inov8-roclite-ultra-g320-trail-running-shoe

Kit & Gear

REVIEW: inov-8 ROCLITE ULTRA G 320

The new inov-8 ROCLITE ULTRA G 320 is the first ROCLITE shoe to feature Graphene in both the rubber outsole and foam midsole. It's designed to provide all-terrain grip for longer runs and adventures when extra cushioning is desired.

Equally happy on or off trail, the versatile 6mm Graphene-enhanced lugs bite and hold across all ground, from hard rock to soft bog. G-FLY Graphene cushioned foam provides 25% greater energy return that lasts for longer, whilst a super-tough new mesh upper, improved locked-in fit, flexible rockplate and reinforced toe bumper all help to keep feet comfortable, secure and protected.

Our SportsShoes Ambassador, Ben Mounsey, has been busy putting the inov-8 ROCLITE ULTRA G 320 to the test;

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Price:£169.99
Weight:320g
Most suitable for:Trail Running and Ultra Running on all types of terrain (on and off trail)
Drop:8mm (most suitable for heel strikers)
Stack height:Heel 30mm / Forefoot 22mm (including outsole and footbed)
Lug depth:6mm (deep enough to handle soft ground)
Fit (length):Fits slightly small (I recommend choosing 1/2 size up)
Fit (width):3 on the inov-8 fit scale - in the middle of the range (1-5 fit scale)
RATINGS:(out of 5)
Comfort:4.5
Cushioning:4
Support:4.5
Grip:4.5
Protection:4.5
OVERALL:4.5

inov8-roclite-ultra-g320-trail-running-shoes

SHOP ALL INOV-8 ROCLITE ULTRA G 320 TRAIL RUNNING SHOES HERE

The inov-8 ROCLITE ULTRA G 320 in summary;

  • GET A GRIP: 6mm rubber lugs enhanced by Graphene, the world’s strongest material, to give longer-lasting tough grip over all terrains.

  • ENJOY COMFORT: G-FLY Graphene foam, coupled with the higher stack, delivers more underfoot cushioning and energy return with every stride. A BOOMERANG footbed further enhances the bouncy feel.

  • STAY PROTECTED: A flexible rock plate and reinforced front-end bumper protect the underfoot and toes from sharp debris.

  • LOCK IT IN: ADAPTER-FIT technology forms a supportive cradle between the heel and arch that pulls in via the laces for a locked-in feel and increased stability over rough terrain.

  • TOUGH IT OUT: A new super-tough mesh upper material delivers greater durability and helps extend the lifespan of the shoes.

inov8-roclite-ultra-g320-trail-running-shoes

The first thing to say about this shoe is that it's an all-round performance, scoring consistently high marks across the different categories. It offers high levels of protection, stability, cushioning and comfort.

First impressions indicate that this is a really well-built shoe offering plenty of protection and support in the upper and underfoot. This is really highlighted by the ADAPTER-FIT technology, which forms a supportive cradle between the heel and arch that pulls in via the laces for a locked-in feel and increased stability over rough terrain. In addition to this, the dimpled toe bumper feels really strong and durable, providing a much-needed barrier between rocks and toes. The upper material is breathable, but padded and supportive in all the right areas, particularly around the heel and tongue. Understandably, the ROCLITE ULTRA G 320 is slightly heavier than most models in the inov-8 trail range, but this is because it's a sturdier and more robust shoe. That said, it doesn't feel heavy to wear and you really get a sense that this is a shoe built to last and designed to protect and support your feet as you tackle the tough trails.

inov8-roclite-ultra-g320-trail-running-shoes

The high stack midsole with hexagonal pattern is instantly recognisable and very much in keeping with the design of other current inov-8 models in the trail running range. The ROCLITE ULTRA G 320 has an 8mm drop, which suits me as a heel striker and would always be my preferred choice.

The midsole compound is built with G-FLY Graphene foam, which is designed to provide more underfoot cushioning and energy return with every stride. This coupled with a BOOMERANG footbed (as seen in models like the PARKCLAW G 280), really helps to create a bouncy feel when running. I would confidently say that like most other trail shoes in the inov-8 races, this shoe is perfect for tackling long to ultra-distance trails. Completing the midsole is a flexible rock plate that helps to protect the underfoot from sharp debris below.

