Inov-8 Terraultra G270 - Women's Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Lightweight and streamlined, durable elements, very sensitive, precise fit, protective upper, stable on technical terrain, fun color options
Cons: Expensive, no extra room in the toe box, tongue requires readjustment, zero drop design is best for only some
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Inov-8 Terraultra G270 - Women's
|Price||Check Price at Backcountry|
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|$179.95 at Backcountry||Check Price at REI|
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|$103.91 at Amazon||$84.73 at REI|
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|Pros||Lightweight and streamlined, durable elements, very sensitive, precise fit, protective upper, stable on technical terrain, fun color options||Superior comfort, light on foot, protective cushioning, stable architecture, breathable upper||Lots of cushioning underfoot, zero drop design, wide and spacious toe box||Protective, comfortable, wider toe box, excellent beefy traction for soft surfaces, huge value||Sticky traction, protective, rainbow design is fun, great value, all surface capabilities|
|Cons||Expensive, no extra room in the toe box, tongue requires readjustment, zero drop design is best for only some||Lace pocket is difficult to use, tight collar can bite into the ankle||Cushioning packs out, poor reputation for durability, zero drop takes training, no arch support||Not ideal for roads, huge sizing||Less stable than most, harder midsole is less comfortable, narrower fit|
|Bottom Line||Our favorite for its low profile and zero-drop design that feels like an extension of the body, ready to tackle technical terrain||Our favorite shoe offers a well-balanced ride with one of the stickiest and most confidence-inspiring outsoles we've ever seen||If you seek a wide toe box with lots of underfoot cushioning that can go the distance, look no further||A great all-around trail shoe with high value that's superb traction on soft surfaces||This rainbow contender has the ability to tackle all kinds of trail with excellent protection and sticky traction|
|Rating Categories||Inov-8 Terraultra G270||S/Lab Ultra 3||Altra Lone Peak 5 -...||Supercross Blast||Merrell Antora 2|
|Foot Protection (25%)|
|Comfort And Fit (15%)|
|Specs||Inov-8 Terraultra G270||S/Lab Ultra 3||Altra Lone Peak 5 -...||Supercross Blast||Merrell Antora 2|
|Measured Weight (per shoe, size 9)||8.3 oz||9.8 oz||9.7 oz||10.5 oz||9.6 oz|
|Heel-to-Toe Drop||0 mm||8.6 mm||0 mm||10 mm||8.5 mm|
|Stack Height (Heel, Forefoot)||12 mm, 12 mm||26.8 mm, 18.2 mm||25 mm, 25 mm||29.3 mm, 19.3 mm||28.5 mm, 20 mm|
|Upper||Mesh and TPU||Textile/synthetic||Quick-Dry AirMesh||Continuous ripstop nylon||Mesh and TPU|
|Midsole||Powerflow Max||Energy Cell, polyurethane foam||Altra Ego||EVA Foam||EVA|
|Outsole||Graphene Grip||Rubber||MaxTrac/TrailClaw||Contragrip TD||Vibram TC5+ rubber sole|
|Rock Plate?||Not disclosed||Not disclosed||Yes||N/A||Yes|
|Wide Version Available?||No||No||Yes||No||Yes|
|Sizes Available||5.5 - 11||4 - 13||5.5 - 12||5 - 12||5 - 11|
Our Analysis and Test Results
What's New With the Inov8 Terraultra G270?
Let's take a look at what has changed from the previous iteration, the G260:
- A "more responsive" midsole cushioning that doesn't break down after a few miles
- Redesigned toe box without the Kevlar toe bumper
- New outsole with more specific lug positioning
- Improved lacing system
- A TPU skeleton with more durable elements
- Removal of the pull tab
- A narrower fit in the toe box
- Redesigned tongue
- New fit specific to women
- Way better color options
The Terraultra G270 stands out for its low profile performance on the trail that feels light and just protective enough for tough conditions. It has a zero-drop design that is best for forefoot strikers that prefer an intimate experience on the trail. We love many of the new updates including a better traction pattern and a lacing system that doesn't slip.
While this shoe offers an excellent distribution of impact on the trail, it lacks a rock plate and features only 12mm of underfoot EVA cushioning, packed into a dense and responsive midsole. It has no rock plate. You can say this trail runner offers just enough protection from underfoot hazards, like pointed rocks and roots, but it's far from being the most protective option out there.
We took this trail runner on just over 60 miles of terrain ranging from smooth singletrack to county roads to rocky and muddy surfaces. When your foot hits the ground, you can absolutely feel the ground underfoot, from undulations of rocks and roots, to even small twigs. At the impact point, the forces are nicely distributed, making us double-check the fact that this shoe does not actually have a rock plate. Instead, the dense and responsive foam works as a shock absorber, distributing that impact better than most of the protective shoes we've tested.
The upper is constructed with a water-wicking mesh and TPU skeleton overlay that offers protection from particulates and the like. We tested it while running in sandy, muddy, and wet conditions. Unfortunately, it has no water drainage system, so when tromping through streams, the water pooled at the base of the shoe. After about 15 minutes, it dried nicely and water managed to escape from the mesh on the top of the shoe, but more dedicated holes at the front of the shoe would improve the design.
We are in love with the traction of this trail runner. It features a Graphene Grip compound, which is a softer rubber that sticks to rocks. The lugs are 4mm in length, offering a toothlike grip on the trail, doing well on most types of terrain. However, it doesn't tout the best performance over ice and soft surfaces like clay-based mud.
