Inov-8 Flyroc 310RRP: £70.00, added May/2009, see all Inov-8 news & reviews
Reviewed by Michael Ryan
I've been wearing the Inov-8 Flyroc 310 for the last 2 years. Both as an approach shoe for climbing, and more recently for fell running.
Based in County Durham, Inov-8 have built a reputation for producing excellent lightweight footwear for a multitude of activities. Initially the brand was seen as a fell running company when it launched the Mudroc 290 what seems like a lifetime ago. Since then more and more people are realising the value of Inov-8's combination of grip, low weight, and comfort when it comes to summer walking and approaching crags and scrambles.
The Flyroc 310 is not a newcomer having been around for a good few years, however it is much more widely appreciated in the running community than in the climbing and hillwalking community. Runners see the Inov-8 Flyroc 310 as an excellent training shoe, where the additional cushioning and durability is ideal for people putting in lots of off road training miles – people are slowly realising that using an out and out fell shoe (like a Walsh PB) for this isn't ideal as they lack enough protection for regular use on all but the most forgiving ground.
The Flyroc 310 is a combination of a light breathable mesh upper with a protective toe rand built onto a medium cushioned low profile platform with an aggressively lugged trail outsole.
This gives a shoe which is very stable to run or walk in, giving a super positive ground contact and plenty of support. I know people who have done the Haute route in this shoe carrying a reasonable sized pack.
The Flyroc is very light at 620 grams a pair (UK 8) and comes with attachment loops on the heal. They feel light enough to be clipped to your harness when climbing easier routes on the mountain crags ready for the descent.
What I have found when using the Flyroc as a general approach/walking shoe is that, the features that it make it an excellent trail shoe also make it ideal for general outdoor use. These features can be summarised as follows:
MetaFlex – This is Inov-8's specific design to allow the shoe to flex in an equivalent way to the foot. This is achieved by reducing the thickness of the sole unit along a line that sits under the end of your metatarsals. In reality it allows the foot to flex naturally and gives great instant comfort and aids propulsion when going up hill.
Endurance Rubber Compound – Inov-8 use 3 different rubbers for their outsoles. A non-marking translucent sole for street running and for wearing on your yacht presumably! A sticky rubber using Climbing shoe technology for traction on wet rock, and the endurance compound used on the Flyroc. This means the outsole, which is aggressively lugged, gives a good balance between sticking to a variety of surfaces and lasting well. Something like a 5.10 Guide Tennie is undoubtedly better for scrambling on rock, but not grassy slopes, but the Flyroc will out last this by far.
Endurance Last - as apposed to the low volume narrow performance last, Inov-8's endurance last has more room and is designed for a combination of hold and space ideal when wearing the shoe for longer. This gives the Flyroc an instant feeling of comfort that is maintained for the duration of the day.
I have used my Flyrocs in the Lake District as my main active shoe (anything other than work and smart) for the past 2 years and have run, biked, walked and scrambled in them extensively. They have also been attached to the back of my harness on Gimmer and Gray Crag.
The Verdict Overall I really enjoyed wearing the Flyrocs as they have been comfortable from day one and have dealt well with any of the activities I have used them for. As an approach shoe they gave me much more grip than a standard Vibram soled shoe on rough ground and feel very stable due to their low profiled Midsole. I've retired my original pair, after 2 years of hard wearing, and have just bought another pair.
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