inov8 TRAILFLY

inov8 TRAILFLY RunUltra Review

Being relatively new to running, it seems to me that inov8 have always been on the feet of most of the runners I’ve lined up against. Amongst a couple of other brands, they are ever present and after the 3 pairs I have worn, this is rightly so, as they offer an unbelievable varied mixture of top trail shoes, as well as other quality running products.

When RunUltra gave me the opportunity to test the new TRAILFLY I was really looking forward to seeing how they would perform in my upcoming races The Haworth Hobble 50km and Blubberhouse Moor 40km.

inov8 TRAILFLY shoe on the box it was bought in

Introduction

A lot of time has been spent perfecting these shoes and it shows. I had been sent the Blue Grey/Black/Slate colour and the overall style of them really stands out. The updated branding from inov8 also modernises the overall look compared to the previous edition.

The new TRAILFLY comes in 2 fits, standard (which I opted for) and wide for people who prefer a wider fit.

Straight out of the box the TRAILFLY fit and feel great. I chose a UK 7.5 as this is my normal running size, half a size up. The biggest thing I noticed straight away was the locked down ankle feel, the comfort around the footbed from the Boomerang insole and the room and comfort around the toe box is great. The MET-CRADLE strips also provided a locked feel once fastened. The new TRAILFLY has an anatomical toe box shape, and this gives more space for your forefoot.

Technical stuff

  • Graphene-grip rubber outsole
  • Powerflow pro midsole
  • Air-mesh upper
  • Boomerang footbed
  • Choice of fits
  • RRP £130 from inov8

inov8 describe the shoe as Trail running shoes for training runs on hard/rocky ground. Perfect for everyday training & longer trail races. As mentioned above this shoe is available in 2 fits, STANDARD & WIDE. The shoe has a total stack of 29mm (Heel) 23mm (Forefoot) with a 6mm drop. 

A pair of legs in black tights and socks with an inov8 TRAILFLY shoe on the foot and hills and a lake in the distance behind them

The AIR-MESH UPPER is a single piece of air-mesh material, making the shoe highly breathable, comfortable. Over the top of the air-mesh, thick MET-CRADLE strips connect the midfoot to the heel, creating a locked-in, secure feel when you tighten your laces.

The BOOMERANG FOOTBED helps preserve your energy on long runs. The insoles feature hundreds of foam beads that compress and spring back for 40% energy return during your stride. Perfect for longer runs where maximising every bit of energy counts. 

Underneath you have strategically placed 4mm studs and the excellent inov8 GRAPHENE-GRIP. The 4mm GRAPHENE-GRIP rubber studs are carefully positioned in multiple directions to improve grip, shed debris quickly, boost propulsion off your toes and help you brake at the heel. The graphene-enhanced rubber has also been improved to give extra grip in wet conditions.

The midsole measures at 18mm (Heel) 12mm (Forefoot) and we also have the POWERFLO PRO that provides a bouncy, cushioned ride that retains high levels of responsiveness. This provides amazing underfoot comfort and the propulsion is built in a way that still allows for the ground-feel you need when running over uneven, hazardous terrain.

Haworth Hobble

The first run I had in these shoes were straight from the box, I was confident enough after trying them on to know I would be ok completing 50km in them, that on its own speaks volumes, generally you can tell from first fit if they are suited. 

Haworth Hobble the first 1/2km are cobbles and road and straight away I could feel the comfort of the foam cushioning. You still also get a feel for what you are running on so it’s a good balance of comfort and feel. Onto the sections of lose rock on Haworth Moor this is where I quickly realised the shoe would perform well. The biggest thing for me with this shoe is the agility and repositioning over lose terrain, I feel it came into its own when you needed to feel the terrain and adjust your step and keep a good pace. The META-SHANK rock plate protects your feet and I always felt confident in my foot positioning, I was never thinking about how to land or place my feet. Throughout this race it was a mixture of good paths/tracks and road, so I didn’t really get to test in mud and bogs.

