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inov-8 Race Ultra 270 Trail Shoe Review

inov-8 Race Ultra 270

by David Henry

I’ve been looking forward to trying the inov-8 Race Ultra 270 since I first knew it existed back over a year ago.  Details at that point were sparse, but I already liked what I saw from the then soon to be released Race Ultra 290 (which made my list of Top Trail Running Shoes of 2014).

What I liked the most about the Race Ultra 290 was the versatility of the platform, and forgiveness of the ride even on roads (something that is not typically a strength of inov-8 shoes). I assumed most of these characteristics would be preserved in the 270, but with a lower stack height and heel-to-toe drop (4mm compared to 8mm for the 290), and a racier feel.  After many miles, including a 50k in January nearly out of the box, it unfortunately hasn’t lived up to my (possibly too lofty) expectations.  Read on to see why.

Specs

Per Running Warehouse, the Race Ultra 270 weighs in at 9.6 oz in men’s size 9, and has stack heights of 17mm heel, 13mm forefoot.

Similarities to the Race Ultra 290: Outsole and Protection

inov-8 Race Ultra 270 soleI think it might be easiest to start off by detailing some of the things that are similar to the Race Ultra 290, and some things that aren’t.  First off, as the name indicates, they both share the Race Ultra outsole (typical of inov-8 who usually name their shoes by the outsole type).  It is a mix of various types of rubber that is harder in high wear areas and softer in lower wear and/or areas where more traction is desired.  I really like the outsole design for many types of terrain, and with over 300 miles on my Race Ultra 290 I know the durability is great as well as the performance.  It is nearly as grippy as the Trailroc 245 on loose terrain, but rides very well on hardpack or even roads.

Both the 270 and 290 also have the Gen III meta-shank, an embedded 5-fingered rock plate of sorts, that is also in the Trailroc 245 and 255.  This shank does a great job of protecting against rocks and also helping with foot fatigue on long efforts by providing longitudinal structure without making to the shoe as rigid as a single rock “plate” would.  Both the outsole and meta-shank are high points in the 270’s design.  Unfortunately, to me, that is probably where the greatness ends.

Differences from the Race Ultra 290: Midsole, Upper, & Fit

inov-8 Race Ultra 270 side

Although you can’t tell from a picture, the midsole feels quite a bit firmer and is less resilient (bounces back less) than the injection molded EVA of the 290 and other inov-8 shoes.

Moving on to the midsole you see the first big difference between the 270 and 290. The 270 is one of very few inov-8 shoes (the only other I know of is the F-lite 235, which is a purpose-built Crossfit shoe) that uses compressed EVA, where as most other inov-8s in the past have used either a standard EVA (mainly older models, but some recent ones like the Roclite 295/282/280) or injection-molded EVA (most of their current lineup including the Race Ultra 290). While the injected EVA is no adidas Boost or adiprene (my personal favorite midsole compounds), I find it on par with much of what is on the market today and arguably more durable (probably from inov-8’s use of full outsoles and denser midsole setups) than many of the compounds used on most modern road shoes.

I’m not sure I can entirely attribute the difference in ride between the 270 and 290 to the type of EVA used, but I’m also not quite sure what else to attribute it to. The 290 ran firm, but was still quite forgiving, and there was noticeable cushion on hardpack trails and roads. The 270 feels as if there is hardly any cushion at all, and runs quite rough to me on hardpack downhills and roads. This is not because of its relatively more minimal stack height as I’ve run many miles in the Trailroc 245, F-Lite 262 and others that have less stack height and they don’t run as harsh on these surfaces. The latter shoes run appropriately firm and minimal as expected.  It also doesn’t mean the 270 is not protective. It is quite protective from rocks, more so than the Trailroc 245 even, but its ride is definitely more unforgiving. I find this odd as on paper it should run closer to the Race Ultra 290, which is one of inov-8s most cushioned and forgiving models. The only thing I can attribute this to is the change to compressed EVA in the midsole.

inov-8 Race Ultra 270 compare

Fit compared to my trusty F-lite 232s (on left).  Notice more bunching of upper of 270 and less conformation to foot due to thicker upper material and stiffer overlays/different shape in heel.

