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  1. #1
    Senior Member Bleemus's Avatar
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    Bromley Mountain Hike and Inov8 shoe test...

    After hearing so many people rave about using trail running shoes for backpacking I was still skeptical. Having sprained my ankles badly in the past I am a bit prone to it happening again. For my upcoming thru-hike of the Long Trail I had assumed I would be using a mid-height boot like my Keen Targhees at a minimum.

    Then I started using trekking poles, Ti Goats to be exact. At 7 ounces for a pair these ultralight wonders have become my favorite piece of gear. They not only add speed to my hiking they also add safety and that is a great combo. I find I can travel faster while looking around and enjoying the woods all the more.

    I started thinking that with these wonder crutches I could shave some weight off my feet after all. So I got a pair of GoLite Versa Force shoes off Ebay for $20 and hit the trail and those who read the story know that basically they stunk at gripping anything especially wet rock. They also felt unstable and seemed a bit prone to rolling of the ankle if it weren't for the poles saving me.

    Then I heard about Inov8. A UK company that has a different philosophy about trail running shoes. If you get the foot really close to the ground and stable there is no leverage to roll the ankle like those platform shoe patterns of their competitors. Found a pair of Inov8 Roclite 315s on their online shop at half price and after reading reviews I ordered a pair. They arrived in one day!

    The math....

    Keen Targhees 2lb 5 ounces

    Inov8 Roclite 315 1lb 7 ounces

    Difference of 14 ounces.

    Typical stride = 3 feet

    Feet in a mile 5280

    Strides per typical mile 1760

    Miles on the Long Trail 280

    1760 x 280 = 492,800 steps to get to Canada

    492800 x 14 = 6,899,200 ounces that I wouldn't have to lift on the hike.

    Divide that by 16 and you get 431,200 pounds that I don't have to eat calories for and save all that wear and tear on my body. Almost a half a million pounds!!!!

    So I open the box and instantly I think that not only would I not be able to hike in these they looked too light to even go to the post office! Okay, I told myself to take a deep breath. People who are much better hikers than me raved about them and some people had run the whole CDT on these shoes. Surely they can handle our little trail.

    Woke up this morning to a glorious day, forecast is for high 60s with winds gusting to 30 knots. We had a late season snowstorm the other day and I expect to run into a bit of it at higher elevations but so anxious to try out the Inov8s I figure I will be fine. Bring extra socks in case I get too soaked.

    To the trailhead......


    Trail starts as a gentle climb and gets steeper. Only a few real steep sections before the summit. But alas it is typical Long Trail. Rocks and roots and more rocks. A shoe companies worst nightmare.....



    I start to test the grip of these shoes and realize quite quickly they grip like suction cups. I feel like Spiderman as I leapt from rock to rock avoiding mud all along the way. I am flying along. The shoes feel almost like moccasins, feather lite and the soles are really thin so you FEEL the trail without any hint of your foot getting beat up when you hit sharp stuff. This feels good! The combo of poles and these shoes really makes for confident, fast and fun hiking. While it is not my normal hiking style to be up on all the rocks it felt great to leap with confidence. I felt like Bear Grylls doing one of his mad dashes through the wilderness. Not as safe as my normal solo style but dammit I had to test these shoes. Mossy stones, wet rock and dry rock these babies just gripped like nobody's business and they felt really good as well. Here they are. The silver mesh actually feels like it is metal but don't react to a magnet....



    I continue on enjoying the scenery. Trout lilly......



    Narrow leafed Spring Beauties.....



    The ever faithful Bongo trudges on the Long Trail and never complains. She is carrying two liters of water just to get her used to the pack. Hopefully she never needs to carry that kind of weight on the thru-hike....



    We reach the summit in just over an hour. Climbing the observation tower we take in the wonderful view. You can see the traces of our late winter snowstorm......



    It is howling at the summit and I could barely stand up taking that photo so I scrub plans for lunch at the top and decide to descend a mile back to the Bromley Mountain shelter. Hopefully this is the last snow I see this year.....



    I had planned on a cold lunch but did have my stove and some ramen along for safety. I hadn't had a chance to really use my Zelph Starlyte stove in heavy wind so I thought this would be a good time. Gusts to 30 knots at times with a little protection from the shelter. It's lunchtime!!!



