How do you improve an award-winning trail shoe? Do what Inov-8 has done with its TrailFly G270 V2 and boost fit, comfort and durability…

Inov-8 TrailFly G270 V2

$170 / £150, amazon.co.uk

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Pros:

  • No-nonsense durability  
  • Fantastic grip 
  • Good for road-to-trail transitions

Cons:

  • May be firm for some runners 
  • Zero drop may not suit everyone 

Speed: 4
Stability: 5
Comfort: 5
OVERALL:

More important that picking the best running shorts is choosing the right footwear for the running you do. With its graphene-infused midsole, trademark robust durability and lightweight, speedy ride, the first-gen Inov-8 TrailFly G270 was an award-winning hit. Improving on that was never going to be easy. But Inov-8 has given it a pretty damn good go.

Thankfully, rather than big, sweeping changes for the sake of it, the second-generation, 2023 edition TrailFly sticks to smaller tweaks. But with loads of brands upping their trail shoe game, is it still a trail champ? I put the TrailFly G270 V2 through its paces to find out.  

Inov-8 TrailFly G270 V2 design

Brands love to tinker with shoes between generations. But that can be risky. Luckily for fans of the OG TrailFly, V2 is one of those upgrades that keeps all of the things we loved in the original but improves on other areas.    

See how these compare against the rest of the best trail running shoes

The biggest change is to the upper. That’s been reworked for better fit, greater comfort and longer-lasting durability. There’s a new lightweight mesh material that’s supposed to be 25% more durable than the V1 upper. Slimline tongues with better padding boost comfort on longer-haul adventures and the supportive overlay strips on the medial and lateral sides sit further back. So you now get more wiggle room and flexible breathability across the forefoot.   

Product shot of Inov8 trail shoe

The TrailFly’s zero-drop design may take some getting used to

Beyond that the formula remains untouched. The midsole features the same 22mm / 22mm, zero-drop stack of Powerflow Max foam with a 6mm TPU Boomerang insole to boost the protection and cushioning.  

The outsoles stick with the same multi-directional, 4mm graphene-enhanced G-GRIP rubber lugs. Rubber dimples here provide the all-important off-road stickiness even in the wet. The lug pattern design also helps prevent debris from sticking to the outsole and encourages water to disperse faster.  

Finally, inov-8’s familiar flex grooves across the forefoot are designed to flex with your feet. The aim: to improve underfoot responsiveness and agility by allowing your feet to mould over lumpy terrain.  

Inov-8 TrailFly G270 V2 weight, stack height and drop

The Inov-8 TrailFly G270 V2 weighs in at 9oz / 255g in a UK men’s size 8.5. They pack a pretty modest midsole stack with 22m in the heel and the forefoot for a zero-drop design.  

At $170 / £150, the TrailFly is roughly in the same ballpark as the Hoka Speedgoat 5 ($155 / £140) and the New Balance Fresh Foam X Hierro v7 ($139.99 / £145). But they’re notably cheaper than some speedy carbon plate options like the new The North Face Vectiv Pro ($250 / £225).  

After more than 200 miles in the TrailFly on a mix of terrain, at a range of paces, in wet and dry, I can safely say that if you liked the first generation TrailFly G270, you’ll love these. And if you prefer a firmer trail shoe with good ground feel, this shoe has a lot going for it. Good ground contact and directness is something I look for in a trail shoe and this fits that bill, with a firm, connected ride underfoot.    

Inov-8 TrailFly G270 V2 performance

If you’re not used to running in a zero-drop shoe, you’ll definitely notice it in the early miles but it didn’t take me long to adjust. It took some miles to break the midsoles in and warm up that foam, too, but I soon found a good balance between cushioning and control. They’re speedy, light and nimble, with a hint of road-shoe agility and an excellent high-grip outsole you can trust on most terrain.  

The extra flex in the uppers improves the roominess. If you’re OK with a firm ride over longer hours, then these have slow, easy, long trail excursion potential. The reworked tongues add to the cradling comfort you get from the padded heel collars and the TPU insoles swallow most lumps and bumps underfoot without dulling the ground connection.  

The Inov-8 TrailFly G270 V2 isn’t designed specifically for road-to-trail and it’s happiest clipping along technical trail. But for short sections on the road, it’s perfectly capable. If you need to cover a few miles to hit the trails, it’s got you covered. 

A final word on durability. These shoes are built to be robust and the combination of strong uppers, toughened graphene outsole solid construction will easily soak up north of 500 miles with no trouble. Overall, they’re a great investment if you spend time on the trails.   

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