A month or so ago inov-8 invited me to my first virtual launch, something that’s become the norm.
Graphene infused soles have become something we have expected from the brand in recent years, from the fell, to trail and into the Cross Fit box, the harder wearing soles are a feature that’s almost a given in 2021. However, inov-8 has unveiled the world’s first-ever running shoes to utilise a Graphene-enhanced foam. With the properties thus far being utilised for increased durability and grip, how does this translate to the midsole?
With carbon plates entering the trail and ultra product market, finding their way from the road scene, the design team have gone against the grain, with part of their methodology being to double the industry standard for longevity. Yes, its not all about the pursuit of speed &/or comfort.
Collaborating with Graphene experts at The University of Manchester, the Graphene-enhanced cushioned foam, called G-FLY™, features as part of inov-8’s revolutionary new trail shoe, the TRAILFLY ULTRA G 300 MAX™, which is designed for ultramarathon and long-distance runners. Scientific tests prove that the foam infused with Graphene, the world’s strongest material, delivers 25% greater energy return and is far more resistant to compressive wear. It therefore maintains optimum levels of underfoot bounce and comfort for much longer. This helps runners maintain a faster speed over greater distances, aid their feet in feeling fresher for longer, and prolong the life of their footwear.
Bold claims indeed – I should point out I’ve yet to try a pair and everyones perception or idea of speed is personal.
The TRAILFLY ULTRA G 300 MAX is also the first deeply cushioned trail shoe that, thanks to new ADAPTER-FLEX™technology, adapts and reacts to uneven terrain. The clever 10mm underfoot groove frees up the midsole and works in harmony with the foot, so runners feel connected to the trail.
Michael Price, COO of British-born inov-8, said: “In an industry where running shoe manufacturers seem hung up on underfoot carbon plates, we’ve delivered an innovative proposition. G-FLY cushioned foam not only gives runners incredible long-lasting energy return but an underfoot feel free of rigidity and full of agility.“ We’ve worked incredibly hard for the past two years with the university and leading footwear industry veteran Doug Sheridan in developing this innovation. A team of 40 athletes from across the world tested prototype shoes and more than 50 mixes of Graphene-enhanced foam. Trail test reports showG-FLY foam still performing well after 1,200km –double the industry standard.”
inov-8 first used Graphene in 2018 when launching GRAPHENE-GRIP™rubber on the outsoles of its running, hiking and fitness shoes. Sales of its footwear featuring the wonder-rubber have surged globally over the last three years. The TRAILFLY ULTRA G 300 MAX features Graphene-Grip which, along with G-FLY and ADAPTER-FLEX, are all patent-pending. inov-8 proudly remain the only brand in the world to use Graphene in sports shoes. Wayne Edy, who founded Lake District based inov-8 in 2003, said: “We continue to carve our own trail, with innovation at the forefront of everything we do. It would be easy to follow others, but that is not in our DNA. Our revolutionary use of Graphene, first in rubber and now in foam, proves that we dare to be different.” As well as being 200 times stronger than steel, Graphene is also the world’s thinnest material and boasts astonishing flexibility.
Its 2004 discovery as an almost invisible single layer of graphite earned scientists at The University of Manchester the Nobel Prize in Physics. Since then, a team of over 300 staff at the University has pioneered a diverse range of projects and contributed to Graphene-enhanced sports cars, medical devices, aerospace developments, improving infrastructure and, of course, sports footwear.
Dr Aravind Vijayaraghavan, Reader in Nanomaterials at The University of Manchester, home to both the National Graphene Institute and Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre, said: “As well as on the trail, we also tested extensively in the laboratory, including subjecting the foam to aggressive ageing tests that mimic extensive use. Despite being significantly aged, the G-FLY foam still delivered more energy return than some unaged foams.“ We are proud of G-FLY foam, the TRAILFLY ULTRA G 300 MAX and all we have achieved in our highly-successful partnership with inov-8. We look forward to the next phase and further expanding the use of Graphene, a material that has limitless potential.”
The TRAILFLY ULTRA G 300 MAX, which weighs 300g and has a 6mm drop (heel to toe differential), is priced at £170 / $190 / €195.
Have you tried the new TRAILFLY ULTRA G 300 MAX? What are your thoughts? Should more brands be looking at combining materials over adding stand alone items such as carbon plates?
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Information & images provided by inov-8 | This is not a paid or sponsored post