Let’s move on to the upper and fit. The 270 fits a little lower volume in the midfoot than the 290, but has a more spacious toe box feel. The latter is most likely due to the use of all welded overlays instead of the stitched rand of the 290. This was a positive attribute, and it looks like the 290 will be following suit in this regard when it gets an upper update this summer. However, that said, the mesh on the 270 looks to be two layers of mesh mated together – this differs from most of inov-8’s other shoes that use a simple, single layer of mesh.  It is much thicker/stiffer than the Trailrocs and F-lites and therefore runs much warmer than either of those. It is also noticeably less comfortable since it doesn’t move as freely with the foot. Furthermore, the heel collar is quite stiff, slightly higher than either the Trailroc or F-lite collars, and has a significant (for inov-8) counter in it.  I find it adequate, but not ideal and less comfortable by far than either the Trailrocs or F-lites.

inov-8 Race Ultra 270 tongue

Inside of shoe shows heavy duty lining material from midfoot forward which contributes to the hot upper and stiffer feel.  Granted they will hold up a lot longer, but I think that should be saved for the 290 with the 270 focusing more on lightness and race day comfort/heat management rather than long term durability.

Concluding Thoughts and Recommendations

Overall, the inov-8 Race Ultra 270 has loads of potential.  It was probably the shoe I was most looking forward to this spring, but in the end I feel that something got lost in the process of translating the 290 to a lower and racier platform.  I think part of the problem is the EVA midsole foam (compressed vs. injected), but I also feel that the upper design of the 270 is too conservative and ends up being more like the upper that the 290 should have. It just feels overbuilt for a racier shoe like the 270.

I think inov-8 needs to look at why a runner would pick the 270 instead of the 290, and for me it would be for a more racing shoe feel and fit with the rock protection, durability, and versatility that the Race Ultra platform brings. To achieve this I think the shoe needs to have a significantly more stripped back upper (like an F-lite or even the forthcoming Terraclaws) with a single layer mesh and the softer, more fitted heel collar that inov-8 typically puts on their shoes.

inov-8 Race Ultra 270 heel

Comparison in heel design betweent he Race Ultra 270 (left) and the inov-8 F-lite 232 (on right).   In addition to the different shape there is a huge softness and comfort difference between the two with the F-lites being far superior in both areas.  Some may argue that the Race Ultra platform needs the upper support (which I would partially agree with for the 290), but I don’t think the 270 does, especially considering how low and wide it is.

Additionally, I’d like to see the 270 with injected EVA in the midsole instead of the compressed EVA that inov-8 decided to use. I personally feel this contributes to the downfall of the ride, and even if injected EVA is heavier than compressed the extra weight would be worth it to me. I make a similar trade off for Boost in adidas shoes, and generally the extra weight is worth it in the quality of the ride.

Despite my concerns, the Race Ultra 270 is still a really good all around shoe, but I would simply recommend the 290 instead because if offers a lot more shoe for a very similar weight (only 20 grams difference even in my size 13s between the two shoes) and features a much better ride.  If you want a more stripped back experience, something like the Trailroc 245 does a much better job while still giving the protection needed for rocky terrain.  I have faith that inov-8 will get this sorted and differentiate the two models better in the future but for now I, unfortunately, can’t wholeheartedly recommend the Race Ultra 270.

The inov-8 Race Ultra 270 is available for purchase at Running Warehouse and Wiggle (UK). Purchases form these retailers help to support this site – thanks!

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About David Henry

David Henry is a 31 year old husband and father of 3 young children. He has completed over 23 ultra marathon events as well as many other shorter races. Some of the notable races he has completed include The Pike’s Peak Marathon, Speedgoat 50k, The Rut 50k, Gorge Waterfalls 100k and Bighorn 100. He has raced in diverse environments ranging from Alaska in winter to the Arizona desert. David appreciates well-crafted running shoes and running on any surface and distance. If interested you can follow my running on Strava: https://www.strava.com/athletes/davidjonhenry

Comments

  1. Nice review, David. (Size 13 shoe-wearing-father-of-3-trail-runners, unite!) I absolutely love the F-Lite series of shoes; they’re probably my favorites of any shoes I’ve ever had – comfy, flexible and remarkably soft and cushioned for how minimal they are. The TrailRoc 245s don’t quite achieve that magical blend but have proven to be incredibly durable for me. I’m holding off on the Ultra 270 and 290 based on luke-warm reviews by you and others but will be very curious to see what the TerraClaws are like.

