inov8 TRAILFLY G 270 V2 Review

inov-8 and I broke up a long time ago. The couple of itineration’s I had bought fell to pieces quickly and their cushioning wasn’t enough for what I needed. After a brief, but passionate, affair we parted ways and I never looked back. Recently, however, my eyes have been drawn back. Age and experience suits inov-8 and they’ve made a great effort to improve their durability and cushioning.

The talk on the streets about Graphene for the last couple of years had me curious, particularly after publishing our review on the inov-8 TRAILFLY ULTRA G 280 last November. Now, their latest offering, the inov-8 TRAILFLY G 270 V2, sounded too good to be true. When Sportsshoes asked me to review them, I was ready to try them again.

Introduction

First impressions out of the box are that it’s a good looking shoe. The modest pine green version was sent to me and in terms of shape and style, I really liked them. The upper mesh is protected by an overlay that hugs your foot but keeps your forefoot open. inov-8 say this overlay has been repositioned to allowing a “greater stretch and breathability across the forefoot”. I have wide feet and putting these on out of the box, these fit perfectly and felt very comfy. The inov-8 TRAILFLY G 270 V2 come in inov-8’s widest shoe fitting; 5 on their scale of 1-5. 

image of a pair of legs from the ankle down wearing inov-8 TRAILFLY G 270 V2 trail running shoes, one foot perched on a rock. The shoes are clean and just out of the box
Still clean!

I hadn’t received the tech sheet at the time of receiving the shoes, although I don’t tend to read it anyway until I come to write my review. I prefer to get a feel for a shoe or other gear without the official line in my head. So I didn’t realise they were zero drop for quite a while. In hindsight this could have been an issue, given the mileage I’ve done in them already and the fact I’ve not run in zero drop shoes since 2017, when my first pair of Altras also fell to pieces. 

However, when you live in the hills, it’s less noticeable and has less of an impact on your calves, when they’re already stretching and compressing to their limit as you go up and down. It does explain why I found them so comfortable, easy to run in and feel how trail running shoes should fit. The zero drop nicely offsets the stack height of 22mm to give you a stable and responsive landing when you run and the rocky paths of the dales where I train were no issue for my feet at all.

Technical stuff

Given that this is my first pair of inov-8’s for many years, I was also curious to see what all the fuss was about with the Graphene. inov-8’s own website is short on the nitty-gritty so I delved into Google to find out exactly what it is and how it positively affects footwear. Let’s get technical for a minute.

“The addition of both 0.1 and 0.2 wt% graphene significantly improves the energy absorption characteristics of the foam when used in real footwear. 0.2 wt% soles were also 30 % stiffer than the reference soles – a very useful property that aids in propulsion during running. And samples with 0.1 wt% graphene performed well in abrasion tests – resistance to damage was 40% higher than the reference foam.”  1

image of a pair of legs from the knee down wearing inov-8 TRAILFLY G 270 V2 trail running shoes, one foot perched on a rock. In the distance the ground drops away on to an ultra trail.
Less clean a few days later

So, if my understanding of reading the above is correct, the graphene added to the foam used for cushioning is not only softer, but the energy return is greater and the resistance to damage is 40% greater. Great! But how does it improve the grip?

“When added to the rubber used in inov-8’s G-Series shoes, graphene imparts all its properties, including its strength,” Dr. Aravind Vijayaraghavan, a nanomaterials researcher at the University of Manchester said in a 2017 press release². “The graphene-enhanced rubber can flex and grip to all surfaces more effectively, without wearing down quickly, providing reliably strong, long-lasting grip. This is a revolutionary consumer product that will have a huge impact on the sports footwear market.”  2

OK now I understand the hype! Not only should they keep my feet protected for 100kms of rocky paths, but they should also last longer too. What’s not to love?

Sustainability

Which brings me neatly to inov-8’s sustainability. They have three “pillars” for their sustainability;

  • making their products more durable
  • reducing their impact on the planet
  • supporting their local community.

Great for us, the consumer, to be able to base an environmental decision on whether to buy or not. The biggest impact on us, however, is the cost and balancing that with durability. 

