Review: inov-8 TERRAULTRA G 270 trail running shoes
I have been testing the new and updated inov-8 TERRAULTRA G 270 shoe. inov-8 have taken the award-winning TERRAULTRA G 260 and made what they are say are “several small, but crucially, detailed improvements to create the new TERRAULTRA G 270”.
Features of inov-8 TERRAULTRA G 270:
- Outsole rubber: Graphene-Grip
- Cleat depth: 4mm
- Fit: Grade 5 (inov-8 fit scale in the toe box is 1-5, with 5 being the widest)
- Midsole stack height: 12mm at heel and forefoot
- Drop: Heel to forefoot differentia is zero
- Weight per shoe: 270g (average weight across size curve)
- 3 colourways: Black | black and green | new blue
- Price: £145
- See: www.inov-8.com
- Buy women’s sizes.
- Buy men’s sizes.
- Disclosure: I earn a small commission from each sale when you click through from this website.
What’s new: inov-8 TERRAULTRA G 270 trail running shoe
These shoes are for ultra running on trails; that is, long distance off-road running.
inov-8 claim to have “improved the use of Graphene-Grip rubber”. The brand has repositioned the cleats in key areas, while “fine-tuning the flex grooves for agile sticky traction that lasts longer”.
What is Graphene-Grip rubber? Graphene is the world’s strongest material. inov-8 was the first – and only – brand to use it in sports shoes thanks to a partnership with graphene experts at the University of Manchester. inov-8 claims this delivers the world’s toughest grip. The brand states: “Graphene-Grip rubber offers insane sticky traction and increased durability.”
The 4mm deep cleats now have water dispersion channels, while rubber dimples provide even better grip on hard wet trails.
Other new features:
New colour. Blue has been added to black and green & black.
inov-8 has improved the POWERFLOW MAX foam to give “plush cushioning that retains its thickness and optimum level of performance for twice as long”.
There is also a 3mm increase in stack height (from 9mm to 12mm) for enhanced underfoot comfort.
The brand reports: “The new foam gives 20% more energy return than its predecessor for a snappier, bouncy feel with every stride. This makes it perfect for tired legs deep into an ultramarathon.”
The new foam uses a blend of elements, with a higher percentage of TPU (Thermo PolyUrethane) than the TERRAULTRA G 260 for”increased energy return”.
It’s said that “greater anti-abrasion properties help maintain the thickness and optimum performance for longer”.
Plus there’s a “unique BOOMERANG insole”, which features hundreds of expanded TPU beads that compress and then spring back “for 40% more energy return” than previous insoles.
In addition, the inov-8 TERRAULTRA G 270 trail running shoe upper has “new ADAPTERFIT technology to allow the fit of the upper to adjust to natural movements and swelling of the foot when running long distances”.
There is a redesigned lightweight tongue and wide toe box.
Stronger upper materials aim to retain a soft feel but give more protection and durability, especially around the edge of the forefoot.
The brand has created the upper to offer a “smoother feel on the inner”.
My review: inov-8 TERRAULTRA G 270 trail running shoe
If you don’t already know, this is the shoe that Damian Hall wore while setting his new record time on the 268-mile Pennine Way. This is a great promotion for the brand and I am sure it will be a sales driver.
My thoughts are that there is a lot to like about the shoe, although I am not sure I could detect all the many small details and changes.
Certainly, it’s a comfortable shoe underfoot. There is more cushioning than I am used to with an inov-8 trail shoe and I like that.
I know some people prefer to feel the ground closer to the soles of their feet and this was a trend for years, but it seems that the outsoles are getting thicker again.
When you are running long distances and there is a mix of hard trails, rocks, mud and tarmac, as there inevitably is, it’s great to have a bit more cushioning. I am not saying that the shoe feels like marshmallows underneath, rather it has a nice amount of give and cushion.
inov-8 like to quote percentages, such as 20% more energy thanks to an extra 3m of sole depth, but really this is hard to determine. There’s also an extra “40% more energy return” thanks to the new insoles.
As an ordinary runner without a lab to do the testing, I have no idea whether this is the case. Put simply, there is a more cushioned feel to the new trails shoes and I like that because it offers more comfort on harder terrain.
I usually wear a Salomon Speedcross trail shoe and they offer good levels of cushioning so it is great to have similar in an inov-8 trail shoe.
Another notable like is the grip of the shoe. I had previously been impressed by the Graphene Grip and this shoe is no different. It grips on boulders and rocks, even when wet. I tried them on wet wood decking as well and the grip is excellent.
