Now I'm starting to think that I'm becoming a bit obsessed with buying Invo-8 trainers. Between Christmas presents to each other and the January sales, The Wife and I added TrailRocs, RecoLites, F-Lites and Road-X to our collection, resulting in quite a full utility!
When the Wife's TrailRoc 255's arrived, it was the final push I needed to buy some myself. They looked great, though I knew I wanted the slightly lighter 245s. I've been trying to decide between a set of TrailRocs and TerraFlys for a while now, the reason being that there are a lot of trails locally that are short and linked by roads. My Talons, whilst amazing in the soft stuff, absolutely ruin my knees if used on hard surfaces and likewise my Road-X leave me on my arse when taken through wet grass or mud. So, after seeing The Wife's and seeing even more trail races being won in TrailRocs, my mind was made up.
I wasn't however in a hurry. Whilst helping a few runners get kitted up for our forthcoming Back2TheTrenches race, my friend Simon made contact with Rich at Swaledale Outdoors who offered some very good deals. Although I was in no rush to purchase, I haven't been overly impressed with the service from my current supplier recently so I took Rich up on an offer on the TrailRocs. I must say, service was great- He was responsive, sent me a direct link to purchase online with some Inov-8 ProSocs in a bundle package and the package arrived very promptly. I consider myself a loyal customer to my suppliers and moving supplier to supplier is not something I normally do, but I must say I'm happy to use these guys for everything Inov-8 moving forward.
So anyways, I decided to give them a run-in as a lazy Sunday afternoon session. I haven't run properly/consistently in a while as I'm bulking, so it'd be a good way to try out the new trainers and blow the cobwebs out of my lungs in prep for the new race season. I mapped out a route (In my head) around Holders field, Old Sarum Castle and down through the meadows to 5Rivers and back. This would give me mud, wet grass, concrete, chalk, bogs, wood and gravel to run across and get a real feel for the shoes in their first outing.
In a nutshell they were great. I had to adjust my running style on the wet grass and mud as they obviously didn't give as much grip as I was used to with the Talons, but they were far superior to a normal road shoe. It didn't take long on the steep hill sections of mud to adjust to sliding my foot completely flat after toe-striking thus engaging more of the grips and getting good grip.
The chalky and stoney sections of Old Sarum is where they came into their own. The Talons aren't great here and the slightest damp on chalk makes it quite slippery and tough on the knees. Not the case with these- Great grip on flat, incline and decline sections.
Moving down to the mud and bogs in the meadows they performed very well- Again, not as good as the Talons but as an all-road shoe, fantastic. All of these sections were linked by road sections and very hard stoney paths. The TrailRocs gave good grip without the punishment on my knees and back associated with the Talons. Again, my Road-Xs are better at this but they are a focused shoe.
It was a slow run, but perfect for what I was after. The shoe was great overall, exactly what I expected from Inov-8. I'll be using this for some long-distance trail runs this summer and as always will be back with an update in 6 months after proper use.