Trail running shoe review by Sarah Barber, a lifetime resident of Boise, Idaho, Barber has been a Life Flight Paramedic for seventeen years, and currently works in a dual capacity as a clinician and a Quality Manager. When she’s not flying in helicopters or collecting data for continuous quality improvement, she can be found trail running with her dog and camping with her husband in the mountains of her home state and throughout the northwest.
While the zero-drop trail shoe market continues to expand, inov-8 (a UK-based company) is yet again poised to claim a majority share with its latest edition, the Trailfly G270 V2. This shoe’s ancestor, the original Trailfly G270, is a tough act to follow, as it won four major “Trail Running Shoe of the Year” awards in 2020. But this next-gen Trailfly won’t lurk in the shadow of its predecessor. In fact, if shoes could talk, the conversation might follow a script like this.
Runner: “Soggy muddy trails?”
Runner: “What about slush, snow, and ice?”
Trailfly: “Yes, please!”
Runner: “Rain-soaked roots and rocks?”
Trailfly: “Thank you, ma’am. May I have some more?”
In other words, the inov-8 Trailfly G270 V2 has enough traction to climb a tree, scale a cliff, and maybe pull a Lionel Richie and dance on the ceiling. The appearance of the patented Graphene-enhanced sole is more gecko toes than eagle talons, which might initially inspire doubt, but any qualms will be extinguished within a few hundred meters on a rugged surface. With 4 mm lugs, the words “slip,” “slide,” and “skid” are not part of this shoe’s vocabulary. The 22 mm stack height feels low-profile but doesn’t lead to an excessive ground feel. Meanwhile, the Powerflow Max foam cushioning and Boomerang footbed offer a brisk rebound certain to permit enough speed for racing—or outrunning mountain lions, should the need arise.
The real story, however, might be the Trailfly’s redesigned upper which is just exactly enough. Its anatomical design hugs the foot, leaving room for the toes to stretch and spread while still in a secure—but not passionate—embrace. Promising 25% more durability than previous models, inov-8’s new Trailfly wants an enduring relationship with its owner. This is a good thing, as the Graphene in the rubber of the lugs is advertised as “the world’s strongest material.” A diamond ring doesn’t stand a chance.
My first test run coincided with a meteorological event in the Bay Area of California. Thank goodness I was undaunted by the rain and history-making snowfall, because sticking with the treadmill would have been a missed opportunity to experience the confidence, speed, and ultimately the joy of a truly exceptional shoe. I’ve never relished running in a downpour, but this time I did. Perhaps it was the fact that I’m accustomed to running at higher altitudes, but the spring in my step was undeniable. Could this be love?
As I coasted effortlessly uphill—yes, essentially defying gravity—I marveled at the paradox unfolding. Every time my foot hit the ground, I could feel the tread gripping saturated earth. But every time my foot bounced up, the sole was virtually mud-free. How was this shoe NOT accumulating globs of clay?? My ascent eventually took me into patches of snow, and the result was the same: stable, confident stride, chewing through miles as if each one would be my last.
Downhill running typically finds me tentative and cautious. Not so with the Trailfly. Feeling like a mountain goat on a wet and craggy bluff, I wasn’t even tempted to hit the brakes.
While I acknowledge that nothing (not even Graphene) lasts forever, my love for this shoe will. And like true love, the inov-8 Trailfly G270 V2 might be hard to find, especially in the United States. However, this minor hurdle is one I’ll gladly jump over to keep my closet well-stoked with my new favorite trail shoe.
- Heel-toe drop: 0 mm
- Weight: 9.5 oz (270 gm)
- Suggested retail price: $170
Additional articles featuring inov-8 can be found here.