If you are anything like me, you were really bummed two years ago when hearing that the classic inov-8 TRAILROC was being discontinued. ‘But it’s the best shoe on the planet… Why is it being discontinued!?’ I grieved to the inov-8 designers. Once some other loyal inov-8ers found out about the unfortunate demise of the TRAILROC, they began stockpiling this staple model in their size, in an effort to wear them for the next decade. I actually know someone who has 10 pairs of the the old TRAILROC 245! Was this going to be the day when (TRAIL)ROC (& Roll) died?
Enter a biblical figure with a halo and large beard (oh, that will be me, Peter Maksimow) earlier this year to announce the launch of the new TRAILROC 270 and TRAILROC 285 models. OK, it’s got nothing really to do with the Bible other than my hometown of Manitou Springs, Colorado, flooded a few times… and the halo was actually just an ivy vine, so disregard all of that. Well, at least the beard is real.
Da Dahhhhhhhhhh! And so I am pleased to announce the resurrection of the TRAILROC line! First things first, it is not the same shoe, so don’t expect a clone, but the original DNA is still there. Think of fast, efficient running over hard and rocky trails with outstanding responsiveness and ground feel. And then this time throw in a little more Roll with the Roc – a flash of color that screams ‘take-a-look-at-these-babies!’ Hence the name, TRAILROC.
For those who rise before the sun, and put in more running miles than they do on their car, I Salute You! (with the song below)
At the heart of inov-8 is traction and grip in the fells and bogs of the Lake District, UK, where the brand was born (in 2003) and raised. At the opposite end of the spectrum, our trails here on the Front Range of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains are dry, hard-packed and FAST. This demands a performance-led running shoe that is responsive and versatile. The original TRAILROC was the model that performed best on these types of trails – and inov-8 has carried that over from its predecessor into the new TRAILROC 270 & 285.
It has….86 small-but-vicious lugs per shoe. I just counted! The 270 has a 4mm drop (heel to toe differential), while the 285 has an 8mm drop. Both include the new 5th generation Meta-Plate (aka rock plate for those who do not like their lingo too technical). This delivers just the right amount of underfoot protection, so you’re not screaming out ‘Oooo’ and ‘Ahhh’ when you hit a sharp rock on the trail.
Making a hardcore TRAILROC runner feel like Spider-Man on the trails
The Tri-C sticky rubber outsole is comprised of three rubber compounds that range on the spectrum of soft and sticky to firm and durable, making a hardcore TRAILROC runner feel like Spider-Man on the trails. The PowerFlow+ midsole (you know when something has a plus attached it, it’s just that much cooler), meanwhile, offers you on a silver platter 10% better shock absorption with 25% better energy return than your average midsole. Imagine the Incredible Hulk landing from a half-mile jump, leaving indentations in the ground (shock absorption) then immediately rebounding for another long leap (energy return). Yeah, just like that. The Hulk ROCs out. He loves the new color, too!
For those who head out onto the trails and into the mountains despite the rain and hail, you’re not only ROC stars, you’re TRAILROC stars and IIIIIIIIII Saluuuuuuute Yooooooooouuuuu! (No music video this time, but how about the TRAILROC film instead):
TRAILROC: From prototype to final product
So why am I throwing out all these TRAILROC stats (in much less eloquent language, of course) when you can easily just go here and find out all of that stuff for yourself? Well, because I was privileged enough to be involved in the design and continuing feedback on this very shoe range. I am passionate about wearing and performing in the best gear possible and jumped at the chance of being more involved with the inov-8 product team. For example, on one of the early prototypes, I felt there was not enough ground feel. I wanted to feel the trail a bit more, so I fed all this information back to Graham Jordison (inov-8 Design Manager – check out this cool MUDCLAW-themed interview with Graham) and he thinned out the rock plate a bit.
I also felt like the heel counter was too rigid and the collar came up a little too close to my ankle bone. Graham, once again, waved his shoe-designing wand, performed his magic and Voilà! Perfect. Officially trail tested and TRAILROC-runner approved. And, yes, those are my skinny legs putting the shoes to the test (see photo below).
For those who are visually impaired but still take on a gnarly, mountainous 50 mile race, I have the utmost responsibility to Salute YOU!!!
But this is not just about a brand or a particular model of shoe, this is about enjoying what you do, no matter what it is – so for runners that means smiling for the camera and offering up high-fives to fellow runners. You can be an artist, a PE teacher or a politician (I would not recommend that last one), but integrity is highly recommend too.
Of all the places I have visited, nowhere have I enjoyed more smiles, high-fives, or witnessed such integrity, than Japan. I recently helped inov-8 Japan launch the new TRAILROC in their homeland – and what an amazing experience it was. The story of my trip is told in the film below (put together by Tetsugoro Matsubara, inov-8 Japan)… and yes I won a race in my TRAILROC 270s! For more photos from my Japan trip, go to the bottom of this blog post.
Running on the trails and in the mountains is my passion, it is my church, it is my livelihood and my well-being. In order to carry this out to the best of my ability, it is of utmost importance that I have shoes which grip and perform as well as clothing that wicks, sheds water and protects. So, I not only feel like I can Roc Out, but I can TRAILROC Out! My name is Peter Maksimow and I do all things running.
For those about to (TRAIL)ROC, I salute you!
My photos from the TRAILROC launch in Japan