Our Scottish trails are often wet, boggy and muddy and these shoes gave me a lot of confidence.
I could not tell you for sure if the grip is better than the previous version but I can tell you I felt confident and secure on trails and hill paths. They even did a good job on soggy grass and muddy slopes. Although, if you are going to be doing more running on grassy, meet and boggy hills and mountains rather than on harder packed trails I think I would chose a shoe with more aggressive studs.
I had no issues with mud clogging up the soles of the shoes so I think the design is good.
The shoe is unisex. It is sold in section of women and men but it is the same shoe, but in different lengths. I find it to be wide fit. Many people will like this. However, I have a narrow foot so I’d much prefer a narrower fit shoe, or a women’s fit shoe, although surprisingly it wasn’t that much of an issue when out on the trails. I guess it’s good to have more room for feet to swell when doing longer distances.
It is strange how trends change. Like the changing depth of the soles, it used to be that when buying running shoes we were told to make sure they offered good support in the width. I do like my running shoe to offer support at the outer edges of my foot. But these days, the brands often talk about having a wider fit so that feet have room to swell. It’s a matter of personal preference, I guess.
The shoe has a neutral drop. Again, some people will love this and others won’t. I prefer a bit of a drop from heel to forefoot because I find this stops my calves tightening. I found the inov-8 TERRAULTRA G 270 trail running shoe to be too flat, if I am honest. But that is just me. Others tell me they can’t wear anything other than a zero drop shoe.
The tongue it thin and short. I was worried the laces would rub and the tongue would be insufficient for comfort. I was wrong on both counts. The thinner and shorter tongue was a detail that I didn’t even notice, so that is good.
The laces came undone within 10 minutes of starting the run. I ended up double knotting them and this solved the issue but I don’t usually have to do this with modern running shoes. Maybe the laces could do with a bit of a redesign although it’s not a huge issue if you remember to double knot them.
The uppers are brilliant for Scottish trails. We have a lot of wet, bog and potential for abrasion from rocks, stones and rough plants (eg heather!) and roots. The uppers let water in, but they easily allow it to flow out again. I was really impressed with this aspect, especially compared to my Salomon Speedcross, which like to soak up water and bog and remain wet inside for ages.
The uppers look durable and while I can’t tell you if they will be long-lasting because I have not had the shoes for long enough they do appear to be well designed.
In warm weather, there is a lot of breathability from the uppers, too. inov-8 have always been good at making running shoes that allow feet to breathe.
I think that the uppers might end up being creased and therefore have a potential to become worn through at the toe box area. This is because they shoe is a bit wide for me and creases a bit in the forefoot area. However, this is just a concern rather than something that has been proven. If the shoe came in a narrower fit I think this would worry me less.
These are also the most comfortable inov-8 shoes I have tried for a long time. While I get a bit of creasing at the toe-box the rest of the upper feels supportive, without being annoyingly tight. inov-8 have got a good balance of support and stretch, I think.
I have mentioned before that the cuff of the ankle of inov-8 shoes sometimes rub at my lower ankle bone. This happened a little on my left foot but nothing like previous shoes. I have heard another womam mention this as a reason why she can’t wear the TERRAULTRA style shoe. I would say this is another argument for making a female fit shoe. My husband who has the same size feet as me has no issues with his ankle bones and the inov-8 TERRAULTRA G 270 trail running shoe. I guess, at the end of the day, you can’t cater for all feet shapes.
I really like the green colour of the shoe. It’s bright and makes me smile. The new blue colour is lovely, too, and I can see this being popular. At the end of the day, especially where I run, most shoes end up a duller, muddier colour so the “start colour” really isn’t a major consideration to me. Perhaps I should go for the black shoe in the first place but I am always attracted to brighter colours.
Review in brief:
Overall, I really liked running in the inov-8 TERRAULTRA G 270 trail running shoe. It offers a good level of comfort and cushioning, especially for the weight of the shoe. I enjoyed the confidence of the grip and the shoes did very little to irritate me.
I think these will most suit people with average to slightly wider feet and anyone who prefers a zero drop sole. If you enjoy a bit of cushioning underfoot, although not so much that you can’t connect with the ground, you’ll also enjoy the new version of the TERRAULTRA.
And what about the price? A while ago £145 would have seemed very pricey for a trail running shoe but these days it is fairly standard. No one wants to pay a lot of a shoe but it’s similar across many brands. The fact that the shoes have an apparently longer lasting sole thanks to the graphene and a more durable design of upper makes me think that they will be attractive to many runners. Time will tell…