Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Quick Strides 13: Inov-8 TerraUltra G 270 Long Term Test, Compared to TrailFly. Endorphin Trail on Most Tech Trail in NH. Sense Pro 10, Predict SOC 2. CEP Merino Compression, Buff Go Cap, Jack Wolfskin

Article by Michael Postaski, Adam Gleuck, and Sam Winebaum

Quick Strides 13: Inov-8 TerraUltra G 270 Long Term Test & Compared to TrailFly,  Saucony Endorphin Trail on Most Tech Trail in NH, Salomon Sense Pro 10, Predict SOC 2, CEP Merino Compression, Buff Go Cap, Jack Wolfskin.

Michael P: (Idaho now visiting Germany)

I’m currently on a family trip to Germany for 2 and a half weeks.  The climate and terrain here is drastically different from back home in Boise.  Here in Bavaria there has been on and off rain, consistent high humidity with warm temperatures. It has been a big change from Boise which has been around 100F with non-existent humidity for about 2 straight months now.  As far as terrain, there is much more mud, slippery Alpine rocks as well as extremely rooty sections.  There’s also an endless network of crushed gravel forest roads traversing the region (and probably all of the Alps).  You can get much steeper ups and downs here, albeit at lower altitude.  Another difference is that civilization is always nearby, unlike the American West where you can easily get out in remote wilderness fairly quickly.

Inov-8 Terraultra G 270 (RTR Review) and TrailFly Ultra G 300 (RTR Review)

I’ve been here many times over the past few years, and I’m familiar with the terrain, so I decided on two pairs of shoes for this trip - Inov-8 Terraultra G 270 and TrailFly Ultra G 300.  I’ll just list some observations below.  The TUs are at 350 miles and the TFs are around 100. 

  • Traction seems to be better with the TUs - the outsole material is the same so I think it has something to do with the arrangement of the lugs. The straight across rows of lugs of the TUs seem to grip better than the offset arrangement of the TFs

  • At 350 miles, my TUs will be going for donation soon.  For me 350 miles is a lot, especially over mostly technical terrain.  The forefoot has been a bit compressed for a while now. It’s hard to see in the picture, but I actually added some additional insole padding under the forefoot 100-150 miles ago.  The other padding you can see-  I added under the arch, which I sometimes do with my right shoe when it feels like a shoe is “flatter” with less under-foot arch support. (I use cheap insole material from Walgreens for any adjustments)

[I trimmed down some areas around the collar of the right shoe]

  • The TPU beaded Boomerang insoles show no compression at all.  I will save these for use in other shoes.  These insoles are far superior than any others in my opinion.  They feel good underfoot - with no foot sliding, do not hold water, are extremely durable, and even add a touch of bounce. 

  • Trailfly- I had put these aside for a while after initially feeling that they were way too heavy.  The weight is definitely still apparent, but I have come to appreciate them much more as a training shoe. They are extremely protective, and I like the cushion much better than something softer and squishier such as a Speedgoat.

  • Adapt-flex outsole cut-out (Trailfly) seems to be the real deal.  The stack is noticeably high on this shoe, but I feel very stable and never have any issues rolling ankles.  I feel much more secure in technical terrain than with Speedgoats. It really does seem to help with allowing the foot to be flexible when landing on uneven terrain.  I have had no foot, ankle, knee, or hip soreness after any runs. I would love to see this technology implemented in a shoe which is lighter and lower to the ground. 

[Graphene outsole material has proven extremely durable]

Wish list for Inov-8 

Start with the TrailFly, keep the Adapt-flex, but shave down the forefoot midsole 1-2mm and the heel maybe 2-3mm.  Please please please get the weight down somehow - to be more in line with other ultra shoes (ex- Speedgoat).  Adjust the arrangement of the lugs a bit to improve traction.  Possibly expose some foam to shave weight.  Boom - ultimate ultra trail shoe!

Sam: (Utah and New Hampshire)

I completed my testing and posted my review for the Salomon Predict SOC 2. I very much enjoy the  relatively low stack and energetic ride of the SOC. The anatomical decoupling and outsole/midsole support platforms designed around the foot lead to a smooth flow while the broad, stable and flexible forefoot is a welcome change from today’s plated and rigid rocker shoes. You really feel your foot is engaged in the gait cycle as opposed to being highly directed and prescribed.

