When I backpack, I usually wear a pair of leather Asolo TPS 520 boots. Even though they have Gore-tex liners and I waterproof them using sno-seal, they can get wet. When that happens, they can take several days to dry and increase my risk of blisters.
One strategy for dealing with wet boots on a backpacking trip is to use boots or trail running shoes that dry out quickly. I thought I’d give this a try using a pair of Inov-8 Men’s roclite 370s which I bought in mid-February. I’ve been using them on day hikes with a pack since then to figure out if I like them and whether this moisture management strategy could work for me. Inov-8 also makes a Roclite 390, which comes with a Gore-text liner.
The Roclite 370s weigh significantly less than my leather boots at 13.4 oz each in a size US 9.5, men’s. The weight reduction is attributable to mesh uppers which you can just barely see through and which are very effective in helping water to escape from the boot. I fell into a creek during a stream crossing a few weeks ago while wearing my Asolos, so this is fresh in my mind.
When I first bought these boots, I immediately noticed that the Roclite insole is kind-of lame, so I replaced it with a Superfeet Green Insole. I am absolutely paranoid about contracting plantar fasciitis again, so my initial testing focused on ensuring that the Roclites provided my foot with the support I need to avoid a recurrence of this condition. The Roclite 370 doesn’t have a rigid last like you find in a heavier boot but there is some reinforcement in the mid-sole using a polymer shank.
After walking in these boots now for a few months, I have decided that the Roclites are just not for me. The truth is that I have a style of hiking, backpacking, and rock scrambling that relies on a rigid boot. Hiking in these Roclites feels almost like I’m walking in bare feet or rock gym climbing shoes. Plus, when I do a moderate amount of scrambling, I get shin splints when I wear them. That’s never happened to me in my Asolos and I attribute it to the vertical flex inherent in the softer Roclite.
This was a good experiment and I’m glad I stuck with it. I’m still looking for a lighter weight boot with better drying characteristics than my Asolo leathers (I just bought a 3rd pair), and I am planning on trying Keen Targhee II Mids next. They’re lined with eVent, and I’m interested to see how they perform compared to Gore-tex lined boots. My wife has a pair of them and raves about them.
Disclosure: The author owns this product and purchased it using their own funds.
Umm, Keen's eVent is simply a Gortex lining. It isn't made by Gortex, so they couldn't use that trademarked name. It's kind of like the difference between a tissue and a Kleenex. :)
Anyway, I love Keen shoes. Very comfortable! I have the Targhee low-cut shoes rather than the mid-cut you are wanting to try out. They provide my flat feet with a huge amount of arch support (it took me a few days to get used to it)which is very important to me because I too, have suffered from plantar facitis in the past.
That being said, I hate the eVent lining! My feet never dry out! It doesn't let them breate very well at all (and mine are the low-cut shoes!). My next pair will be the Keen Voyageur, which is very comparable to the Targhee Mid, but without the eVent lining. I would rather have shoes that aren't waterproof than shoes that hold the moisture in.
Ummm… eVent is not made by Keen. It's more like the difference between Ford and Toyota
Sorry I didn't clarify this sooner. dirt is correct. event is different than keen dry and it is certainly not Gore-tex.
I have to agree with Gumbi. Though I don't know about the gore-tex vs. eVent, I can tell you that I've owned the very keen shoes that you speak of and drying was also an issue. It is a more rigid boot and required break-in (like any good boot) but the hiking I do is in quite a bit of tall grasses and the keen's wouldn't ever seem to dry. As far as my hiking goes, I've never found a "waterproof" boot that didn't leave my feet as wet with sweat as they would be with water. I'm definitely interested in trying the roclite shoes. I personally don't care if my feet get wet so long as they dry in a respectable amount of time.
I just bought another 2 pairs on inov-8 terrocs. I will probably wear them into the winter as well – 40 below has an overshoe specifically designed for using trail runners in winter. It was experimental last winter…
Hi, I was hoping you could give me some info about the fit of this specific boot? I know inov-8 sizes differ depending on each particular model, but with a general rule that you size up 1/2 a size for a good fit.
Did you size up for the 370's as well or did you find that they run true to size?
I wear a 9.5 street shoe but a 10 in inov-8 315's, so I'm just trying to figure out what I'll need for 370's. Thanks!
Konrad – I honestly can't remember what size I bought. I normally suggest at least a full size increase, but it will depend if you want to replace their insole. I suggest you buy a bunch of pairs from Zappos and just return (for free) the ones that don't fit.
Inov8 is a british company. UK sizes are generally 1 size smaller than US I think. You should be able to get this confirmed by googling, or from your preferred retailer. As getting the right fit is so important, I think Earlylite's suggestion is a great idea, if you know a retailer who will offer this service.