The release of the Race Ultra 290 in 2014 (review here) showed inov-8’s intentions to appeal to the ever-expanding ultra market that run on mixed terrain for a very long time. The shoe ticked many boxes and soon became a favourite for many a runner. In particular, the ‘290’ fulfilled the one shoe does all scenario quite well. It was happy on the road, happy on hard trail and rock and adequate when the trail got muddy… admittedly, not when very muddy! It was cushioned, had that ‘sweet’ drop of 8mm and a wide toe box.
The perfect shoe?
It was certainly a shoe that many touted as perfect but what about that new breed of runner that loves a lighter and lower drop shoe?
Your prayers are answered.
Building on the success of its ISPO award-winning RACE ULTRA 290, inov-8 will launch in Spring 2015 a lighter version of the ‘290’ to give long-distance athletes an even faster weapon in their shoe armory; the Race Ultra 270.
Weighing in at just 270g (hence the name), the Race Ultra 270 is 20g lighter than the 8mm drop Race Ultra 290 and has a drop of 4mm (1-arrow.)
Designed to bring the runner closer to the terrain the 270 will provide increased levels of proprioception while not losing cushioning.
Grip will remain the same as the ‘290’ and is very much designed to accommodate road, hard trail, rocks and light mud with a mixture of soft and hard rubber. It has a flatter outsole ensuring a stable ride even when hours in the shoe increase and fatigue sets in.
Like the ‘290,’ the ‘270’ will also incorporate the unique on-the-shoe gaiter attachment so that should you require a RACE ULTRA GAITER you can purchase the item separately and attach/ de-attach with ease.
On first looks, inov-8 are taking a successful shoe (the 290), replicating it and making it appealing for those who require a lighter shoe, a little less cushioning and importantly, a lower drop. The two prototype colour ways look really impressive and in particular we really like the look of the men’s colour. Four colours will be available, two for men and two for ladies.
The shoe is flexible (you can fold it in half) and has a ‘Meta-Shank’ that aligns with ones individual metatarsals. This Meta-Shank helps provide energy without loosing impact protection. Lightweight, the combination of good lacing, a gusseted tongue and a wide toe box (standard fit) all combine together to make the ‘270’ a real ‘one to look at’ for those looking for a door-to-trail shoe.
Door-to-trail is a buzzword at the moment and brands such as Salomon, The North Face and others are looking to capture this market. inov-8 with two offerings at 8mm and 4mm drop will certainly cover the bases and provide two important options. Importantly, it will also allow a nice stepping-stone for those looking to drop from 8mm to 4mm.
Initial feedback from a couple of runs confirms that if you liked the ‘290’ then you are going to like the ‘270.’ In use they certainly feel lighter, a little more responsive and most importantly comfortable. Due to the standard fit (wide at the front) you may want to try your normal shoe size and a half size smaller to make sure you have the correct fitting shoe.
A full review of the Race Ultra 270 (men’s and ladies) will follow in February 2015. We now need to go and rack up some miles in them… Niandi says, ‘Les nouveaux bébés de Inov8.’ I think that means she is excited to try them out!
Suggested retail price: ￡110 (110 UK pounds)
Contact inov-8 HERE