Inov-8 Trailfly Ultra G 300 Max - Women's Review
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Inov-8 Trailfly Ultra G 300 Max - Women's
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|Pros||Great traction, rugged foot protection, stable, durable||Superior comfort, light on foot, protective cushioning, stable architecture, breathable upper, great traction||Well-cushioned midsole, excellent traction, good stability, excellent at everything including long distances, high value||Light, very protective, excellent mud shed, superior traction, surprisingly stable||Affordable, comfortable, good crossover shoe, great for beginning trail runners|
|Cons||Less comfortable, tougher to break in, feel heavy underfoot, no sensitivity, pricy||Lace pocket is difficult to use, tight collar can bite into the ankle, pricy||Stack height takes some getting used to, less customizable lacebed||Narrow fit, runs small, rigid construction, takes time to break-in||Not rugged enough for technical trails, less sensitive|
|Bottom Line||If you want a rugged, beefy, and well-tractioned shoe to carry you through tough terrain, you've met your match||Our favorite shoe offers a well-balanced ride with one of the stickiest and most confidence-inspiring outsoles we've ever seen||With a comfortable and responsive midsole and enough room in the forefoot for toe wiggle, you'll be happy running mile after mile||Stable and deliciously sticky, this contender is just a crusher all the way around, built for training runs and long distances alike||If you are looking for an affordable shoe to run light trails and fire roads, look no further because this is the perfect shoe for you|
|Rating Categories||Inov-8 Trailfly Ult...||Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3||Hoka Torrent 2 - Wo...||Dynafit Feline SL -...||Brooks Divide 2 - W...|
|Foot Protection (25%)|
|Comfort and Fit (15%)|
|Specs||Inov-8 Trailfly Ult...||Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3||Hoka Torrent 2 - Wo...||Dynafit Feline SL -...||Brooks Divide 2 - W...|
|Measured Weight (per shoe)||9.84 oz (size 7)||8.68 oz (size 7)
9.8 oz (size 9)
|7.41 oz (size 7)
8.6 oz (size 9)
|9.45 oz (size 7)
9.8 oz (size 9)
|8.0 oz (size 7)|
|Heel-to-Toe Drop||6 mm||8.6 mm||5 mm||8 mm||8 mm|
|Stack Height (Heel, Forefoot)||25 mm, 19 mm||26.8 mm, 18.2 mm||31 mm||Not disclosed||20 mm, 12 mm|
|Upper||Mesh||Textile/synthetic||Engineered mesh||Mesh, continuous nylon||Synthetic mesh|
|Midsole||G-Fly||Energy Cell, polyurethane foam||EVA||Feline SL midsole||EVA|
|Outsole||Graphene-enhanced rubber||Rubber||Rubber||Sticky Pomoco Outer||Rubber|
|Rock Plate?||No||Not disclosed||None||Not disclosed||Yes|
|Wide Version Available?||No||No||No||No||No|
|Sizes Available||5.5 - 11||4 - 13||6 - 11||5 - 11||5 - 12|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Trailfly Ultra G 300 Max is unlike most of the shoes in our review. Despite its plentiful underfoot cushion, this shoe rides hard. It feels super rigid and takes much longer to break in than we are used to. This shoe incorporates Graphene, an ultra-thin and strong material, in the cushioning and the outsole. With a wide base of support, this 6mm shoe is incredibly durable, making it a good value, despite its hard-to-stomach pricetag.
The Trailfly offers great foot protection, despite not having a rock plate. The outsole is very tough, and the thick, layered lugs in tandem with the underfoot cushion do a fantastic job of protecting your feet.
Even while running on super sandy coastal terrain, these shoes never waivered in their protection. They hardly allowed any sand to infiltrate the barrier, which is a huge plus. Because of their traditional running shoe shape and design, the heel collar fits in such a way to keep small particles from getting in as well. The mesh upper isn't the most water-resistant we've seen, but like many of the trail shoes we've tested, it does enough to prevent saturated socks during quick stream crossings. The protective rubber toe cap is super strong and makes accidental rock kicks mid-run a non-issue. Since the shoe runs a bit smaller than average, we found that our toes were coming into contact with this rigid rubber more than we generally like, especially on the downhills.
With its graphene-enhanced rubber outsole and double-decker lugs, the one Trailfly sets the standard for what we want traction to be. This is why we awarded the Trailfly a perfect score in this metric.
