This is a review of the Inov-8 Roclite Pro G 400 GTX boots for hiking in the UK. I have walked 1200 miles from Lands End to John O’Groats in the Inov-8 Roclite G 345 GTX boots. At the time, these were the best graphene-soled walking boots available. So far, I think the Pro G 400 GTX boots are even better.
In this blog post, I’m going to share my initial impressions of the boots and compare them to the Inov-8 Roclite 335, 345 and 370 boots, which I also own. I will be updating this post as I learn more about the 400s and I’m able to test them more thoroughly. Lockdown has certainly delayed my testing plans!
From initial testing, I think the Pro G 400 boots are extremely comfortable and well made. They seem ideal for year-round UK conditions. The boots are similar to the very impressive Inov-8’s Roclite G 345 GTX boots, but with my criticisms of them fixed: the strength of the uppers and waterproofing.
Uppers and Waterproofing
From previous experience, I’ve found that the upper material is a common failure point on some of Inov-8’s footwear. This then leads to the premature failure of the waterproof membrane. So this is the area that I’m most interested in testing fully.
For example, the waterproof lining of my G 345 GTX boots failed long before the boots were worn out (thanks to the graphene soles). I think this failure was partly due to large mesh holes in the upper, which allowed grit through. The grit then wore the Gore-tex lining so it failed prematurely.
On the Roclite Pro G 400 boots Inov-8 use Schoeller® ceramic-coated on the upper material for better durability. This also has much smaller holes, so I’m hopeful that the Gore-tex lining will last longer and they will stay waterproof.
The upper material on the Roclite Pro G 400s looks and feels much more robust. They still feel like they breathe well though, despite the smaller holes in the upper mesh. I was really impressed with the breathability of the G 345 GTX boots. They worked well in the summer and let my feet breathe. I will say more about the breathability of the Pro G 400s once I have tested them more thoroughly.
I love the lacing on the Pro G 400 boots. They lace up much more like a traditional hiking boot, with two top hooks instead of holes or loops as with the 345 and 335 boots.
It’s much easier to get the Pro G 400 boots on and off with these hooks, rather than the holes and loops on the 345s and 335s. The 345s and 335s lace all the way to the top of the boots, which makes them more difficult to loosen fully. But once on and done up, all the boots (loops or hooks) tighten nicely around the foot to get a very comfortable fit.
Personally, I prefer the hooks because it just makes it easier to take off and put the boots on. This is a huge advantage in non-ideal conditions, like when I’m exhausted at the end of a long day in the hills, with my leg muscles on the edge of cramp, and crunched up in the entrance of my tiny hiking tent.
The Roclite Pro G 400 boots fit and feel the same the Roclite G 345 boots: extremely comfortable. They have just the right amount of space in the toe box, to let my feet spread on long hikes. This helps reduce the risk of getting blisters or losing toe nails, as is so common on long distance hikes.
I have about average width feet, and find they spread during long distance hiking trips with a heavy pack. So it’s good to have a bit of spare room around my toes, so they don’t start rubbing later in the walk when my feet warm up and swell. I think the 400s fit true to size, but I do tend to size up a full size from my normal every day footwear. This allows for thicker hiking socks and for my feet to swell.
The ankle support in the 400 boots is reasonable, bearing in mind that they are a light-weight boot. However, if you’ve been used to the support of heavy-duty leather boots, you may be disappointed.
I think you’ll be amazed by the comfort though. I like the feeling of being so light and flexible. It makes me feel that I could run up and down the hills. Even with less ankle support I’ve never felt like I am going to wring my ankle over more than in more supportive shoes.
Light-weight footwear is really popular these days (for good reason) and a lot of people hike in trainers. I use trainers in summer on well-made paths, but I still like the feeling of a boot around my ankle when crossing pathless or steep terrain. This gives me a bit of extra ankle support.
Another advantage of boots over trainers is that they keep my feet drier and stop so much dirt getting into my boots. When I hike in shoes or trainers, I find I need gaiters on to stop the grit and mud getting in. However, I never seem to be wearing them when I step in that surprise peat bog…
Soles and Grip
The graphene soles on the Pro G 400 boots are a definite improvement from the Roclite 335, 345 and 370 boots. The soles on each of these models are good, but the 400s soles have a more complex design. This means that they grip even better on steep grassy slopes, wet mud and rocks.
I think the main improvement in the Pro G 400 boots is the re-designed heel brake. Inov-8 have moved away from a design more suited to running, to a sole designed specifically for hiking. This heel brake is ideally suited to long-distance hiking: fast and light.
Inov-8 were the first company to use graphene in their soles. It makes the soles last twice as long in my experience. This means you’ve got deeper tread for a lot longer, which makes a real difference on light-weight footwear.
I’ve spoken to people who wore out two or even three pairs of trainers whilst walking from Lands End to John O’Groats, when I only needed one pair of the graphene-soled Roclite 345s.
Personally I don’t think the graphene in the soles makes them grip any better initially. However, the fact it makes the soles so hard wearing means that when lesser light-weight footwear has worn the tread dangerously smooth (sometimes within a few hundred miles), these graphene soled boots will still have plenty of deep tread left. From my experience, they should safely do over 1000 miles. This makes them good value for money compared to a lot of light-weight footwear. I was extremely impressed with the 345s that I walked to destruction on my 1200 mile Lejog. I’m sure the Pro G 400 soles will be equally as good.
The Roclite 345’s grip well but Inov-8 have redesigned the tread pattern on the Roclite 400’s. I feel they grip even better than any walking boots that I’ve ever worn. It grips really well on all surfaces, especially frozen compacted snow. I was very impressed with the grip during a resent 5 day wildcamping trip around the Lake District. They gave me the confidence to scramble to a number of summits that I may have missed previously in other footwear.
Micro crampons fit the boots nicely and worked very well, making it safe to use the boots on frozen snow and ice.
I am extremely impressed with the Inov-8 Roclite Pro G 400 GTX boots, especially the grip. They are a great all year round hiking boot and are amongst the most comfortable boots that I’ve ever worn. I would be happy setting off on a long hike in them without needing any wearing-in time.
As walking boots go, the Roclite Pro G 400s are extremely light weight at 830 grams (on my kitchen scales) for my pair of size 9s. They feel supportive enough when hiking with a heavy pack, but also flexible enough for fast day hikes over varied terrain. I think they are a great all-round boot that are an improvement on the Roclite 345s boots and well worth the higher price.
I will update this blog as I wear the boots out, but this may be a long time as they look like they’re going to wear well and last a long time.
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