This is a review of my favourite walking boots, the RocFly G 390 boots. I’ve just completed the Cape Wrath Trail wearing a pair. I am reviewing the men’s boots but they’re also available in a women’s version.
Inov-8 are well respected in making lightweight running footwear and many people have found these good for hiking in as well. So Inov-8 have reacted to this demand by adding specialist hiking footwear to their range.
The downside with lightweight footwear is that they wear out faster than the more traditional heavier walking boots. But Inov-8 have overcome this with adding Graphene to the soles, making them last at least twice as long. A few years ago I walked 1200 miles from Lands End to John O’Groats in Inov-8’s first graphene soled Roclite G 345 GTX boots. I’d read many accounts of people walking this in lightweight footwear and wearing out 2 or 3 pairs during the walk. I was very surprised to complete the whole walk in just one pair.
The RocFly G 390 boots feel very well made and look really smart and wouldn’t be out of place walking around town. But it’s the comfort that has really surprised me, especially the cushioning in the soles. As soon as I put them on I knew they were going to be good and probably my favourite walking boots.
I didn’t think it was possible to make walking boots anymore comfortable than Inov-8 had already done with the Roclite range, but they’ve out done themselves with these. As soon as I put them on they felt good, I didn’t feel they needed any wearing in and went straight out for a 22 miles walk. I arrived home without sore feet or any blisters. I’m very impressed.
The soles are deeper than the Roclite range and any other hiking boot that I’ve worn. The extra cushioning was evident immediately, definitely designed for long distance hiking and to take out much of the impact from your joints on hard surfaces. There’s also a good amount of padding around the inside of the boots to keep them comfortably tight around your feet.
Sole and Grip
The sole on the RocFly G 390 is thicker and more supportive than most other lightweight footwear. They are extremely comfortable with really good cushioning. This is ideal when hiking long distance trails and walking for long periods on hard ground. It reduces fatigue and the chance of foot problems.
Inov-8 have made very good running shoes for a number of years and are now using this knowledge to design lightweight hiking footwear. They are now designing light weight soles and tread patterns specifically for hiking. The RocFly G 390 is much closer to a traditional walking boot sole design.
Comparison below for the sole designs available on Inov-8s Roclite 345 and 400 boots.
The tread depth or lug depth as listed on the Inov-8 website says 4mm for the RocFly boots, which is less than the 6mm lug depth for the Roclite G 345 and Pro G 400. Reading this I instantly thought that they would not grip so well in mud. The Inov-8 website also says that they have low grip when it’s soft and muddy. This is deceptive because the actual depth into the recesses in the soles is between 8 and 10mm deep. I’ve found they actually grip ok in wet mud and exceptionally well on all other surfaces that you’re likely to find while 3 season hiking.
Lightweight footwear is really popular for through-hikers and ultralight hikers, but has not had a good reputation for lasting very long. Inov-8 have over come this by adding Graphene to their soles and I’ve found this will more than double the mileage they’ll probably do.
My Inov-8 RocFly G 390 boots have now done about 350 miles on some pretty rough and rocky ground, often soaked for days. There is some signs of wear on the soles as expected but I’m extremely impressed with the lack of wear on the upper mesh. This is an area where I’ve had trouble before and I’ve reviewed as a week point on older Inov-8 footwear in the past. Not these though – very pleased as I love these boots and this will make them a lot better value as they’ll last longer.
I find that the insoles in lightweight footwear only last a few hundred miles before they start becoming thin and uncomfortable. So I usually change them for Superfeet insoles but not so with the Inov-8 RocFly G 390 boots insoles. They still feel comfortable and still look to be in pretty good condition after about 350 miles.
Breathability and Waterproofing
The Inov-8 RocFly G 390 boots are not designed to be waterproof but are meant to be very breathable, so do not have a waterproof membrane in. I like this because I’ve had a number of waterproof linings fail in new boots within a few hundred miles and this makes the boots useless. They are not longer waterproof but do not breathe well either, so my feet can get wet and take days to dry.
The mesh on the RocFly G 390 boots is the best I’ve seen on any footwear. It breaths well but doesn’t let the dirt or grit through it and pumps the water out really well. I’ve stopped after a river crossing and tried to tip the water out of the boots but there was none. Yes my feet were soaked but they were not sloshing around in water and felt comfortable. Then my feet/socks would dry reasonably quickly if the ground conditions allowed.
