Inov-8 is calling the new Roclite Pro G 400 Gore-Tex hiking boot its “toughest ever hiking boot”. Like many of the brand’s other trail shoes, the sole of the boot features graphene – the world’s strongest material – for great grip. The upper fabric has a Schoeller ceramic coating for protection. It is the first time that graphene and Schoeller have been combined in a footwear product. The boots are meant for “fast-hiking”.
- Outsole rubber: Graphene-grip
- Stud depth: 6mm plus water dispersion channels
- Fit: Grade 4 (inov-8 fit scale in the toe box is 1-5, with 5 being the widest. More details.)
- Midsole stack height: 20mm in the heel & 12mm in the forefoot
- Drop: 8mm
- Weight: 400g (average weight across size curve) per boot
- Gore-tex waterproof liner
- Male/female fit
- Price: £200
Also see: www.inov-8.com
On test: inov-8 Roclite Pro G 400 Gore-Tex boot
I have long been a fan of the inov-8 sole. Even before they started adding the grippy graphene to the soles, I found the grip to be excellent in their running shoes.
Having a graphene grip sole in a walking boot is also a great idea. Our Scottish hills and mountains are often wet and that means they are slippery.
I immediately liked the fit and comfort of the boot. I have a long and narrow foot so I swapped the insole for a chunkier version and this took up a bit of the extra volume at the forefoot.
The heel fits snugly in the foot and the length is just about right.
The laces are easy to tighten and they stay tight. The ankle support is very comfortable and while it is not as sturdy and robust as some other walking boots it is more than adequate for all but the roughest of terrains.
On hills and mountains in Scotland in summer and autumn I found the boots gave me a secure fit and I wasn’t worried about turning my ankle.
I have been wearing trail running shoes for much of the summer so I was not too keen to swap to a boot for late summer and autumn because I thought the boots would feel heavy and restrictive. Thankfully, the boots are lightweight and feel like running shoes but with the extra support around the ankle.
The insole is fairly cushioned but not overly so and I found I have been content to walk for many miles, even on hard-packed trails in these boots.
But it’s the sole that impresses the most. I tested the grip on wet trails, wet rocks, grass and mud. They perform well. It is only in the boggiest and muddiest of places that I slipped a bit but amazingly not too much. We have some thick and gloopy mud in Scotland so it’s common to slide about in all kinds of boots.
The studs are not as aggressive as they are on other inov-8 footwear but I still felt confident on steep slopes. A recent outing to the very steep Corbett Stob a’Choin was a great test for the boots. They were excellent and mantained grip.
Note, however, that the heel is trainer-like and this means it doesn’t have the sharper right angle of three and four-season boots. If you will be out in snow and ice or scree, you will probably want to choose a winter-specific boot. The inov-8 Roclite Pro G 400 Gore-Tex boot is for summer and autumn, as well as milder winter days in the UK, in my opinion.
The waterproofing is also brilliant. I walked through wet bog, thick wet grass and small rivers. My feet stayed completely dry.
The uppers are made of an unusual looking fabric. I wasn’t sure what to make of it until I read that it is a Schoeller ceramic coating. This is meant to offer good protection. With the rough mountains of Scotland, I welcome a durable upper. I can’t say if the upper is long lasting because I have not tested it for enough time but it certainly looks robust.
My only criticisms are the colour of the boot and the width. I prefer a brighter and more funky looking boot and black is just so boring. It is practical but I would prefer a boot with more colour and character.
I wish the boot could be in a narrower fit. The wider forefoot means the boot creases above my toes. It’s not too bad but it might become worse with the age of the boots. I’d love to see these boots in a narrower fit as well as the medium-to-wide fit.
The price seems a little high but there is quite a bit of technology and design in the inov-8 Roclite Pro G 400 Gore-Tex boot and inov-8 footwear is rarely the cheapest. They are £35 more than another pair of boots I tested recently Salomon Crosshike Mid boot but they have some extra features, such as the graphene sole.
Conclusion: The inov-8 Roclite Pro G 400 Gore-Tex boot is a great summer/autumn walking boot and ideal for fast-hiking. It has a grippy sole and a durable upper. The fit will suit most people and while the price is a little on the high side, you do get great design and technology from a brand leader.