Inov-8 TrailFly Ultra G 300 Performance Review »

What You Should Know.

  • Theweighs 10.6 oz. (300 g) for US M8.0.
  • Theuses an all-new, ultra-strong, highly resilient foam made in part with inov-8’s exclusive-Graphene.
  • The segmented graphene outsole with aggressive studs offers great traction and freedom of movement, and unparalleled durability.
  • Beware of thin tongue and abrasion hazard

TAYLOR: The British brand inov-8 (we’ll forgive them the name of the line) is one of the trickiest brands to credit. The name literally comes from the desire to constantly evolve with high quality running gear. Win our 2020 BIG (Best in Gear) Trail Shoe of the Year Award: Terra Ultra G-270. This product performs great with its incredibly durable design and sticky, long-lasting graphene sole, all in a lightweight package!

So Inov-8 is back on board. This time they attack the barriers. Maximum cushioning, a comfortable fit, adaptability and durability are combined in the new TrailFly Ultra G 300 Max (the letter 300 stands for weight in grams).

For a company that usually focuses on foot safety and being connected to the ground below, this is definitely a different approach than the traditional cushioning of Max shoes. The highlight of the TrailFly is the latest midsole foam with added graphene. So far, graphene has only been used in the soles of Inov-8.

For the uninitiated, graphene primer is an amazing type of material that offers incredible strength (200 times stronger than steel), flexibility, and in a very small package. Essentially, it provides a sticky, grippy sole without sacrificing durability (with most sole materials, it’s a compromise with others). With graphene, you can have your mud cake and eat it too. As a bonus, Inov-8 owns the patent rights to graphene (which it developed with the University of Manchester), which means no one is willing to alienate it.

Inov-8 has proven the value of graphene in the G-sole alone. But isn’t it a bit excessive to pump it into the interlude? That was my question all along.

According to Inov-8, their new graphene foam, G-FLY, offers 25% more energy return than traditional foams, while being much more resistant to compression wear. Tests have shown that the foam still works well after 1,200 km in the shoe. If that’s true, I’m in.

When I first took the TrailFly out of the box, I had my doubts about its weight (it felt slightly heavier than the advertised 300g); however, I hadn’t put it on yet and hadn’t been out on the trails. And of course, where the magic happens. Let’s see how they turned out.

Good

TAYLOR: I’ll start by saying that for many runners considering an Inov-8 shoe, this is usually a starting point. In the past, his shoes were tight, to say the least. But as in the post-COVID economy, everything opens up to INOV-8. The cut here is really medium wide. I have to say that this is definitely the widest shoe I’ve worn from Inov-8, although they claim it’s the same forefoot width as the Terra Ultra G 270 (I had no issues with the fit). I’m not saying Widefoot Jarrett can slip in like a Princess Willow sister, but the average runner can. More room also means better conditions for your feet during long days on the trail. So give it a shot!

Usually a wider cut means less leg security, but not in the case of the TrailFly. The Inov-8 is known worldwide for its secure fit that is supported in even the widest of sneakers. It is very similar (maybe identical) to the stiffer but stronger fabric of last year’s Terra Ultra. The subtle racing language is also reminiscent of Terra Ultra. The mesh is just breathable enough to keep your feet comfortable and dry after muddy conditions. Trust me.

Overlays are located on the midfoot for added support and a snug fit. They can also be found along the entire lacing system, and in other strategic places on the side and center of the shoe, before swinging over the thick toe bumper. For shoes that claim to last two or three times longer than the average shoe, these overlays are very useful for maintaining the structure of the shoe on the upper.

Time for the goods. These dreams of the future. The stuff of legend… Graphics. I mean, that’s the whole basis of this shoe.

Photo courtesy of inov-8

The Graphene Grip is an exclusive sole from Inov-8, with graphene injected into the rubber. It’s the Muhammad Ali of the tongue. He is the king in size and power. I have a pair of Inov-8 shoes with over 100 miles on them that are barely under them. TrailFly’s 4mm crampons have clawed through mud, clung to rocks, clung to patches of wet or packed snow, and more. Because the studs were medium-deep, the arch of the sole allowed the TrailFly to transition smoothly to the asphalt.

The big issue with the TrailFly is the midsole. Not only is it unusual for Fact-8 to make a truly maximalist shoe (most of their shoes are drop-free, this one has a 30 – 24mm stack), but this midsole is also very different from most others I’ve run. Of course, graphene is a special material in the foam of the midsole. Durability and protection are easily achieved.

It feels moderately soft and a little rubbery. The composition of the foam in the La Sportiva Jackal is most similar – but in this case much more so. I’ve never felt a smoother fall into the clouds, a feeling like in a shoe like the Fresh Foam More Trail V1 New Balance, Hoka Stinson or ASICS Trabuco Max. The G-Fly cringed slightly and responded with a burst of energy. As already mentioned, the sole is slightly curved, allowing the foot to roll particularly smoothly.

