This article first appeared on TheTrek.On New England trails, only the toughest shoes survive. Granite slabs chew though Altra soles, and Hokas don’t stand a chance against the knobby and gnarled roots that splay across the pathway like a spiderweb. The only shoes I’ve worn that have been able to withstand the abuse of our rugged routes are Topo Athletics and, unsurprisingly, Inov-8s. Within the local trail running group, we’re split almost 50-50 on wearing Topos and Inov-8s. Those wearing Inov-8s are die-hard, and with good reason: their shoes just won’t quit.
Recently, Inov-8 released an update to their highly-acclaimed TrailFly G 270. The original G 270 won multiple awards and was worn by world-class athletes like UK ultrarunner Damian Hall, who ran the 185-mile Wainwright’s Coast to Coast trail across the breadth of Northern England in a record 39 hours 18 minutes.
Version 2 promises an improved fit, greater comfort, and longer-lasting durability than the original.
Inov-8 TrailFly G 270 V2 At a Glance
Weight: 270g / 9.5oz (each)
Sole: Graphene-Grip outsole
Stack height: 22 mm
Drop: 0 mm
Material: Breathable knit upper
Circumstances of Use
Over a year ago, I reviewed the RocFly G 390 and still wear them to this day — they are no worse for wear. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the new Trailfly G 270s see if the innovation stood the test of time.
I tested these in some of the worst conditions Maine has to offer in the winter. I ran, hiked, and walked on iced-over granite trails, snowy pavement, and muddy gravel roads, all of which gave a great indication of how these shoes perform. Because at the end of the day, any shoe can work fine when the circumstances are right, but only the best will hold up when it counts.
Graphene-Grip rubber: This is Inov-8’s crown jewel and one of the top features of any “G”-labeled shoe it puts out. Graphene delivers the world’s toughest grip — insanely sticky traction AND increased durability with no compromise. 50% stronger, 50% more elastic, 50% harder wearing — all extending the life of the outsole.
Powerflow Max Foam Midsole: Inov-8’s proprietary midsole compound promises a snappy, cushioned ride for fast and controlled movement.
Redesigns: The new version has a redesigned upper that includes greater stretch and breathability in the forefoot, as well as an improved ankle cut and extra heel padding to increase comfort and hold. A new, lightweight mesh material allegedly makes the upper 25 percent more durable than its V1 predecessor.
TrailFly G 270 Pros
Comfort and Fit: Inov-8 uses a scale of one to five to indicate how wide the toebox is, as it differs from one model to another. The TrailFly G 270 has a five, meaning it’s the widest toebox offered. I found the fit true to size and did not feel the need to size up. Though the toebox is not as wide as options from Altra or Topo, it has plenty of room for my toes to spread out without constriction.
Impressive Features: I’ll say it again: Graphene Grip is the real deal. Based on the many Inov-8 reviews on this site as well as my own experience, the hard-wearing sole lugs last an extremely long time. Combined with the improvements made from the previous version for increased comfort and durability, Inov-8 somehow found a way to make an already great shoe even better.
Weight: The first impression I had when taking these out of the box was, “wow, these are light!” Weighing 1.5 ounces less per shoe than Lone Peaks, it is almost uncanny how much was packed into these shoes. At this weight, the TrailFly G 270 hits the sweet spot between turnover speed and cushioning, which makes them feel fast and light underfoot.
TrailFly G 270 Cons
Price & Availability: Limited availability will always be an unfortunate reality of the brand for US customers, as it is based in the UK and harder to come by stateside. Most American running and hiking stores don’t stock many models, if any, though they can be purchased online if trying them on in person is not a dealbreaker.
Inov-8’s pricing tends to be top-of-the-market as well, and at $170, the TrailFly G 270s are $20 – $30 more expensive than most comparable trail runners. However, if you factor in how much longer they will last than others, the price makes more sense.
Limited Stack Height: In the age of ultra-plush midsoles up to 35 millimeters thick, the 22-millimeter stack height of the TrailFly G 270 does not measure up. Instead, Inov-8 trades extra cushion for decreased weight and improved agility. Because of that, this may not be the best shoe for a thru-hike or 100-mile ultramarathon, where weight savings and agility are usually less important than adequate cushioning, especially if your feet are not properly conditioned.
Inov-8 continues to improve on an already excellent shoe with the TrailFly G 270 V2. Features like the ultra-durable and tacky Graphene grip outsole, zero drop, and responsive midsole make it one of the best choices for hiking and running on wet, rugged, muddy terrain. Increasing durability of the upper while making positive changes to the fit and feel based on athlete feedback from the first version means this shoe is dialed-in and ready to rock.
Because the stack height is limited at 22 millimeters, these may not be the ideal choice for a first-time thru-hiker or someone who prefers a a more cushioned midsole (for comparison, the Lone Peak 7 and HOKA Speedgoat 5 have stack heights of 25 and 33 millimeters, respectively). That being said, they are ideal for most endeavors and will most certainly remain in my shoe rotation for as long as they last — which, at this rate, might be forever.
Weight: 10.8 ounces
Drop: 0 mm
Weight: 11 ounces
Drop: 0 mm
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Brandon Chase is a writer, endurance athlete, and guide based in Maine. He is a former Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State and spent nearly a decade overseas serving at embassies in Egypt, Cyprus, and Pakistan.
Along with a 98-day thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, he has summited Mt. Kilimanjaro, hiked the West Highland Way, fastpacked in the Himalayas, and trekked around New Zealand and South Africa. He also regularly competes in ultramarathons at the 50k, 50-mile, and 100-mile distances. He is a Lead Guide for Andrew Skurka Adventures and the New England Outdoor Center.