inov-8 TERRAULTRA G270 Review

I first got a hold of the original TERRAULTRA 2-years ago, the G260. It was a groundbreaking shoe for inov-8 not only introducing a zero-drop shoe to the brands line-up but also paving the way for Graphene technology.

A great deal has happened in the past 2-years with Graphene appearing in more and more inov-8 shoes but interestingly no other zero drop shoes have been added to the line-up.

The TERRAULTRA G260 was warmly welcomed, particularly by any trail runner using Altra who now had a zero-drop alternative now available with a brand who really know how to make off-road shoes from a long history in the fells of the UK.

Now, the G260 has been updated and we welcome the TERRAULTRA G270.

On first glance, it could look like the same shoe. That green colour is somewhat distinctive! However, one does not need to look longer to see some immediate significant changes.

The upper, the lacing, the outsole and the cushioning all sort of look the same but they are not.

In the words on inov-8:

  • Graphene outsole has 4mm deep cleats all now armed with dispersion channels and rubber dimples to give better grip on wet and dry trails. Cleats are repositioned in key areas and flex grooves fine-tuned for agile sticky traction that lasts longer.
  • Cushioning is a new POWERFLOW MAX that has been increased by 3mm for a plush ride, improved cushioning and double the durability. A BOOMERANG insole apparently will increase energy return by 20 and 40% respectively over the previous model.
  • The upper has ADAPTERFIT which adjusts to the foot and the use of stronger materials will add to durability and protection.

The Shoe

With a fit scale of 5, this is as wide as you can go in an inov-8 shoe, So, toe splay and room at the front end comes no better.

Cushioning is 12mm front and rear providing a zero drop. Using POWERFLOW MAX.

The footbed is 6mm and the lug depth of the outsole is 4mm made of Graphene grip.

It G270 has the necessary points to attach a trail gaiter.

At 270g (UK8) the new TERRAULTRA is 10g heavier than the previous version.

Sizing is true to size BUT take into consideration the wider toe box, maybe (?) a half-size smaller would be better. I always use EU44/ UK9.5 and these were ideal for me.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

The G270 is light and it’s clear to see some of the immediate improvements over the previous version. The lacing is flatter, the tongue is different, the upper is different, the toe box protection is increased, and the shoes have the flagship Graphene outsole that looks very different.

Zero drop is NOT for everyone, so, what makes the G270 great for some also make the G270 potentially unusable for others. This is not a negative comment, it’s just a heads-up to say, that if you have not used zero drop before, don’t be tempted to get the G270 and start racking miles up… You will almost certainly get sore Achilles, calf and potentially get injured. Like barefoot running, zero drop running needs to be learnt and the body needs to adapt. Typically, 6-months would be a good transition period. However, some zero-drop running (initially short periods) is great for improving run form, so, the G270 could be a nice new weapon in your shoe line-up?

If zero drop is your thing, then you will already have a big smile on your face.

Following on from the G260, the G270 has a wide toe box that echoes what brands like Altra have been doing for years. Toe splay is king and the G270 has loads of room for that. I had issues with the G260 in that I always felt I had too much room, the room at the front was made worse by the upper and lacing system not holding my foot how I wanted to compensate for the additional width, space and foot movement.

Slipping the G270 on I was initially worried, the space in the toe box was as much if not a little more than the previous version. However, as soon as I adjusted and tightened the laces, I immediately noticed significant changes. The tongue was a much better fit. The lacing was great improved, and I could really adjust the tension from top to bottom. The ADAPTERFIT pulled in holding my foot. Walking around immediately felt 100% better than the G260. My foot was being held reassuringly.

The upper is far more breathable that the G260.

The cushioning and bounce were notable and the outsole at this stage left me with many questions.

IN USE

The G260 was a little lifeless and felt flat. The G270 immediately felt different with a couple of miles on the road before hitting the trails. So, this was already a great improvement.

With META-FLEX at the front, the propulsive phase felt really good no doubt added to with the insole that inov-8 say increases energy return by 40%. I definitely felt some bounce, but 40% more?

