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inov-8 Terraultra G-grip 270 review: a durable but lightweight running shoe for tough trails

The inov-8 Terraultra G-grip 270 is a highly robust trail-hungry shoe that combines exceptional grip with high comfort levels

inov-8 Terraultra G-grip 270
(Image: © Pat Kinsella)

Our Verdict

The inov-8 Terraultra G-grip is my first choice of footwear for running long distances and going hard on rocky and technical trails.

For

  • Durable, but lightweight
  • Industry leading graphene grip
  • Instantly comfortable

Against

  • Less confident on mud
  • Not waterproof
  • Upper not as durable as sole

First thoughts

Designed for putting in big mileage on technical terrain, the inov-8 Terraultra G-grip 270  is a shoe for the ultra runners out there, although it’s good for shorter scampers too. Inov-8’s famous Graphene-grip (G-grip) sole is the foundation block, as it is for all the brand’s footwear.

Fashioned from the hardest substance on the planet, this grippy sole is super robust and longlasting. On the inov-8 Terraultra G-grip, the tread is formed with 4mm lugs, complete with water dispersion channels and rubber dimples for enhanced confidence on wet, rocky trails.

They’ve stuck an extra 3mm in the stack height for more comfort and the midsole has been improved on this shoe, too, with the use of ‘powerflow max’ to further increase cushioning, and the new ‘boomerang’ insole improves energy return by a significant amount.

The shoe also has a more robust upper than earlier editions, a new lightweight tongue and a wider toe-box than its predecessors, and they have tweaked it to accommodate some foot swelling – the inevitable consequence of running long distances.

Specifications

RRP: $160 (US) £145 (UK)
Weight: 270g / 9.5oz
Materials used: Hard wearing mesh upper, graphene-grip (G-grip) sole, powerflow max midsole
Drop: 0mm
Colours: Black / Blue and yellow / Green and black / Orange and black
Compatibility: Comfortable and capable on any terrain, but especially technical trails and wet rock

On the trails

I wore my previous inov-8 trail running shoes, the Roclite 275, almost to death, which took some doing, because those graphene soles genuinely are tougher than old boots – the lugs did wear down a little bit, but only after several thousand kilometers of trail bashing, and not before the upper was looking much worse for (extended) wear.

If you’re looking for durability, inov-8 shoes are pretty much impossible to beat. Subsequently, we’ve spent several months running the Terraultra across hundreds of kilometers of trails and a variety of landscapes, including Exmoor, Dartmoor and the Mendip Hills, and along lengthy sections of the South West Coast Path. The shoe has 4mm cleats, which are not the most aggressive (and can struggle on very muddy terrain) but on the surface they are designed for – slippery, rocky, technical trails – they are fairly faultless.

Some big-distance runners have criticised inov-8 in the past, for making shoes with virtually indestructible soles, but not matching that durability with their uppers, and they have addressed this by using stronger materials for the chassis in the Terraultra (although we’re pretty sure the sole will still outlast the upper, and most organic life on this planet). They’re not waterproof, and don’t claim to be, but don’t hold on to water for long either.

The weight of the shoe remains really impressive, especially considering how tough it is. The tweaks to the toe box and elsewhere, intended to accommodate foot expansion during monster outings, truly do add to the comfort level of this shoe on big runs, and the extra bounce promised by improvements to the mid and inner sole is noticeable.