Building off the debut of last year’s Terraultra G260 model, this fall, Inov-8 introduced the Terraultra G270, with a few construction adjustments for improved comfort and performance. Key updates include modifications to the outsole for improved grip, a new midsole compound with taller stack height, and a snappier insole to increase energy return. As the model name implies (Inov-8 model numbers are the weight of the shoe in grams), these changes come with a very minor increase in weight.
The “G” in G270 stands for Graphene Grip, the rubber compound that encases the 4mm lugs on the outsole. Graphene is a remarkably engineered compound. It’s a one-atom thick sheet that is 200 times stronger than steel but also maintains a light weight and high flexibility. When compared with similar outsole compounds, Inov-8 boasts their Graphene Grip is able to withstand 50% greater force with elongation before failure and 50% more time to erosion when placed against an abrasion wheel. This certainly stands to reason that the outsole would be extremely durable (more on this below).
The 4mm lugs hit the sweet spot for depth, providing adequate grip on the dirt without feeling like soccer cleats on the pavement. Each lug has a distinct shape with 90-degree angled edge for grip from all sides. Inov-8 also updated the configuration of the tread to improve coverage in the G270. Lugs are slightly dimpled to provide even more bite and a little extra mileage. True to what we expected, durability is impressive, and the only sign of wear we noticed after heavy-duty mileage during testing is a slight flattening of the textured surface. The tread on this shoe is outstanding with its grip, as we flew across rocks and wet and dry conditions without experiencing any slipping. One tester wore these on a backpacking trip and reported the grip to be more than adequate for steep descents even with the extra weight of a pack.
Besides an outsole to rave about, the midsole and insole of the G270 are also quite impressive. Overall stack height has increased from 9mm to 12 mm, and a tester who has previously wore the G260s reports the shoe certainly feels more plush than its predecessor. This 12mm stack height is still relatively low profile, and the extra height does not feel sloppy or over-cushioned, but rather more snappy than before. Inov-8 boasts that the new POWERFLOW MAX foam cushioning used for the midsole and the BOOMERANG insole increase overall energy return of the shoe by 20% and 40% respectively, compared to their predecessors. While those may seem like bold numbers, we certainly feel the difference. The Terraultra G270s give a sensation of rocking from the midfoot to toe-off with each step, which is somewhat rare for a zero-drop shoe. This recoil did not diminish over the mileage during testing and really speaks to the effectiveness of the new midsole compound. As a zero-drop shoe, the Terraultra G270s fills that void for the minimalist runner who wants a lightweight and energetic shoe for aggressive running, with just enough cushion to stay comfortable.
The upper of the Terraultra G270s is very similar to the previous model. It encases the foot well, and feels breathable even in hot summer conditions. We appreciate the shape of the toe box, which is more squared off (along the same lines as Altra and Topo) to allow for better toe splay. Inov-8’s fit scale ranges from 1 (narrow) to 5 (wide), and they list the Terraultra G270s among its widest shoes at a 5. It should be noted that overall the brand seems to favor a narrower frame through the hindfoot and midfoot. This fit number is specifically for the width of the toe box, so runners with wide feet should take this with a grain of salt. For example, our narrow-footed tester reported the shoe fit very well, securing the heel of her foot in place and stabilizing the midfoot so there was minimal movement on technical sections and rocky descents. A substantial toecap provides protection and increases durability of the shoe – you won’t be seeing any toes peeking through the upper over time. Inov-8 has updated the tongue to a form-fitting shape, which has a depression on either side to allow for greater movement of the ankle with less rubbing.
At 9.5 oz for a men’s size 10 and 7.5 oz for a women’s size 7, the Terraultra G270s pack a powerful punch for such a lightweight shoe, striking a nice balance between enough cushioning for comfort while maintaining aggressive grip and response for attacking the trails.
The Terraultra G270 is now available at https://www.inov-8.com.
- Outsole: GRAPHENE GRIP / 4 mm lugs
- Midsole: POWERFLOW MAX foam
- Weight: 9.5 oz men’s size 10;
7.5 oz women’s size 7
- Stack height (heel/toe): 12mm/12mm
- Heel-to-toe drop: 0mm
- MSRP: $160