I’ve been using Inov-8 Terroc 330 trail runners for 3 season hiking since April 2010. I just started using my fifth consecutive pair for peakbagging and backpacking, plus I bought another two pairs so that I’ll have more when I wear these out. If that’s not brand and model loyalty, I don’t know what is!
I got turned onto these shoes last spring when I was preparing to hike across Scotland in the 2010 TGO Challenge. Hiking cross-country in the highlands is very boggy and requires many stream crossings. Leather boots were simply not going to work and I needed a shoe that could drain water quickly and not “bog” me down with extra weight. I’d also had a bad experience the previous summer with wet leather boots in Maine’s 100 mile wilderness, and I didn’t want a repeat of that adventure, slogging for days in wet boots that felt like cinder blocks.
But switching away from my old beloved leather Asolo 520 hiking boots was a big step for me. I tried a lot of different trail shoes looking for ones I liked without success. Finally, it was Chris Townsend’s recommendation of the Inov-8 Terrocs that led me to try these shoes. The rest is history. I’ve switched to Terrocs for all of my 3 season hiking, peakbagging, and backpacking trips.
Transitioning to Trail Shoes
If you’re used to a hiking boot with a stiff shank, getting used to the Terrocs may take a little time. Switching to them doesn’t hurt or anything. It just feels very different to walk in them: your feet will feel noticeably cooler, your toes will have a lot more space and they’re much lighter than heavy boots.
You will also walk faster. When I switched to Terrocs, I added a 1/2 mile per hour to my walking pace. I’m not a speed hiker or anything; it just takes less effort hike the same miles.
Another big difference between the Terros and leather boots is what I’ll call rocker. The soles of my leather Asolos always felt like they were curved up slightly at the front and rear of the sole to harness the momentum of my stride and propel me forward. The Terroc soles don’t feel like that at all. They are very soft and compress flat against the ground or rock. This provides better traction on wet surfaces and makes it easier to scramble on rock.
Blisters and Sock Liners
I have not gotten one blister since donning my first pair of Terrocs and I reckon I’ve hiked, climbed or backpacked over 1000 miles in them. I usually only wear a thin wool or synthetic liner sock with them although I occasionally add a gore-tex outer sock in sustained cold rain. I also keep the lacing quite loose at the top of the tongue and my feet slide around a fair amount in the shoe.
This is a complete 180 from the things I used to do to prevent blisters when wearing leather boots. I used to wear synthetic liner socks and outer wool socks, I’d pre-tape my heels to prevent friction blisters and I used Superfeet insoles religiously.
I’ve left that all behind.
Since I started wearing Terrocs, the frequency and severity of the ITB bouts that I experience has been greatly reduced. Before I started wearing these shoes, my hiking range was limited to a maximum of 75 miles. Now I can go for 175 miles without any knee or fascia pain and keep walking as long as I want. That’s a life changer.
When I come to a stream I just walk right through it. I scout for a safe location to cross, but I don’t even bother with rock hopping or trying to keep my feet dry. I just walk right in and keep going when I reach the other bank.
I always pause though for a second when I reach the opposite shore to watch the water jet out through the mesh of my Terrocs. I still get a kick out of seeing this. After that they dry pretty quickly, but it depends on the humidity. Plus, my socks dry out fast because I’m just wearing thin liners and not a thicker sock.
I can get about 400 miles out of a pair of Terrocs if I’m very careful and only wear them for hiking trips. They start to really show wear though after 250 miles. The tread wears down under the ball of the foot and heel and their traction on wet rock degrades noticeably.
The mesh also starts to break down on the exterior of the shoe, at the base of my big and little toes. At first, I thought our house mice were eating the salt that accumulates there, but I met an AT thru-hiker named “Bama“ last week who said the same things happens with his Terrocs. He reckoned that holes were caused by the fact that the shoe bends there with each step.
Weight and Sizing
Terrocs run about 1/2 size small for me, so I wear a US Mens 10. This is a roomy fit for me, which helps because my feet swell when I hike for a few days consecutively. In this size, Terrocs weigh 12 ounces per shoe. For comparison, my old leather boots weigh 27.5 ounces each. That pretty much says it all, doesn’t it?
Where to Buy
Zappos.com (free shipping) has an excellent selection of Terrocs and Inov-8 shoes in a wide range of sizes. The Terrocs retail for $110 USD/pair.
Disclosure: The author owns this product and purchased it using their own funds.
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