The British-born brand is renowned for its production of stripped back, high-gripping footwear for committed athletes wanting to run fast on all terrains. Now, as it celebrates its tenth anniversary, the company is set to explode onto the off-road apparel market with an ultra-lightweight, athletic-fitting range.
International mountain runners have tested all the new jackets, base layers, tees, tights and shorts on the UK and Europe’s most challenging trails, summits and ridges.
Team inov-8 members, a selected group of committed athletes operating at the top of their sport, are currently wearing the new clothing range at an inov-8 off road running retreat in the Alps.
Last weekend, as part of the Chamonix-based retreat, athletes competed in both the Mont Blanc Vertical Km and Mont Blanc Marathon races.
Alex Nichols, who finished seventh in a world-class marathon field, said: “The range is ultra-comfortable and lightweight.
“You can tell it has been designed with the hardcore runner in mind and features things other companies often forget – like elasticated hems and the small stuff sacks which many of the items can be packed into.
“It feels fast to run in and because it is athletic-fitting it never gets in the way of natural movement.
“It is also a really deep range so, as a runner, you are equipped with everything you need to deal with all weather conditions out on the trails and mountains.”
inov-8’s global team of athletes will continue to wear the range when competing at the head of ultra distance and sky running races across the world in 2013.
Australian inov-8 duo Shona Stephenson and Brendan Davies wore garments from the new range when finishing second woman and fifth male respectively in the 100-mile Ultra Trail Mt Fuji race in Japan.
Brendan said: “I love the new apparel range and have been wearing it at all altitudes, in all conditions and over all distances. It has stood up to all challenges.
“In keeping with the inov-8 ethos it is minimalist and lightweight, thus very fast to run in.
“The shorts are super-comfortable, while the Stormshell and Windshell jackets have tamed the weather conditions I’ve worn them in.”
Wayne Edy, inov-8 founder, added: “We are really excited about our first apparel range, which we have designed for athletes wanting to push boundaries, gain an edge and win races.
“Every fabric, seam and zip has been minutely scrutinized to ensure we deliver outstanding apparel that will allow runners to play at the extremes – and do so faster.”
Included in the range is the Race Elite Thermoshell.
The unique shell features Revershell technology, providing two insulation options. On one side there is a stitch-through design to offer body mapped breathability in key areas. On the reverse side, the stitch-through is removed, offering 10% more warmth.
Weighing in at just 260g for men and 220g for women, the Race Elite Thermoshell boasts air permeable Primaloft Sport technology on one side and a highly windproof Pertex Quantum outer fabric on the warmer reverse.
England international mountain runner and Transalpine-run stage winner Ben Abdelnoor has been part of the testing team for inov-8’s new apparel.
He said: “The clothing is super light and athletic fitting but still gives great freedom of movement.
“I’ve worked it to the extreme on gruelling mountain runs and it has stood up to all challenges.”
The lightest Race Elite Windshells in the range weigh just 70g for men and 60g for women, while there’s also a super-breathable, fully waterproof Race Elite Stormshell jacket at 150g for men and 140g for women.
Action images copyright iancorless.com
Apparel images copyright inov-8
All the Race Elite shorts, made using a four-way stretch material for ultimate comfort, boast a durable water repellent finish. Meanwhile, the base layers and short-sleeved race tops are Polygiene treated to stop odor-causing bacteria from settling into the material.