inov-8 Trail Talon 290 V2 Shoe Review

inov-8 TRAIL TALON 290 V2

TRAIL TALON 290 (8mm drop) is one of my favourite all-round trail shoes of all-time, the previous incarnations were always a ‘go-to’ for everyday running and when travelling, they were the perfect shoe to take as they managed to cover a multitude of uses, be that road, hard trail, rocks and yes, even some mud and very soft-ground.

The new version of TRAIL TALON, named TRAIL TALON 290 V2 is all that the previous incarnation was with a new upper.

The plus side from the off, is the new TRAIL TALON 290 V2 has that all important 8mm drop that is great for everyday use, not too low and too high. Therefore, it’s perfect for those longer days.

The outsole has 4mm lugs with a classic configuration, the TRAIL TALON 290 V2 is very much a dry trail/ mountain shoe that can handle a little sloppy stuff if required.

The TRAIL TALON 290 V2 is wide (fit 4 – Shoes with the higher numbers on our scale will suit athletes with a wider foot and those wanting that extra comfort in the toe box) and it has plenty of room and it allows the toes to move and splay just as in the previous model but not at the loss of a secure feel and reassurance when on more technical trail.

When running long your toes have room to move and should you be prone to swelling, the shoes have room for the foot to expand. This ‘standard fit’ is something that inov-8 have worked on and by contrast, some shoes in the inov-8 range can be purchased on ‘precision’ fit which offers a tighter and narrower toe box. The TRAIL TALON V2, when running on long, flat and consistent terrain excel with a plush ride, great return in the push-off phase and all-day comfort.

The 6mm POWER FOOTBED and TWO PIECE POWERFLOW midsole provide a cushioned ride with 1imm at the front and 19mm at the rear.  This only adds to the thoughts of inov-8 that the TRAIL TALON is a long-distance shoe, if going out for a long session or a day in the mountains, the Trail Talon 290 V2 would be ideal. Also, ideal if running a multi-day race like Marathon des Sables or similar. The higher drop allows more leeway and flexibility and I must add that the TRAIL TALON 290 V2 is a superb shoe to walk in. This is really important for those who are running long or doing multi-day races. Often, shoes are tested just running with no consideration of how the shoe transitions to a change of gait when walking. For me, the TRAIL TALON 290 is one of the best run shoes I have used when walking, the transition is seamless and comfortable no doubt attributable to the ADAPTERFIT met-cradle for better mid-foot comfort.

I am always wary of buzz words like ‘Powerflow’ and ‘Adapterfit’ as in real terms they can mean nothing. Breaking the words down, the TRAIL TALON 290 V2 has great cushioning and great mid-foot comfort.

When running, the feel of the shoe and the comfort level is high. In the 290 has a great ‘feel’ for the ground despite the extra comfort, really important for me, I never want to lose that connection with the surface I am running on.

As in the previous 290, the TRAIL TALON 290 V2 incorporates the unique on-the-shoe gaiter attachment so that should you require a Gaiter you can purchase the item separately and attach/ de-attach with ease.

The lacing system and a gusseted tongue are winners contributing to the great out-of-the-box comfort. I have been saying this for ages, but a gusseted tongue just makes sense; It helps hold the foot in place, it stops the tongue moving and sliding to the left or right as you run and maybe most importantly it adds an additional protection to stop debris entering the shoe.

The lacing is added ‘on to’ the shoe by what effectively is a folded plastic layer. This works so well as it allows the shoes to be laced tightly or loosely as required but it also allows the front to swell within the shoe.

Toe protection on the shoe is good but not ridiculous. The heel box is snug, cushioned, holds the foot well and caused no rubbing on long sessions, even when walking.

Grip is compromised on any muddy trails but then again, the TRAIL TALON 290 V2 is not intended for this type of terrain, you are much better looking at a Mudclaw or similar which is designed for specific off-road and muddy use.

The key change and hence the V2 title; the upper. It is lighter and more breathable without a compromise to durability. Recently, inov-8 have had some complaints re upper durability but here in the 290 V2 I have no complaints. I have put 150-miles in them on a mixture of terrain and the shoes are holding up really well, both the upper and outsole.