The cushioning was noticeable, particularly over the G260 as was the zero drop. I use zero drop shoes occasionally, but always prefer 4/5mm for faster and more technical running and if going long, 8mm works perfect for me. So, considering the G270 is designed for long-distance running, zero drop would be a challenge for me.

The wide toe box still feels mega wide (too wide for me) BUT the lacing and ADAPTERFIT allowed me to compensate for the room at the front by tightening appropriately. However, I did fine once or twice I over-tightened the laces only having to stop and loosen them a little.

The transition from road to gravel trail was seamless and comfortable. The TERRAULTRA is an out and out ultra-shoe designed for trails that are more groomed, say Western States in the USA or UTMB in Europe. So hard packed single-track felt really good in the G270, equally rocky and stoney ground felt good.

Running up hill surprised me. The META-FLEX allowed for great flexibility and propulsion, but it was the outsole that really gripped. A massive improvement over the G260.

I have to say, I have not always been a fan with the addition of Graphene. At times, I felt it compromised the sticky outsoles and made them less grippy, albeit providing longer life. But on many occasions, for me particularly, grip is king and if it is compromised, I am not happy.

Here, in the G270 there was noticeable difference, and this was coming from just 4mm lugs.

The test of course would really come when I threw in some mud and wet rock.

Gladly, mud (loads of it) rocks, tree routes, climbs, descents, wooden planks, forests and yes, a little fire trail all make up my daily and local runs. So, throwing the G270 in the thick of things was easy to do. And yes, I was being unfair as I actively searched out and aimed for steep rocks with water on them and I aimed for every puddle and sloppy mud I could.

I was impressed.

At times, I would think to myself, almost wanting the G270 outsole to fail;

‘This will get them… wait for the slip!’

But the slip never came, especially on dry and wet rock. On a 3-hour run, as the minutes clicked by, I started to relax more and more and eventually stopped worrying and asking;

‘Will the G270 grip here?’

They did, at all times provide me with the grip I required.

Surprisingly, in really sloppy mud, I did not slip or move as I had expected. Partially due to the fact that I did apply the brakes a little and respect the conditions.

Technical trail is where the G270 shows some flaws. The wider toe box lacks precision, allows one’s toes to move and therefore I felt that there was just ‘too much’ shoe to navigate between rocks, roots, stones and a plethora of other obstacles. But of course, I am being unfair! The G270 is designed for less technical trails, long hours and all-day comfort – that they do really well!

The shoes are responsive and do work well when running fast. However, the wide toe box, zero drop and cushioning do make them feel a little like a saloon car… Plenty of room, comfy seats, and can get the miles done. But I craved a more performance car at times with more precision, tighter handling and a little more fire and daring, especially when coming of road, fire trails or single-track.

The cushioning was plush and considering it is only 12mm, it felt like more. Especially noticeable extra comfort over the 9mm G260 which also was a little hard and lifeless. One thing to note, I found on tree routes and some stones, I could feel them in the bottom of my foot, so protection from obstacles is minimal. The toe box though has a good bumper and that worked really well.

The heel box was noticeably secure on the flat and going uphill, I had little to no slippage.

SUMMARY

Damian Hall just ran 260-miles on the Pennine Way in the G270 and set a new FKT, so, that gives some indication of the intended use of this shoe. Having said that, the Pennine Way is not all single-track and wonderful cruising trail, so, the shoe can handle the rough stuff too.

I was impressed by how versatile the 4mm Graphene outsole worked. There has been some significant improvement over the G260 and in the Graphene outsole in general.

The upper, lacing and tongue now really hold the foot and that for me is essential, especially with such a wide toe box. The toe box is one of the key selling points of this shoe. It allows toe splay, plenty of room and flexibility for a foot to swell wider with accumulated miles.

The cushioning increased from 9mm (G260) to 12mm for the G270 is noticeable. More importantly, the G270 now has life, the G260 felt a little dead.

