Last updated: 27-Dec-18
No doubt, you will have heard the news of inov-8’s “revolutionary world-first in sports footwear”. The British brand has teamed up with the University of Manchester to become the first company to incorporate graphene into running and fitness shoes.
Why graphene? Among many other things, graphene is very strong, lightweight and flexible.
Laboratory tests show that the graphene rubber, used in the sole of the inov-8 G collection, is stronger, stretchier and more resistant to wear.
Inov-8 also claim the G collection has “the world’s toughest grip”, while being lightweight and durable and ideal for running long distances.
- Unisex fit
- Weight: 260g per shoe
- Drop: 0mm
- Lug depth: 4mm
- Durable upper including Kevlar (commonly used in bulletproof vests)
- Price: £140
Pros: What’s good about inov-8 TERRAULTRA G 260 shoe
It’s always exciting to try a new kind of technology, especially something as promising as graphene.
The G collection has utilised the graphene to form a new hard-wearing rubber compound that promises longer lasting and more durable sole. I can’t confirm if this is true or not because I have not tested the shoe for the required number of miles but I can tell the rubber is strong and durable.
Lab tests confirm the durability of the sole and I have not read a single review that disputes this.
The sole feels and looks extremely durable. This is great news because many trail shoes wear out too quickly.
Another advantage of graphene is that it is grippy. The shoe has been designed for harder trails and as a result has broad and flat lugs.
I tried the shoe on many different surfaces including dry rock, wet rock, muddy trails, dusty paths and dry and wet grass. The grip was great to excellent. It actually feels sort of sticky, but in a good way.
I had lost confidence running downhill in many other shoe brands but the Terraultra G shoe has given me a lot of that back. Well done inov-8!
Although the graphene is tough and stiff, deep grooves across along the sole of the shoe make it feel very flexible. This gives a natural style of running, with a good “feel” of the ground beneath your feet.
There is minimal cushioning and zero drop. If you like the experience of a harder and closer contact with the ground, you’ll like this shoe.
The sole reminds me of inov-8 shoes from years ago, but in a good way. My first pair of inov-8s had minimal cushioning and great grip. They offered a natural-feel for running and I really liked that.
The Terraultra G feels like this but even better. When running off-road I don’t need too much cushioning and I like to feel the ground I am running on. The sole of the new G shoe seemed stiff at first but it’s actually very flexible thanks to the grooves.
The upper is also much more robust and durable looking than many recent versions of the inov-8 trail shoe. (Again, it reminds me of earlier versions of inov-8 shoes but even better.)
A strong fabric cage, woven with Kevlar for added durability, offers extra protection from the debris and roughness of trail running.
There is extra durability designed into the toe-cap to protect your foot from rocks and stones as you run.
The shape of the forefoot is square and roomy. Many runners – all except those with a very narrow foot – will like this design. There is enough room for toes and feet to swell if you are out on the trail in hot weather or for an extended duration.
The shoe feels lovely and lightweight to run in. It feels almost effortless and I felt like I could run more nimbly on all kinds of different terrain.
Although the shoe is sold in only one colour (so far?) the bright green offers high visibility. I rather like it because it’s so different and vibrant.
The price is a little high but I think it reflects the fact that inov-8 have been involved in this new product creation and design. The shoe is £20 more than the same model without graphene.
Cons: What’s not so good about inov-8 TerraUltra G 260 shoe
If you like a shoe with cushioning this one is not for you. It’s a much more natural-feel shoe.
I found the heel cup depth and forefoot to be of larger volume than normal. I used to love inov-8 for the fit. The original shoes more than a decade ago were a lovely neat fit for my narrow foot.
However, they seem to have got wider and roomier as the years have gone by. Many people will welcome this, but not me.
I asked my husband to try the shoe, too. He has the same length of foot as me but it’s wide and chunkier. He liked the roomier forefoot area but he also found, like me that the heel cup area was quite deep.
I must have low ankle bones on my left foot because the top edge of the heel area of the shoe occasionally knocked against it. My husband said it didn’t knock his ankle bone so it must just be my shape of foot.
Anyway, I suggest you try on the G shoe before buying.
The shoe is a unisex fit. If you are female with a narrow foot this might not suit you. Hopefully as inov-8 produce more shoes in this collection they will introduce a female fit – and also more colours!
I can’t think of many other things not to like about the shoe!
The use of graphene is an exciting development.
It is great to have a shoe sole that is highly durable and grippy yet also flexible. I would imagine the upper will wear out long before the sole does but the TerraUltra G 260 shoe looks built to last a long time.
In a world where so many things are easily disposable, it’s good to have a product that looks built to last. Time will tell on this.
inov-8 has clearly worked hard to design a new shoe that offers all kinds of advantages when running on off-road.
Other shoes you may want to try:
Inov-8 F-Lite G
Inov-8 Mudclaw G (when it is launched later this year)
Vivobarefoot PRIMUS TRAIL SG
Brooks PureGrit 7
All images Fiona Outdoors except when stated.
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