Finally, the TRAIL TALON 290 V2 is gladly very similar to the previous incarnation and for that I am very happy. Often a brand feels the need to tweak a shoe looking for constant improvement when in reality, what they had was already fine! Gladly here, the V2 has just an upper change and that works perfectly well.

This TRAIL TALON 290 V2 was a winner before and it still is. I would go as far to say, that it is inov-8’s best shoe. It is most certainly the best all-rounder and if you were looking for one pair of trail shoes to handle many scenarios, the 290 V2 is perfect.

Specs from inov-8 (web here)

  • Iconic inov-8 rubber outsoles with multi-directional claw-shaped 4mm studs, each with a wide contact area, allow the quick release of debris and provide unrivalled grip and stability over rocky terrain.
  • The two-piece POWERFLOW midsole, constructed from two compounds – one designed to optimize comfort and the other to maximize energy return – delivers 10% better shock absorption and 15% better energy return than standard midsoles. An inbuilt Dynamic Fascia Band (DFB) mimics the “Windlass Effect”, delivering a kick of energy with each step, helping you run faster more efficiently.
  • An 8mm drop offers comfort, while new highly durable lightweight upper materials offer breathability and protection. Built around the natural anatomic structure of the foot, the next generation ADAPTERFIT met-cradle adapts to the natural movement and swelling of the foot on longer runs.
  • An External Heel Cage (EHC) wraps around the rear of the shoe and provides support in the heel – aiding foot stability and helping maintain a better gait when fatigued.
  • The new upper features extended welded TPU overlays and a rubber toe bumper to protect the foot from sharp rocks and stones. On-the-shoe gaiter hooks allow you to attach an ALL TERRAIN GAITER for additional protection, keeping loose debris out of the shoe.

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Episode 180 – Christmas Show with Speedgoat Karl, Zach Bitter and Beth Pascall

Episode 180 of Talk Ultra brings you our Christmas Show and three in-depth chats with Speedgoat Karl all about 100’s. Setting a 100-mile WR with Zach Bitter and an incredible 2019 with Beth Pascall.
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00:01:28 SPEEDGOAT KARL talks about winning 42 100-mile races.
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01:14:00 ZACH BITTER discusses his amazing 100-mile world record.
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02:14:00 BETH PASCALL talk about her amazing 2019 running Western States, UTMB and victory at Ultra Trail Capetown.
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Watch ‘WRATH‘ featuring Damian Hall and Beth Pascall HERE
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DEATH and TAXES and RUNNING INJURIES

Pleasure to provide the images to accompany the words of David Roche for the article, ‘Death and Taxes and Running Injuries’

for Trail RUNNER Mag

It’s easy to idealize running.

Frolicking through forests! Jumping over rocks and bounding down mountains! On a training plan, the miles come so easily. But that’s not reality.

As a coach, I try to never lose sight of that fact. It’s so easy to write down “8 mile run” and not think about what that actually entails. That’s more than 10,000 steps, each one with significantly more impact forces than walking, each one with the potential to go horribly wrong. That training log entry seems simple, but it’s asking an athlete to do something that many people can’t do in the first place.

Our heads may be up in the clouds, but our bodies are on the ground, and they can feel the pounding. The process of building up endurance risks breakdown with each step. Running is a lot like life in that way. Every day that passes brings us one day closer to the ultimate breakdown.

What can we do in the face of our own fragility? We can keep moving forward.

That sounds melodramatic. I promise this article will not be too serious. But it is important to understand that we get running injuries for the same reasons that we die—our bodies are only capable of so many miles, even if our brains can expand to encompass infinity. Just as life requires death to have meaning, so too do runners have to get injured for the miles to be more than numbers in a training log.

So let’s celebrate the whole journey, including the parts that might be less fun to talk about. Let’s talk injuries.

Read the full article HERE

Trail RUNNER Mag HERE

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adidas Terrex Two Boa Shoe Review

I have used adidas shoes for many years both in road and trail versions, Adizero Adios were a personal favourite and recently I enjoyed using the Skychaser based on the laces and the excellent Continental outsole.