CONCLUSION

The G270 is a marked improvement over the G260, so, if you liked the previous model you are going to love the latest incarnation.

Zero drop and a wide toe box will be exactly what some people are looking for and they will have a big smile on their face. For me, and this of course is very personal, I can’t run in zero for hours and hours and I feel that the toe box is a little roomier than it needs to be.

So, imagine a Trail Talon 290 made like a TERRAULTRA G270 – slightly narrower toe box (4 fit) 8mm drop; 11mm and 19mm cushioning and this Graphene outsole – that would be a winning shoe IMO. (inov-8 take note)

The G270 is a winning shoe and all packaged perfectly for ultra-distance runner who needs grip, cushioning and comfort for the long-haul out on the trails. It would even make a great road shoe if required.

For multi-day adventures, such as Marathon des Sables, just like the Trail Talon, the G270 would be really excellent.

Get the TERRAULTRA G270 at inov-8 HERE

If technical trail and mud is your thing, this is not the best shoe for that, however, it can handle it remarkably well, so, if you only wanted one trail shoe (with zero drop) to do all, the G270 would be ideal. By contrast, if you wanted a one-stop trail shoe with 8mm drop, I recommend the Trail Talon 290.

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SCOTT KINABALU RC 2.0 – FIRST LOOK

The all new SCOTT Kinabalu RC 2.0 is built for SPEED.

Run faster on rolling trails, forests and parks with Its innovative traction design.

Hybrid TractionKinetic FoamInternal Fit System

Get ya sunglasses out, the new SCOTT KINABALU RC 2.0 is here! Boy are these shoes bright. Of course, the colour will divide opinion, some will love the look, and some will hate, they well be a Marmite shoe, but ultimately for me, it’s only a colour. Any good trail shoe should be covered in mud in a couple of runs, and then the shoe really takes on character.

Scott since 2012 have really made huge progress with their run shoes, in particular, the biggest transformations have come in the last 4-years with the ever-changing development of the ‘Kinabalu’ shoe.

This development has also gone in line with the ‘Black and Yellow’ apparel look and the ‘Traction Matters’ tagline.

I have to say, the ‘look’ of Scott on the trail is one of the best in my opinion. It’s classy, desirable and completely identifiable – I see black and yellow, and I know it is Scott. 

The latest addition the line-up is the SCOTT KINABALU RC 2.0.

It’s easy to see the development of ‘this’ model if one looks at the last 2-years of Scott’s shoe development. The ‘RC’ shoe concept has become hugely popular and I have to say, this latest incarnation really is a highlight. 

The RC range is roughly broken down to four categories:

  • Mountain Speed
  • Mountain Ultra
  • Trail Speed
  • Road Speed

THE SHOE

Bold, brash and loud, Scott are making a statement here and quite simply, this shoe will be immediately identifiable on the trail. There is no hiding. If you are going to stand out like this, you better have the ‘goods’ to back up the looks. The SCOTT KINABALU RC 2.0 does not disappoint.

Scott have not always made the lightest shoes; this shoe is a welcome departure weighing 260g for a UK9.5. Sizing is true to size, to clarify, I always use UK9.5 and this should allow a thumb nail of space above my big toe – the RC 2.0 is perfect. 

The toe box has room and allows toe splay without compromising foot hold, this is particularly noticeable when running technical trail.

The outsole has the now classic RC look which was specifically developed by Scott and their athletes. The outsole has lugs that designed for trail running be that on dirt trail, single-track, gravel, grass or rock in dry and wet conditions. However, the outsole is not aggressive enough for muddy conditions.

The upper is seamless and is noticeably a departure from other RC editions that Scott have produced. The upper is lighter with more breathability. There is reinforced section to add structure to the shoe and allow a firm hold. The toe box has a good bumper for rocky and gnarly conditions and will provide adequate protection in most scenarios. The heel box is cushioned, holds the foot well. The tongue is ‘free’ and does not have a sock-liner fit. That is a disappointment for me – Integrated tongues nearly always provide me with a much better feeling and more secure hold. Having said this, the RC 2.0 holds my foot really well. Lacing is pretty standard, nothing new here and no real surprises. The cushioning of the shoe is notable. I really feel comfort in these shoes without losing feel for the ground and the shoes have ‘life,’ something that was missing at times in previous Scott shoes. Drop is 3mm so designed for an efficient runner.

