Review: Inov-8 Roclite 390GTX #3 (Final)

This is the third and final review of my Inov-8 Roclite 390 GTX boots – I know its the final review because they’ve just about fallen to pieces – they are completely unusable as walking boots.

You can read the first two reviews here: Review One and here: Review Two.

I originally got these in August 2010, as review boots from FitnessFootwear.com, so it’s not like I can even send them back for a warranty swap – but then I’m not out of pocket and I have had some good use out of them.

But I’m being a little premature, I should review these before I come to my conclusions.

I first walked in these boots in August 2010, but that’s not to say I’ve used them for a year – I haven’t – in fact nothing like. I didn’t wear them at all over the winter period, preferring instead my Salomon Missions, or perhaps my Scarpa ZeroG10 if there was likely to be snow involved. So I’ve not had a year’s worth of wear out of them.

They have been incredibly good though, while they’ve lasted – I’ve enjoyed them immensely. They are wonderfully light, incredibly comfortable and adequately grippy when they’ve needed to be. They are by far and away the most waterproof boot I’ve ever used. If you used these in conjunction with gaiters (which I haven’t) then I think you’d pretty much guarantee dry feet under even the most taxing conditions – and there’s not many waterproof boots you can say that about.

On the downside, they aren’t the most protective boot – as you can imagine, they are built to be light, so the sole isn’t very thick and doesn’t protect you from stony tracks. In fact on the Coast to Coast this year I felt quite abused in the foot department after one or two long days over rough tracks with the Inov-8s. But then I doubt this would come as any surprise to anyone who’s worn Inov-8s before.

The main problem with the Roclites though is their longevity. Like every other Inov-8 review I’ve ever done the same conclusion is arrived at. These are great boots/shoes, they are lovely and light, but they won’t last you a full season. If I’d bought these boots they would have cost me about £100 – you can find them for less if you search, but that’s a ballpark figure. So £100 for a summer’s worth of walking boot – I just don’t think that’s good enough value.

I think I’ve also concluded before that I will never buy another pair of Inov-8 shoes/boots – that opinion hasn’t changed – there are much more reliable and resilient light-weight boots out there – they may not be quite as light as the Inov-8s, but they will probably last you more than a few dozen miles of walking.

I’ve included some photos of the failings of the boots below, please forgive the carpet in the background, but I took the photos while I was on the C2C, in a B&B, so it’s not my taste in floor coverings at all.

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I think you can see the problem.

It’s not like one of the boots has developed a fault, it’s both of them and both at the same time. I think they started to come apart in the space of two walks, both together – so not coincidence.

I’m going to leave it there – I think this will be my last review of Inov-8 footwear – I’m not sure I want to take another pair even if they are free!

lonewalker

Fell-walker, trig-pointer, peak-bagger, Wainwright-er & Pennine Way author, with a passion for long paths, malt whisky, fast cars & Man City

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7 Responses

  1. Well they still aint arrived so who knows! Cancelled the order and found them on the net for 50 bucks which is a bargain, hopefully they arrive in time for Thursday as I am off down Loch Lochy way for a muddy hike in the rain. I’ll let you know how I find them 🙂

  2. Just bought a pair based on your review – I fully understand the bad points you mentioned, but I am happy with replacing boots once or twice a year depending on what I am doing.

    I already own a pair of rocklite 400s which are even lighter and are great boots, just not waterproof for several days…. Good for a few hours in the rain then they are soaked… I did the coast to coast in them for 100 miles or so and they were just fine, but waterproof over that distance, no. The only reason I am going to try another rocklite is based on your review about how waterproof they are… 🙂

    My current 400s I have had for 10 months and they are now failing me completely. The grip has almost completely worn down, and they have some minor leather tears which would not be a problem in thick boots but with thin ones it lets them down completely. Saying that though, they have been 10 months of pure joy. My mates boots are a kilo+ each, mine less than half that! It makes a huge difference..

    So – looking forward to destroying these new waterproof ones. Interested to see if they will last the summer or not!

    • lonewalker says:

      Matthew, I loved all my Inov-8s too, just the longevity killed them for me. Hope the new ones last for you.

  3. lonewalker says:

    David – frustrating isn’t it!? I love Inov-8 shoes, but hate having to replace them every few months. I’ve settled on Salomon as a reasonable compromise – pretty lightweight and much more durable.
    The CWT is on my list – maybe 2014 – how did you find it? There are so few write-ups of that walk.

  4. David A says:

    I bought a pair of Roclite 390’s to walk the Cape Wrath Trail in Autumn of 2010. They started letting in water on day 2 and I never really got them dry again over the two weeks walk. I returned them to Inov-8 once I got home who confirmed the GTX had failed in both boots and offered to replace them. I decided to take a pair of Rocklite 370’s instead as they had no membrane to fail. I’ve been ususing these since on TGO Challenges and many other walks and have found them much more satisfactory: they dry very qickly when wet since there’s no membrane, yet protect my ankles when walking in rocky terrain. Sadly, Inov-8 discontinued them some time ago. I’m not sure what i’ll use when the spare pare I bought before they became unavailable wear out.

    I’ve also had great success wearing Terroc 330’s, though I did have a dud pair in which the soles wore out prematurely in places. Inov-8 replaced them upon inspection and those have been fine.

    I accept that footwear this light won’t have the longevity of three-season boots, but is frustrating that such comfortable footwear can be so hit and miss!!!

  5. lonewalker says:

    Paul, glad to have helped.
    Funnily enough I was thinking about Salomon in general and my Salomon Mission GTXs in particular when I wrote that last sentence. Three friends have the 4D and two love them and one hates them 🙂
    I’ve seen some rave reviews for the 3D Fastpackers on walking blogs – they are much lighter than the 4D and mid-cut not full height like the 4D. I’ve found that all the Salomon boots I’ve tried have been 1/2 a size smaller than other boots too.
    I’ve come to the conclusion that no boots are waterproof – some just prevent the ingress of water slightly longer than others. If you want maximum ingress delay then leather boots dubbined to within an inch of their lives are the best bet – but lightweight and waterproof just don’t go together in my experience.

  6. Paul M says:

    Thanks for the review. I’ve had a feeling that Inov8 could do better for a while. After two pairs of Terroc fell appart with much less that 12 months of gentle off-road running, I still bought another pair for walking and another kind of Inov8 X-talon 212 for cross country running.

    I feel I need more support walking in the mountains however – but I now know the Roclite is not suitable.

    I’ve just given up on my Salomon 4D GTX boots. I thought they were the answer as they seemed comfortable and light and reasonably supporting. But actually they are completely rubbish once they get water inside. The spongey footbed guarantees waterlogged feet, and after 3 trips with them in the highlands I feel obliged to write a small review with pictures of my bloody toes and ankles.

    You say “there are much more reliable and resilient light-weight boots out there “. Do you have some suggestions?

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