You can feel a bit like Goldilocks when it comes to trail shoes. Some are comfortable, but not grippy enough; some deliver that grip for our nice UK mud but they aren’t cushioned enough so you feel every rock under your feet; and some just don’t stay very cushioned for long as the foam compresses over time. Searching for a shoe which delivers grip, comfort and lasts a long time is a very tricky thing to find.
Back in 2018 inov-8 unveiled their G SERIES shoes (You can visit the page here) which incorporated Graphene in the outsole. As you might expect from inov-8 they delivered grip in droves and the outsole lasted up to 50% longer than the previous non-Graphene versions. A great innovation and a great commitment to sustainability. They then rolled out Graphene enhanced outsoles to other models of their shoes and obviously had a master plan for where their graphene innovation would take them next. Well know we know.
INTRODUCING THE TRAILFLY ULTRA G 300 MAX™
Today inov-8 are launching their revolutionary new trail shoe, the TRAILFLY ULTRA G 300 MAX™, with Graphene-enhanced cushioned foam! It’s designed for ultramarathon and long-distance runners.
So what’s the benefit of Graphene-enhanced foam? Scientific tests prove that the foam infused with Graphene, the world’s strongest material, delivers 25% greater energy return and is far more resistant to compressive wear. It therefore maintains optimum levels of underfoot bounce and comfort for much longer. So if you’ve ever been frustrated by your nice cushioned shoes losing their bounciness after a few hundred miles, these are for you.
The greater energy return helps runners maintain a faster speed over greater distances, aid their feet in feeling fresher for longer, and prolong the life of their footwear. In addition, the TRAILFLY ULTRA G 300 MAX is also the first deeply cushioned trail shoe that, thanks to new ADAPTER-FLEX™ technology, adapts and reacts to uneven terrain. The clever 10mm underfoot groove frees up the midsole and works in harmony with the foot, so runners feel connected to the trail.
So this represents the next stage in inov-8’s successful and innovative collaboration with the University of Manchester’s National Graphene Institute. Their commitment to applying rigorous research and science to the development of their shoes is commendable. It isn’t about gimmicks. Dr Aravind Vijayaraghavan, Reader in Nanomaterials at The University of Manchester, home to both the National Graphene Institute and Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre, said: “As well as on the trail, we also tested extensively in the laboratory, including subjecting the foam to aggressive ageing tests that mimic extensive use. Despite being significantly aged, the G-FLY foam still delivered more energy return than some unaged foams.”
DARE TO BE DIFFERENT
As Wayne Edy, who founded Lake District based inov-8 in 2003, says: “We continue to carve our own trail, with innovation at the forefront of everything we do. It would be easy to follow others, but that is not in our DNA. Our revolutionary use of Graphene, first in rubber and now in foam, proves that we dare to be different.”
Another key commitment for inov-8 is to sustainability. This is at the heart of everything they do now. If they use their innovations to make their shoes more durable (both with the rubber and the foam) and prolong their life, fewer pairs will be consumed. And they’re attempting to limit the environmental impact they make when they produce them. This is to be applauded.
THE TESTERS SAID…
This is what a couple of testers (inov-8 athletes) had to say about them after using for a while:
“These shoes help you to bounce along the trails for hours. I love the grip and the shape of the upper round my foot. I’m looking forward to running a long way in them.” Paul Tierney, British ultra runner and record-holder for the 214-peak Wainwrights. (Visit that page here)
“Like a slipper, they’re super-comfortable and give me the grip I need across varying terrain. They’ve fast become my new favourite. The miles are racking up and they just feel better and better underfoot.” Sabrina Pace-Humphreys, British ultra runner and co-founder of Black Trail Runners.
We’ve got a pair of the shoes to test and we’ll report back soon. First impressions are that they are super comfy with a nice roomy toebox and the chunky sole absorbs impact really well. Let’s put some decent miles on them and see if they deliver ‘just right’ for ultrarunning Goldilocks.
- Name: TRAILFLY ULTRA G 300 MAX
- For: Ultramarathon and all long-distance running on trails
- Price: £170
- Weight: 300g (average weight across size curve)
- Drop: 6mm (heel to forefoot differential)
- Full stack height (midsole & outsole): 30mm heel / 24mm forefoot
- Midsole stack height (midsole only): 25mm heel / 19mm forefoot
- Lug depth: 4mmFit: Grade 5 (inov-8 fit scale in the toe box is 1-5, with 5 being the widest). More details.
Available to buy: From April 8th. Pre-Orders: From March 24th at www.inov-8.com and via retailers