Long-distance hikers ask loads of their footwear. We’d like our sneakers to be light-weight, comfy, energy-efficient, and final for tons of and tons of of miles. Newly launched for 2023, Inov-8’s RocFly G 350 GTX integrates distinctive expertise and design to enhance efficiency and sturdiness.

Inov-8 is a UK-based sports activities model that’s been designing trainers and clothes for twenty years. In 2018 Inov-8 launched the primary shoe utilizing graphene-enhanced rubber, developed in collaboration with the Nationwide Graphene Institute on the College of Manchester. The brand new RocFly G 350 GTX shoe options this marvel materials within the foam cushioning and rubber outsoles, in addition to GORE-TEX waterproofing within the higher.

What Is Graphene?

Graphene is the lightest and thinnest materials on earth and but 200 instances stronger than metal. Graphene is an remoted single layer of the mineral graphite. It was found by scientists on the College of Manchester in 2004, who had been later awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics. It’s additionally the most effective heat- and electricity-conducting supplies ever found.

Graphene is a flexible materials that may be built-in into composites that can be stronger, harder, thinner, and lighter than some other supplies presently out there. There are numerous distinctive purposes for graphene being researched around the globe together with in photo voltaic cells, electronics, biomedical units, tires, and clothes.

READ NEXT — How Graphene Will Revolutionize Through-Mountaineering

Inov-8 RocFly G 350 GTX At-A-Look

MSRP: $185
Weight: 350g / 12.3 oz every
Sole: Graphene G-Grip Rubber
Stack top: 25mm heel / 19mm forefoot
Drop: 6mm
Higher Materials: Rip-stop and Gore-tex membrane

Meant Use

The Inov-8 RocFly G 350 GTX shoe is the primary waterproof shoe in Inov-8’s line-up of mountaineering sneakers. The average cushioning and Gore-tex assist them excel in less-than-ideal circumstances throughout a number of lengthy days on the path. The RocFly can also be out there in a higher-ankle boot model for many who need further stability, in addition to a non-waterproof model (girls’s).

Circumstance of Assessment

I wore the Ladies’s Inov-8 RocFly G 350 GTX sneakers throughout a 12-day, 115-mile part hike of the Nice Divide Path within the Canadian Rockies. I usually put on extra minimalist zero-drop sneakers which lately included the Inov-8 TerraUltra G 270.

I’ve beforehand worn Xero and Altra model sneakers on my long-distance hikes. Nonetheless, I figured I’d need one thing a bit extra stable and sturdy for my difficult part hike on the GDT. I wore the RocFly by all kinds of terrain, from mountain prime to valley ground, and thru some gnarly bushwhacking.

Inov-8 RocFly G 350 GTX Options

G-FLY Foam: The midsole of the RocFly shoe is fabricated from Inov-8’s progressive graphene-infused foam. Scientific exams have confirmed that the distinctive foam midsole delivers 25 p.c larger vitality return and is extra immune to compression, which means lasting consolation and help over the infinite miles of a thru-hike.

Adapter-Flex Groove: A 10mm deep groove runs horizontally throughout the only of the foot, separating the mid-foot from the heel. The concept of the groove is to permit the foot to maneuver extra naturally and react and adapt extra readily to uneven terrain.

Graphene-Grip Rubber: The graphene-infused rubber of the outsole affords each a sticky and sturdy grip. The outsole is scientifically examined to be 50% stronger, 50% extra elastic and 50% extra harder-wearing, considerably outperforming all different outsole rubbers.

Gore-Tex Waterproofing: The within of the RocFly shoe is lined with a Gore-Tex membrane to maintain ft dry and cozy. There’s further rubber reinforcement and waterproofing safety on the outer material of the shoe.

Sustainability

Within the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, Inov-8 determined to take an intensive take a look at their sustainability practices. In 2020 they partnered with industry-leading professional Dr. Anne Prahl and developed a method based mostly on three pillars:

  1. Enhance the sturdiness of their merchandise so that they last more.
  2. Scale back their affect on the world.
  3. Help their area people.

Inov-8 may be very clear about their methods, which embody decreasing air freight and eliminating worker air journey, utilizing recycled and absolutely recyclable shoe containers with water-based vegetable ink, occupying renewable vitality workplaces, reducing down on the variety of pattern merchandise used, and utilizing as a lot recycled materials as potential of their merchandise (the place efficiency/sturdiness isn’t diminished).

Inov-8 RocFly G 350 GTX Execs

Consolation

The RocFly sneakers are extremely comfy to put on day in and day trip with a reasonably heavy pack. The sneakers wanted minimal break-in time. The higher felt a little bit stiff at first however relaxed and obtained extra comfy as I wore them. Cushioning on the heel and on the tongue saved them comfy even when laced down tight.

I by no means as soon as discovered myself with aching ft regardless of what number of miles or what number of terrain I’d lined that day. After an extended day of mountaineering, I’m often eager to toss off my sneakers and rapidly get into my sandals, however the RocFly had been so comfy that I used to be comfortable to maintain them on whereas organising my tent and doing camp chores.

