REVIEW: inov-8 TRAILFLY G 270 V2
Written By: SportsShoes
Introducing the new inov-8 TRAILFLY G 270 V2 – an updated version of the award-winning, fast-feel, zero-drop trail running shoe and the go-to for tackling long distances at speed.
Now boasting an improved fit, greater comfort and longer-lasting durability, the best just got even better.
SHOP INOV-8 TRAILFLY G 270 V2 NOW
|Weight:||270g / 9.5oz (average across size curve)|
|Most suitable for:||Designed for trail running and ultra-distances, most suitable for hard-packed trails.|
|Drop:||ZERO (encourages a more natural foot strike)|
|Stack height:||Heel 12mm / Forefoot 12mm|
|Footbed:||6mm BOOMERANG footbed|
|Lug depth:||4mm (suitable for most trail surfaces, except really soft and muddy)|
|Fit (length):||Fits slightly small (we recommend choosing 1/2 size up)|
|Fit (width):||5 on the inov-8 fit scale - the widest possible fit (1-5 fit scale)|
|Key features:||Longer-lasting durability, redesigned and lighter mesh upper for greater forefoot stretch and breathability, slimline tongue, Graphene-enhanced G-GRIP rubber lugs, POWERFLOW MAX foam cushioning.|
|RATINGS:||(out of 5)|
In previous generations, this shoe was once known as the TERRAULTRA G 270, before it joined the TRAILFLY family and was renamed the TRAILFLY G 270 last season. Over the last few years, this is the model that I have considered to be best all-round trail shoe on the market, because of its outstanding qualities in every department – particularly in terms of cushioning, comfort, weight and energy return.
So, what has and hasn’t changed with Version 2 of the TRAILFLY G 270?
Based on appearance alone, it’s difficult to see any major upgrades as it looks almost identical in terms of design. Aside from a new range of colourways, you could almost be forgiven for thinking that this is exactly the same shoe as its predecessor. And to be honest, inov-8 would be crazy to change such an iconic shoe – they already have a winning formula so any modifications have to be minimal, but worthy of an upgrade.
The redesigned upper includes greater stretch and breathability in the forefoot, while a more cushioned slimline tongue further enhances the fit and comfort as the miles stack up. The new lightweight mesh material used to make the upper has been laboratory tested and is proven to be 25% more durable than its predecessor on the V1.
The four overlay strips on both sides of the shoe, which provide support and hold for the foot, have been repositioned further back on the upper. This allows greater unrestricted stretch and breathability across the forefoot (which is the widest part of the foot).
The trusted POWERFLOW MAX midsole foam ensures fast-feel bounce and energy return, while also retaining its shape and durability for longer.
The 6mm BOOMERANG footbed features hundreds of expanded TPU beads that compress and spring back for 40% more energy return – and greater cushioning – than standard insoles. It retains its thickness and optimum performance level for longer, whilst wicking away unwanted moisture. From a sustainability perspective, it’s also worth mentioning that these footbeds can be purchased separately, which means that they can be replaced whenever more cushioning is required without having to buy a completely new shoe.
Graphene-enhanced rubber helps to make the outsole 50% stronger and 50% more durable than previous non-Graphene versions.
Flex grooves across the forefoot allow you to be more agile and give the feeling of being able to mould feet over uneven or rocky terrain.
Finally, multi-directional 4mm deep lugs provide ample grip on most off-road surfaces, so perfect for hard-packed trails.
Please note: This is more of a 3-season shoe and if you’re planning on running in more extreme conditions on soft and muddy ground, then you would be better suited to a shoe in the X-TALON or MUDCLAW ranges which all have deeper 8mm lugs, specifically designed for such conditions.
In short, the TRAILFLY G 270 V2 is the lightest shoe in the TRAILFLY family, making it a firm favourite with athletes for both training and racing.
But the key difference is that this shoe has a ZERO drop (which is the difference in height between the heel and forefoot) and it has a total stack height of 22mm (which is the amount of material that separates the bottom of your foot from the ground).
Therefore, the shoe is less cushioned than the 280 and 300, which both have greater stack heights, but means the foot sits closer to the ground versus the other two shoes, and therefore allowing you to feel more connected to the trail.
In terms of similarity, all 3 shoes have the same 4mm lug depth and durable Graphene Grip and they are all rated as 5 on the inov-8 fit scale (which runs from 1-5) meaning they are all the widest possible fit.
For a more detailed comparison between the 3 TRAILFLY styles and to learn more about each shoe, then check out this article below which tells you everything you need to know about the TRAILFLY range.
Explaining the inov-8 TRAILFLY Running Shoe Range | The Trail Hub | SportsShoes.com
We asked our SportsShoes athlete Tom Fairbrother to put these exciting new trail shoes to the test;
The new inov-8 TRAILFLY G 270 V2 is the highly anticipated, latest iteration of the multi award-winning* ‘Trail Shoe of the Year’ from inov-8.
How can you improve a shoe that is already seen and rated as best in class? It’s always a dilemma for running brands. If you make a great shoe that is loved by runners, naturally they aren’t going to want it to change too much, but you still want to innovate (pun intended) and make improvements over time.
For 2023, inov-8 have focused on comfort and durability, two vitally important features of any shoe. The new lightweight mesh material used to make the upper has been laboratory tested and is proven to be 25% more durable than its predecessor on the V1, whilst an improved tongue adds more cushioning for the top of the foot.
