Slip, slip slipping away: A review of the inov-8 315 shoes

I have been a long term user of inov-8 shoes, firstly the Flyrocs then the 370/390 boots and more recently the 288 boots and the 315 shoes. I have tried Terrocs, but the heel cup does not work for me. On my tour along the Nordkalotteleden in 2012 I used a pair of 315’s and was very pleased with them, in particular their breathability, their ability to dry quickly and grip in most conditions.

Roclite 315

In my view the major fault of the older style 315’s was the fabric loops for the laces and once they broke (wore out) the shoe was rendered useless. I was pleased therefore when I saw that these had been replaced by eyelets reinforced with plastic in the updated model.




In recent times, however, I have been using inov-8 295’s and had intended to use them up north this summer.
2013-02-07 11.12.05

Sadly as I began to search for a new pair in my size (UK 13) I found that there was none available till after summer as a consequence I purchased a pair of the newer model of the 315’s.

Farum Sø

Phillip (Sectionhiker) had already indicted his concerns about the fabric being used in the uppers of the new Terrocs. I was somewhat concerned when mine arrived and I found how stiff the upper fabric was. Furthermore, I noticed that the attachment of the tongue to the upper near the toes left a large “flap” that rubbed the toes as I put the shoes on. Hoping that this would not be a problem after a bit of use was my first mistake, as I soon found that within a few kilometres of walking with a fully loaded pack. The tops of all my toes on both feet were red and some already had broken skin. That night after everything was dry I taped all my toes and placed duct tape over the offending loose fabric and my toes were forever grateful.

However, as I have already mentioned the fabric was stiff and worse it was not breathable and did not dry, in other words it Continually Retained Atmospheric Precipitation (C.R.A.P. for short) thus I may as well have been wearing gtx shoes as once they were wet they rarely approached dryness for the remainder of the walk.

But there is more, whilst I did not expect miracles when it came to traction I found the grip of these shoes as being equivalent to Curling Stones on Ice, in other words very limited.

The offending shoes are still in good condition after more than 330 kilometres of mud, rock, grass and gravel.

P7212126

To say the least I am very disappointed, and I have the bruises and scars to prove it. It appears to me that the workmanship and quality of inov-8 shoes has deteriorated and given the need to pay international shipping rates to obtain the styles I prefer, in my size, I feel that my days of wearing inov-8 shoes are numbered. Consequently as I write this I have begun exploring brands that firstly offer shoes in my size and that are readily available in brick and mortar stores in my country of residence.

Whilst I appreciate some readers will offer suggestions, both Ecco Biom and La Sportiva are most likely too small, while Salomon and Merrell may be options.

This entry was posted in Footwear, Gear, Lapland, Nordlandsruta. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Slip, slip slipping away: A review of the inov-8 315 shoes

  1. Mark Roberts says:

    Wow. What a shame. It looks as if the days of inov-8 are over. It amazes me how a company can make such a massive misjudgement.I'm going to have to seek out the last few pairs of 295s before they wreck them with stupid new fabrics.Why do you think these new 315s gripped less – has the sole material changed?I've been looking at LaSportivas as a backup option, but Salomons are readily available locally at least.

  2. nielsenbrown says:

    A comment from Mark Roberts, with my response"Wow. What a shame. It looks as if the days of inov-8 are over. It amazes me how a company can make such a massive misjudgement. I'm going to have to seek out the last few pairs of 295s before they wreck them with stupid new fabrics. Why do you think these new 315s gripped less – has the sole material changed? I've been looking at LaSportivas as a backup option, but Salomons are readily available locally at least. "Thanks for your comments Mark, yeah I was very disappointed, the new fabric reminds me of GTX and is not very flexible, not what you expect in a running shoe. As for the rubber, my old 315's had a black sole, this one is grey, so maybe there has been some change there. I felt that the rubber sole absorbed (retained) water and became more treacherous as the day progressed and as always YMMV

  3. Mark Roberts says:

    I managed to score a pair of 295s, so I should be covered for a year or two now. It's a pity that show and clothing manufacturers feel obliged to maintain the annual update strategy. If it ain't broke…The Salomons I saw locally were the one's Hendrik reviewed a while back (http://hikinginfinland.com/2013/04/salomon-speedcross-3.html) They don't look bad, but seem a little flimsier (as do the X-Talon 212s which the supermarket also has).