Yes it has a knit upper but unlike it seems v1 ( I did not test) it has very solid midfoot to heel support while the mostly unstructured stretchy toe box has decent if not super fast pace totally worthy hold. SOC 2 offers a more natural flexible riding training option to mix in with the rigid and plated. It’s subtle dark styling and comfort also make it a great single shoe for run and everything else for travel.

Buff  5 Panel Go Cap and Jack Wolfskin Shorts

Buff gave me the 5 Panel at the Big Gear Show in Park City. Soft, stretchy and amazingly sweat absorbing I have not yet exceeded its capacity to move moisture. 

Key it seems is that the brim spreads moisture over its entire surface and evaporates it.

I am also testing some Jack Wolfskin gear. During our recent hike I tested some stretch woven shorts (shown above) which were very comfortable if a bit large at the waist at my usual medium.

The largest outdoor brand in Europe with many retail outlets JW is making an entry into the US market with headquarters in Park City which I recently visited. Always reasonably priced and with a focus since their origins in the 1980’s on sustainability and control of the entire process from design, to in house developed technologies, to manufacturing I sort of think of them as the LL Bean of Europe.

CEP Hiking Merino Mid Cut Compression Socks ($27.95)

A sample received at the Big Gear Show, the Merino Compression Hike socks combine soft merino with some compression. Not so heavy that they can not be worn in larger volume trail run shoes I have tested them in both Utah and on a 10 mile hike in New Hampshire. 

They provided excellent moisture dissipating support and some cushion. The compression is 15-20 mmHg compression on foot and arch; 22 mmHg graduated compression from ankle up so moderate and not constricting. 

As with their compression run socks and new Ultralight sleeves CEP , one of the first medical compression companies to move towards sports, has really upped their game this year. Compression and plenty of it doesn't have to be uncomfortable!

Salomon Sense Pro 10 Set (RTR Review)

Sam: As Jeff Valliere sang the praises of the Pro 10 in his review and I was in need of a vest to sit between my trusty day pack capacity Camelbak Octane 25L I purchased the Pro 10L. Soft, soft materials with a very high sort of “hunchback” like fit, 

I have been surprised how little really no bounce with dual flasks up front and other gear out back there is here. Yet no matter the load it has a non constricting fit.  

The key capacity plus here is the large rear zip pocket as well as an against the back slot for a 1.5L hydration reservoir.  During a recent 10 mile hike in New Hampshire I loaded the front and side pockets with the two included 500ml flasks, phone, keys, wallet, some nutrition while out back I had a full light shell and a long sleeve base layer. Just as comfortable and fine fitting as with much less on board.

Yet, even for a shorter 10 mile trail run as I did in Park City with just a few essentials (flask, phone, some gels)  the rear zip pocket essentially adds no weight and can be left unzipped for more air flow.

If you need a single vest with the flexibility for all kinds of runs and adventures this is it.

I would add the Speedland SL:PDX passed the endless rocks of New Hampshire hike test with flying colors. Outstanding rock protection, secure upper, and no sore legs (as often there) the next day


Adam Glueck (New Hampshire)

I’ve been struggling with the heat in New Hampshire and when the weather got cooler this Friday, I took the opportunity to go up into the mountains.  I hiked up Huntington’s Ravine on Mt. Washington and down Tuckerman’s ravine while testing the Saucony Endorphin Trai (RTR Review that I participated in.  The Endorphin Trail is a high stack height, relatively heavy Speedgoat competitor, so this was not the ideal terrain to test it, but I wanted to see how it would hold up. 


The sign on the Huntington Ravine trail advising hikers about how insanely steep it is.

Probably the steepest climb I’ve ever done

One of my friends scaling a steeper section.  

A helicopter filming the car race up the auto road was at the summit.  Pretty cool to see the race as well.  

The Endorphin Trail performed wonderfully, with the large lugs being fantastic for the pseudo-rock climbing required with  the upper brushing off rough rocks at inadvisable angles.  

Descending Tuckerman’s Ravine was mild in comparison but exceptionally beautiful.  I’ve come to appreciate the Endorphin Trail even more as a hiking shoe .  While I wish it was lighter and lower stack for more precise running, the cushion and grip and stability and durable upper all make it fantastic for hiking, even on the gnarliest of terrain. 