Blubberhouse Moor

This race was 2 weeks later, and I knew I would be encountering moors and peat bogs. Again, I started on road and reservoir paths, and I made good pace with great comfort and confidence around the reservoir paths. 75% of this race again were good tracks/paths until I headed up over Beamsley Beacon. Peat Bogs. So, into the bogs and the shoes performed well the 4mm lugs that are positioned well made the shoe perform as well as it could in these conditions. It was very boggy, sometime knee deep and the shoe did slip and slide on occasions, if it was a race that was fully over boggy moors this is not the shoe however as it was 75/25, I would have still opted for the TRAILFLY due to how it performed over 75% of it. 

Photo credit: Woodentops

I feel the AIR-MESH UPPER was superb in both events even feeling comfortable when wet. The BOOMERANG FOOTBED is also great at compressing your stride and allowing you to quickly reposition when taking off, I noticed this most on the sections of path with lose rock.

Overall, the inov8 TRAILFLY would be a great option for trail marathons/ultramarathons over firmer/medium ground. It offers great comfort, agility, and breathability and was also very impressive on wet lose rock paths. I will be lining up in future races with the TRAILFLY as my shoe that’s for sure.

About the author: Dave Town is an Ultra/Endurance Athlete and Mountain Leader. Despite only starting to run 18 months ago, he has unsupported FKTs on Cumbria Way, Millenium Way, Howgills 2000 and Dales 30. He’s has The Fellsman 100km in April and GB Snowdon 160km coming up in 2024.

RunUltra Recommended badge
inov8 MUDTALON SPEED RunUltra Review 
inov8 MUDTALON SPEED Review

Have you tried the inov8 TRAILFLY? Don’t agree with this review? What’s your opinion? Add your own comment to this review and share your experience and passion for running with others.

Not a member yet? Sign up here to be part of the RunUltra community and share tips and stories with thousands of fellow runners around the world.

We are a professional review site and our reviewers receive free products for testing from the companies whose products we review. Each product is tested thoroughly and give high marks to only the very best. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are by the reviewer’s name shown.

DESIGN: 9/10
FEATURES: 9/10
PERFORMANCE: 9/10
VALUE: 10/10
OUR RATING:
5/5
YOUR RATING:
0.0/5

"The biggest thing I noticed straight away was the locked down ankle feel, the comfort around the footbed from the Boomerang insole and the room and comfort around the toe box is great."

Like what you read?

Click here to sign up for more

Related reviews

REVIEW inov8 TRAILFLY

{{ reviewsTotal }}{{ options.labels.singularReviewCountLabel }}
{{ reviewsTotal }}{{ options.labels.pluralReviewCountLabel }}
{{ options.labels.newReviewButton }}
{{ userData.canReview.message }}

SEARCH

Filters

Distance
Distance - slider
0KM500KM
Entry Fee
Entry Fee - slider
010000

DATE SEARCh

Date Range

Global - Virtual

Elevation

A virtual race which can be run at any time shown on the dates shown, on any type of terrain in any country.

Suitable for

For runners from beginners to experienced as you choose your own course and challenge based on the guidelines and options set by the virtual race organiser.

Endurance - Multi-activity

Elevation

An ultra distance race including at least two of the following activities such as running, swimming, cycling, kayaking, skiing and climbing. It may also include different climatic conditions (eg ice, snow, humidity, cold water, mud or heat).

Suitable for

Experienced multi-skilled athletes who have trained for the different activities included in this event. Admission to these races may be subject to receipt of a recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements and any specialist equipment required such as a wetsuit, skis or a mountain bike.

Brutal

Elevation

Increase of up to 2000 metres with very challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity, heat or at high altitude)

Suitable for

Very experienced long distance ultra runners (min 3 years’ experience) or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races is often subject to receipt of a recent medical examination certificate. Purchase of specialist kit is often recommended for these races.

Expert

Elevation

Increase of up to 2000 metres with some challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity or heat)

Suitable for

Experienced runners who have completed at least 4 ultras in last 12 months, or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races may be subject to receipt of a recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements.

Advanced

Elevation

Increase of up to 1500 metres

Suitable for

Runners who have completed several ultra distances or similar events, or are doing long distance running regularly, with elevation shown.

Intermediate

Elevation

Increase of up to 1000 metres

Suitable for

Runners who have completed at least one ultra in last 6 months or are doing long distance running (>26 miles) regularly, with elevation shown.

Beginner

Elevation

Very little change < 500 metres

Suitable for

First ultra event. Runners completing a marathon or doing regular long distance running (>26 miles) in the last 6 months.