Inov-8 Race Ultra 270 First Impressions

I had been patiently awaiting the release of the Inov-8 Race Ultra 270s from the moment I first heard about them. When Inov-8 released the Race Ultra 290 I was excited to try it until I read it had an 8mm drop. To date, my go-to trail shoe has been the Inov-8 Trailroc 245 (I’ve put rougly 340 miles on them). With a 6mm footbed, and a 3mm heel to toe drop, it’s a fairly minimal trail shoe. It still has a rockplate though to protect from a direct impact. With my trail shoes having a 3mm drop, and my road shoes having a 4mm drop, I was not in the market to go with “more shoe.” Enter the Race Ultra 270. It has all of the features of the 290, making it ideal for longer distances over varied terrain, but with a 4mm drop. My intent is to use these for the Kettle Moraine 100k this June.

Here is what Inov-8 has to say about them.

The new lighter, racing version of the race ultra™ weighs in at just 270g and brings the athlete closer to the terrain with its reduced 4mm drop. Offers optimal cushioning and comfort for the long-distance athlete racing over trails and mountains, while also delivering increased levels of proprioception. A flatter outsole ensures a stable ride when fatigue sets in. Clip a race ultra™ gaiter onto inov-8’s unique on-the-shoe attachment system to ensure all debris is kept at bay.

I picked my pair up at my favorite local running store, Runwell, last weekend, and finally got to take them on a 16 mile test run on the Chubb Trail today.

IMG_2475

Before

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After

The shoes performed admirably in the myriad of conditions I encountered. Leaves, rocks, uneven frozen ground (due to terrible ruts caused by mountain bikers and horse hooves), ice, and eventually mud as temps began to rise. I ran primarily on singletrack, but there was a small stretch of road as well.

One of the most common criticism I’ve read and heard regarding Inov-8’s shoes is that they are very firm, and provide little energy return. I personally rely on the natural springs found in the body (arch, achilles, etc) to provide energy return, not my shoe. The 270s manage to provide ample cushion and protection while still feeling nimble. I was able to charge the uphills, crash the downhills, and run the flats without ever feeling like the shoes were in the way. I actually liked running the flats and harder surfaces in these better than my trailrocs. It almost felt more like a road shoe in that regard. The upper and laces have been improved. The upper appears to be far more durable than the trailroc’s cloth material, so hopefully that will be the end of tiny tears that allow debris to sneak in. The toebox is wider, and perfectly roomy for my foot. My foot felt secure, never sloppy, and the laces actually stayed tied without the need to double knot. I never experienced any hot spots or blisters. Overall, I’d say the shoe disappeared and just allowed me to enjoy the run, and after 16 miles my feet still felt fresh. I look forward to seeing how the shoes improve as they are broken in, and hopefully I can still sing their praises as my runs grow longer, and even several hundred miles from now.

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8 thoughts on “Inov-8 Race Ultra 270 First Impressions

  1. Thanks for the review! I am looking for a transitional shoe for longer runs (>4 hours) after spending the last two years in minimalist wear (NB MT010, Merrell Trail Gloves, Luna Monos). The 270s look like they may fit the bill.

  2. Nice write up. How did the 270’s fit size wise compared to the Trailroc 245’s. I’ve heard the 270’s run a bit smaller, and may need to go up a size. I’ve always been the same size in any other Inov8’s

  3. Thanks for the review! I’ve been running with the trailroc 245’s lately but find I could not run on them more than 30 miles. How do see the 270’s for running a 50-miler compared to the 245’s? Do you find it a more cushioned shoe for longer distances?

    • I have yet to tackle the 50 mile distance, that comes in July, but my feet feel much better the next morning when I run long in the 270s. The 245s I would always be walking a little tender footed when I first got out of bed. That doesn’t happen with the 270s.

  4. Hi Denzil,

    I s wrapped to find your review as I’m just now looking at the 270s as my trailroc 245s are wearing thin. A year and a half later what is your opinion of the 270s?

    Thanks, Dave

    • I’m still very happy with the 270s. They are my go to trail shoe for a variety of terrain conditions and distances, especially for things over 20 miles. If you’re looking for faster and lighter like the Trailroc, you may want to try on a pair of Terraclaws and see what you think. I don’t think I’d run as far in them as the trailrocs, and I wouldn’t wear them on anything too technical, but they are a lot of fun to run in.

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