The return of a modern classic doesn’t disappoint. Fast feeling, responsive and simply fun to run in, the Trailfly G 270 V2 is an ideal companion for trail running exploits in the warmer months. Look elsewhere if muddy terrain or the kind of softer ground you get up on the hills and moors are you bag. However, most will undoubtedly enjoy these excellent shoes, which truly excel on harder surfaces and are comfortable for mile after mile.
Durable graphene sole
Fun, propulsive ride
Not great for boggy ground
Mud can get caught in sole
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British trail running and outdoor adventure brand inov-8 are back with the latest instalment in their much-heralded Trailfly series. New for February 2023, the Trailfly G 270 V2 stands on the shoulders of some impressive running shoes. Back in 2020, the original G 270 ran off with several ‘trail running shoe of the year’ awards, while its Ultra G 300 Max cousin, designed for protection and durability on ultra runs, currently sits at the top of our own best trail running shoes buying guide as ‘the best trail running shoe you can buy’.
So, how does the new iteration fare? I personally couldn’t wait to hit the trails and find out, especially as on the inov-8 website, the company introduces the V2 with three words: the fast one.
inov-8 Trailfly G 270 V2: First Impressions
Those familiar with the original G 270 will immediately appreciate that this is very much a case of evolution rather than revolution. Inov-8 has stayed true to many of the features that made it such a hit: the outsole and midsole are unchanged, it’s in the upper that things have been spiced up a little.
The V2 boasts a brand-new mesh material in the upper, one that’s 25% more durable than its predecessor, according to laboratory testing. Another enhancement is in the positioning of the four overlay strips on both sides of the shoe. They’ve been moved further back to allow more flexibility and breathability right across the forefoot.
The tongue is also a little tastier, with a form-fitting shape and more padding that helps to lock down the midfoot, something the Trailfly series is renowned for. Fit wise, the V2 holds securely across the midfoot and the heel feels nicely contained, while a wide toe box gives a nice amount of wiggle room. They’re comfy straight out of the box.
List price: $170 (US) / £150 (UK)
Weight (per shoe): 270g / 9.5oz
Materials: Synthetic upper / POWERFLOW MAX midsole and TPU footbed / graphene-enhanced rubber outsole
Colors: (men’s) Green/Black, Blue/Nectar, Pine/Lime, Graphite/Black: (women’s) Blue/Gray, Pine/Peach
Compatibility: Medium to long distance trail runs on hard-packed surfaces
Where the outsole and midsole are concerned, inov-8 were clearly of the mind that if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.
The outsole boasts the graphene-enhanced rubber seen in all of inov-8’s premium pairs. Supposedly the toughest material on the planet, the use of graphene makes the sole much more durable than it otherwise would be.
Hard-packed trails are the natural habitat for the Trailfly. The V2s are armed with 4mm rubber studs that have been positioned to stop debris collecting, though I found this wasn't always the case when it was quite muddy underfoot. They’re not as deep or as aggressive as those found on inov-8’s X-Talon 255 or the Mudclaw 300, so won’t grip boggy terrain anywhere near as well. However, for warm weather runs on solid trails and paths, the Trailfly is unchallenged. Wet ground isn’t an issue either, thanks to water dispersion channels and tiny dimples on the lugs that work together to keep hold on the slippery stuff.
The V2 is a 0mm drop trail shoe, which is ideal for forefoot or midfoot strikers. The V2 also gives a more intimate trail feel than the other options in the Trailfly range, though, due to its cushioning, it's a long way from being a barefoot-style shoe.
Speaking of which, this cushioning provides plenty of propulsion too. The POWERFLOW MAX midsole provides bounce, while hundreds of springy TPU beads in the BOOMERANG footbed provide a hefty dose of energy return. All of this adds up to an overall stack height of 22mm, resulting in a careful compromise between trail feel, comfort and propulsion.
On the trails
Let’s cut to the chase, the V2s are immensely fun to run in and feel very nimble indeed. Weighing just 270g, they’re lighter than most and the amount of cushioning really hits the Goldilocks zone, not too much to feel disconnected but enough to provide a nice amount of propulsion. Fit-wise, they’re unrestrictive, flexible and comfortable for mile after mile.
Trail runs often result in wet feet, particularly if hills and mountains are involved. The V2s are in no way waterproof, though they do dry quickly after a soaking, which is a blessing on those longer adventures.
Traction is solid on paths, hard-packed trails and rocky terrain, both when it's dry and in the wet. Unlike with some trail shoes, you never feel as if the sole is holding on to the ground too much either, which allows you to spring from foot placement to foot placement. This all adds up to a fast and responsive shoe, one to really launch at the trails with.
The V2 is not in its element on muddier ground. However, during my late winter testing period, I often encountered sections of this kind of terrain and these represented the only times the V2 struggled at all. That’s not to say I was like Bambi on ice, but they are noticeably less grippy than the dedicated mud shoes mentioned earlier. On the other hand, they’re much more capable and comfier on the roads and sidewalks that I tackled on the way to the fun stuff.
One issue I noticed was that even on moderately muddy terrain, they had a tendency to hoard dirt between the lugs towards the back of the sole. As trails get drier and firmer towards summer, it’ll be interesting to see whether this is a recurring problem or just a symptom of the time of year.
As mentioned in our review of the Trailfly Ultra G 300 Max, inov-8 have been criticised in the past for the fact their uppers wear much quicker than their soles. This is always going to be the case when you consider that their soles are enhanced with the world’s toughest material, so this criticism is arguably unfair. I’ve certainly found inov-8 shoes last just as long, if not longer, than equivalent shoes from other leading brands like Salomon and Dynafit, to give two examples.
However, the new durable upper on the V2 goes some way towards addressing this qualm. It’s early days, but mine are yet to show any signs that they’re degrading. With the warmer months stretching ahead, I’ll be keen to see how they fare in the long run – no pun intended – and I’ll be back to update this review.
Alex is a freelance adventure writer and mountain leader with an insatiable passion for the mountains. A Cumbrian born and bred, his native English Lake District has a special place in his heart, though he is at least equally happy in North Wales, the Scottish Highlands or the European Alps. Through his hiking, mountaineering, climbing and trail running adventures, Alex aims to inspire others to get outdoors. He is currently President of the London Mountaineering Club, training to become a winter mountain leader, looking to finally finish bagging all the Wainwright fells of the Lake District and hoping to scale more Alpine 4000ers when circumstances allow. Find out more at www.alexfoxfield.com