This “Car” Climbed Mt. Washington!

 Some tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposes others were personal purchases. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased through affiliate links. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content

The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

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Chad Payne said...

I had the same issue with the TU 270’s forefoot flattening out but I began to notice mine before 200 miles though I went ahead and took them to nearly 400 miles. I agree on the insole being resilient and the after having both the TU 260’s & 270’s, i agree that the grip and protection is much improved in the 270’s. I wish Inov-8 would transform this into a short racer with a lighter upper and a little more and softer cushion a la the Salomon Pulsar, which has been incredible for me so far.

Jeff Valliere said...

Sam, as was evident in my review I guess, since you went and bought one, I LOVE this vest even more as time goes on. As you mentioned too, I often use it for just carrying a phone and car key, when my shorts pockets are insufficient, or I just don't care for the constriction of a waist belt. Of course, carrying a few water bottles, clothes, food, phone, essentials, whatever needed for a long day, it is just as good. Never constricting or noticeable. Did you size up?

Adam, great that you got to watch the race! I watched in once in 1990 when Tim O'Neil set the then record of 7:44, which just looked and sounded absolutely unbelievable. Now to see Travis Pastrana lower to 5:28 is just mind blowing (look for video on YouTube if you have not already). Huntington and Tucks is a great hike, Huntington is especially fun and enough spice to keep you alert. Envious!

The Stoat said...

I agree completely on the trailfly mods. I'd take 4-5mm off at the heel and 1-2 at the toe. They are plenty protective enough and i'd like the weight saving. I suspect that getting the weight down to speedgoat levels is probably not realistic as the firmer foam is probably inheritantly denser than the fluff used in the speedgoat and I wouldn't want to loose that nice firm rubberiness and for it to become another mushy midsole. If they could get it close to 300g for a us size 9 then that would do for me.

Nic said...

Hi guys, many reviewers of the Sense Pro vests on Salomon's website complain about the stiffened soft flask bottoms that cause bruising/discomfort on the rib-cage. Can you possibly comment, as this is a very big red flag for long distance running, and is making me hesitant to "pull the trigger"

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Nic,
Yes the bottom of the included flasks are semi rigid. That said I think they made the pockets a bit less snug with less compressive stretch mesh (than say my older S/Lab 8) and with the elastic cord still well held. I didn't real notice the hard bottom on a 5 hour plus hike with back pouch fully loaded and front moderately so but no issues so far. Other flasks will of course fit.
Sam, Editor

Jeff Valliere said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff Valliere said...

Nic, I believe I addressed that in my full review:

A longer term view however.... I was at first annoyed by the semi rigid bottom of the soft flasks pressing into my ribs when bottles were full and I snugged up for a descent. So much so, that I started using the flasks from my Advanced Skin 5 set (semi rigid bottom to flask, but mysteriously did not ever bother me), or my completely soft bottles from older Salomon vests. This completely cured the issue. For some reason though, I started working the included bottles back into the mix and have not really had an issue since, so not sure if they softened over time, or my ribs toughened up, or a bit of both. Either way, for sure not a deal breaker and the Sense Pro 10 is the best vest in its class IMHO.

Nic said...

Thanks for the real-world feedback Sam and Jeff!

Mike P said...

Just got back from my trip a couple days ago- I also agree with the sentiments about the Salomon Sense Pro 10 vest. I brought mine on my trip and it's great across all distances as Sam mentions. I used it for short runs as well as a 6+ hour trip with a full weather kit. For shorter runs I love the two zipper pockets to carry my phone and GoPro, and I usuall stick a soft flask with water filter in the lower back pass through pocket. There's plenty of space in the front stuff pockets for nutrition. It's also so great that they finally utilized the shoulder space with usable pockets. The left one fits my Garmin InReach perfectly and I put small items in the right zipper pocket. The rear zipper pocket works really well in that it expands outward and keeps everything secure in the middle of your back without any movement. It seems to feel the same even with varying amount of gear packed. As far as the water bottles go, I can't comment too much. I like to primarily store water in the lower back pocket as well as hand carries. I also have some older Salomon bottles with the flat bottom - not the hard ones. They are harder to slide in, but more comfortable. I find that in a race the extra time to wiggle them in is a worthwhile tradeoff for the comfort. Also I have 8 oz ones which are no issue to slide in.