The lugs and sticky outsole inspired more confidence than we have felt in any other shoes. The lugs stayed fresh, thick, and textured even after we tested this shoe on the roads. The lugs are shaped differently than most we have seen, with sharper edges and a more cohesive pattern. The surfaces are embellished with texture, and the sheer depth makes these kicks great for tackling muddy trails. The mud shed prowess is also fantastic.
If you love cruising over sharp terrain without beating up the bottoms of your feet, you'll love the lack of sensitivity of the Trailfly. The highest part of the stack height is 25mm, with the toe sitting at 19mm, which provides a pretty thick and protective underfoot feel. In general, the thicker the stack height, the less sensitivity the shoe offers. In the case of the Trailfly, this almost feels exaggerated. We typically prefer more sensitive shoes, but if you like a more rigid sole, we think you've met your match. The outsole is wider than most of the shoes we feel super agile in, but this pairs nicely with the lack of sensitivity. Because the base of support is wide, the lack of sensitivity never led to ankle rolls or feelings of instability, even on unpredictable terrain.
As mentioned, the outsole of the Trailfly is a bit wide, especially considering its narrow-ish fit. Because of this width, though, the Trailfly is ultimately a pretty stable shoe. While we did test other shoes that are more stable, if the shape and rigidity of this one suits your feet, it is a stable ride with a lot of underfoot protection.
The rigidity of the outsole helps your feet absorb potential hazards. Through our testing runs in the Trailfly, we found that it is a tool for stability. Unlike other trail running shoes that we tested, which encourage your toes to splay and create support by keeping a low profile, the Trailfly rides like it just doesn't have any time to get hung up on ankle-twisting trail features.
Comfort and Fit
Even though many of the shoes we tested needed a few break-in miles to really shine, they ultimately all ended up being pretty comfortable. Unfortunately, the Trailfly really let us down in this metric. While it is a great shoe with a ton of really exceptional features, the fit is kind of off, and there aren't really any super comfortable elements to make up for it.
Our first run felt stilted and uncomfortable, and that sensation lingered well beyond the 30-mile mark in these shoes. Despite their wide outsole, the shoe body is on the narrower side with a crowded toebox. We have grown to love a shoe with a spacious toebox, so the traditional running shoe shape of the Trailfly felt cramped. The reinforcement on the shoe's body prevented it from ever really molding to accommodate our unique foot shapes, so we found that our pinky toes constantly got rubbed to blisters in these shoes. In addition to being narrow width-wise, the toebox feels a bit short in height. Even with trimmed toenails, our big toenails were constantly in contact with the upper of the shoe, despite about a quarter-inch of space.
The Trailfly doesn't offer much arch support, and with such a narrow profile, we never felt like we could stride confidently or land with ease in them. The upper doesn't have any cushion, so the tongue and lace bed also feel slightly abrasive. Of course, this was mitigated by wearing more protective socks. But thicker socks led to the shoe feeling even more cramped.
The Trailfly weighs in at the back of the pack, which is predictable considering how rugged and protective the outsole is. Each size 7 US shoe weighs in at 9.84 ounces, and you can feel the heavy outsole while running. If you run enough in the same shoes, your body will adapt to the demands of running in a shoe with a lot of undercarriage weight. Since we change up our shoes daily for testing purposes, the meaty outsole felt heavy underfoot. If you want a shoe that feels light and heavy while you make your way through your trail systems, this isn't it. But if you want a shoe that feels like it is part hiking boot, you'll love the weight and power of the Trailfly.
Should You Buy the Inov-8 Trailfly Ultra G 300 Max?
The Trailfly is a pricy trail companion. If everything about these shoes fits you perfectly, it is definitely a great value. The traction and durability are such that once you buy these shoes, they'll hold up. However, since we never felt like we could fully get in the groove with these shoes, we likely wouldn't pay up for them again. We prefer the fit, feel, and features of the HOKA Torrent 2, which are available for a more palatable price point.
What Other Trail Running Shoes Should You Consider?
If you are interested in finding a trail running shoe with the shape of a traditional road running shoe, you might like the fit of the Trailfly. We prefer the fit of the Brooks Divide 2, which is available for nearly half the price. While the Divide didn't perform as well in some metrics, it is a much more comfortable shoe to get used to right away. The Trailfly has great traction, but so do other shoes that offer a bit more comfort. The Dynafit Feline SL and the Salomon Speedcross 6 are equal when it comes to traction but fit in completely different ways. The Speedcross offers deeper lugs and a ton more cushion, especially for heel strikers. The Feline SL is also a narrow shoe, but it molds to your feet much easier and makes you feel more nimble on your descents.
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