Inov-8 RocLite 288 GTX - 1,000 Mile Recap

Inov-8 are a small company based in northern England. Nevertheless, their impact upon the outdoor, fell, mountain, indoor, gym, crossfit scenes is staggering! You see their shoes everywhere and recognise their distinctive tracks when out in the hills.

About a year ago, I bought my first pair of Inov-8: the RocLite 288 GTX. I have since bought some X-Talon 240 boots for a tighter grip when cross-country running; the RocLite 288 GTX were primarily for walking.

Now sold as the RocLite 286 GTX, the 288 has a three shock heel (two shock with the new 286), comfort last (performance last with the new 286), meta flex, meta cradle, fascia band and of course, the RocLite sole with sticky rubber suitable for all manner of surfaces, grass, mud, trail, quarry, scree and rock.

My stomping ground is a mixed terrain of 1200' highs with 400' valley floor, quarries, tracks, trails, bridleway, mud, more mud, lots of mud, bog, streams, becks and woodland. Very keen on minimalist footwear, I still know my own limits and the limits of the footwear I choose. These boots have given me the right footwear for the terrain and activity.

Sizing with Inov-8 is an art in itself - you must try on the shoes!

I normally wear a Euro 45, but chose a Euro 44.5 for the RocLite 288 GTX (Euro 45 in X-Talon 240, for comparison). The half size down fitted perfectly with thin socks, so maybe the 45 fills out with walking socks.

Foot in, kick back to the heel and pull the laces sufficiently tight; set for many miles of comfortable walking with the freedom that comes from the very flexible and active sole.

These boots have not let me down - always capable in whatever conditions I walked in, from the height of summer to the depth of winter and whatever terrain that brought. More than that, they enhanced my experience - not dulled by hard, inflexible soles, my walking was a sheer pleasure; able to pick routes off trail with ease and always very confident about feel and grip on muddy hillsides or in slippery streams.

Not a review, as such, but a recap ...

Somewhere around 500 miles the rubber covering behind the toe protection started to wear away.

Waterproofing gave up after 600 miles with a small hole that breeched the GoreTex inside the crack that developed on the outside edge of my right foot and shortly after in the same place on the opposite foot.

Those cracks further developed and really opened up after 700 miles.

At 1,000 miles, these boots are still eminently useful with good grip on the toe and heel, with the ball of the sole more worn. Perhaps this suggests something about being able to maintain good walking technique in these boots and allays any fear of returning to heel striking when in such footwear?

I gather Inov-8 warrant these boots to 600 miles. I put these boots through everything and they rewarded me, not only for immediate performance, but for that long-term performance.

They performed! They lasted!

Buy again? Definitely! A fresh pair this spring ...

Any opinions on the RocLite 400 GTX in comparison to the 288? Better for heavier terrain? How does the new RocLite 286 GTX stack up against the 288? Improved? Feel free to comment.