boot is light, perhaps the lightest boot I have used, which from experience has taught me. Lightweight or even the lightest equipment doesn’t hold up too well. The compromise in shaving the grams off, results in lacking durability and any form of strength to withstand the environmental factors.
At 400g, the technology and materials used and knowledge from other products previously, the Inov-8 Roclite Pro 400 G boot is anything but inadequate or poorly designed and yet to experience any compromise in the material to shave the grams off.
Previously using a similar style of boot. The grips were poor. You could compare them closer to a pair of ice skates, rather a hiking boot trudging through the undergrowth. The Roclite Pro 400 boots are far from this and despite the low ratings Inov8 themselves give for soft, mud and roads. The boots have kept me remaining upright throughout the last month.
The Graphene grips being softened rubber make the boots perfect for scrambling and dealing with tough terrains in the hills and mountains. Especially with a mixture of terrain. Given the soft material used, it’s not the grip or worry of slipping on roads or hard surfaces but how long they might last. The softer material will mean it’s susceptible to harder wearing so only months will tell how this will pan out but so far, so good!
The lightweight material used around the exterior of the boot - Schoeller coated fabric has been very durable and waterproof!
Blundering through puddles, soft mud and bogs and my feet and insides of the boot have remained dry. With it being Autumn, the temperatures have begun to drop some what so you can feel the cold of the water through the material but most importantly the inside of the Inov8 boots remained dry.
An easy get around on the colder conditions is to wear thicker socks or even my handy waterproof socks as a precaution which is certainly overkill. Whilst using the thicker socks, I experienced not rubbing or blisters throughout so I can certainly see the Inov8 Roclite Pro boots being used deep in to winter and a solid 3-season boot in the UK.
Given the mid length rise of the boot, comfort around the ankle and GORE-tex lining they make a great all round boot comfortable in the countryside, hills or mountains across the UK.
As soon as ice or snow would be concerned I would steer away from them and use a much thicker winter boot for warmth, but have no doubt the Graphene grip could be useful in some situations.
Could we see an Inov-8 Roclite Pro Winter version?
After a heavy month of use now with wet weather, the last of Summer, in the depths of Snowdonia, scrambling and chasing ultra runners on knife edge peaks in 40mph gusts, to jumping over streams and bouncing over bogs of Dartmoor and the South West. The Inov-8 Roclite Pro G 400 boots have put in a lot of miles. Some 400km to be precise and feel as comfortable as the day I took them out the box.
Just a shame they don’t look as clean and immaculate as the first day but the important factor is my feet and inside of the boots have remained dry, mud free and my feet haven’t suffered from blisters.
The Graphene grip have remained sturdy and kept me upright and stable throughout the mixed terrains and continue to keep me wading through Autumn. These lightweight hiking boots from Inov8 have reassured me that lightweight can be sustainable and last more than a few outings is great. Certainly as they aren’t the cheapest boots at £200 but for this price, you get a strong name and a boot oozing with the latest technology and spec.
The Schoeller fabric, Graphene grip and the 400gram boots are certainly a worth boot to dawn any occasion. The Inov-8 Roclite boots will certainly be a boot I keep coming back to.
Comfort: Straight out of the box and in to a massive undertaking, the boots remained sturdy and strong and now after a month and well over 400km put in to the boots. They remain comfortable, secure and dry as the day they came out of the box.
With lighter socks for hotter months or thicker socks to withstand the closing winter temperatures and wet weather. The Inov8 Roclite Pro boots have remained comfortable. The mid length rise of the ankles and padding ensures comfort when walking or scrambling up mountain paths and jumping over rock ledges.
Grip: The Graphene Grip makes you feel like a monkey climbing a tree, a spider scaling a vertical wall. The soft grip has proved perfect for the job at hand in scrambling and scaling multiple mountains and being on my feet over mixed terrains for lengthy periods of the day.
The lugs and grip themselves haven’t seen any damage, but the usual wear and tear despite the heavy use but time will only tell how long the lugs will last.
Weight: The science and technology that has been poured into this Pro series boot is clear. The lightweight fabric and Schoeller® ceramic-coated upper looks and performs well but the fabric itself is weaker compared to other fabrics we traditional see on the market.
Water Resistance: The GORE-TEX lining and lightweight fabrics have kept my feet bone dry throughout the 400km distance covered over the month. Thick mud, bogs and rivers have been no issues for the Inov8 Roclite tough, lightweight exterior.
Durability: Lightweight fabrics will naturally be weaker versus the heavier/robust fabrics like Nubuck leather and suede exterior. For long distance, the Inov-8 boots will feel a lot more comfortable because they will be half the weight and would be my personal go to for such an occasion.
After several days of heavy use, the boots had a few scuffs across the fabric and rubber but nothing to cause concern, certainly nothing to cause compromise to the waterproof lining.
I have no doubt the Schoeller fabric on the upper half of the boot will last and be perfect for long distance and mixed terrain hikes across the UK from Spring to Autumn. Only time will tell how the Graphene Grip and rubber grubs on the base of the boot will last but after 400km no signs yet of weakening or damage. It will be a shame to have to put these boots to bed for winter when the ice and snow arrives but I will wait eagerly for Spring for the return.
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