Gripping tale as spring-loaded TERRAULTRA G270s impress
runABC's Christine heads to her local forest to find out if inov-8's latest award-winning trail shoe matches up to the hype...
There’s something almost poetic about testing a pair of trail shoes billed as having the ‘world’s toughest grip’ on the way back from getting the four bald tyres on your car replaced.
Now able to stop my battered old Volvo in less time than it takes to stop an oil tanker, I wondered to myself whether the pristine blue and yellow Inov-8s on my feet would transform my hold on the trails as much as binning the liquorice All-Sorts that had been passing for tyres on my car had just transformed my grip on the roads.
Launched last summer as an update to the award-winning TERRAULTRA G260s, Inov-8’s TERRAULTRA G270s have already earned a mountain of praise, including top spots in 2020 trail shoe guides around the globe – as well as the coveted Editor’s Choice award from Runners’ World USA.
With ‘more grip, more bounce, more cushioning, more comfort, more everything’ than the TERRAULTRA G260s, Inov-8 call the TERRAULTRA G270s ‘the ultimate running shoe for big trail miles’. And if you don’t believe them, just ask Team GB ultrarunner Damian Hall, who wore a pair to set a new record time for running Britain’s oldest and hardest national trail, the 268-mile Pennine Way.
Setting out for my first test run in my local forest – with ambitions significantly lower than Hall’s – the first thing I noticed about the TERRAULTRA G270s was that much vaunted ‘bounce’.
For a midweight (270g) trail shoe, the TERRAULTRA G270s boasted a surprising amount of cushioning and spring, planting them firmly in the Goldilocks zone between comfort and responsiveness: not so much of inov-8’s plush new cushioning foam as to make me feel disconnected from the terrain, but not so little of it that I felt every pebble.
The TERRAULTRA G270s made a surprisingly good transition to the short section of tarmac that joined my choice of trails together, too. Even better, the shoes’ highly breathable upper – combined with being inov-8’s widest fit (5) – kept my prone-to-overheating feet cool and comfortable as the miles wore on.
But to talk about bounce and comfort is to tell only one part of the shoe’s story. The TERRAULTRA G270 is all about grip, more specifically, Inov-8’s impressive Graphene-Grip rubber outsole.
As I started my run on the flat forest tracks and larch-covered trails that I usually tackle with my well-worn Inov-8 PARKCLAW 240s, that much-vaunted grip really kept itself to itself.
But as soon as I began my first rocky ascent, those graphene-infused rubber outsoles came out fighting, practically pulling me uphill. Things got even better on my first stony descent, when that impressive grip, coupled with a 0mm heel-toe drop, modest 12 mm midsole stack height and secure fit worked together to give me a very accurate, stable ride downhill.
Like my shiny new tyres, the nimble TERRAULTRA G270s gave me newfound grip where I most needed it. For someone who has never pushed her limits running downhill for fear of leaving my teeth on the trail, I can see that they’ll be a great confidence – and performance – booster. Over their natural terrain of roots and rocks, slabs and stones the shoes were almost ‘sticky’, but in a good way: for the first time in ages my feet – like the wheels on my car – will go exactly where I want them to go.
Image courtesy: inov-8