All Terrain Sole

I typically get pleasure from sporting minimalist sneakers for the flexibility to react and adapt rapidly to the form of the bottom under my ft. Whereas the bottom really feel was considerably much less within the RocFly than in additional minimalist sneakers, I discovered that I used to be nonetheless in a position to sense the terrain underfoot.

The Adapter-Flex groove helped the shoe mimic the extra versatile soles of minimalist sneakers, permitting the shoe to flex and adapt to extra technical terrain and making steep uphills and rocky trails simpler to navigate. The 4 mm graphene-infused rubber lugs offered stable grip and stability by mud, on moist and trail-worn rocks, over logs and extra.

Sturdiness

I did some important bushwhacking in these sneakers and I’m actually impressed at how nicely the RocFly endured the scrapes and pokes from rocks, roots, and branches. The ripstop material and wrap-around protecting bumper had been soiled however in any other case confirmed surprisingly minimal put on after twelve days of exhausting use. One among Inov-8’s objectives is to make extra sturdy and longer-lasting sneakers than the present {industry} common of about 500 miles.

The only additionally showcased the sturdiness of utilizing graphene-enhanced supplies. The lugs had been simply as grippy on the final day as the primary. After over 100 miles of use, there’s little or no apparent put on on the outsole. The one hit to sturdiness was that the upward-wrapping toe outsole on each sneakers partially unglued from the higher material throughout the first few days of wear and tear. Fortunately it didn’t unglue any additional and easily turned a entice for infrequent path particles.

Inov-8 RocFly G 350 GTX Cons

Tapered toe field

The RocFly G 350 sneakers are among the many widest Inov-8 makes. Nonetheless, the tapered toe field of the ladies’s RocFly negates among the advantages of the added width, forcing my toes collectively as a substitute of giving them a extra pure foot form. I ended up sporting a shoe half a measurement bigger than I in all probability ought to have to be able to give my toes a bit more room. Which means that the heel wasn’t as comfortable and I had to make use of the additional eyelet and a extra difficult lacing sample to maintain my foot in place.

Breathability

As a complete, waterproof sneakers merely don’t have the identical breathability as non-waterproof. As wonderful as Gore-tex is, the added membrane merely can’t shed warmth and moisture as rapidly as common mesh uppers. It undoubtedly took an extended whereas for my sneakers to dry after utterly wetting out. My socks would fairly nicely keep damp all day.

I did come to understand the waterproofing each time I hiked by mud, marsh, meadows, or creeklets. Having the ability to trek proper by wetter terrain saved me numerous vitality in comparison with tip-toeing round it. However on a wet day, a water-resistant path shoe received’t preserve your ft dry as water inevitably creeps in from the highest.

Availability

The Gore-tex (GTX) model of the RocFly G 350 is presently unavailable on Inov-8’s US web site. If you happen to dwell within the States and need the additional climate safety, then it seems such as you’ll want to attend. Nonetheless, if you happen to’d reasonably skip the Gore-tex, then go nuts. The ‘common’ model of this shoe is presently out there right here (girls’s).

Closing Ideas

Inov-8 is a worldwide model that’s acknowledged for making award-winning path trainers. The introduction of the RocFly sequence in 2021 was a aggressive reply to the demand for light-weight, high-performance, and sturdy mountaineering sneakers. Including a water-resistant model of the shoe broadens their portfolio to embody extra seasons.

The RocFly are among the most comfy sneakers I’ve hiked in. The deep Adapter-Flex groove permits my ft to maneuver extra naturally and adapt to the bottom equally to after I’m in a extra minimalist shoe. The Gore-Tex safety was useful at instances, however on the finish of the day, I’d be happier having the extra breathable and quicker-drying non-waterproof model.

The most important draw for me of the RocFly G 350 GTX is its sturdiness. Each the graphene-infused rubber on the only and the ripstop nylon higher present hardly any put on after miles on the punishing trails of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. I plan to check RocFly’s assertion that these sneakers will final tons of of miles longer than different comparable sneakers in the marketplace.

Store the Males’s RockFly G 350 GTX

Store the Ladies’s RockFly G 350 GTX

Non-Gore-tex model:

Store the Males’s RockFly G 350

Store the Ladies’s RockFly G 350

Comparable Path Sneakers

HOKA Speedgoat 5 GTX (Ladies’s)
MSRP: $170
Stack top: 32/28mm
Drop: 4mm

Altra Lone Peak All-Wthr Low 2 (Ladies’s)
MSRP: $180
Stack top: 25mm
Drop: 0mm

Inov-8 TrailFly G 270 V2 (Ladies’s)
MSRP: $170
Stack top: 22mm
Drop: 0mm

Learn our evaluate of the TrailFly G 270 V2 right here.

The Inov-8 RocFly G 350 GTX was donated for the aim of evaluate.

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