The Terraultra stats read very differently to many of the other inov8 shoes. Although still designed for running on paths and trails the fit and cushioning really stand out. With a wide fit, 12mm midsole stack and zero drop it’s certainly an interesting setup. The extra wide fit and plush levels of cushioning are ideal for running ultra-distances on mixed terrain.
I will admit to being a bit skeptical of the performance before trying the Terraultra G 270 out with the size and chunky look being very different to my normal choice of inov8 trail and fell running shoes. However, after testing them on everything from 5km sprints through to a couple of ultra-distances I confirm that these are now a firm favourite, especially for hard packed surfaces. They are the most comfortable shoe I’ve run in for some time and although I didn’t expect them to be particularly good for short, fast runs I have set new 5km and 10km PB’s while wearing them in recent months. I still chose other shoes over them when the terrain is more technical or wet and muddy for example, but for a hard-packed, general trails these are spot on.
As with the rest of the G Series shoes, the graphene-enhanced rubber on the soles is outstanding. Personally, the most noticeable aspect of the sole is durability. Where I would have expected to see some of the rubber lugs wearing thin after the amount of km’s I’ve covered in them on hard surfaces there is still very little sign of wear which is a huge improvement. The grip is really good but I’ve never found any of the trail running shoes from inov8 to be anything less than really grippy. The size and shape of the lugs are certainly ideal for the harder packed ground rather than anything soft and wet but that’s to be expected.
Additional grooves in the sole allow the shoe to flex more than usual so despite the thick foam the grip is still very good. These extra grooves act in several ways to improve performance, they improve the agility and increase the level of grip whilst also acting as water dispersion channels when the ground is particularly wet. With a 4mm lug depth that’s pretty standard for most inov8 shoes which proves this is going to provide a good level of grip. Grip has never been an issue when used on any trails or paths so far and they have been used in a range of conditions, from pouring rain to occasional sunshine.
The Powerflow Max foam used in the soles provides serious levels of cushioning and comfort which again, is perfect for the punishment your feet and joints get when running ultra-distances on harder surfaces. Despite the impressive levels of cushioning provided by the foam I have not noticed a lack of responsiveness compared to my usual shoe choices. You don’t get the same feel for the terrain as you do with X-Talons or Roclite’s but that is to be expected with the depth of the sole.
The breathability of the Terra’s is fantastic. Throughout the summer these shoes have felt light, airy and comfortable and this has been brilliant in warmer weather when covering longer distances. The breathable feel is offset by a lack of resistance to water coming in and wet grass is enough to wet socks quickly. Although some people may be put off by the lack of water resistance, if worn with the right socks (thin synthetic have worked best for me), they are able to dry out really well where thicker fabrics or waterproof lined shoes would hold on to moisture for a significantly longer amount of time. For off road running and hiking in warmer conditions this is definitely worth the trade off in my opinion.
Although these shoes are primarily designed for runners there is certainly enough versatility to wear them for hiking and fast-packing adventures too. The width and cushioning are well suited to long days on your feet carrying a pack and despite only managing to use them on a couple of shorter overnight trips due to the current situation I wouldn’t hesitate on using them on longer trips if the conditions were on the warmer side. The Graphene-Grip works well on most terrain you’d normally encounter on bridleways, footpaths and trails in the hills and mountains of the UK.