A new range of trail running shoes from Inov-8 will tempt you in the Fall of 2012: The Trailroc™, a shoe boasting Inov-8's anatomic last, three Shoc-Zone™ options, and a uniquely designed outsole.
Like any good trail shoe, the outsole is the star feature here. And, the three cleat and rubber types comprising the Trailroc's outsole make for an interesting composition.
Larger cleats made up of endurance rubber are placed in the high-wear areas, like under the ball of the foot. A hard, sticky rubber and more large cleats are positioned on the outer sections where grip and stability come into play most often. And, the toe and inner arch are comprised of a softer sticky rubber with smaller lugs.
A couple of new design elements, changes to Inov-8's usual shoe upper construction and appearance, on the Trailroc caught my eye. And, even though you probably don't care about these minor design changes, I'll mention them. If I don't write about frivolous shoe minutiae, who will? Someone cares, right?
So, for instance, the Shoc-Zone number now appears prominently on the lateral side at the base of the heel. This will undoubtedly help make the Inov-8 cushioning level system seem less enigmatic to new wearers of the brand. Fine.
Also, from a lateral perspective, we see a few more wavy lines between the outsole and the upper. This differs from the rather simplistic, relatively lineless motif of previous Inov-8 shoes. In fact, the numerous lines in the midsole almost make me wonder how much cushion actually exists in their ZERO differential 235 member of the Trailroc range. See what I mean in the photo below from Natural Running Store.
A more subtle display of the Inov-8 logo adds a new dimension to this range of shoes. I've always marveled at the rather conspicuous presentation of the logo on previous models, like the f-lite 230. Does a smaller logo indicate more brand confidence? I dunno. And, I'm sure none of you really care.
Also noteworthy, I think, is the pull loop on the heel cup area. I mean, it's relatively large for an Inov-8 heel-pull-loop thingie. Will we complain about its aesthetic appeal when we look at the Trailroc in photos? Maybe. Will we notice it after putting on our Trailrocs? No. Again, this is a design feature that I'm only mentioning because I notice stuff that most people don't even think about.
Three Variations on Minimal
Since the Trailroc Shoc-Zone variations are being announced at one time I believe that these three shoes will be made available all at one time, too, next year. That's only logical, right? This is good. Having three options from which to choose all at once is better than buying one option before learning about a forthcoming more/less minimal option that you would have preferred in the first place. So, the Trailroc range of options are:
- the 255 with a Shoc-Zone 2 (6mm differential)
- the 245 with Shoc-Zone 1 (3mm differential)
- the 235 with Shoc-Zone ZERO - 0mm differential)
I'm most intrigued by the 235, because, despite my penchant for my f-lite 230s, I've developed an affinity for shoes with a zero differential. But, the 235 is heavier than my other "minimal" trail shoes. Why? According to Inov-8, their ZERO Shoc-Zone shoes have no midsole. So, perhaps the outsole compounds are just that much heavier. I guess I'll just have to find out when I find out.
I'm excited about these shoes.
Apparently less luggy than the Bare-Grip 200 or X-Talon 190, but more grippy than the f-lites, the Trailroc looks as though it will be a great all-around trail shoe for my East-Coast terrain, much like the Roclites.
It's significant that the Trailroc will feature the fantastic anatomic last, something I've been enjoying immensely while wearing the Bare-X Lite 150 on road runs. And my toes are more likely to prefer the anatomic last to the Roclite's performance last on longer runs.
So, the comfy anatomic last, coupled with the fact that the Trailroc is available in the ZERO Shoc-Zone™, makes me wonder if Inov-8 has created the ideal go-to trail shoe for me. I suppose I'll find out next year. Oh, the waiting...