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Metal studded shoes have no place on our trails

Inov8 has introduced a line of trail shoes with metal spikes, the Oroc 270

I can’t see how these can possibly be good for trails.  We did away with hobnails a long time ago.  I am old enough to to recall the Vibram sole controversy when they were introduced.

REI sells Inov8 products.  Do you plan to stock these metal studded shoes?

Can REI use its influence to get Inov8 to stop selling these?  

Thank you.

7 Replies

@Boylehp Thanks for reaching out!

While we have carried some shoes in the past with metal studs in them, they were all designed for running and walking on ice and hard-pack snow in winter. You can see an example here. Personally, I've never seen a shoe with studs designed for rock and mud before so thank you for your post.

These shoes from Inov8 are designed for adventure racers/orienteering events, which is a pretty small niche of trail user. It does not appear that REI is planning on carrying this model. We appreciate you bringing your concerns to our attention, we will be sure to pass them along to our footwear team.

Thanks again, and have a great day!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Thanks for the quick response.  I think you may be underestimating these shoes.  Yes they are designed for one use, but that does not prevent their broader use.  

John, I am asking for REI to do something more.  We are a co-op.  We have some moral authority.  I think REI should use it to tell Inov8 to stop manufacturing these trail destroyers.  And if they don’t, I think REI should consider whether selling any of their merchandise is consistent with our values.



@Boylehp  thank you for the follow-up and additional context – you are absolutely correct that although a product is designed for one use, there is no guarantee that’s how it will always be used. To that end, we have already provided your feedback and concerns to our Footwear buyers for current and future consideration of the Inov8 products we carry at REI. Thank you for being a member of our co-op, for caring about our trails, and for taking the time to reach out to us with this topic.

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Where is the evidence that these shoes will destroy trails?  Any studies or measurements?  Have you seen these highly specialized shoes in use and witnessed trail destruction?

I kind of grinned when I red about their metal spikes firmly gripping solid rock.  I rather doubt that.  Actually, I think a low cut approach shoe with a good sticky rubber sole would be more versatile, just as speedy, and probably less impacting.  But orienteering is not my game, so who knows?

Years ago, my first outdoor job was on a trail maintenance crew and off and on I have done a fair amount of trail rehab and witnessed trail degradation.  Foot traffic in general, will rut trails,leading to water runoff problems.  Extensive stock use will have the sme effect.  Proper grading, good trail layout, and properly constructed water bars are also critical.

Somehow I doubt these highly specialized shoes, probably rather expensive, will have much impact, at least any that can be measured.

Please enlighten me if there is good evidence to the contrary.

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

Yeah, I gotta say I'm scratching my head about those studded sneakers. I'm not sure how they would be worse for trails than any other footwear, but I also wonder how effective they can be. I have run in icy conditions using Nano-Spikes, but for anything else they are useless at best. The carbide studs do nothing but annoy me on hard surfaces like pavement. I can't imagine wanting them permanently mounted on my shoes.

Obviously, they are a niche shoe, designed for very specific users. The only advantage I could imagine, other than ice, is if you planned on crossing lots of slippery logs.

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

I don’t know, I checked them out, it doesn’t look like that big of a deal.

I think my hiking poles  do more harm than these will.

REI Member Since 1979

I'll bet you are right about the effects of hiking poles.

Bt consider the case of an orienteerer who becomes hopelessly lost (not much of an orienteerer, II wager).  The conspicuous tracks left by his shoes will allow SAR to track him with ease, eventually leading to his rescue.  Balance the benefit of the rescue versus the cost of the rather hypothetical damage to the trail.

Doesn't the scarring and scratching of the trail make the path more evident to users?  Sounds like a benefit to me.

Seriously, I hope that REI does use their stature to influence the production of good, environmentally beneficial products, although these shoes seem to have, at best, a very questionable negative environmental effect.  REI's efforts might be better directed toward insuring that their products are produced in conditions in which workers are treated properly and fairly compensated.  They may already do this...


Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.