The Terrex range which is basically the outdoor/ trail running line of adidas really has some excellent products, so, when I was sent a pair of TERREX TWO BOA to test I was intrigued and interested.

The BOA® system (more info HERE) has been around many years. I actually first used the Boa fastening system on cycling shoes and to this day, I still do; it is my preferred method for fastening. Trail running, I used a pair of The North Face shoes way back in 2008 and recent years I have seen the system used in running packs, inov8-8 and Raidlight have used the fastening system in many products.

So, the BOA system for the new adidas really had me interested.

THE SHOE

First off, the Terrex Two Boa is a great looking shoe, it comes in several colour options, but the black/white version I have on test is my favorite. The BOA system sticks out on the side of the shoe with the very obvious fastening dial, it is the USP of the shoe. If you are new to BOA, the system works by one lace threaded through the shoe. Press the BOA button and you engage the ‘lock’ system, turn the dial and the lace pulls tight. The more you turn, the tighter the laces become. To release, you pull the BOA button, and this works like a quick-release and the lace immediately becomes lose.

The shoe is 5mm drop and cushioned with 19.5mm at the front and 24.5mm at the rear of EVA. The drop is a great compromise and sits in a nice middle ground, however, I wonder why adidas chose 5mm instead of the more obvious 4mm?

The upper is seamless mesh with TPU overlays and is extremely comfortable. The heel box is plush, comfortable and holds securely. The toe box is very wide – very wide! So, if you need wide shoes, the Terrex Two Boa should be on your list to check out, it is one of the widest shoes I have used.

The outsole is by the German company Continental™(more info HERE) who are famous for making car and cycling tires. The outsole is one of the stars of the adidas Terrex range – it has incredible grip in the dry and wet. In my opinion, it is one of the best outsoles. The Terrex Two Boa has a classic ‘trail’ outsole that is designed for trails without too much mud.

IN USE

As I said, the Terrex Two Boa is a great looking shoe. Slipping the shoe on you immediately feel how comfortable the upper is and how cushioned the shoe is. They feel like slippers. You also notice how wide the toe box is. Engaging the BOA system, I tightened the lace by turning the dial and when I felt I had the appropriate tension on my instep I stopped.

I always use any run shoe in my apartment for one day to get a feel of the shoe. My immediate thoughts on the Terrex Two Boa was comfy, cushioned and excellent grip. However, with the wide toe box, I found that I wanted to add more and more tension to the lace to hold my foot secure. But once tightened, the BOA system never comes lose. A great plus.

On my first run which is on a classic 8-mile loop that includes a little of everything – mud, trail, dry single-track, stones, rocks, climbs, descents and also 2-miles of road, I was impressed with the shoe. They are really comfortable. The cushioning provides a nice bounce without losing a feel for the ground below. The Continental™ grip is really great – it grips everything and on rocks it is superb, be they wet or dry. It is a reassuring outsole.

Midway through the run I decided that I didn’t have my laces tight enough. There were two reasons for this:

  1. When the trail was technical, and I was changing direction, my foot was moving inside the shoe. This is not good!
  2. The toe box is wide, and I think maybe a little too wide for me. But to compensate for such a wide toe box, I needed to make the laces tighter. To hold my foot secure.

So, I turned the dial, the laces tightened, and they immediately felt better. On all runs that followed, I made sure I really tightened my laces to the maximum. It made my runs so much more pleasurable.

As a trail shoe, the Terrex Two Boa worked exceptionally well. It handled everything on my normal trail/ test loop and the mile of road at the beginning and the end was extremely comfortable. It would be a great ‘jack of all trades’ shoe.

PROS and CONS

The USP of the shoe is the BOA system and this may well put some people off immediately – does it over complicate something that doesn’t need to be complicated? One thing is for sure, break a lace when out running or racing and you are screwed… But the laces rarely break, however, the chance it can happen may be enough for some.

