(Photo: Molly Hanson)

Shoe of the Week: Inov-8 TerraUltra G-270

Inov-8’s new ultra trail running shoe combines grippy traction, high-tech cushioning, and enduring comfort to assist you in hours of trail climbing on any terrain.

Molly Hanson

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Inov-8 TerraUltra G-270 Review

Weight: M 9.5oz W 8.2oz

Drop: ~0mm

Price: $160

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Top Line

Inov-8, a British brand known for its light and fast short-distance trail racing shoes, originally designed for the steep, muddy, off-trail “fell running” of the Isles, recently unveiled the TerraUltra G-270. It’s marketed as an ultra running shoe, and so in order to accommodate you as miles stack up on the trails, the fit is more generous than previous Inov-8 shoes to account for the tendency of feet to swell due to increased blood flow to the area over longer distances.  

The TerraUltra G-270’s boasts some seriously grippy traction, which is enhanced by the Graphene compound on its 4mm outsole. Its refined “Adapter Fit” upper material gives the upper a softer feel than previous Inov-8 shoes, while reportedly much more durable. (Though I didn’t do so many miles in this shoe as to confirm this.) 

Photo: Molly Hanson

What’s New

There’s more material to this shoe than the previous lithe and lightweight models of Inov-8 were known for, yet it certainly isn’t a bulky ride. Inov-8 cranked up their cushion-factor completely with this latest model’s midsole foam and new BOOMERANG insole, which they claim enhances the energy return of the shoe by 20% compared to last year’s model. 

The pièce de résistance of the TerraUltra G-270 is the new Graphene-Grip outsole rubber — graphene compound is a high-tech additive to rubber to make it simultaneously more elastic and durable. This graphene-enhanced rubber has been repositioned from the 2019 TerraUltra G-260  in crucial areas of the shoe to give it long-lasting sticky traction, and the 4mm-deep cleats now have water dispersion channels and rubber clefts under the toe box to give you remarkable grip on hard and wet trails, plus adds flexibility. The 3mm boost in stack height over the 260 adds even more underfoot support and the redesigned lightweight tongue and wide toe-box further aid comfort on the upper.

Photo: Molly Hanson

This Shoe is for You If…

You’re looking for an ultra trail running shoe that you can do some serious trail climbing in and be assured you won’t slip and slide in the slick mud or on wet rock. It’s an ideal ultra trail racing shoe that will give you protection and snappy responsiveness on hard, gnarly trails for hours. 

First Runs

When first laced up, the Inov-8 TerraUltra G-270 can feel a bit stiff in the midsole and upper, but I personally appreciated it on the run. The supportive and durable upper provides a secure foot-hold that is enhanced by the ultra-grippy sole. As someone with chronically weak and easily rolled ankles, this was a saving grace on the rocky Colorado trails. I felt agile, nimble and fearless coasting up and down rocky paths.

The generous fit allows for plenty of room in the toe box, yet the midfoot is narrow enough not to diminish the security of the foot-hold. I thoroughly enjoyed the extra cushioning protecting my feet by the end of one of my hour-long runs in the shoes. As the miles began to add up, I was grateful for the extra cushioning and excellent grip. 

Photo: Molly Hanson

The Bottom Line

The Inov-8 TerraUltra G-270 gives you a responsive, moderately-cushioned ride that is perfect for hard, wet, and tortuous trails. The shoes make for a comfy, smooth, and fluid ride and could even be used as a road racer. 

Delivering more cushioning and bounce than other Inov-8s, but maintaining their low profile and agile ride, this shoe combines high-tech traction with serious comfort making it the ideal ultra running shoe for those who prefer to be closer to the ground and dance over trails rather than crushing them.

Similar Shoes 

La Sportiva Jackal, La Sportiva VK BOA, Merrell Agility Synthesis 2

From PodiumRunner Lead Photo: Molly Hanson