We tested traction during the winter and spring months in Colorado, Utah, and Arizona. The G270 does best on trails and paths, crossing over to roads well. It also does well on hard-packed sand, rocky trails, and technical terrain. The soft compound molds to the undulations of the path, holding tough. On steeper gravel and kitty litter it was able to parse through the stones to grip the path and dirt below.
We also had the pleasure of embarking on a few scrambly routes in Ouray, Colorado, namely the "blue dot" trail, a little local secret. This is a 1000ft rise over less than a mile on quartzite rock. This trail requires a nicely fitting shoe with a softer compound to cling to the more polished stones. For this trail, this was a hands-down favorite for its grip.
Where it doesn't thrive is on super muddy terrain. While the lugs are 4mm in depth, they are placed fairly close together, which doesn't allow mud to shed well. The flat sole under the lugs does help to promote this, but we were left with mud build-up after an especially wet rain.
This is one of the most sensitive trail runners we tested, with only 12mm underfoot at the toe and heel. With no rock plate and only a densely packed midsole, you can feel the undulations and features of the trail. If you seek a sensitive ride, this is one of our favorites.
We tested this shoe on runs ranging from one mile to 15 miles. While Inov-8 touts this as a distance running shoe, there is some time required to get your foot conditioned and ready for 10+ mile distances. On distances under 10 miles, we felt there was sufficient protection, but after that distance mark on terrain that was especially uneven, our feet got sore as a result of the sensitivity.
While this is a mark of your body conditioning and becoming stronger, it's important to note that the level of sensitivity does take getting used to, especially if you're transitioning from a more protective trail runner, or if you are just starting with this sport.
This shoe is very stable because of its level of sensitivity and low-to-the-ground feel. It is categorized as a low profile with a mere 12mm of protection across the outsole. The toe box isn't very wide, but the shoe itself has a nice cradling effect upon landing, making it feel pretty stable on uneven surfaces.
If you plan on tackling rocky terrain or trailless tundra, this is a good choice. It balances sensitivity and stability, with a low-to-the-ground feel. The shoe itself is flexible with an incredibly responsive and very specific fit, and thus stable. The toe box isn't very wide, but the outsole and collar of the shoe are wider than the upper, offering a wider landing platform in the forefoot and through the heel, which aids in preventing rolling.
Comfort and Fit
The G270 has a specific fit from heel to toe with a zero-drop design. This means there is no additional support in the arch and no additional cushioning in the heel (relative to the forefoot). For those that forefoot strike who are looking for a zero-drop, this is one of our favorites and a top recommendation. It fits a narrow foot fit nicely and we recommend sizing up a half size if you prefer a little extra wiggle room. There is sufficient volume top to bottom with no pinch points that we noted.
Out of the box, we were a little unsure about the fit. The shoe looks smaller than the size 9 we ordered. However, when our main editor wiggled her wider foot into this shoe, she was surprised at the comfort. On the trail, this shoe feels like an extension of the body. On steep downhills, there's no heel-to-toe slippage or "toe bang" and the lacing system keeps your foot in place. We were able to run 6 miles out of the box with total bliss. This was especially a favorite fit for our testers with a narrow foot profile.
In our previous review, we touted the G260 for its wider toe box. However, the newer G270 has a narrow fit in the toe box, which doesn't offer much room for toe splay like it once did. The new upper and toe bumper is a little more forgiving and not as rigid as the previous version, which does still allows a wider foot to get inside. The size 9 we ordered was just large enough for a very specific fit. However, if you like a little extra room, we would recommend sizing up a half size. We don't know about you, but on longer runs, our feet swell, and there's no extra room in this shoe for that. After 10 miles on tough terrain, we were wishing for a wider shoe or a little extra room. That said, if you have a more narrow foot, you may think the sizing is just perfect.
Another notable feature is the new lacing system. In our previous review, we didn't like that we had to keep doing up the laces, but this new system features flat laces that are long and stay in place. It also features five eyelets that allow you to lace and fit this trail runner more specifically.
At 8.3 oz per shoe, this is a very lightweight shoe that feels like you're not wearing it at all.
The G270 is low profile, streamlined, and doesn't feel bulky. For those seeking a trail runner with this performance, look no further. It feels like an extension of the body.
The Terraultra G270 is surely an investment with an upfront cost that is hard to stomach. While we haven't tested the durability of it to the fullest extent yet, we know that from the previous version, it is quite durable. It got about 600 miles of work in until the midsole was compacted and had to be retired. That said, this new version has an updated midsole with a different make-up. After 60 miles of testing, it is still very responsive with no signs of wear and tear. The lugs look like they have hardly been used, even after testing on hard and dry terrain. We believe the shoe is very well constructed and durable, which might be worth the price (though time will tell). You especially might see the value if you are looking for a lightweight zero-drop shoe that boasts just enough protection and excellent sensitivity for most trails. For most people though, there are less expensive options with a similar (but not exact) design.
The Inov8 Terraultra G270 stands out for its low weight and zero-drop design. It features just enough protection with excellent sensitivity and stability for technical trails. The fit is specific with just enough room for a wider foot but preferable for a narrow foot. This sleek and sexy shoe is a great choice if you want a shoe that feels like an extension of the body and comes highly recommended for its durable and streamlined elements. Just know it comes at a high price.
— Amber King