Reviews You Can Rely On

Inov-8 Terraultra G270 - Women's Review

Our favorite for its low profile and zero-drop design that feels like an extension of the body, ready to tackle technical terrain
Inov-8 Terraultra G270 - Women's
Photo: Inov-8
Top Pick Award
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $160 List | Check Price at Backcountry
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
Manufacturer:   inov-8
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 28, 2021
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
76
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 17
  • Foot Protection - 25% 6
  • Traction - 20% 8
  • Sensitivity - 15% 9
  • Stability - 15% 9
  • Comfort and Fit - 15% 6
  • Weight - 10% 9

Our Verdict

The Inov-8 Terraultra G270 is one of our team's favorite, earning it accolades for its precise and streamlined fit that'll have you flying up and down the trail. This shoe has been completely updated with a brand new outsole, midsole, toe box, and fit. It feels light as a feather with 12mm of cushioning at both the toe and heel. The 4mm Graphene Grip lugs are sticky, offering excellent scrambling performance, suitable for steep and rocky trails. It doesn't do the best in mud and the price is high, but if you're seeking a precise zero-drop trail runner, look no further.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
Price Check Price at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$179.95 at BackcountryCheck Price at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$103.91 at Amazon$84.73 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
76
83
73
71
68
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Lightweight and streamlined, durable elements, very sensitive, precise fit, protective upper, stable on technical terrain, fun color optionsSuperior comfort, light on foot, protective cushioning, stable architecture, breathable upperLots of cushioning underfoot, zero drop design, wide and spacious toe boxProtective, comfortable, wider toe box, excellent beefy traction for soft surfaces, huge valueSticky 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 someLace pocket is difficult to use, tight collar can bite into the ankleCushioning packs out, poor reputation for durability, zero drop takes training, no arch supportNot ideal for roads, huge sizingLess 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 terrainOur favorite shoe offers a well-balanced ride with one of the stickiest and most confidence-inspiring outsoles we've ever seenIf you seek a wide toe box with lots of underfoot cushioning that can go the distance, look no furtherA great all-around trail shoe with high value that's superb traction on soft surfacesThis 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%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Traction (20%)
8.0
8.0
6.0
8.0
7.0
Sensitivity (15%)
9.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Stability (15%)
9.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Comfort And Fit (15%)
6.0
9.0
8.0
5.0
6.0
Weight (10%)
9.0
6.0
6.0
5.0
6.0
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

A look at the newest Inov-8 Terraultra G270 (right) update and the...
A look at the newest Inov-8 Terraultra G270 (right) update and the G260 (left). We love the new lacing system, but don't love the narrower toe box.
Photo: Amber King

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.

Performance Comparison


The Inov-8 TerraUltra G270 is a stable shoe with a streamlined fit...
The Inov-8 TerraUltra G270 is a stable shoe with a streamlined fit. It's our favorite zero-drop design, built to tackle technical trails.
Photo: Amber King

Foot Protection


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.

A look at the minimal cushioning under the Inov-8 TerraUltra G270...
A look at the minimal cushioning under the Inov-8 TerraUltra G270 that offers just enough protection.
Photo: Amber King

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.

The mesh is breathable and quick to dry, keeping out debris.
The mesh is breathable and quick to dry, keeping out debris.
Photo: Amber King

Traction


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.

A look at the profile on the outsole.
A look at the profile on the outsole.
Photo: Amber King

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.

The lugs are flat and sticky, offering a nice grip on loose or...
The lugs are flat and sticky, offering a nice grip on loose or slippery terrain.
Photo: Amber King

Sensitivity


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.

The thin cushioning makes for a sensitive shoe.
The thin cushioning makes for a sensitive shoe.
Photo: Amber King

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.

Our main author tests sensitivity on the Bear Creek trail in Ouray...
Our main author tests sensitivity on the Bear Creek trail in Ouray, Colorado.
Photo: Amber King

Stability


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.

The streamlined fit and architecture make for a stable shoe.
The streamlined fit and architecture make for a stable shoe.
Photo: Amber King

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.

A look at the lacing eyelets and flat laces that stay tied during...
A look at the lacing eyelets and flat laces that stay tied during long runs.
Photo: Amber King

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.

This shoe has a narrow fit with a teeny bit of wiggle room in the...
This shoe has a narrow fit with a teeny bit of wiggle room in the forefoot.
Photo: Amber King

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.

The tongue is comfortable and stays in place.
The tongue is comfortable and stays in place.
Photo: Amber King

Weight


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.

A look at the low low weight that has us flying up and down trails...
A look at the low low weight that has us flying up and down trails. Race-ready, streamlined, and low profile.
Photo: Amber King

Value


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.

Conclusion


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.

Take on steep trails with the new and improved Inov-8 Terraultra G270.
Take on steep trails with the new and improved Inov-8 Terraultra G270.
Photo: Amber King

Amber King