First look: Inov-8 Roclite 295

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As I mentioned earlier, I've been thinking of swapping out my ASICS 2130s for one of the Inov-8 trail shoes. After an abortive attempt at ordering the Roclite 305s from Zappos (wrong size), I decided it was best to buy them from a store where I could try them on, in this case Zombie Runner Palo Alto. After trying on a bunch of different shoe I ended up in the Roclite 295.1

So far, I've done one run in them at Rancho San Antonio (Rogue Valley Trail out to the hairpin turnaround up to the High Meadow Trail: 5.3 miles). They're extremely comfortable, with a nice, close fit, especially when you're wearing Injinji Tetrasoks which tend to make your feet fill out the toe box a little more. The heel counter is substantially lower than your average running shoe, so initially you feel like you're coming out of the shoe, but the lacing system keeps your heel locked in with minimal slippage, and you get used to the feel quickly.

The ride is interesting—the shoe is low with a flat sole/heel and minimal bounce so you end up a little more forward on your toes and don't roll off the heel as much as with a conventional running shoe like my ASICS. There's also very little support, which is odd after all the shoes I've worn which try to correct my flat feet; there's no need to break down the arch before the shoe is comfortable. Hard to know how it will hold up a couple hundred miles in, though. Traction in mud is outstanding, my partner was in the 2007 ASICS DS Trainer, and was sliding all over the place, but I felt like I was running on dry asphalt, just much softer. More on these later once I've had a chance to wear them for a longer run.

P.S. Netflix now has Endurance, which I've previously claimed is the greatest running movie ever available for instant play (though not DVD). It's the story of the Ethiopian distance runner Haile Gebrselassie, who dominated the 10K in the 1990s and currently holds the WR in the marathon, having brought it down a full minute to sub 2:04 since 2003. A little hard to get if you're not a runner, but well worth watching if you are.

1.Note for those who aren't familiar with Inov-8, the name refers to the tread pattern and the number refers to the weight in grams. This is a semi-lightweight trail runner.

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