So about 3 weeks ago I received a pair of Inov-8 TrailRoc 235’s from OptimalRun.com (formally NaturalRunningStore.com). I was excited as my wife Lisa has a pair of Inov-8 Roclite 275’s and has had nothing but great things to say about them (her review to come in the near future). I chose the TrailRoc 235 because they have a little cushioning, great tread and zero heel to toe drop.
All things pointed to a shoe I would enjoy. I was right, the shoe was snug in the heel ( no slipping but does not pinch) and loose in the toe box (similar to the original New Balance Minimus Trail) to allow some toe splay. The upper material was incredibly airy and felt nice and structured enough to seem durable for the trails. The shoe has a removable insoles that is about 3 mm and adds to the cushioning. I would not remove it and run as the foot bed is not designed for that and would destroy your feet/socks. The tread was very sticky to the touch which was nice as this was going to be my race/winter shoe.
I only wore the shoes for my runs, a few short (3-5 km to work) and a few longer ones (15 km or more). The shoes felt excellent and were nice on the cold roads and trails (merino wool socks helped with keeping warm). I noticed less slip than with other shoes I have had as the sticky compound rubber seemed to grip a little better. This is not to say I did not feel any slippage as there were icy patches that the rubber just could not grip, but that’s to be expected. I had no hot spots and my foot always felt secure inside the shoe.
These shoes were shaping up to be my new favorites ’til I notice after my run to work on Monday that the protective material on the toe was peeling. 3 weeks of moderate running and the shoe was coming apart, not in a vital area but still it should not be happening this soon (photo below).
So now the shoes are going back, and after further reading on the internet I have found this is common. Shame as this is in my opinion and very solid shoe and if Inov-8 would have just maybe stitched on the coating or chose something different this issue would not exist. I really wanted to have these be my shoes but I can bring my self to look past a defect that occurs so early in the use of the shoe. Still I have not given up, I hope I am going to now try the TrailRoc 150, a slightly more minimal shoe with less cushioning but same great soles. I have my fingers crossed and will let you know my thoughts.