    • David Henry says:

      Thanks for the comment Will and great to hear there are more size 13 fathers of 3 out there ;). Your comment about F-Lites is exactly why the 270 perplexed me cause they really on paper should have run like a slightly beefed up F-lite, but F-lites feel more cushioned! The 290 rides a lot better to me, but I can see where many inov-8 fans are somewhat turned away since it is quite a bit more shoe than most inov-8s. Agreed also on Trailrocs…they don’t feel as racy or sharp as F-lites, but they hold up well and are protective with a similar fit. Really excited for the new Terraclaws and I think they have great potental from everything I’ve seen.
      -David

  2. Ahhh, this is disappointing. I am looking for a more cushioned alternative to my Ascend Gloves and thought these would be on my short list. I’m planning to check out Nike Terra Kiger 2, NB MT101, PI Trail N1, and Salomon Sense Pro / Ultra. I mostly run on hard packed, sometimes rocky trails. Any other suggestions?

    • David Henry says:

      Hi Ryan,

      I’ve run in the Ascend gloves and like them as a more minimal option (love the vibram rubber and rock plate with such a minimal shoe). I’d say out of the shoes you listed the Kiger 2 would run the closest to the Ascend Glove while giving you more cushion. The PI N1 is going to feel chunky, the Sense pro a lot stiffer and not as wide of forefoot and MT101 would be alright, but again not a very wide forefoot and I just feel that shoe is quite dated at this point in it’s upper construction (lots of stitched overlays and old last). Like Will and I were talking above you might check out the F-lite 240 Standard fit. F-lites feel like more shoe than they look and definitely offer more cushion than the Ascend glove while retaining that more minimal feel. Kiger 2 would offer the most cushion of the three and F-lites would fall more in between Kiger and Ascend Glove. Hope that helps. -David

      • Thanks David! I will have to try to find somewhere that carries inov-8s locally to try on some F-Lite 240s.

        I agree about the Ascend Gloves, they are great for shorter runs. I have only used them for runs up to 5 or 6 miles because I’m scared of my feet getting too beat up. I’ve been using NB MT1010v2s for my longer runs, but the rubber on the outsole pods are starting to separate from the foam in places after <100 miles (hoping shoe goo will work here). I also made the mistake of keeping the pair I got even though they felt a bit large, and now I am dealing with blisters after longer runs; hence the search for a new shoe.

        Thanks for your help.

  3. Hi David- Really appreciate your thorough reviews. I do my road running in Nike Free 4.0s and Kinvaras. I recently tried some Inov8 roclite 243s for trail running… I really like the flexibility and traction but sole is really firm for me when I’m on hard pack or trail runs > 5 miles. Based on your previous reviews, I’m debating trying F-lites or Trailroc or maybe the Kiger 2’s. Would really appreciate your opinion as I’d need to order the Inov-8s online…

    • David Henry says:

      Hi Mac, Thanks for your kind comments about my reviews and for reading! Given your road running shoes, I think you would like the Kiger 2 most as it offers the most forgiving ride of the shoes you listed and yet still does well being nimble on more technical terrain. F-lites and Trailrocs do offer more protection than 243s but still ride pretty firm. Hope that helps! -David

      • Ryan W says:

        David, I was attempting to figure this out based on yours and others reviews, but I am interested in what the differentiators are between the Trailroc 245 and F-Lite 240.

        From what I’ve read, it seems like the 245 is a bit heavier, and maybe not as smooth on the road, but offers better grip in certain situations? Is that accurate?

        • David Henry says:

          Ryan, I’d agree with your assessment on the 245…it isn’t quite as smooth on flatter terrain and does offer much better grip on steep or loose terrain. One thing I would add though that I think is the biggest differentiator is that the Trailroc 245 has what inov-8 calls their Gen III metashank which is a 5 fingered rock plate of sorts embedded in the midsole. This gives the 245 substantially more rock protection than the 240 and also more structure that helps with foot fatigue on longer runs. Without the metashank (which is the trailroc 235) basically it is like an F-lite with a little less cushion and great grip. With the metashank though, the 245 becomes a viable long run shoe in really rough terrain even though the shoe has a relatively low stack height. Hands down the selling point of the shoe in my opinon. Hope that helps clarify. David

  4. I have mixed feelings about the 270. Not much damping which I felt especially on the road parts of a 20k trailrace (too much road unfortunately). I like the fact they are wider in the forefoot area and the sole is very good. Normally I run on Adidas Boston Boost 5 (a bit narrow) and Asics DS Racer (best shoe I have ever ran in, for me). I will be looking at other trailshoes tha are light, supple and have a wider forefoot area.

