Time was when Inov-8 had a reputation for well-designed but not always hugely durable running shoes; but times change and the brand has set about toughening up. The ‘fastpacking’ sister to the recent TGO award-winning, hiking-friendly 400, the G 286 also features a graphene laced outsole and a ruggedised Cordura upper. It purports to be the lightest Gore-Tex-lined hiking boot in the world, and it is certainly the lightest in this test. For such a lightweight boot, the sole unit is surprisingly rigid, with deep-set lugs that grip well on trail or off, and provide oodles of lateral support.
The Inov-8 last is too wide at the heel and too narrow at the toes for me in a shoe, but their mid boots have always been more forgiving and these are no exception. The boot is close-fitting and has a narrow profile externally, which engenders nimble footing; but there’s still enough room for two thin pairs of socks and the heel is locked securely into place with a very extensive lacing system. I found the lack of cleats overly fussy when taking the boot on and off, but the overall effect once the boot is on is of total security. The boot is lightweight, minimalist, features a low drop (6mm, as compared to the 400’s 8mm) and does run cool, and as such I look forward to giving these a longer-term test into the warmer months. For early spring and late autumn off-trail backpacking I think they will prove their worth.
Read more: Three season boot review
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