Inov-8 Launches First-Ever Ultra Shoe

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Press Release issued by inov-8

inov-8 is set to deliver the ultimate in comfort and grip for off-road ultra distance athletes with the launch of the ISPO award-winning Race Ultra 290 shoe.

New for this summer and weighing in at just 290g, inov-8’s first-ever ultra shoe oozes innovation and meets the needs of this rapidly growing tribe of committed athletes seeking to push boundaries over epic distances.

On trails or mountains, this highly-durable, lightweight shoe delivers industry-leading grip through its Tri-C endurance outsole, which boasts three different rubber compounds.

Designed for optimal cushioning and comfort, the shoe also delivers sensory feedback from the trail, while protecting the foot from the repetitive impact felt when running ultra distances. A flatter outsole ensures a stable ride when athlete fatigue sets in.

inov-8’s Race Ultra 290 – named a winner in the performance footwear category at ISPO 2014, the world’s leading international sports business trade show – also has a unique on-the-shoe gaiter attachment system and an X–STATIC footbed to keep both debris and odors at bay.

Wayne Edy, founder of inov-8, said: “Off-road ultra runners who compete in grueling races, some of which can last days, weeks, need the most comfortable, durable shoes with outstanding grip – and that is what we have delivered.

“Key to this was the engineering of a Tri-C endurance outsole. Softer, sticky rubber on the edges brings greater traction, while high abrasion rubber at the heel improves durability and allows for heel striking when fatigued. The sticky rubber cleats bring outstanding mid-foot grip.

“The shoe upper has been designed to ensure minimum friction and maximum comfort. This is achieved through a 360 degree rand, gusseted tounge, integrated gaiter clips and an X–STATIC footbed.”

Working closely with top international ultra runners, inov-8 was able to understand the needs of these committed athletes.

As a result, inov-8 developed the Race Ultra 290 on a generous-fitting last, so that as the foot swells during long off-road distance races it affords the athlete greater comfort.

Set to run Western States this June in the Race Ultra 290, Team inov-8’s Yassine Diboun appreciates inov-8’s design philosophy still apparent in an ultra shoe.

“I like that I have a shoe I can get some added cushion and protection from for ultras without giving up control and ground feel…especially for an event like Western States, where there is a LOT of pounding downhill running.

“Inov-8 is always pushing the limits of design, so I appreciate what they have done to add protection but keep the weight down.

Diboun will be toeing the line for his 3rd Western States after running the 2nd coldest year and 2nd hottest year in 40 years. He feels well-equipped for whatever the 2014 event throws at him, hoping for a ‘3rd-time’s-a-charm-day’.

To encourage efficient running for as long as possible over huge distances, the Race Ultra 290 has been designed with an 8mm drop (heel to toe differential) and inov-8’s renowned multi-finger polymer Meta Shank. The shank aligns with each individual metatarsal to allow the foot to move more naturally, while retaining underfoot protection and flexibility.

This shoe follows quickly on the heels of inov-8’s first products in the Race Ultra range, which were launched in 2014. One of those, the Race Ultra Vest, was named an ISPO 2014 gold award winner as best in the performance equipment category.

And it’s not only shoes and packs in the Race Ultra range, inov-8 also has new apparel, socks and accessories such as arm sleeves and calf guards.

The Race Ultra 290 comes four colour options, two for men and two for women.

The Race Ultra 290 will be available in the June 2014 in the US and July in the UK.

View video featuring athlete Ray Zahab

Download Spec Sheet (pdf)

Photos Below

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3 Comments

  1. Andy Meisler on

    Looks awesome. I have liked the 255s but other Inov-8 shoes have been a bit narrow for me. Based on the photos over at Running Warehouse the 290 looks like it has a roomy toebox. Anyone have reviews yet on the shoe, sizing, fit, etc?

  2. Helge Reinholt on

    You must not believe these are the absolutely best (which they may be, for all I know, havent tested them yet) before you have tried La Sportiva Raptor/ Ultra Raptor. The GRIP in that sole just have to be unbeatable, I think.

  3. Craig Redfearn on

    I’ve worn Inov-8 for 10 years. I have these. Wear them on occasion. Not my favorite as I feel at times I am bouncing off the ground. I like the fit, but am partial to the Terra Fly 303.