    • David Henry says:

      Yep, your experience lined up pretty close to mine. I like the forefoot fit and outsole, but the rest needs some work. Given that you are running in mostly road racing shoes, stay tuned for an upcoming post of road shoes that I’m using for trails (Boston 5 is one of them). Also, if you haven’t tried the Nike Kiger 2, it might be worth a try. I’ve heard from some that they don’t feel it is that wide, but I think it is simply lower volume in the toe box, which doesn’t bother me, and in that case, it feels just as wide as the 270 to me….Kiger v3 is right around the corner too. -David

      • I will definitely check out the Kiger 2 and 3 when it comes out. I have read good things about them. Thanks for the info :-). I am looking forward to your upcoming post.

      • Hi David, after reading very positive reviews about the Salomon slab sense ultra 4 I ordered a discounted pair. These shoes are more flexible than the Race ultra’s. I have trained in them and last week I did a 17km trailrun. No problems with my feet (especially the left). So I am very happy with these shoes. The Race Ultra a a bit wider (too wide, I think). I did replace the paperthin Salomon insoles with the ones from my beloved X-talons, which are a bit thicker. The Salomon trailshoes do not have the cushioning of a road shoe, but for me it was acceptable. Definitely better than the Inov8 race ultra’s.

        • David Henry says:

          Thanks for the update Walter. I have run briefly in the Sense 3, but never really got into them. I’m excited about some of the things they’ve done for the Sense Ultra 5 that will come out in January (preview posts should be posting in the next few days to week that includes it and some other trail shoes). Glad the Sense 4 is working out for you and like you said, not fantastic cushioning (my biggest complaint with the Sense line is the firm/dead compressed eva…give a pretty minimalistic ride to them). Adding an inov-8 insole is interesting and I’ll have to try it with the Sense 5 (pending if I can procure a pair). Happy running! – David.

  5. Advertised heights for the 270 vs 290 is 13mm forefoot vs 17mm forefoot. Don’t you think it’s the 25% less cushioning that makes these feel firmer? The heel on the 270 is the thickness of the forefoot of the 290. Just an observation…

    • David Henry says:

      Sure less cushioning will make a shoe firmer, but the 270 didn’t just feel firmer. It was pretty unforgiving and unresponsive and shoes like the inov-8 F-lite 240 or any of the Trailrocs are all more forgiving despite their just as low or lower stack height than 270 so I don’t think it just came down to the shoe being more minimal. This is really inov-8’s only shoe with compressed eva, so I just think it is more than a coincidence that the ride is substantially compromised on the only shoe with different eva. I know people that don’t mind them, but for me, despite being a big inov-8 fan, I was pretty disappointed in the ride and the upper thickness.

  6. Great review David. Lots of helpful information in there. I was wondering if you had any insight on the update of the ultra 290’s? They seem like the better option for me, but I’m a little worried about flexibility (or lack of). Thoughts?

    • David Henry says:

      I’ve tried the new 290s on and the upper is definitely better than both the old 290 and 270, but I haven’t run in them. The midsole and outsole is unchanged from v1 though so I can definitely speak to the flexibility. As you can imagine it is not as flexible as the 270, but I would say it is still adequately flexible if you look at it as a long run/race shoe. For shorter runs and races or more technical terrain, it is just not going to feel super nimble, but for everything else I find it pretty good and the structure really does prevent a lot of foot fatigue on long runs/ultras. Hope that helps and let me know if you have any more questions. -David

  7. I love the Inov8 Race Ultra 270 it is almost the perfect shoe. Only one thing would make it better, a Zero Drop Model…

  8. Nice to see Adirpene get a shout out, that was my favorite as well, I quit Adidas when they went to the Boost…I can’t agree on the 290’s on paper they sounded great I wore them once..they just did not connect to my foot and felt clunky and heavy, the big issue though was pressure on the little toe’s. I have tried one each of rock lite and trail roc and returned them..I agree they make quality shoes so far they just have not worked for me, either clunky heel or narrow toe box…I keep my hopes up lol I did perk up when you said the 290 changed the toe box some…

    I have been disappointed with trail shoes in general the past couple years (wearing road shoes mostly on trails (Mizuno Hitogami beleive it or not lol) these days but keep searching for a go to trail shoe, I do have a lot of miles on Altra Superior 2.0, Pearl Izumi N1 and Saucony Peregrine 4 those were really the only ones I wore a lot and I tried many…oh I enjoyed one of the Salomon Sense Pro’s too but replacement was a completly different shoe that was awful…

    Also what is up lately with the shrinking vertical toe boxes..we finally get some wider toe boxes and now they hammer our toes from the top instead of the side??!!