In a nutshell, this is Scott’s best shoe so far. 

IN USE 

The shoe has speed written all over it, but it is not at the expense of comfort. It’s a trail shoe that would work amazingly well on any run when conditions are not too muddy. The outsole has grip but it’s classic ‘trail grip’ and not UK mud grip – for example.

RC 2.0 will also be a fantastic mountain running shoe, especially in skyrunning (for example) when the transition from trail and rock is constant and of course, snow or ice may make an appearance.

One noticeable feature was how well the RC 2.0 feels on the road. It’s too early to say what impact on the outsole road running would have, but in regard to comfort, I had no issues. I am sure Scott would not recommend the RC 2.0 as a road running shoe, but ‘road sections’ can appear in any run, it’s good to know that comfort is there. The Kinetic Foam kicks in here.

There is little not to like about the RC 2.0 and for sure, I would say that past Scott RC users are going to love this shoe – it’s a lighter, faster, cushioned and more responsive shoe than previous incarnations. If you are a Salomon Sense fan and are looking for a change, I would immediately recommend trying out the Kinabalu RC 2.0. The Salomon and Scott have very different feels, but I draw comparisons. Notably, those who wanted to use a ‘Sense’ but found them too narrow will be pleased with the RC 2.0’s wider toe box.

Scott say, “We recommend it for any sort of speed workouts, fast running sessions, and non-technical mountain races up to marathon distance.”

HOW DO THEY FEEL

Well, light! That was my first reaction, particularly after testing and using previous Scott shoes. I was immediately impressed by the feel the shoes gave, even on a first run. I had a cushioned ride but still with a real feel for the ground. The grip is spot on in wet and dry conditions. I had no issues at all other than being caught on a very muddy steep hill after heavy rain, then, I was sliding all over the place. No surprise really as the lugs are just not long enough.

There are little negatives with the RC 2.0, but I did have two points of question. The lacing holes for me feel as though they could have been spaced better? I actually think an additional eyelet would have been beneficial. It’s a personal thing. Also, on my right foot I found that I constantly had a slight tight spot when I tied my laces. I tried many configurations and options but could not eradicate it? I didn’t have this with my left foot, so, I should add here that this maybe more to do with my right foot than the shoe. Just worth noting. 

CONCLUSION

This is Scott’s best shoe so far in my opinion. I have seen and witnessed the evolution of ‘Kinabalu’ and ‘RC’ over the past years and although they always came close to greatness, there was always just a little missing. With the RC 2.0 the main points of: 

  • Comfort
  • Lightness
  • Traction
  • Feel

Are all there and I can ask no more from a shoe.

This is a fast shoe and depending on the runner and ability, the RC 2.0 is great for a 5km blast, a classic technical skyrunning race or a trail race.

“We  started 4 years ago up high in the mountains, designing shoes to move fast over technical terrain, and the Supertrac RC was born. Then we stayed on the same mountainous environment but to run at a slower pace and for much longer. The Supertrac Ultra RC was created to deliver more comfort, protection and cushioning than its older sister. This year, we’re coming down from our mountains with the same approach. Start with a shoe designed to make you tackle more rolling and hard packed trails at faster speed. Whether it’s on flatter terrain or for mountain running races where trails are often mixed with road, Sierre Zinal being the perfect illustration of that hybrid terrain, the Kinabalu RC 2.0 will deliver.”

It’s a really versatile shoe and one thing is for sure, with that flu yellow look, it’s going to be really easy to see who is using the Kinabalu RC 2.0 in 2019 and beyond!

Do you want to be one of the lucky 10 people to win a pair of these mysterious yellow shoes?
Check out this page: https://www.scott-sports.com/kinabalu-rc

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