I often like to adjust my laces (I have a high instep) so that I can have good tension at the bottom and the top of the lacing section, but a little lose towards the top. With BOA there is no option for this. Turn the dial and it tightens as one.

I personally found the toe box so wide I wanted to really have the laces tight. However, once really tight I enjoyed the shoes. If trails were rocky and technical, I would prefer to use a shoe that had a precision fit. The Terrex Two Boa just had too much room for me. BUT for long-distance trail runs, the shoe is really comfortable. The toe box allows their toes to splay and the cushioning provides great comfort.

The Continental™ grip is a winner but if you are going in mud, you need a more aggressive outsole.

CONCLUSION

There is a great deal to like in the Terrex Two Boa. It is a great ‘all-rounder’ and as such I can see this really appealing to runners who are transitions from road to trail and need something that can handle a little of everything. If you have wide feet, check these out, they may well be the shoe you have been looking for. The looks of the shoe are great, and the outsole is excellent, the upper comfortable and has no hot spots. The BOA system works really well and only you can decide if the system is something that you can use and be happy with. I personally love the system, it works really well, once tightened it doesn’t come loose and when you have finished a run, you just pull the dial and you can slip the shoes off. The downsides are the lack of ability to adjust tension at different points – they are either tight or loose. The other aspect, although I had no issues or worries, if the lace breaks, you need to send the shoes away to be fixed.

FINAL THOUGHT

The Terrex Two Boa for me is a great shoe that I can use for pretty much any run, be that road or trail. It’s a perfect travel shoe when you may be compromised on space and just need a shoe that can handle a little of everything. For those runners who don’t want to spend a great deal of money on shoes and have a specific shoe for trail, road, mountain and say sand for example, then the Terrex Two Boa would be a great option as a one shoe does all. The price is good too at £109 rrp – BUT, they are wide and for many runners, they may well be too wide?

What adidas say:

“Feel the flow and discover your potential on any terrain in these trail running shoes. Built with a breathable mesh upper, the shoes have a thick midsole cushioning that delivers long-range comfort for off-road training and competition. They feature a Boa® Closure System that offers unmatched adjustability and security to meet the demands of rigorous trail use. A grippy Continental™ Rubber outsole holds the trail in all conditions, wet or dry.”

Terrex shoe range HERE and HERE (female)

Terrex clothing range HERE and HERE (female)

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Trail Relays – a new concept

Ragnar Relays by Salomon
We are excited to announce Ragnar Trail Relays presented by Salomon — the world’s first overnight trail relay series.

 

It’s time to go off-road on some of nation’s most majestic trails. Each stop in the trail relay series features a two-day outdoor adventure as teams run looped trails at national parks and outdoor resort venues. Each race has a central location where runners will take off with staggered start times, run one of three loops of varying difficulty, then return to handoff to their next teammate. That central area, called Ragnar Village, will feature a Salomon and Suunto tent where runners can check out the latest trail running gear, including shoes, outdoor watches, apparel and hydration packs, and get trail running tips from Salomon pro staff. Suunto is Ragnar Trail Relay’s official timing sponsor and sister brand to Salomon, and will manage the race start and finish times at each event. Teams will typically finish the 120-ish mile course in 20 hours on average.

“Our passion for trail running drives us to grow the sport,” says Ashley Williams, vice president of marketing at Amer Sports Americas. “Yet as we continue to develop products, one thing stands out as a key to this growth– team. Now, by combining the trail running expertise of Salomon and Suunto with the team bonding of Ragnar, everyone wins.”

Ragnar Trail Relays will debut April 26-27 at the Zion Ponderosa Ranch near Zion National Park, Utah. Additional 2013 calendar dates include:

• April 26-27, Zion Ponderosa Ranch (Zion National Park, Utah)

• June 7-8, Big Bear Lake (Morgantown, West Virginia)

• July 26-27, Sierra at Tahoe (Lake Tahoe, California)

• August 23-24, Snowbasin (Huntsville, Utah)

• October 18-19, McDowell Mountain (Scottsdale, AZ)

• November 15-16, Vail Lake Resort (Temecula, California)

You can register at www.ragnartrail.com