But enough of the technical talk. What were my first impressions? Well, taking the shoes out of the box, there’s no doubt the new TRAILFLY G 270 V2 is a great looking shoe. The navy, blue and orange colourways always pop and combine well and I was itching to give them a run-out.
I’m not someone who is particularly brand-loyal and this was actually my first time running in inov-8 trail shoes. I’m open to wearing any shoe that performs and works for me, having previously worn shoes from other competitor brands.
The all-important fit is crucial in any running shoe, but especially for a trail shoe that is designed for tackling long distances at speed on hard-packed trails, as this shoe is. The last thing you want is blisters or your toes being crushed in the toe box on firm ground.
inov-8 rate the shoe as a 5, the widest on their own width scale, but I still found they were a fraction narrow for my liking as someone with fairly wide feet, and there was some rubbing around the heel. I’m a UK 10.5, which is what I wore when testing the shoes, but I could really have done with an 11 so I would therefore recommend going up half a size to what you would typically wear.
*AWARDS WON BY THE PREVIOUS TRAILFLY G 270 V1
- ‘Trail Running Shoe of the Year 2020’–Runner’s World (UK)
- ‘Best New Trail Running Shoe of 2020’–Women’s Running (UK)
- ‘Trail Shoe of the Year 2020’–Road Trail Run (US)
- ‘Best Overall Shoe of 2020’–Believe In The Run (US)
Given this is a performance shoe, I ran a variety of different length and paced runs on firm trails, which here in Suffolk is generally heathland and forest trails and firm all-year round.
By trail shoe standards, the TRAILFLY G 270 V2 are extremely lightweight, coming in at just 270g and when they’re on your feet you do feel dynamic and fast. I would compare the feeling to that of a racing flat which was all the rage for road racing prior to the carbon shoe. It’s really refreshing to have a trail shoe that doesn’t feel clunky or heavy, making it ideal for short trail races or tempo efforts.
The main mesh material used across the upper is new and it does feel as though most of the weight is in the bottom of the shoe, which is a nice feeling when speed is the priority and you need to keep your cadence high.
One change to the upper for 2023 compared to the V1 is a repositioning of the side support strips. The four overlay strips which help hold the foot stable in position have been repositioned further back on the upper, reducing restriction across the midfoot.
Some other practical information relating to comfort and the fit - the insoles, which are the super-springy 6mm BOOMERANG footbeds, and undoubtedly really comfortable, adding some underfoot cushioning, ideal for firm ground, and boast 40% more energy return. They are also removable which is always helpful.
One feature that was a bit annoying was the length of the standard laces. The laces are very long, so much so I had to tie a triple knot to make them short enough so as not to flap around when running.
The tongue, which I mentioned earlier has been improved given it was a common criticism of the predecessor, is brilliant. The extra padding adds comfort and stability, whilst helping to reduce movement by hugging the foot in position.
As with all trail shoes, the level and amount of grip makes all the difference. The multi-directional 4mm deep lugs offer just the right amount of grip and stickiness for firm, hardpacked trails.
The outsoles feel firm and stable underfoot to offer protection from any sharp rocks or roots, finding a balance between foot protection and foot sensitivity. The rubber outsole is made with Graphene (G) grip, which combines rubber and graphene, making an incredibly strong and robust material.
Having described a lot of the minor changes that have been made to the shoes, you can see that it’s very hard to really pick any faults in the technical side of the shoes. Clearly they are an outstanding shoe from a brand that lives and breathes trail running. For me, the biggest thing to consider when deciding if the TRAILFLY G 270 V2 is for you is the drop.
These are zero drop shoes, meaning the heel to toe differential is 0mm, so essentially a flat shoe. This gives you more feel and an unrestricted ride, especially beneficial on uneven and technical terrain, but they can be pretty unforgiving if you are someone who suffers with calf or achilles problems (as I do).
As we’ve seen with road shoes and the explosion in carbon racing shoes, drops and stack heights are increasingly prevalent and popular, even in some trail races, after a period in the early 2000s and 2010s when barefoot running was in vogue.
The theory was that for the best running form, we should all run in minimalist shoes for an unrestricted, more natural movement, but equally a greater stack height and drop has been shown to allow for a higher energy return, especially with the advances in foam technology.
Clearly for trail running on hard ground, if the stack height and drop is too high, you lose stability and proprioception and you can easily roll an ankle so there is a middle ground. With the TRAILFLY G 270 V2, the overall stack height is 22mm in the heel and forefoot which provides plenty of cushioning.
Personally, I prefer shoes with more of a drop, at least 5mm for both injury prevention and also because I feel it helps to get me up onto my forefoot, especially important for faster running. However, that’s just my own preference, not a criticism of the shoes, so don’t let that put you off if you enjoy a zero drop shoe.
I’ve been pretty glowing so far, but at £150 it was to be said the shoes are expensive, there’s no denying that. This is a top of the range shoe and it comes with a high-end price tag. If you can afford that amount and you don’t mind paying more for quality, then you are buying a market-leading shoe from one of the best brands in the business. With increased durability and therefore (hopefully) longer-lasting, it is easy to see where your money is going.
Overall, these are designed for performance, so I would say this is not a shoe to be worn for everyday easy miles. If you want a fast and dynamic shoe for faster workouts and race, and you don't mind the zero drop, there’s no doubt you have to consider the TRAILFLY G 270 V2. It’s rated so highly for a reason.
SHOP INOV-8 TRAILFLY G 270 V2 NOW
Find out more about off-road running by visiting our trail running hub and make sure you've got all the running kit you need for your next adventure.
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