    Stove worked flawlessly but I forgot my spoon! Sometimes I just feel like an idiot. This was one of those times. I used a stick instead. Tasted just as good.....



    Packed up and headed down. Temp down lower was getting quite warm so I tossed the stick for Bongo into the stream a few times to get her cooled off. She loves swimming.....



    Back to the car. Total miles 6.1. Shoes passed the test with flying colors. I did have one hot spot on one heel but that was my fault. All of my good hiking socks were dirty so I grabbed these Wolverine winter woolies. They had given me problems before. If I had my Dahlgren Alpacas or Darn Tough Merinos I am sure I would have not felt a thing.

    Here is a comparison of the heel height. Inov8 on left and GoLite on right.
    Doesn't look like much but the difference in feel and confidence is dramatic.



    And one last shot of the two side by side.


    Thanks for reading my Trip Report! Bleemus out!

    Bleemus

    Yes, I sleep in a hammock. Please pass the Grey Poupon.

  2. #2
    Senior Member NCPatrick's Avatar
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    Nice report! Sounds like you found something there. Thanks for the pics too.


    "Civilization is the limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities."
    - Mark Twain
    I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.
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  3. #3
    Yoda's Avatar
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    Great report, strange cause I hear a lot of people like the GoLite's? Haven't seen the Inov one's, I am looking to go to low top hikers, maybe trail runners, I will take a look at these!!!!

  4. #4
    beep's Avatar
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    I made the switch from traditional hiking boots (Limmer Midweights) last year.

    I've tried:
    Montrail Hardrock
    Montrail Namche
    Merrell Ventilator
    Invo8 320
    Keen Voyageur
    Asics Gel Trabuco WR

    And the winner is.............Asics Gel Trabuco WR. Good design, durable, breathable, fast-drying (if wet), decent rock protection, light weight. I especially like the gel heel and forefoot padding. I wear them with Superfeet insoles. For socks I wear SmartWool Phd mid-weight with a liner. None of the above were "bad" but the Asics was the winner for me. Second is the Inov8 shoe and third was the Keen Voyageur.

    All the above are not waterproof, and none have a GoreTex liner. My experience is that Goretex liners make boots and shoes hot and if wet, take FOREVER to dry. I much prefer breathable shoes...or leather-only hiking boots.
    "The more I carry the happier I am in camp; the less I carry the happier I am getting there" - Sgt. Rock

  5. #5
    Senior Member Bleemus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cranky Bear View Post
    Great report, strange cause I hear a lot of people like the GoLite's? Haven't seen the Inov one's, I am looking to go to low top hikers, maybe trail runners, I will take a look at these!!!!
    Just returned from a few days in NYC and wore the GoLites for street shoes because they had lost my confidence on the trail. Cushy enough but at the end of the day my feet ached. The forefoot section seems too flexible and the big lugs make you feel like you are walking on stilts. I will continue to wear them for street shoes but right now the Inov8 and Keens are still my favorites.
    Bleemus

    Yes, I sleep in a hammock. Please pass the Grey Poupon.

  6. #6
    Senior Member E.A.Y.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bleemus View Post
    Found a pair of Inov8 Roclite 315s ...

    I start to test the grip of these shoes and realize quite quickly they grip like suction cups. I feel like Spiderman as I leapt from rock to rock avoiding mud all along the way. I am flying along. The shoes feel almost like moccasins, feather lite and the soles are really thin so you FEEL the trail without any hint of your foot getting beat up when you hit sharp stuff. This feels good! The combo of poles and these shoes really makes for confident, fast and fun hiking.
    That's how I feel when I hike in my Inov8s

    Welcome to the crowd!
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    Nor Cal hang #7 at Boggs Mountain April 1-3 2016. Put it on your calendar!!
    http://twosorefeet.blogspot.com/ https://www.youtube.com/user/UnstructuredExit/

  7. #7
    gargoyle's Avatar
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    You didn't "forget" your spoon, you were shaving oz.
    And practicing your bushcraft skills.
    Good report and pretty scenery, your hiking buddy is cool, too.
    Ambulo tua ambulo.

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