    • Been noticing the same myself, seems wider is often now being paired with shallower. Saw this on the Nike Wildhorse, Lunartempo, and some others.

      • Okay I am not losing my mind and my toes are not vertically growing…good to know!!

      • Just for kicks…some I have noticed this change include Mizuno Hitogami 2, Altra Lone Peak 2.5, Altra Superior 2.0 and I might add Pearl Izumi N1 trail but to be fair..I think the very first pair of those I had were the anomalies..very roomy toe box on the first one pair I had a couple years ago, pretty much every pair after that has had less room in toe box..they seem to be getting firmer too

    • David Henry says:

      Yeah the updated 290 has a wider toebox since they took out the stitched rand. I do agree somewhat on the them and the heel is a bit clunky. I’ve shifted more to adidas, Montrail and road shoes for much of my trail mileage these days. adidas has great midsole and outsoles as does Montrail (especially the newer 2016 shoes). Salming’s T1 has a great ride too. As for the shallow toeboxes, not sure what is the reason. I haven’t seen that across the board though and personally never had a problem with the Kigers and some others that were known to be shallow for many. Lots of good shoes coming out if you look at our preview posts so the good news is there is probably a good chance you’ll find something you like! -David

      • I recently tried two different Montrails and LOVED the midsole, great mix of firm and cushion but one had a very narrow toe box and was way too long (Fluidflex ) the other (Bajada 1 and 2) mashed my little toes..sized up a half size and that actually made it worse..I can feel a firm overlay inside toe box. It sounds like we like the same kind of cushion/midsole…Mizuno usually has nice toe boxes and midsole/cushion for me but the drop can be a bit much and for me they messed up the toe box in the Hitogami 2 another one that went shallower

        I just did my first run ever in the Terra Kiger 3 yesterday (also my first run in any Nike shoe in over 10 years) I was shocked, the first 8 miles were a dream run..I was only planning on doing 4 or 5 but had one of those magic shoe moments and kept going..however I started having some issues after 8 or 9 miles…pressure on top of left foot and under left little toes…shallow toe box was not an issue until the end and it was plenty wide enough..really surprised me!

        Not sure if The Kiger has enough cushion/protection to go long?? curious what others think?? It was only one run so far but If nothing else I found a good shoe for short under 10 mile technical runs.

        Thanks for the feedback David, I will keep a better eye on new stuff in 2016, especially Montrail, I do want to try that Fluid Flex again, maybe they will widen that toe box up some..

        I also hear from more and more people like you and I that are using road shoes on the trails..But I keep trying!! just did my first run in the Lone Peak 2.5 as well last week

        • David Henry says:

          Yeah the Montrail’s and adidas generally have a fairly medium width toebox that I find adequately wide, but keep in mind I don’t wear socks (one of the reasons I stopped wearing socks is so I could fit into shoes with slightly narrower toeboxes :) ). Nike has probably one of the best fitting lasts and uppers out there with the Kiger 3 and Wildhorse 3, but I’m just not crazy about the ride on those. I do think the Kiger 3 is much more of a long run shoe than v2 and that was part of the reason why I didn’t like it as much, although a benefit for long runs. Not a ton of other options I could recommend wholeheartedly. Have you tried the New Balance Zante? I’ve used those on trails and they are really the only NB shoe with a decent midsole IMO and also have a wider than average toebox. Last recommendation woudl be the adidas Response Trail Boost (review here: link to runblogger.com) great ride on it and pretty forgiving upper fit. Also the new Montrail Caldorado (coming Feb 2016) has a slightly wider toebox than the Bajada or Fluidflex. Hope that helps! -David

          • David, thanks for all the feedback..great to talk shoes with like minded folks.!!

            I have not gone sock less yet but did start buying a very thin socks the year or two and that has helped. Also sometimes going up a 1/2 size helps (sometimes it backfires) but yeah been mostly wearing thin socks these days.

