After reporting about the launch inov-8‘s new TERRAULTRA G 270, followed shortly by Damian Hall’s record breaking Pennine Way FKT, the graphene blended soles have been getting a lot of traction in the media and on trails across the world. But, as with as things Graphene soled, inov-8’s choice of colours can be a little polarising, with their trademark green uppers that may well be the off-road running communities marmite at present. Yes, there was a full black version also available from launch, but the option was limited to being out there or SAS/Delta Force covert.
Well, if you’ve been sat in your home, screaming why at the website and residing yourself to these two options, fear not, today marks the launch of a new version. A very Swedish blue and yellow – ok, yes, I admit, its more a turquoise / light blue and greeny yellow, but heck, stating the obvious would be pretty darn boring.
A subtle sublimation bleed, blend, transition – what ever you want to call it, from the blue above the branding to yellow adds some character. My favourite part of the shoe is the speckled detailing in the midsole. Nice to inov-8 doing a bit more with that big lump of foam. Of course, the tell tale G-Grip green logo sits below the heel of the foot to make sure anyone admiring your ankles knows you’ve a graphene sole. So for you fashionistas out there, time to think of some careful sock choices.
As you can see from the above image, theres even blue where the rubber doesn’t cover the foam, in order for you to show off to those you leave in your dust. Or if the Lake District, water.
But what do I think to the TERRAULTRA G 270?
In truth, these are my first impressions. I received a pair of green machines the week after the launch and have so far put 40 miles into the zero drop grippers. I like to hold my full review back until I’ve a few hundred miles into the shoe, in order to give offer you a more comprehensive review, which takes into effect the wear of upper and sole, how the ride changes with repeat use and hopefully varried terrain. At present, I have not run anywhere bar the fields and woodland of Milton Keynes since the 23rd of March, due to the restrictions of lockdown and the ease of staying local now things have lifted somewhat. This will hopefully change, but, on the plus side, its removing variables.
My runs have been on a mixed of harder packed and sand based trails. To me, terrain the TERRAULTRA should excel in, given its shallow tread, wide toe box and cushioning.
Now, I’ve not really been a fan to date of wider toe boxes from inov-8, I’ve never really got on with them and have always said I prefer the brands precision fit line of shoes. However, the G 270 is working for me. My mid foot is secure, yet my toes can splay and do that more natural thing of not being confined like a military rank on parade. I have two theories behind this.
Firstly I have been running in wider shoes, firstly testing/reviewing the Topo Athletic Ultraventure which I got on well with and recently purchasing a pair of Altra Duo road shoes (second hand off Facebook market place). Before I was running in more traditional shoes exclusively and I struggled to gel with a roomier toe box.
Secondly and maybe most significantly, zero drop. The timing of the TERRAULTRA’s release coincided with that Facebook market place purchase and I’d logged 25 miles in a zero drop shoe before slipping the mini hulks onto my feet. Does that subtle difference in heel to toe drop reduce ever so slightly how the foot interacts with the shoe and therefore the toe box? Either way, the combination of toe box and zero drop appears to be working in my favour.
As I just stated, I’ve now got a pair of zero drop road shoes, as well as the TERRAULTRA’s. This is my first time in zero drop shoes. I was never one for the Born to Run pandemonium. Yes I have a copy, but I’ve never read it. An unwanted Christmas gift some time ago. However, through working with Shane Benzie and Paul Tierney (his foot in the blue shoe photo) I’ve learnt more about the role the big toe plays, the biomechanics of running and in essence, being more natural. Now can I categorically say zero is the answer for everything and everyone? A big morbidly obese NO.
Reducing your heel to toe drop takes time to strengthen the foot and ligaments/tendons/muscles, we all run differently and much like Paul and Damian can run distances that many of us can’t comprehend, shoes have a unique interaction with the individual runner and aren’t a one size fits all.
A lot of waffle. In brief, yes, I’m getting on well with zero drop, more than I thought I would. But, and this isn’t just to give some balanced view, I still require different drops in my training. I ran 10 miles on my first run in the TERRAULTRA‘s and benefited from some fascial release afterwards. We are a product of our environments and stimuli, so yes, if I stuck to zero there would be some adaptation, however, taking time will decrease the likelihood of injury.
Grip & Ride
4mm lugs of graphene infused black stuff are more aggressive than I expected when I took them out the box and my nostrils immediately infused with that new shoe smell that always takes me back to a clarks shoe shop in my junior and secondary school days, when every had cool trainers and I had the option on a complete black shoe.
The lugs have good spacing for self cleaning and on the local trails provided more than adequate grip. With things about to get autumnal, it’ll be interesting to see where there limit is, given as much as the X-Talon is a beast, it’s overkill for my local mud.
Having run in several POWERFLOW midsoled shoes from inov-8, I’ve got used to the ride they offer and the POWERFLOW MAX is definitely a change. It may not have quite the squish (in my opinion) of the standard POWERFLOW, but fuck me, it snaps! I was supposed to be on an easy session on that initial run but as the miles clocked by and I was finding my way with the TERRAULTRA, my pace picked up. They want you to move, rather than plod and scuff your feet along. We shall see where these sit, when it comes to working out where they would sit in the quiver. A shoe for all trail distances on race day? A specialist?
So initial impressions – well balanced, grippy and relatively comfy with a hint of caffeine for those seeking KOM’s. They won’t be for everyone, but really, no shoe should be. Feel free to leave a comment or contact me directly if you’ve any questions.
Stick with me and I’ll post the full review as soon as I can be conclusive with you.
This is not a paid or sponsored post | Shoes provided by inov-8