Friday, 5 August 2011

Inov8 268 destroyed

Its been a while since this happened, but as I've run a couple of races in my new ones, I figured I should post a couple of thoughts on the shoes that I have used for the vast majority of my offroad running in the past year or so, Inov8 roclite 268.
Yes, I know its a girls shoe, but they fit me better than the guys ones, and when they're covered in mud, you barely notice the fact they are blue and grey. They are more... bog coloured.

I have no idea how many miles I ran in them, I don't tend to keep count of distance over long periods of time. However, they have definitely done 2 12 hour and a 24 hour adventure race, a good number of "hill" sessions in Greenwich park, 6 actual races, and a decent amount of training runs in the Peak district.

Over the year they have proved to be an excellent choice for the occasional raid onto tarmac, with enough padding that the lugs aren't forced into your feet, very good on shorter, muddier races, comfortable on ridiculously long days out over peat, bog, road and moor and versatile enough to adventure race in without needing to change once. They drain pretty well, lock around my feet well, and the uppers didn't start deteriorating until the last run I did with them, well over a year after buying them. 

They were still fine when I got to Glossop about 4 months ago. Still grippy, I was confident on ascents and descents, off cambers weren't an issue, and I could tear it up on whatever ground I came across.
However, on Kinder Trog I found myself losing grip, falling over (7 times at least) even on fairly tame ground. At that time I thought it was because I was knackered. A long race, ok, not over particularly dodgy terrain, but it felt long, I wasn't hydrated or eating enough- it could well be down to human error. However, I couldn't quite shake that nagging feeling that the shoes I was wearing weren't quite giving me the grip and confidence that I once had.

I ignored it for the time, but next time I went out with the Harriers, Jules, Mark and I went out over to Chew res'r, the terrain was totally different to that on Kinder, boggy moorland, splashing through stuff and generally beautiful.
I was slipping all over the place. This isn't me losing my mojo, its got to be to do with the shoes. A quick conversation with Jules confirmed this. Neither of us is particularly keen on replacing shoes every few months, but when things are going downhill because of the wear on the bottom of the shoe, that can't be a good thing. Imagine getting injured because your kit needs replacing. Bummer.

However, I didn't get around to ordering a new pair before the 15 trigs which is where I ended up properly breaking them.
It was about 18miles into the 55miler, just coming up to Bamford Edge, bashing through heather and bracken. As we got to the top of the climb and onto the Edge to the Trig point, I looked down and noticed that one section where the laces attach to the shoe no longer attached. Damn. Ah well, I've seen worse.
I tightened them up and we carried on.
To be fair, the shoes performed admirably despit being slightly jury rigged and having next to no actual grip on the bottom. Yes, I have seen shoes with less knobbles on the bottom- but the roclites felt particularly slippery.

(as a side note here in terms of grippy and slippy shoes, I adventure raced for about 3 years in a pair of Salomon XA pros, which don't appear to have much grip on the bottom in the first place. They were surprisingly grippy on everything I came across. Even after 3 years, and with basically bare rubber with no knobbly bits on the underside, I was still running around in them quite happily, only really slipping on horrendous muddy, boggy banks. I have to say I was quite impressed)

So anyway, as they say, pictures speak louder than words, so I'll just show you how then ended up. A year or so down the line from being bought. All things considered, thats not too bad for a pair of shoes, especially as my Baregrips appear to be getting holes in them despite being on my feet only about 10 times, but more about that in a later blog.

The offending lace tie that bust on me, going through some heather. The shoe still held onto my foot for the rest of the 55 miles though, and to no ill effect in terms of rubbing or blistering.

The material only JUST going at the toe, despite being worn quite a lot. My Baregrips are going there already and I've barely even worn the things- I think in the future all inov8s I buy will be around the 300gram mark.

The "grip" on the base of the shoes. Yes, there are lugs on there, but have a look at the next couple of photos.

Brand new 268s on the left, Girlfriends in the middle (been used a bit) and the broken ones on the right. You can see the break down of the rubber on the "fascia band" strips on the far right. There are a couple more photos below showing the detail on the grips.

The Broked ones. Rounded lugs, chipped rubber, general ice skates.

Brand new grippy ones. I had no idea I was missing that much grip. Explains quite a lot. Mind you, if you can run well in inov8s that are old and slippy, imagine what you can do in brand new grippy ones.
Again, brand new on the left, broked on the right and mid way through in the middle. The brand new ones have lugs that are a bit deeper, but I think it might be the lack of sharpness around each of the lugs which really cause the massive lack of traction. I might try cutting the lugs of the old ones to make them "sharper" and see if it makes any difference. You never know.
So they served me well. I bought the same shoes to replace them, because they fit well in that size. I can feel my big toe just against the end as I head down hills, but my feet are held in them really quite well- where as the shoes like the Mudrocs and baregrips just seem to be a little too... long really. I can still run in them, but these roclites have just enough padding to make road running bearable, and enough grip to launch me down hill after people who can climb faster than me, with enough confidence to know I won't fall over.
Until a years time when the grip goes again.

A good compromise between crazy light shoes that seem to die fast, and clunky unresponsive shoes that feel like lead weights.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, i thought i was going mad in my quest for the right shoe i too tried this model and they fit better than the mens for me..i guss i may get some..
    regards jeremy