inov-8 TrailFly Ultra G300 test & review by Emma Marks.
I started out racing wearing inov-8 fell shoes for short distances and fell races. As my distance progressed from 10km / half marathon events towards endurance events, I switched from inov-8 preferring a shoe that offered more cushioning, so I was very excited to test out the inov-8 TrailFly Ultra G300.
“Is it possible that inov8 have produced a trainer that offers both extreme grip and a responsive cushioning from the Graphene Grip that can handle both mud and hard-packed trails and rocky mountain terrain? Well I think they might have nailed it.”
On first glance you can see the uppers are more robust than the previous inov-8 shoes I’ve worn and they look like they will withstand the battering that the typical ultra runner will expose the shoe to; higher mileage over rugged terrain. The 6mm heel to toe drop and wider toe-box allow for a more natural running gait and room for the foot to swell during those hotter days or longer runs.
I didn’t do much to ‘break in’ the shoe. My first run was an 8 miler and the second a ‘recce run’ of a marathon route, ‘The Peak Skyline’, following some rocky and technical ground over the Roaches, Shutlingsloe and Shining Torr of the Peak District trails.
“Taking these shoes out of the box they look like an aggressive piece of kit, Neo green and black with 4mm studs, like monster trucks on my feet!”
The stack height is 25mm at the heel and 19mm at the forefoot in comparison to cushioned trail shoes such as Saucony Peregrine at 27mm and Hoka Mafate at 29mm.
“The lower shoe stack kept me close to the ground which is a huge benefit particularly running over technical terrain, giving more stability and keeping you feeling in control, reducing the chance of twisting your ankle. Descending quickly over loose rock I felt the shoe working with me keeping my foot stable, which allowed me to have a bit of fun and pick up the pace!!”
I have a pretty narrow foot, so I would recommend using the last eyelet when lacing your trainers (if like me, you with a narrow foot and skinny ankles), this works well to stop the shoe moving about without having to pull the laces tighter around the bridge of the foot, by securing it around the ankle.
The 4mm lugs are multi-directional and well spaced out, allowing the wet mud to shed from the shoe not sticking to the sole and weighing the shoe down. I find I need a shoe with added grip, particularly when running with my dog, who loves to pull me whenever he sees a rabbit, sheep or any other animal.
“The Graphene Grip steps up to the plate over wet rock, gripping the rock to prevent the foot from slipping and feeling like you are ice skating. So go for it, and don’t let the rain slow you down!”
A friend joined me for the Peak Skyline race route and wore his inov-8 MudClaws. Towards the end of the run his feet were feeling pretty beat up from the terrain and from the lack of cushioning, however, I was still feeling quite spritely and running with a spring in my step, I appreciated the 25% better ‘Energy Return’ you get from the the Graphene cushioning (I wasn’t at all smug)!
“The Trailfly have become my ‘Go to’ trainer, and have now run approximately 150 miles in them over various terrain and through some extreme weather changes, from hot sunny days, to torrential downpours. Don’t you love the British weather?!
We have had all of the 4 seasons in one months. On the plus side it has given me the opportunity to test and review these running shoes over wet rock, through boggy fields, even a bit of snow and hail… In May!!”
The £170 retail price point can seem pretty steep but if the trainer is as versatile and hard-wearing as it claims, lasting 1000 miles in comparison to the typical 300-500 miles of your average running shoe, I think most avid runners would agree the price point is worth it.
“To sum the inov-8 TrailFly up, these are a versatile running shoe that does it all , and when running long distances over multi-terrain trails look no further. Be it rocking the mountains or gliding through muddy fells they do the job exceptionally well!!”
Check out the inov-8 Trailfly Ultra G300 at www.inov-8.com.
Test and Review by Emma Marks for Ultrarunner Magazine