Inov-8 Trailroc 270 Review

Overview of the Inov-8 Trailroc 270:

The Inov-8 Trailroc 270 is the reincarnation of the Trailroc series originally launched about five years ago. And just like the original Trailrocs the new Trailroc 270 has a great fit, an excellent outsole, and is not overbuilt. Advertised as being “perfect for fast running over hard and rocky trails” I might disagree slightly. The Trailroc 270 is definitely built for fast running but perhaps better suited to hard-packed dirt trails without a lot of gnarly rocks in your path. Two things are for certain with this shoe – it is comfortable and you get a decent amount of ground feel.

Specs:

  • Weight: 270g / 9.5oz (US men’s 9.0) – unisex
  • Drop: 4mm, 21.5mm heel/17.5mm forefoot
  • Upper: mesh with welded overlays
  • Midsole: Powerflow+ (I assume it’s pretty standard EVA?)
  • Outsole: Tri-C Sticky Rubber (i.e., three different kinds of sticky rubber compounds placed in different sections of the outsole to promote more grip or more durability depending on the location); 4mm lug depth with good spacing between lugs to shed mud and debris; rock plate in the middle of the shoe that stops at the front of the midfoot

Inov-8 TrailRoc 270

Presenting the Inov-8 Trailroc 270. A very comfortable, do everything kind of trail shoe as long as you like a bit of groundfeel.

Now for more details. In this review, we’ll break things down in to four areas:

  1. What’s good: the new, differentiating, or simply well designed or built features or aspects of the shoe.
  2. What could be improved: tweaks or improvements that could be made to make the shoe better.
  3. When to use it: the situations or scenarios where the shoe excels.
  4. How it compares: my current go-to shoes and how this shoe compares.
  5. Should you purchase? My overall recommendation on whether to purchase this shoe or not.
  6. Purchasing Information: where to go to purchase this shoe.

I’ll try to be as succinct as possible. After all, you’ve probably got more running you can do today!

What’s good?

  • The fit. From my experience Inov-8 seems to have two main lasts or fits they work with – either a foot-hugging narrow fit or more of a narrow heel fit with a more foot-shaped midfoot and forefoot fit. Thankfully, the Inov-8 Trailroc 270 shoe uses the latter fit. The heel collar is fairly low but holds the heel well. And then the midfoot is middle of the road with a more forgiving forefoot fit. It’s a near-perfect fit, at least for me.

Inov-8 TrailRoc 270

A sweet upper combined with an accommodating last makes for a great fit.

Inov-8 TrailRoc 270

Close-up view of the mesh and welded overlays on the Trailroc 270.

  • The flexibility. Probably due to the lower overall stack height and multiple flex grooves this shoe is fairly flexible and moves with your foot. It feels pretty road shoe-esque in that sense and I dig that.

Inov-8 TrailRoc 270

The lower overall stack height contributes to a fairly flexible ride.

  • 4mm drop. This is a personal preference of mine but I love 4mm drop trail shoes. I find these drop strikes the perfect balance of promoting a midfoot to forefoot landing combined with some heel support when pushing uphill.
  • As much as I love Salomon outsoles Inov-8 makes some pretty great outsoles as well. The Trailroc 270 is no exception. The three different rubber compounds contribute to grip where you want it with added durability in higher wear areas. 4mm lugs are just deep enough for most trail situations with the added benefit of not getting in the way on tamer terrain.

Inov-8 TrailRoc 270

As usual, Inov-8 continues to design and manufacturer great outsoles.

  • With a mostly mesh upper and minimal, welded overlays this shoe breathes well and drains fast. It’s a good choice in warmer climates.
  • We don’t see anything superfluous with this shoe. No extra fabric where there shouldn’t be to weigh things down. No unnecessary foam in the heel collar. Lugs that grip without getting in the way of the ride.

Inov-8 TrailRoc 270

The Trailroc 270 upper is nice and streamlined – no added fabrics or design choices to weigh things down unnecessarily.

What could be improved with the Inov-8 Trailroc 270?

  • Additional cushioning. I’d love to see 3-4 additional millimeters of both heel and forefoot cushioning. Some folks will really dig the ground feel. I prefer just a little less ground feel and I suspect a little more cushioning would make the shoe nearly perfect.
  • Better welded overlays. After only one run the welded overlays started to come un-welded (is that a word?). It’s probably mostly an aesthetic issue it doesn’t give me a lot of confidence in the long-term durability of the upper. (note: one of my favorite shoes of all time, the Hoka Huaka, suffered from the same welded overlay issue with the original manufacturing run and it didn’t really affect the integrity of that shoe other than looking kind of silly).

Inov-8 TrailRoc 270

After only one run the welded overlays already started to break down.

  • The value. At $140 MSRP I feel the shoe is about $15-20 more than it should be considering its somewhat lack of versatility.

When to use it?

  • Everyday trail runs on mild to moderate terrain. On less technical trails the shoe shines but I would avoid the pointy stuff when possible.
  • Avoiding pavement. The ride on pavement is somewhat harsh and I would avoid much time in the concrete jungle wearing this shoe. It’s not the best door-to-trail shoe for this reason.

The Inov-8 Trailroc is a good everyday option for folks who like a lower stack height trail shoe with plenty of ground feel.

Similar shoes to compare with:

  • Nike Zoom Terra Kiger 3 or 4: Very similar shoes in terms of fit, overall comfort, and weight. However, the Nikes are $15 less (or a lot less on sale) with just the right amount of cushion and thus, protection. Nike wins here.
  • Hoka One One Speed Instinct (review here): I much prefer the level of cushion and protection the Hoka offers but I prefer the fit and breathability of the Inov-8. The Hokas are also a lot less now that they are on sale with version 2 released. Tough call but I’m probably reaching for the Hokas first (and more specifically the Hoka One One Speed Instinct 2 – review coming soon!)
  • Icebug Oribi RB9X (review here): Similar in terms of fit, ground feel, and protection. However, the Icebug has a 7mm drop and also costs $10 more. Tough call but I’m giving the nod to the Inov-8s here.

Should you purchase?

So, the $140 question – should you purchase the Inov-8 Trailroc 270?

In a word, maybe. If your preferred trails are tamer in nature and you like a bit of ground feel this is a good shoe. If you run on more technical terrain with rocks that could bruise your feet if you are not careful I would look for a shoe with more protection.

Questions, comments, or feedback on this shoe? Please share! And thanks for reading!

Purchasing Information

If you’re interested in purchasing this shoe, please first check availability at your local, independently owned running specialty store. They need your business and are a great resource for the community.

If that’s not an option, please consider using this link for the men’s shoe or this link for the women’s shoe . And special shout-out to the web marketing team at Inov-8 for presenting all the details of the shoe in a clear and concise way – bravo!

Thank you for reading.

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