Just before heading down into Stank Glen the view I turned back towards the summit to take a quick photo.
I picked the Trailroc 255's as extra protection around the sides of the shoe compared to the lighter 235 and 245's is really needed when handling running in snow, ice and tough heather out on the open hill. Taking my old trusty Trailroc 245's in similar conditions just wrecked the upper.
In combination with Inov-8 debri gaters the Trailroc 255's handled the crusty snow and ice really well - plenty of grip and protection.
I went for a half size larger than my old Trailroc 245's as I plan to use them for hill walking and running, and when walking will wearing thicker socks. The extra half size up should help when running ultra's when the feet start to swell The downside of moving up a half size is on the more technical parts of the run my feet where shifting a little both laterally and my toes slide to the end of the toe box during really steep descents. Normally I really dislike my toes touching the ends of shoes but the toe box shaped felt great, just lightly pushing against the front of my toes, with no pressure on my toe nails.
The extra heel drop of 6mm and extra width made for a less stable feeling compared to my Trailroc 245's with 3mm drop - which I feel complete glued to the ground. The feel is half way between my Roclite 295's and the Trailroc 245's. The 245's are more fun to run in, they bring out the playful side to running, while my 295's have been relegated to a walking shoe. The 255's will now replace my Roclite 295's as a walking shoe, but also been the workhorse I fall back on for long runs through tough terrain that would otherwise tear up the upper of the 245's.
The extra protected down the sides of the Trailroc 255's work very well for protecting the foot and the upper material from scraps and knocks, it looks to me like it'll really help with the life of the shoe. I wouldn't be surprised if it helps the upper outlast my old Roclite 315's, and would consider the Trailroc 255's as a worthy replacement for the Roclite 295's and 315's - the shoes have a better last so are more comfortable, they have lower heel drop and keep your lower to the ground, the upper is more robust and they are a couple of ounces lighter as well. What not to love :-)
There is a downside to extra side and toe protection - for small puddles the side walls helps prevent water getting in, but once you step in puddle/bog that takes the water over the side walls the water gets in largely stays in place. All the drainage routes for any water that makes it in are blocked, the only route out for any water that gets in is being squished out the top of the upper and evaporation. In practice it means that your foot is going to damp for longer. By contrast the lighter weight upper of the Trailroc 245's let in water easily but the bulk of it gets squished out within a few strides.
- Lightweight for such a well protected shoe (~230g for my size 7's).
- Upper is much more robust than most trail shoes on the market.
- Excellent grip, handles road, trail, snow and open hill.
- Good underfoot protection from roots and stones but still provides reasonable ground feel.
- Anatomical last that accommodates even my wide hobbit feet.
- Modest 6mm heel drop that does interfere too much with stride - you can forefoot/midfoot strike or heel strike comfortable.
- Great replacement for Roclite 295 and 315, lighter and more comfortable!
- As a mid-foot striker, I still would prefer the shoe to be zero drop, the more cushioned heel is a waste of weight and stability for a runner like me.
- The extra protection on the side walls makes the shoes poor at draining any water that gets in
- The extra protection also makes the shoes less airing than the lighter weight uppers of Trailroc 235's and 345. This is good for a cold day, but might make then less comfortable on hot days - if we ever get any any!
My heart still belongs to the Trailroc 245's though, it just a little more nimble and fun to play in, while the Trailroc 255's are a rock solid and dependable. Both are awesome shoes in their own right, and will fulfill different but overlapping roles for me. The 245's for general training and racing while the 255's will be my go to shoe when the conditions and routes get really tough and when I go out hill walking.