            I think for me with Montrail and Saucony , its not just a width issue but toe box shape and construction and materials used that caused problems. Some shoes with the softer uppers like Pearl Izumi for one example I can sometims get away with a smaller toe box.

            I have had issues with New Balance in the past so I wrote them off years ago, kinda have to eliminate some with all the choices out there!! I do remember a New Balance M something that was a minimal shoe everyone loved..I found a pair at an outlet store that felt great but were not my size and they only had the one pair.

            Thanks for the tip on the new Adidas those do look very interesting.

          • David Henry says:

            No problem. Agree it is hard to pair down these days! Hopefully we can help with reviews on the blog. One note on New Balance is I agree with you that most of there shoes don’t have a great fit (I’ve also had problems with Saucony’s pointy toeboxes too). The Zante (as well as Vazee Pace and 1500) are on a new last called the VL-6 that is much different from the standard New Balance PL last that is on most of their standard models so might be worth a revisit. Zantes are pretty cheap right now too with v2 coming out next month.

      • PS..tell me about those Salmigs?! Not heard of them and they do look interesting

        • David Henry says:

          The Salmings just have a very efficient natural ride to them. I come from a minimalist background and always prefer shoes that “disappear” on my feet and that’s what a shoe with a very natural ride does. It is pretty responsive overall and just the right amount of drop and geometry to me. The upper is not the roomiest and they run 1/4 size long or so. Given that, I just stuck to my regular size and I find the width to be fine in them. -David

          • ps I agree..the only goal for me is to not even think about the shoes when I am running. Harder and harder these days with all the marketing gimmicks..err I mean new technology!

            The first Mizuno Hitogami’s and a pair of Pearl Izumi Trail N1 trail (just the very first pair I got) were the last shoes I could run with joy and not think about

  9. I agree, I never went the full on hard core minimal/fivefingers route but always have felt less is more. Also I never liked a built up heel either even before I knew what drop was.

    Back in the day (Back to Adidas) it was a pair of Adidas Nova (pre Super Nova maybe, not sure) that blew my mind and showed how great a light shoe was.

    Funny this year I have to confess I have gotten a couple ‘more shoe’ shoes and they are a nice change but would never be my go to shoes

  10. Garth Thomas says:

    Hi David, I am at the end of my inov 8 terrafly shoes and trying to find the right replacement. I tried asics Fuji gel Pro but got terrible numbness under the balls of my feet which I suspect was due to the narrow toe box. I am therefore looking to go back to inov-8 and the local distributor is recommending the 290 but does not stock half sizes. I am not sure if it is going to work out. What addidas shoe ate you running in and what other options should I be looking at? I am training for a 50km trail run currently.

    • David Henry says:

      Hi Garth,

      The 290 is probably a good replacement for the Terrafly. As far as an adidas replacement, most adidas are pretty narrow in the toebox…I enjoy the Boston 5/6 for trails and the Glide 7/8 is good too but heavier class than the Terrafly. I’d recommend looking at the Nike Pegasus 33 and Zoom Elite 8 as well (really liking those lately and great uppers on them)…the Wildhorse 3 is great too, but more trail specific. Lastly, the Topo Athletic Ultrafly is a nice shoe with wide toebox and could be used on both road and trail. Hope that helps some! -David

  11. I’m trying to find a replacement to the no-nonsense f-lite 192. The new gen f-lite series isn’t suitable for any extended period of running (found this out after purchasing and attempting to run in the new f-lite 235). It seems the company is gradually moving away from the no-drop, minimal foam footbed, ‘running-suitable’ products they were pioneering a few years back, and now appear to merely be giving mainstream consumers with weak feet what they want in order to increase market growth. After supporting the company for multiple shoe purchases in their formative years, I must say I’m extremely disappointed.

    I was initially excited about stumbling across the race ultra 270, but after having a decent look at the pics and your review, I’m confident that it isn’t the shoe I’m after. Looks like my time with Inov-8 is done. Cheers.

    • David Henry says:

      Thanks for the comment. You might look at the recently released TrailTalon 250…I tried them on a few weeks back and they are pretty minimal and comparable to the F-Lite 192 in cushioning and weight with just a bit more lug to them. Overall you are probably right in that the market in general is moving toward more cushion, but there are still lots of good lightweight alternatives out there that come in the form of racing shoes and still some companies producing good minimal footwear (the Topo MT-2 or ST-2 for example). Hope that helps, David.

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