I’ve had breathable boots before that let so much grit through the mesh that my feet were always filthy. The last breathable boots I had I remember half way along Sandwood beach having to stop and tip the sand of the boots, because they had got uncomfortable with so much sand in. This was not an issue at all with the Inov-8 RocFly G 390 boots while walking along the same beach this time.
I find waterproof membranes in boots are not very breathable and in warm weather my feet are wet from sweat even if the ground is dry. And on walks like the Cape Wrath Trail with so many river crossings and wet ground it’s impossible to keep the boots dry inside. So I prefer to wear breathable footwear that allows my feet to stay dry during hot weather and pump the water out after river crossings etc. My feet get wet but they’re able to dry quickly and I have the option to wear waterproof socks if I’m going to be on wet ground for long periods. But more often than not I only use them in colder weather to keep my feet warm.
I used the EDZ waterproof socks on my Cape Wrath Trail in 2022. These are merino wool lined and an actual game changer for me. I don’t like waterproof socks and rarely use them because they are uncomfortable and my feet sweat in them. But I really liked the EDZ socks and found that I was wearing them for longer and more often than expected. I had them on all one day as I had forgotten they were not my usual hiking socks, they were so comfortable. I was wearing the EDZ Calf length waterproof socks which are about 50 grams heavier than the standard length socks but it was nice to cross the streams without the worry of the water overtopping the socks.
Fit and Lacing
These fitted comfortably from the outset with plenty of cushioning all round the foot. The lacing can be adjusted nicely to hold your foot in place, especially good for walking on rough and steep ground. There is a perfect amount of space in the toe box so that my toes were never squashed together as my feet swell on long distance walks. I didn’t have a single issue with my feet during the 2 weeks walking the Cape Wrath Trail.
The laces are a good length, nice to use and strong. They adjust the boots to fit the foot well with the laces running through holes with one pair of hooks at the top. So it’s easy to loosen the boots when putting them on and taking them off.
I occasionally use a mini-gaiter if I’m likely to be on particularly boggy or gritty ground. These stop the mud and grit getting in the top of the boots. The strap under the gaiter fitted nicely into the groove in the sole of the RocFly boots, meaning it’s protected from wear. I’ve not used full gaiters with the boots but they should fit ok.
Faults with the RocFly G 390 boots
I’ve thought about this for quite a while because I try to be fair and just because the boots suit me, doesn’t mean they’re right for someone else. But I have really struggled to find anything I don’t like about these boots. The only slight negative I can find with the Rocfly G 390 boots is the heal break on the sole. I like the sharper more emphasised heal on the Roclite Pro G 400 V2 boots. I think they grip better when descending on ‘very’ steep wet ground when you need to cut the heel in. This is a pretty minor complaint really because I think the RocFly G 390 boots heal grips really well in all other conditions. And I may be unfair to the boots for even mentioning it because all sole designs are a compromise. They are probably designed like this to gain comfort or grip elsewhere.
The Inov-8 RocFly G 390 boots are amazingly comfortable and with the graphene soles should last a lot longer than other lightweight footwear. The boots are ideal for hot weather hiking and hikes when it’s impossible to keep your feet dry, due to river crossings etc. The boots breathe really well so my feet stay dry from sweat and if they do get wet from a river crossings, they pump the water out and dry quickly. But best of all there’s no waterproof membrane to fail, so the boots can be used until they are completely worn out. They were the perfect footwear for my Cape Wrath Trail walk in April, used with the EDZ waterproof socks.
Best 3 season hiking boots that I’ve ever worn, hands down. I think they are pretty good value for money considering how long they should last and how comfortable they are.
I already have a second new pair ready for my 3000km Te Araroa hike in New Zealand.
If you’re considering buying the boots, please click on the Inov-8 site link below and if you buy the boots we will receive a small commission to help with the costs of running the site. Inov-8 RocFly G 390 men’s boots link or the women’s version here.
I purchased these boots with my own money and the review is my honest opinion of them. I have also received footwear from Inov-8 for testing, without any obligation to review positively.
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