The Inov-8 Roclite G 345 GTX hiking boot has become a bit of a classic for a host of reasons. Not only beloved by athletes, but practical for mere mortals too, the G 345 packs Inov-8's considerable expertise in trail running shoes into a hiking boot format. In fact, it's one of the best hiking boots around. At RRP, these cost £155 / USD $190. We're reviewing the men's version here, but there's also a women's option, which is built to a different last and comes in some different colourways (if that's what you're after, you'll find some alternatives in our best women's hiking boot guide). Read on for our full Inov-8 Roclite G 345 GTX hiking boot review.
Inov-8 Roclite G 345 GTX hiking boot review: design
Although Inov-8 has updated the colourways to add interest, there’s not much visually to write home about at first blush. But all the real secrets here lie under the skin – a fabric and mesh upper with a standard lacing system. One of those hidden elements is the inevitable Gore-Tex liner, that does a decent job of fighting internal clag while keeping water out, but there’s plenty more here too.
A clear signal of the Inov-8 Roclite G 345 GTX's heritage is the low ankle, designed for maximum articulation while still providing more support than a standard shoe could, something very handy in more rugged terrain. There's a broad toe protector up front that's very low-profile but effective, a heel protector and a powerflow midsole that delivers better shock absorption (10%) and energy return (15%) than standard midsoles.
The big story though, is in the actual sole unit. This is constructed from 'G-GRIP', a graphene-enhanced compound that aims to tap into some of graphene’s headline properties. In this case, that’s strength and resistance to wear, as opposed to other properties that include thermal and electrical conductivity. The result is a sole that offers 'the world's toughest and most durable grip', according to Inov-8 – and that’s no marketing hyperbole.
Inov-8 Roclite G 345 GTX hiking boot review: performance and Comfort
The reason the Inov-8 Roclite G 345 GTX hiking boot is a real winner (and has a 2020 T3 Award to prove it) is the combination of these two elements. The serious trail running heritage of Inov-8 means this is a very lightweight boot indeed, designed for speed and maneuverability, and the sole design isn’t just for show by any means.
The 6mm lugs grip mud, wet grass and general clag like teeth, rarely slipping in even the most unpleasant ooze. How much the magical Graphene contributes is debatable, but switch to a rocky trail or a wet wood bridge and the Roclite G 345 stick like glue. Part of this is certainly down to the texture on each lug, part of a design that also sheds clag as fast as you can pick it up, an overlooked bonus in sticky conditions.
Once the novelty of that incredible grip wears off, you might notice that you've not really had to worry about comfort, which is great news indeed. As these weigh in at a trainer-like 345g there's no weight to cart about at all, and the all-fabric upper adds plenty of flex straight out of the box. In fact, there are few walking boots that are this immediately competent and comfortable, and that comfort doesn’t dissipate once they have worn in a little either. Speaking of which, that Graphene is designed to be long-lasting, and our testing so far indicates that is indeed the case.
The downsides of the Inov-8 Roclite G 345 GTX are really as a result of lightness compromises – there's not as much ankle support here as in a chunkier, higher-lacing boot, which might be an issue with heavier loads and longer days. Equally, the Gore-Tex membrane and fabric are light and breathable, but can appear to transmit cold to your feet in really wet, boggy conditions due to the minimal insulation. Obviously one solution is to just walk (or run) faster, the other is to avoid trainers in cold, wintry conditions – very much horses for courses.
Inov-8 Roclite G 345 GTX hiking boot review: verdict
The Inov-8 Roclite G 345 GTX is one of those products that can only really be faulted by comparing it to something it isn’t, so if you’re looking for old-school leather hikers, or super-stiff mountaineering boots then they’ll disappoint. However, if you’re looking for fast-and-light hiking boots that stick to the scenery in the worst of conditions, then they’re just the job. Add in a dash of Graphene magic and some good old fashioned outdoor design expertise, and you've got some boots that'll prove a worthwhile investment for many years to come.