Inside the sole is a series of grooves. The marked section, called ADAPTER-FLEX, shortens the width of the midfoot. It’s almost like wearing a shoe. It is a 10 mm groove that allows the foot to rotate naturally and adapt to any terrain. I’m all excited. Even with a high stack, my foot went smoothly over rocks, roots and oddly piled snow on moderately technical terrain. This is not the typical feel of high stack shoes and is often a major limiting factor. But not at Trailfly. The forefoot has more grooves running lengthwise under the metatarsals for even greater adaptability to different terrains. Many Altra shoes use similar grooves for the forefoot.

In addition to the extra padding, a wider base than normal is used for extra natural stability. With things like this, I always think of the Hoka Stinson and the Altra Olympus; stability doesn’t have to come from the pole. The expanded base has worked well here at TrailF.

Trailfly Ultra Shop – men
Trailfly Ultra Shop – women

to keep the big pile on its feet.

And finally, a note on the tongue for a personal monogram. I was very excited when I saw it.

Trailfly Ultra Shop – men
Trailfly Ultra Shop – women

Bath

TAYLOR: Weight is the low-hanging fruit when it comes to modern shoes. When my size 10.5 sneakers start hitting the 30-gram mark, it’s a sign that I need to be a little more critical, because often they don’t need to be. When you get to 13 ounces per boot, that’s a whole different category of impracticality.

The TrailFly Ultra G 300 Max stands as a sledgehammer in this latest range of shoes: The weight of one shoe was 13.2 ounces. If the circumstances are not at all satisfactory, you will feel it in every detail. It’s very atypical compared to the usual light and fast inov-8 shoes I’ve tested in the past. I was surprised at the weight of mine, when according to the naming convention for shoes, it should weigh only 300 grams (10.6 ounces) for a traditional American size 9.0. Nevertheless, that’s what American men are like at 8.0. Honestly, that’s my problem with giving weight to a name. It’s completely subjective, everyone’s foot is different and doesn’t seem to fit into the standard sizes offered by most shoe manufacturers.

Fortunately, there are more of them on the TrailFly, so they don’t feel like bricks underfoot.

As mentioned earlier, the top and tongue are almost identical to those of the Terra Ultra G 270. The tongue is thinner than the paper, while the top mesh is wider on the rough/rough side. These aspects, combined with a very sparse soft collar, caused me some problems.

Right at the transition from the upper lace eye to the collar, it is very stable. The tongue is thin, so the ankle is not protected from chafing by this part of the collar. I feel like it’s worse than it is, but after my first 10 miles in shoes, my ankle was bleeding and clearly uncomfortable due to the constant friction. Disclaimer: I only did it on my right leg, so there may be anatomical differences, but it still sucks! It bothered me so much that I had to take a few days off between races on the TrailFly. If I can’t run 10 miles without discomfort, how am I supposed to run hundreds of miles in the mountains with these shoes !!!!.

I’d also like to see them move away from the neon lime green hue that seems to have become their trademark. The paths finally blend in with the streets in terms of design, and with a few more modern color palettes, it would be a beautiful whole.

Trailfly Ultra Shop – men
Trailfly Ultra Shop – women

Inov-8 Ultra G 300 Fly Distance Conclusion

TAYLOR: Innovation is Inova-8’s trump card. The new Traifly Ultra G 300 Max is definitely another version of the ultimate shoe craze and another version of the company itself. The new carbon-reinforced G-Fly foam provides incredible power, responsiveness, flexibility, and protection on trails and slippery surfaces. With its unique curved grooves, it adapts well to uneven terrain without tilting the canoe. That’s really impressive for such a big shoe.

His kryptonite is also very clear. The weight is too obvious, not to mention falling off the hard protective roof. Both can stop your ultra journey before it begins.

As always, I’d buy a box of chocolates for the Graphene Grip below. I like it. It is the best grip you can find on almost any surface. I hope the TrailFly is a gimmick, like the Hoka TenNine, to demonstrate new technology in extreme conditions. So future iterations with similar technology won’t be as shocking and will take our breath away. Inov-8 is on the right track by creating a space for shoes that last two or three times longer than a regular running shoe. This is not only a plus for your wallet, but also for sustainability. At $190, it could be an absolute bargain, given the cost per mile, or an expensive one-time change.

You can buy the inov-8 TrailFly Ultra G 300 Max at 8. April for $190 to pick up at the stores linked below.

Boutique Trailfly Ultra – Men
Boutique Trailfly Ultra – Women
Photo courtesy of inov-8

Taylor Bodine is a trail and ultra runner who lives in Estes Park, Colorado with his wife and daughter. He and his wife enjoy walking the trails of Rocky Mountain National Park. When he’s not running, Taylor teaches kindergarten and first grade. Class, running coach and youth leader at his church.

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