Drawing on a powerful trail-running heritage, the Inov-8 Roclite G345 GTX combines futuristic materials with proven design to deliver an outstanding hiking boot.
There are plenty of incredible walking boots on the market (see our roundups of the best hiking boots for men and the best women's hiking boots for just a taster), but Inov-8 has invested plenty of time and effort to ensure the G345s stand out from the crowd to pick up this coveted T3 Award 2020.
At first sight you'd be forgiven for thinking that this was a mid-calf-height trail runner, and indeed, there's plenty of trail tech here. For starters, the lightweight construction leaves little to complain about on a long day out, clocking in at a mere 345g per foot – barely more than some walking shoes. That light weight is aided by plenty of mesh on the upper, with ribbed material allowing serious levels of flex as needed.
- Buy Inov-8 Roclite G 345 GTX hiking boots (men's)
- Buy Inov-8 Roclite G 345 GTX women's hiking boots (opens in new tab)
There's a bellows-style tongue to keep small pieces of gravel and dust out of the boot itself, and the sole lugs are very trail-like 6mm deep canyons, designed to eke out grip in muddy, boggy and slippery conditions.
It's when you encounter damp rock for the first time that you realise all this tech is really doing something useful: providing grip. Not just bog-standard grip either, but nice, predictable traction like a warm race tyre on a dry, sunny track.
There is a formidable technical reason for this – the inclusion of wonder-material graphene in the sole unit. Graphene is the world's strongest material, and has a variety of bewilderingly unusual properties, including strength, lightness, stiffness and conductivity.
It's the first few properties that make graphene a popular composite addition. Inov-8 has used a secret process" to infuse Graphene into the rubber as the outsoles are made. The result is "scientifically proven to be 50% stronger, 50% more elastic and 50% harder wearing than standard outsoles", according to Inov-8.
They're certainly real-world grippy, and married to such a lightweight boot provide a fascinating shoe/boot hybrid for fast and light athletes, as well as a great lightweight summer boot for the more casual rambler. A winner in all senses.
Full shortlist: Inov-8 Roclite G345 GTX, Scarpa R-Evo GTX, Adidas Terrex Free Hiker Parley, Mammut Kento High GTX (opens in new tab), Hanwag Banks SF Extra GTX, Arc'teryx Acrux TR GTX
- Browse the rest of the winners of the T3 Awards 2020