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Trail Shoes

The World’s First Graphene-Enhanced Midsole: Inov-8 Trailfly Ultra G 300 Max

The Inov-8 Trailfly Ultra is the first shoe that uses stronger-than-steel Graphene its midsole foam, and the result is long-lasting cushioning that holds up over the burliest of trails.

Inov-8 Trailfly Ultra G 300 Max Review 

With a firm, protective and seemingly-indestructible midsole foam and an equally stalwart outsole, the Trailfly Ultra G 300 Max is a well-tooled, dependable trainer that fares well on a wide variety of surfaces. Our testers appreciated the versatility and durability and recommend the shoe for those who favor a protective ride over lightweight, minimalist flexibility.

Specs

Weight 10.6 oz (300g) M
Stack Heights 25mm heel / 19mm forefoot
Offset 6 mm drop
Price $190

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Inov-8 Trailfly Ultra G 300 Max
Inov-8 Trailfly Ultra G 300 Max (Photo: 101 Degrees West)

What’s New

This is an all-new shoe from Inov-8 and the novelty is found in the G-Fly midsole foam, enhanced with Graphene — the world’s strongest and thinnest material, 200 times stronger than steel. Graphene is credited with delivering 25% more energy return and increasing the longevity of the midsole due to its resistance to compacting and compression, thus retaining its resilience for longer. This stretches out the Trailfly’s life, not to mention the length of running comfort and springiness of users’ legs. The rugged outsole also uses Graphene-Grip rubber for outstanding durability and traction.

To offset the firmness of the Trailfly Ultra’s G-Fly midsole, Inov-8 deployed deep flex grooves, helping the shoe adapt and react to uneven footing. The largest one that bisects the midfoot they’re calling an “Adapter-Flex groove” and it allows for decoupling the forefoot movement from the rearfoot. Grooves running the length of the wide forefoot let the midsole flex and wrap around underfoot obstacles. 

This Is the Shoe for You If …

You want a shoe that holds up well during long runs and over time, that holds your foot securely, and that holds its own on almost any surface. While the Trailfly Ultra G 300 Max isn’t the lightest or most nimble on the market, it doesn’t try to be a minimalist platform. Rather, it is a hard-charging, stable, all-terrain shoe that delivers a surprisingly connected ride, gets you through most anything, and will be there for the distance — any distance you want to throw its way.

Inov-8 Trailfly Ultra G 300 Max
Inov-8 Trailfly Ultra G 300 Max (Photo: 101 Degrees West)

First Runs

“Super stable shoes that I feel I could take on almost any trail adventure and be pleased with their performance” is how one tester characterized these hard-charging all-terrain trainers. While the initial impression is one of heaviness, the weight soon disappears because of the resilient midsole action and protective cushioning. The same is true for the tough ruggedness of the upper and the sole, which quickly transformed from feeling a bit like a foot-encasing hiking boot on step-in, to a stable, adaptive and surprisingly nimble runner that, despite the unprecedented midsole thickness, delivers much of Inov-8’s famed feel for the trail.  

“I didn’t expect to like them but I did! Really good cushioning and support that pays dividends on the trails,” another test team member said.

The rebound and durability of the Graphene-enhanced foam didn’t shout at the testers, but the consistent responsiveness, protective cushioning and durable, effective outsole, with its 4mm lugs, won them over, leaving them feeling very positive about the shoe.  One raved about the “high-performance on muddy/rocky trails, terrific support and traction on steep descents.” Another team member reported that she “hit a rock at an awkward angle and I think in most shoes I’d have rolled an ankle, but these shoes kept me upright!”

The hardy upper was true to size and comfortable, although a little snug in the toe box, with a stout foot hold that helped the general stability of the Trailfly Ultra, giving a boost of confidence. Note: the laces require a double knot to keep them from untying themselves, especially when wet.

Similar Shoes

Brooks Catamount, Asics Tribuco Max, Altra Lone Peak 5, HOKA Torrent 2, TNF Flight VECTIV

How We Review Shoes

Each shoe we review is tested by a group of 6–8 experienced runners, who wear them on several runs of different distances, paces and surfaces. Our testers are equally divided between men and women, as well as in age and specialty distance, ranging from 20s to 50s, milers to marathoners to triathletes, all with considerable experience wearing a variety of running shoes, giving them the context to evaluate and compare. Testers provide subjective opinions on each shoe, describing her or his experience in the shoe and explaining why they reached their conclusions. Two editors, Adam Chase and Jonathan Beverly, who have both run in virtually every running shoe made for 20+ years, extrapolate tester information, combine it with their experience running in the shoe, and translate it in an effort to place the right shoe on the right runner. Brands provide test samples and tech details of each shoe but do not pay for reviews nor influence our evaluation.