Reviewed by team inov-8 athlete, Alex Jospe
A little while back I wrote a review of the X-Talon212 with regards to its utility as an orienteering shoe, that can be summed up as: This is the best orienteering shoe out there, but you may run into some problems with grip when it is wet outside. Well, inov-8 has a solution! It’s called the Oroc 280.
This shoe is basically your X-Talon on drugs. A mere 68 grams heavier, the sole sports 9 metal studs, that stick out of the same aggressive lug pattern as the X-Talon. This shoe has its traction turned up to 11! In your normal daily activities, you don’t need metal studs in your shoes. But when orienteering, you’re faced with some of the roughest and most varied terrain on the planet, that you’re expected to bash through at top speed. Since my brain is being fully occupied by the whole map-reading part of this sport, I don’t want to have to spare a second’s thought for whether or not my shoe will grip where I put my foot, and this is what makes the Oroc280 so awesome. Can we say traction?
Where the Oroc 280 really excels over the X-Talon 212 is on wet wood or moss. The X-Talon may slip a little, because wet wood is worse than ice, but the Oroc gives you 100% confidence over those tricky surfaces. You lose something on bare rocks, because nothing grips bare rock quite the way the X-Talon does, but if it is raining or otherwise wet, you want those studs. With all the other carefully considered attributes of the X-Talon, the Oroc is an obligatory addition to your shoe quiver if you are an orienteer.
– Narrow fit allows for top-notch contouring
– Light wet weight when you run through the aforementioned rain and marshes
– Unbelievable grip on moss, mud, leaves, pine needles, and wood
– Round laces with knobbly things to keep them tied
– Tough uppers
– Low profile helps prevent ankle rolls
– They looks pretty badass
– Rubber toe protector keeps stubbed toes to a minimum
– metal studs don’t grip bare rock as well as sticky rubber
– Heavier than the X-Talons
– No metal stud on the middle lug under the arch
– Eventually the rubber toe barrier will delaminate. Just cut off the delaminated part and carry on…
Compared to some of the other studded orienteering shoes on the market, one of the major advantages of the Oroc is that it feels like a modern shoe – it is not made out of leather, needing to be “pre-soaked” in a mud puddle before you put it on; it doesn’t require any “breaking in”; it’s a top-of-the-line racing machine made by a company that deals with tough terrain for breakfast. I’ve tried quite a few other brands of orienteering shoes, and the Oroc manages to outperform them all in terms of performance, weight, and comfort.