  4. nielsenbrown says:

    When I was in Norway, I saw the XT Wings 3, which now use the same sole as the Speedcross, which seemed like an option worth considering. So on my next wander, I will be digging out the my old XT Wings 2 (see http://www.nielsenbrownoutdoors.com/2010/08/salomon-xt-wings-2-first-walk.html) and taking them for another spin.

  5. Joe Newton says:

    Yup, Inov8 have dropped the ball. Merrell fit my feet really well and are available locally. Salomon XA Pro 3D, while I'm not overly enthusiastic with the depth of the grip, can be found in every local sport shop and I noticed Andy Skurka is currently wearing them too…

  6. nielsenbrown says:

    Thanks Joe, I did notice that Skurka was using the XA's but like you I do find the tread a bit shallow. Merrell's are readily available here too so some experimenting will be in order.

  7. Joe Newton says:

    On Merrell: I love my Bare Access Gloves but they're not grippy enough and the Trail Gloves are still too minimal for rocky mountainous terrain. The upcoming Trail Ascend Glove looks a little better but I think it's the Mix Masters (2's and Tuff's) that will appeal more to our kind of user. They also produce a Mix Master Mid with Gore Tex. Looks interesting for winter.

  8. nielsenbrown says:

    Where do they get a name like Mix Master from? Sounds like a kitchen appliance. I will take a look at the Mix Master 2's and Tuff's, thanks for the tip.

  9. Mark Roberts says:

    Surely it must be Mix Master Mike?

  10. The really bizarre thing is that dozens of mainstream shoe manufacturers (inov8's competitors) have figured out people want shoes without goretex. Loads of them coming out with mesh that drain properly. Time to try new things.

  11. Good read, Neilsen. After your comment over on Bedrock & Paradox it was nice to find your more in-depth review here. I've been a long time Inov-8 fan having used their shoes solidly from '06 through '12. I tried out a set of Sportivas for the past year with much chagrin and am now back to a current generation of Inov8. Will be curious to see if they live up to the previous design's quality or not

  12. nielsenbrown says:

    Thanks for stopping by Sam, I like Inov-8, but the uppers especially, and the soles on the current 315's are very disappointing. A compounding problem is my large foot size, as shoes in these sizes quickly become unavailable. My dream set up at the moment is inov-8 295's, and for winter inov-8 286, but I worry about the fiddling that inov-8 will do with the materials especially as it appears they have been bought by another company. BTW it was BPL.com that got me onto Inov-8 Flyrocs.

  13. I can only hope they will return to the exceptional quality materials they used for the past decade. The grippiness of the soles on the 330s and 295s was unbeatable. And I too can thank BPL for educating me on the quality of that company that wasn't afraid to build a lightweight shoe at the forefront of the "minimalist" movement.

  14. nielsenbrown says:

    Thanks Philip, yeah the uppers are a big worry as you have already indicated. Inov-8 was (is) a UK company and it seems here in the Eu gtx is king and wherever you go they want to sell gtx stuff. Many hikers are still locked into the keep your feet dry syndrome and thus demand gtx or leather boots, I even saw some on my last trip hiking it what I would describe as gumboots (Wellington boots). As I live in Denmark, availability of brands and models is somewhat limited which of course creates challenges as I can't just walk into store and try (or look at) the latest offerings from … Those companies that offer non gtx footwear are the ones I will seek out.

  15. Hoppy in HK says:

    I recently added two new pairs to my Inov-8 collection. Flyroc 310s and Roclite 295s. I love the earlier versions of both. The 295s were my go-to shoe for long trail hikes. However I have found the soles on both to be far more slippery than their predecessors, even though they look and feel the same. My days of mocking my Salomon-wearing team mates are over!

  16. nielsenbrown says:

    Thanks for your comments Hoppy, it does seem that Inov-8 have changed the composition of the rubber slightly, maybe with the 295's it is related to the new colour and the pigments used. Sadly Salomon are a bit narrow for my feet when backpacking, so more research is being undertaken.

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