In 2018 Inov-8 launched their new Graphene line up and the Terraultra G 260 was revealed to the world. In the two years since launch the Terraultra G 260 has become a favourite shoe for many who were looking for a zero drop shoe offering great comfort over big miles.
I have had a pair of the 260 myself and they have been one of my favourite trail shoes of the last few years. Built with big miles in mind but equally adept for your day to day runs on the trails, when word reached me that a new improved version was on the way from Inov-8 I was excited to see what they had done to improve on what was already a great shoe.
So, what do Inov-8 say they have done? Small improvements, big difference is what they have said. The technical details certainly make impressive reading but how does that translate into the run?
*Improved use of Graphene-Grip rubber, with cleats repositioned in key areas and flex grooves fine-tuned for agile sticky traction that lasts longer.
* New POWERFLOW MAX foam delivers improved plush cushioning that retains its thickness and optimum level of performance for twice as long. A 3mm increase in stack height (from 9mm to 12mm) further enhances underfoot comfort. The new foam gives 20% more energy return than its predecessor for a snappier, bouncy feel with every stride.
*Unique BOOMERANG insole features hundreds of expanded TPU beads that compress and then spring back for 40% more energy return – and greater cushioning – than previous insoles. Tested to retain its thickness and optimum performance level for longe
*New ADAPTERFIT technology allows the fit of the upper to adjust to natural movements and swelling of the foot when running long distances. Redesigned lightweight tongue and wide toe-box further aid comfort.
Upon unboxing you are greeted with the now familiar green glow of the Graphene series launch range, if anything it has gotten brighter almost illuminating the room. You will definitely been seen in these, not everyone has been a fan of the look but I love bright colours and with the black flashes of the welded overlays these are a stunning shoe. You also immediately notice some of the changes, gone are the chunky sausage like laces of the 260 in favour of a flatter lace. I did occasionally have issues with the laces on the 260 being difficult to really dial in and suffering with a bit of slippage so hopefully this resolves that issue. The tongue has also been redesigned and given a lower profile so to better mould to the bridge of the foot.
Slipping them on for the first time I was very happy to find the fit hadn’t been overly altered, there was still plenty of room in the toe box. The new tongue and lacing system combined with the new ADAPTERFIT overlays led to a really secure fit and I was able to dial in the tension where needed to ensure no slippage within the shoe. I’m a size 8 and the fit was true, with other models in the Inov-8 line I have recommended going up half a size but for the Terraultra G 270 you can be confident in the sizing.
My first few runs were short to mid length going up to about 30k, the differences from the Terraultra G 260 are quickly noticeable. The Terraultra G 270 has more pop and snap in the toe off and that extra 3ml in the stack height combined with the new POWERFLOW MAX foam gives a far more plush ride. That the Terraultra G 270 does this without sacrificing one of my favourite features of the G 260, the excellent ground feel is quite an achievement.
On these shorter runs breaking in the shoe I aimed to throw a number of different surfaces and conditions at them to see how they held up. With some previous models in the G series they compound while insanely durable and grippy in most conditions had suffered a little on wet rock. I am pleased to say I was able to put this to the test early and was a little cautions in anticipation but they new Graphene compound held true, comparable to the butyl rubber grip offered by VJ shoes which is quite something. After this discovery I was much more confident in throwing the G 270’s around with a bit more abandon, despite only having 4ml lugs they coped well with a number of terrains. Only really struggling with some extremely wet and sloppy mud sections but being as they are not the conditions the shoe is designed to deal with on a consistent basis they did fantastically well.
For a wider fitting shoe, they are a 5 on the Inov-8 fit scale which is the widest they offer. The Terraultra G 270 is a very responsive shoe, the zero drop and low stack height mean you are able to feel and react to the terrain quickly and efficiently. The POWERFLOW MAX AND META-FLEX combine to allow for a great degree of flexibility and forward propulsion especially on the uphills which will definitely help tired legs after any big miles.
The shoes couldn’t have arrived at a better time for me as I had a 180 mile FKT attempt planned for the Hertfordshire Way so this would be the real acid test. After a week using them for my training runs I was already a big fan of the Terraultra G 270 and felt they were an improvement over an already great shoe in the Terraultra G 260. How though would they stand up against their intended purpose of big ultra distances.
Over the course of 57 hours and what turned out to be 195 miles of the Hertfordshire Way I really fell in love with the Terraultra G 270. The route for the Hertfordshire way takes in sections of road, gravel towpath, woodland trails, technical trails lined with roots and rocks, fields and long stretches of chalk hills. Over all these terrains and transitions not once did I worry about grip or feel any noticeable drop off in the performance of the shoe. I was definitely grateful for the additional cushion provided over the previous model once I hit 100 miles and my feet still felt like they were barely a marathon in. With the 260’s I had noticed that anything over 50 miles the soles of my feet would start to feel a little fatigued, not the case with the G 270. The new midsole really does what it claims, I cannot say if 40% is accurate or not in real world terms but I definitely felt fresher than I would have expected and was even able to push out some quick miles in the last 10 to the finish.
The Zero drop will not be for everyone especially for big miles and long hours. If though you are already a fan or are transitioning over these definitely need to be on your radar. The room in the toe box is a delight for me allowing toes to splay and feet to swell a little on longer runs. Some have mentioned it may be a bit much but with the lacing system and low profile tongue and a secure heel cup at no point did the fit feel sloppy but secure and like the shoe was hugging your foot.
The Terraultra G 270 is a phenomenal achievement, it combines responsiveness, comfort, durability and style in one bright green package. It improves upon it’s predecessor in every conceivable way, retaining the fit and ground feel while adding more cushion and pop saving your legs and energy to really crank out those longer runs. This is a shoe that I will come back to time and time again, for long runs, short runs and anything in between. It takes anything you put it front of it chews it up and pushes you onward to the next challenge. The price point may be an issue for some coming in at £145 they are on the high side of the trail shoes available, not many though are this versatile or durable I’m over 250 miles in and the soles are barely worn. If you are looking for that take anywhere do anything shoe this is it!
TERRAULTRA G 270 – SPECIFICATIONS
Name: inov-8 TERRAULTRA G 270
For: Ultramarathon running on trails
Outsole rubber: Graphene-Grip (World’s Toughest Grip)
Cleat depth: 4mm
Fit: Grade 5 (inov-8 fit scale in the toe box is 1-5, with 5 being the widest)
Weight: 270g (average weight across size curve)
You can buy the new Terraultra G 270 Here