Friday, 11 June 2010

Inov8 Terroc 330 shoe review

Inov8 Terroc 330's are from the chunkier end of Inov8's ultralight footwear range. Aimed at long distance off-road travel they have something of a cult following amongst lightweight and UL backpackers. Sporting technical sounding features such as Meta Flex, Met Cradle and Terra Shank they are actually very simple and nicely low-tech compared to some of the over-stuffed, pumped-up, fussily engineered rubbish that passes as athletic footwear these days.

My Terroc 330's were actually warranty replacements for my ill-fated Flyroc 310's. It was nice of Inov8 to have enough belief in their product to replace the 310's but they were proving to be a popular model last year and they didn't have any in stock. I was happy with the 330's as a replacement as I'd heard how supremely comfortable they were whilst still retaining Inov8's commitment to low weight.

The Terroc 330's, built on the 'Comfort' last, have a wider toebox than many of Inov8's models, something that is very welcome in shoes that might be used for 8 hours a day and they cope with any slight swelling easily. The mesh is fairly free flowing and as well as letting glacier-cold water in during early season fording they also allow it flow out again and dry somewhat after a few miles if you're lucky to be blessed with a dry trail. The heel cup is also good, somehow I find it deeper than the 310's and 315's and I've not had a blister on my heel, the part of my foot that seems more prone than the rest, whilst wearing these. For the gram weenies, my size 10.5UK shoes weigh in at 803g a pair.

The sole unit isn't my absolute favourite in the Inov8 line-up, I much prefer the sublime mud shedding abilities of the Roclite sole as the Terroc sole does tend to pick up bits of gravel fairly easily but it's still very grippy and far superior to the Salomon's that seem to be the 'other' UL footwear of choice. The tough rubber toe guard is also welcome on a long days hiking when energy flags and foot falls are not as accurate as earlier in the day. I also like Inov8 laces. Tough, normal laces instead of the 'hi-tech' damage-prone systems of some other manufacturers. In fact, when a fancy kevlar lace system failed on a pair of other shoes I replaced them with some spare Inov8 laces and they've been perfectly fine ever since.

They are one of those items of gear that if I lost today I would go out and buy exactly the same item tomorrow. Comfortable, light, well ventilated and grippy they cover just about every necessity that an enlightened backcountry traveller could have. Highly recommended.

15 comments:

harttj said...

Can't buy inov8 where I live so am looking at Salomon XT Hawk 2 Trail Running Shoes. Any idea how they compare with inov8s?

Joe Newton said...

Harttj - There are several things I like about Salomon shoes, the comfortable deep heel cups being one but they fall down in two main areas for me, in my situation. The tread pattern on their soles (apart from the Speedcross unit) are just too shallow for steep, muddy trails. I find they slip. If you're mainly walking on forest tracks then they'll be fine. Secondly I don't like the lacing system. I've had a lace snap and not only are they're a pain to 'bodge' in the wilderness, they're pretty hard to fix at home!

If you hike on gentler terrain and can obtain replacement laces easily then they're good. But as ever, the three most important factors with footwear are fit, fit and fit!

Maz said...

I bought these for travelling in when we went to South East Asia - I wanted something I could get wet and which wold dry, something which would vent reasonably well in heat and which were light but had good soles. Enough said really - given what the uppers are made of, they're bulletproof, lightweight and comfy. Even more comfy when you learn to tie them properly like running shoes...

Joe Newton said...

Maz - couldn't agree more!

traversejapan said...

Any idea how do they compare with the OROC™ 280? Right now I just use a pair of Asics running shoes, but they've got absolutely no traction in steep uphill mud. Very interested in Inov8's, but I'll probably have to order online. Haven't seen them around Tokyo yet.

Joe Newton said...

Hamilton - from what I can see the OROC 280s are total off-road racing shoes built on the narrow 'Performance' last and with less underfoot cushioning than the 330s.

Fit is always the number one priority so if you have a wide foot look at the 330s or 310s. If you have a narrower foot then any of the Roclites. If you have a narrower foot and are mainly concerned with soft, muddy terrain then try OROCs or Mudclaws. They have mean grippy soles!

Nibe said...

What kind of socks do you use in your Inov8? I also have a pair of 330 and my feet are getting quite hot with wool socks and a coolmax linersocks. Last weekend I even got a heat rash on my feet.

Joe Newton said...

Nibe - I prefer a merino wool or merino wool blend sock. Something like Bridgedale's Ventum Low is good in summer, being thin and fast drying. I never feel the need for liner socks in such light footwear.

Nibe said...

The use of a linersock must be a heritance of wearing meindl's Perfect and Island pro. But I will look for the socks you mentioned.

Thanks!

traversejapan said...

Cheers Joe. Now I just have to track some down in Tokyo.

Andy Howell said...

The Terrocs are a great compromise for trekkers. The revised version seem to be a little more long lasting — I've just completed another coast to coast across Scotland using these and they were simply superb (again ...)

Joe Newton said...

Andy - and next year's (2011) model looks less 'frumpy' too.

Johan said...

How is sizing for the 330, and what size do you take for normal (city) shoes? Anyone know of a inov-8 retailer in Stockholm?

Joe Newton said...

Johan - I find sizing pretty accurate, maybe go half a size up. I usually wear a UK10 shoe but it depends on brand. My 330s are UK10.5.

Go here for Inov8 dealers in Sweden:

http://www.inov-8.com/Find-Retailers-np.asp?C=22&L=27&RegionID=%25

Steve said...
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