Comparing like for like, inov-8 are comparable with other major brands on price. We all wince now at the cost of quality trail shoes, but if they last then it’s worth it. Instead of looking at the immediate cost of an item of clothing, consider instead what the price is “per wear”. That piece of wisdom I was taught as a child is even more important and relevant today.

I cannot yet comment on the longevity of these shoes, but inov-8’s use of graphene must have a beneficial effect on the durability. The weak point will be the uppers but the new overlay will hopefully offset that weakness. inov-8 say the redesigned upper is proven to be 25% more durable and uppers are also the easiest to repair.


woman at top of trail run looking back over hills towards the ultra trail standing on a mountain wearing inov-8 TRAILFLY G 270 V2 trail running shoes with a dog looking up at her
Somewhere in Wales

Performance

I used the inov-8 TRAILFLY ULTRA G 270 V2 for a 27 mile recce of the Ultra Trail Snowdonia 100km race. After the recce I was so pleased with them I decided then and there to make them my shoe for the race. The stony trails around Snowdonia are exactly what they are designed for. After a long day, and the longest run I’d done for ages, my feet were genuinely unaffected by the miles. No aching, no soreness, no blisters. That’s a huge win for me and my delicate soles.

They’re light; the average weight across the size range is 270g. The ladies should weigh in around 220g but because I use inserts, it brings my size 6’s up to 257g (interestingly I had no idea my inserts weighed so much!). The tongue has been improved, form fitting with better padding. This is a detail often over looked as the need to tie laces tightly can often leave the bridge of my foot in pain. 

More tech

There’s much talk of the Powerflow Max midsole and Boomerang insole. Again, I’m keen to try and understand these technologies and how they specifically apply to these shoes, so let me get technical once more.

“Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) is a melt-processable thermoplastic elastomer with high durability and flexibility. It has the characteristics of both plastic and rubber and thus exhibit properties like durability, flexibility as well as excellent tensile strength.”  3

Sportsshoes makes it clearer:

“The midsole foam is our durable POWERFLOW MAX foam which, in terms of energy return, propels back 52%-55% of the energy you put into every stride.

It comes with our interchangeable BOOMERANG footbed, which gives 40% more energy return versus standard footbeds.”  4

So there’s loads of it in the midsole and in the Boomerang insole, which is why they feel so responsive and comfortable. And it should also add to the durability of the shoes – another plus.

Conclusion

For years I used a highly cushioned shoe for summer ultras but as I moved more to mountain racing, I realised they were not suited to rough terrain. These inov-8 TRAILFLY ULTRA G 270 V2 are the perfect replacement. They’re cushioned enough for rough terrain and foot protection whilst remaining solid and stable on uneven terrain. They hold and encompass my foot firmly and their grip is good enough for all but the worst winter terrain.

Well done inov-8 – you’ve won this customer back!

Want to buy some inov-8 TRAILFLY ULTRA G 270 V2? Shop on Sportsshoes.com

image of a pair of legs in colourful leggings from the knee down wearing inov-8 TRAILFLY G 270 V2 trail running shoes. Behind the legs the ground drops away to an ultra trail leading to mountains in the distance.
In their natural environment

Join us!

Have you tried the inov-8 TRAILFLY ULTRA G 270 V2? Don’t agree with this review? What’s your opinion? Add your own comment below this review and share your experience and passion for running with others.

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About the authorKate Allen is co-owner and Editor of RunUltra and digital editor of ULTRA Magazine and in her spare time can be found running and racing with her dog Mac around the hills of the Peak and Lake District.

Other reviews similar to the inov-8 TRAILFLY ULTRA G 270 V2 you might like: 

inov-8 Parkclaw G280

Scott Supertrac 3.0

Resources

Header images courtesy of inov-8

DESIGN: 4/10
FEATURES: 5/10
PERFORMANCE: 5/10
VALUE: 5/10
OUR RATING:
4/5
YOUR RATING:
0.0/5

"They’re cushioned enough for rough terrain and foot protection whilst remaining solid and stable on uneven terrain"

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REVIEW inov8 TRAILFLY G 270 V2 Review

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