Inov8 Terraultra G 260 Review

I used the new super green Inov8s for the GB Ultras Mt Snowdon 50 and they drew a fair amount of attention.  Note: Although they have done well in UTMB and there are a couple of reviews after 200 miles etc I am yet to find a review of how they perform for an ultra.  There are even fewer that aren’t glorified press releases from real people.  I bought my shoes and have no links to Inov8 but would be glad if they want to through my some freebies!

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All ultras are not created equal.  Likewise, shoes.  Wearing the wrong shoe for the wrong course would probably cause you to think the shoes were rubbish.  The GB Ultras Mt Snowdon 50 is a mountain ultra.  Think Dragon’s Back Day 1.  It is definitely not a trail race.  There is some ungraded scrambling and cross country, off path running and hiking.  It is probably one of the most demanding proving grounds for a shoe.  I wanted it to be comfortable and cushioned on the hard packed rocky paths and plateau of Snowdonia.  They need to grip in the boggy, wet approaches.   They need to be light and avoid hot spots which may be subjective and a function of the sock/shoe combo interface.IMG_5435

I wore those fancy Stance socks to start with and changed my socks in the late afternoon for some Hilly seamless ones.  I used Vaseline as a base but forgot to reapply at the CP when I changed socks.  I’d run 8 miles on roads to break them in.

Additionally, this was my first real ultra (I don’t count 50k – it’s a marathon where you’ve got lost), so my experience has no baseline.

With that in mind… here is the world exclusive independent review of their performance in an ultra.IMG_5433

The race starts on muddy wooded trails and through low level hill farms on the paths of the Slate Trail.  The grip was fine and mud didn’t clump and stick to the graphene!  Climbing on mountain paths they provide good grip but it was on the easy scrambles they came into their own.  I had confidence on dry, damp, wet and greasy rocks.  My descending needs a lot of work and I was surefooted.  I think I’ll be returning to improve my confidence and increase my speed.  I felt that these shoes would definitely help me overcome any doubts I had.  I even smeared, hands-free, at one point and felt really secure.  Edging they had a good level of rigidity that meant you could trust them.  I remember the climb up Pen-Yr-Ole-Wen was quite a scramble with some technical sections and I was not slowed down by the shoes only my lack of mountain goat-ness.

Across the bogs they drained quickly and were solid on wet stones – some people were complaining that they’d lost their footing several times.  Unusually for me I remained upright all day. I noticed after a particularly muddy section I’d collected a mud toe box but when dunked in a stream the mud came clean off.

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The lack of rock plate (bear in mind I’ve never used one) wasn’t too much of an issue.  You can sometimes feel the odd rock but I felt that there was enough cushioning even after 21 hours!  I also thought I didn’t have any blisters although I actually had a couple under my big toe and on the side.  The toe box is wide and roomy and the ankle is very similar.  I felt the length was standard.   I normally take a 9, 9.5 in Adidas and I have other INOV8s in a 9 and 9.5.  Try before you buy is my advice!

I used the fell shoe X-Talon 225 on the same terrain back in June and that was very aggressive and I banged my insole against rocks on several occasions. I remember only banging my foot once as the ride is much higher.  It’s not on Hoka levels but it certainly helps avoid interacting with the ground too much!

Overall, I thought they were fantastic and probably will be my primary shoe for the Dragon’s Back.

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