INOV-8 creates one of the largest line-ups of trail running shoes that I have seen. The good and bad of this is that you have a lot of choices AND you have a lot of choices. The wide array of running shoes can sometimes freak a person out and cause that deer in headlights look.
Over the upcoming months I hope to provide more reviews to help differentiate the variety of trail running shoes offered by INOV-8.
In the moderate weight range, I have already reviewed the smooth running Roclite 315s. A few months back I purchased the Flyroc 310s, a shoes that is a close relative of the Roclite 315 yet has it’s own unique personality. After many a fun filled miles, it was time to share my findings and experience so far.
There will be no glamour shot in this review. The makeup, touch-ups, and artificial lights will stay in the closet for this one. Every pic is from my own worn and experience tread.
Let me introduce to you…the Flyroc 310. 🙂
Specs of Interest
- Weight: spec’d at 10.9 ounces (size 9)
- Ride height (midsole): 16 mm (heel) / 7 mm (forefoot) (Per Running Warehouse)
- Pronation support: minimal (but not zero)
- Underfoot Protection: Terra Shank
At 10.9 ounces (size 9), the Flyroc 310 isn’t a racing flat or a beefier running shoe. It runs quite comfortably in that moderate weight range and is just slightly lighter than the Roclite 315 (spec’d at 11.1 ounces for size 9).
The shoe has a lower profile feel for a moderate weight trail shoe and has a slightly smaller midsole heel-to-forefoot difference of 9 mm. Simple midsole measurements don’t tell the whole story but based on eyeball observations and some simple external measurements, the Flyroc 310 has slightly less midsole thickness but slightly more outsole thickness than the Roclite 315. These two shoe components somewhat balance each other out leading to a very similar foot/body relationship with the ground between both shoes.
Here you can see the midsole design that may provide a minimal amount of pronation/arch support. Don’t expect a lot though as it wouldn’t fit in INOV-8’s natural running philosophy. I have a friend that runs with the Brooks Adrenaline’s on the road which have a significant amount of “pronation” control, he said the Flyroc’s don’t come close to the same feel.
The Terra Shank is a molded stiff material that sits between the midsole (cushioning layer) and outsole (tread layer) to provide additional protection from those knarly rocks and pointy objects that may reside on the trails. This material runs from the heel to the metatarsal heads (the start of your cute little piggies). The front of the shoe, the toe box area, is surprisingly very flexible. (more flexible than the Roclite 315s)
Here is pic noting the length of the Terra Shank and tries to highlight the location of the flexible forefoot.
I think it is also worth noting the extra smashed toe protection at the tip of the shoe. The added outsole material provides a significant buffer to an improperly placed rock or root. 😉 I feel the Flyroc provides a bit more toe protection than the Roclite.
INOV-8 develops shoes using both a comfort fit or performance fit design style. As the name inplies, the comfort fit shoes are simply less tight around the foot and have a bit more wiggle room in areas like the toebox.
The Flyroc 310 is designed with a comfort fit similar to the Roclite 315s. My running shoes are either 11.5 or 12s. I went with size 12…as I did for the Roclites.
What can I say, I really dig the fit. The heel (using loop lock high lacing) and midfoot is snuggly secured along with a moderate amount of wiggle room for the toes.
The Flyroc 310 does feel like less shoe (and weighs less) as compared to the Roclite 315. The Flyroc’s upper is predominately a simple breathable mesh material that allows more subtle foot movements whereas the Roclite contains additional layers and material that provides more overall foot support. The outsole toe wrap and visibly beefy lugs on the Flyroc also provide a pre-run illusion of being a less spunky shoe…surprise!
Outsole – The Tread
The outsole has a moderately meaty tread pattern that uses INOV-8 Endurance compound that is designed to wear down slower as compared to their Sticky compound. The Flyroc’s lugs have approximately 5 mm of depth. Although the pattern is different on the Roclites, the lug depth is basically the same.
The Trail Experience
This is where the fun starts!
I have been on many 5 to 11+ mile trail adventures with the Flyroc 310s and even tossed on the pack to swap out with the Roclite 315 mid-run to try and Spidey sense any differences on the trail.
The Flyroc’s provide a fair amount of trail feedback on the flats and smooth terrain, and a surprisingly amount of protection/buffering when stomping on every root and sharp rock I could find. It’s an unexpected partnership. I would guess the object protection is due to the moderate sized tread pattern that absorbs some of the impact and I am sure the Terra Shank helps as well.
On a couple of occasions the extra toe protection prevented the bursting of a few low quality words.
How do the Flyroc 310s compare to the Roclite 315?
Here are my biggest observed differences on the trail:
- The Flyroc has slightly more trail feedback and the Roclite is slightly more cushioned. (This is with respect to well groomed, non-technical portions of trail.)
- The Flyroc has slightly more object protection/buffering than the Roclites. (This is with respect to the more technical portions of trail.)
- The Flyroc has a more flexible sole.
- The Flyroc’s Upper feels slightly less supportive.
- The Flyroc has slightly more toe protection.
Interested note with respect the cushioning of both shoes – I talked with a INOV-8 rep at TRE and mentioned my observation. Although both shoes are described as mid-level cushioning (3-arrow), the rep mentioned that the Flyroc likely sits between the low-level (2-arrow) and mid-level cushioning…like a 2.5-arrow (which doesn’t officially exist). It was nice to get a confirmation on my sensory observation.
I want to add a final thought on the cushioning. It is firm. No squishiness here.
My running adventures in the Flyroc 310 have really been good ones. I like to have a heel-to-forefoot difference of 10 mm or less to help promote a midfoot/forefoot running style and this shoes fits nicely in this parameter. The Flyroc’s also have a nice all-purpose feel where it could handle some serious miles yet still be a bit spunky when called upon.
The Flyroc 310 is a moderate weight, low-er profile trail shoe that delivers a significant amount of trail feedback and object protection. It is designed for a relaxed fit that can take on some serious adventure miles or enjoy a nice lactic burn.
The Flyroc 310 is not a minimalist racing flat. It does not fit like some of the lighter and more snug trail racing shoes (ex: MT100/MT101) as there is definitely more shoe but there isn’t excessive shoe either. I also wouldn’t consider it an ideal road shoe. It’s all trail baby!
The trail runner that may most like this trail tread:
- desires a lower profile feel with a fair amount of trail feedback
- doesn’t need a significant amount of cushioning
- doesn’t need an abundance of support and “features”
- Can accept the moderate weight
- desires a more comfortable fit
- desires a solid amount of object protection
BAM! There ya go! Hopefully this sheds some natural light on the Flyroc 310 and how it differs from the Roclite 315.
Who else has worn the Flyroc 310s? Please share your thoughts in the comment link below!
You can purchase the trail shoe at Running Warehouse (Shoes, Packs, Clothes, Lights, and more…plus 2-day free shipping!).
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David – EnduranceBuzz.com
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Posted on 01 Dec 2010
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