In terms of fit and feel, I decided to size up and opt for a UK 10.5 instead of a UK 10. Like all other inov-8 releases this season, I feel the shoes are slightly on the smaller side, so that's definitely something to bear in mind and I would recommend going half a size up than normal if you're in any doubt. For width, this shoe sits right in the middle of the fit scale with a rating of 3 out of 5 (5 being the widest). I have thin feet and prefer to race in a precision fit model (1-2 width), but I like to train in a wider fit for additional comfort. This shoe just gives me that extra bit of wiggle room in the toe box, which is especially useful for running longer distances as feet begin to swell.

I've been wearing the inov-8 TRAILFLY ULTRA G 280 for most of this season for most of my regular training, but recently felt like I need to switch to a shoe with slightly more bite and grip to cope with increasingly wet and muddy conditions. The ROCLITE ULTRA G 320 has deeper 6mm lugs, with a dimpled pattern for additional traction on rock, which is perfect for current trail conditions as we transition from autumn to winter. As this is the first ROCLITE shoe to feature Graphene in both the rubber outsole and foam midsole, it's one of the brand's most durable shoes to date. When added to the rubber used in inov-8’s G-Series shoes, graphene imparts all its properties, including its strength. This unique formulation is designed to make outsoles 50% stronger, 50% more stretchy and 50% more resistant to wear than the corresponding industry standard rubber without graphene.

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So where does the ROCLITE ULTRA G 320 fit into the inov-8 trail shoe range?

Like almost every other brand, inov-8 have a lot of trail running shoes and it's difficult to get lost and confused when it comes to choosing the right pair to suit your needs. For me, I mostly use 4-5 shoes within this range, so by explaining how and when I use them is probably the best way to answer this question.

Firstly, the inov-8 PARKCLAW G 280 is my go-to road to trail shoe. If I'm running on a combination of road and trail, particularly during the spring and summer months, then this is my shoe of choice. It's the perfect hybrid model to tackle both types of terrain and ideal for someone making the transition from road to trail or who mostly runs of light trails at this time of year. This shoe is a wide fit (4 out of 5 on the inov-8 fit scale) and has 4mm lugs (ideal for light and dry trails). You can find out more about this shoe here.

SHOP THE INOV-8 PARKCLAW G 280 TRAIL RUNNING SHOES HERE

Secondly, there are two shoes that I consider my best 'all-rounders' and ones which I wear for pretty much everything (with the exception of extreme terrain/really soft and boggy ground). These shoes both sit in the TRAILFLY range - the inov-8 TRAILFLY G 270 (formerly the TERRAULTRA G 270) and the new inov-8 TRAILFLY ULTRA G 280.

In my opinion, the TRAILFLY G 270 is one of the greatest trail shoes of all time. Supremely cushioned and comfortable to wear and lightweight for both training and racing, it's the shoe that lives by my front door because it's the shoe I wear the most. Aside from extreme terrain, it's well suited to almost every type of running terrain and would be a great choice for anyone wanting one trail shoe to do it all.

Equally, the TRAILFLY ULTRA G 280 shares the same characteristics, but has a number of technological differences that set it apart from the G 270. Referred to as the 'bouncy one' by inov-8, because of the nitrogen-infused midsole foam, it provides an enormous of energy return and cushioning, making it the perfect choice for long to ultra-distances.

There are three shoes within the TRAILFLY range and the differences between them all are best explained here.

SHOP ALL INOV-8 TRAILFLY TRAIL RUNNING SHOES HERE

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Moving into autumn and winter, this is where, for me, the inov-8 ROCLITE ULTRA G 320 fits into the range. The key differences between this new shoe and the ones already mentioned are the extra grip and protection. The PARKCLAW and TRAILFLY models all have 4mm lugs on the outsole, which cope perfectly well during spring and summer. However, this new ROCLITE ULTRA G 320 boasts 6mm lugs which are better suited to tacking more extreme trails, wet rock and also soft ground. At this time of year, when both the weather and ground conditions change, it's essential to have that extra lug depth and added protection to tackle the elements and the terrain. There is also a flexible rock plate for added protection underfoot.

SHOP THE INOV-8 ROCLITE ULTRA G 320 TRAIL RUNNING SHOES HERE

Finally, the inov-8 X-TALON ULTRA 260 V2 and inov-8 X-TALON G 210, complete my range and I typically wear these during autumn and winter to both train and race in respectively (although I race in the G 210 all year round as they're perfect for fell running). This is because they are specifically designed to tackle soft and muddy conditions, with 8mm lugs on the outsole for the ultimate grip.

SHOP ALL INOV-8 X-TALON TRAIL RUNNING SHOES HERE

Interested in the latest shoes, apparel and technology? Then head over to our Kit & Gear category for more reviews, tips, advice and product releases.

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