Sunday, February 19, 2023

Inov-8 Trailfly G 270 V2 Multi Tester Review: Goldilocks!

Article by Dom Layfield, Renee Krusemark, and Jacob Brady

Inov-8 Trailfly G270 v2 ($170)


Dom:  The original Terraultra G 270 (subsequently renamed to Trailfly G 270 to avoid trademark infringement) was a huge hit with RTR testers (RTR Review).  At the end of 2020, we voted it “Trail Shoe of the Year”.

What made the G270 so great?  It’s hard to pin down,  but mostly, this was a shoe that got almost everything right:  Excellent grip, excellent cushion, excellent fit, excellent ground feel, excellent stability, excellent durability, excellent weight, and a nice bouncy, energetic feel.

In some ways, this leaves Inov-8 in a difficult position.  How do you update a classic without ruining the magic?  They decided to err on the side of caution, and change very little.  The most notable upgrade is a slightly longer and more padded tongue.  The other is a rearrangement of the upper overlays, shifting them rearwards and away from the toe crease, making the forefoot feel more spacious.


  • Still a fantastic shoe in almost every way.  Across the board excellence: Dom/Renee/Jacob


  • Wider forefoot could be a negative for some: Dom/Jacob

  • Exposed midsole occasionally allows rock penetration in forefoot: Dom

  • Cost: Renee
  • More open toe box is less secure than v1 Jacob


Sample Weights: US M10 9.7 oz / 275 g  women’s US8 7.80 oz / 220 g 

Full Stack Height: men’s 22 mm heel / 22mm forefoot 

£150 | $170 | €175.  Available now.

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Dom:  The Terraultra G 270 now called Trailfly G 270 is an old friend, and I have logged many miles in this shoe.  It’s light enough to race, but comfortable and durable enough to use as a daily trail shoe.   If you’re not already familiar with the shoe, its key features are basically: zero drop, with ~22 mm of stack height, and graphene-enhanced outsole.   

If you are familiar with this original G 270, you’ll be pleased to hear that v2 is virtually identical.  

The only notable changes are (1) more padding and slightly more length in the tongue, and (2) overlays shifted away from the forefoot, allowing more stretch around the toe crease.  The former is an unambiguous improvement.  

As I have a wide forefoot, the latter change is a win from my perspective, but I don’t know that everyone will see it that way.  Narrow-footed runners may feel that the more spacious forefoot feels less secure.   Then there are a couple of minor changes: Inov-8 have tweaked the upper mesh fabric to make it “25% more durable”.  At this point, I’ll have to take their word for it.  Subjectively, the fabric feels very similar to 270 v1.   Lastly, Inov-8 have removed the side anchor points for gaiters from the heel area.   Weight is completely unchanged, as is the running experience.

Renee: The original Trailfly G 270 was my favorite overall shoe of 2020 (road or trail), and it remains one of my favorite overall trail shoes, especially for fast paces and for its  nimble ground feel. The updated version changes very little from the first version aside from updates/improvements to the upper. Runners who enjoyed the first version will be happy. My women’s size 8 is lighter than the previous version, at 220g (both shoes) compared to 225/230g in the first version. 

Renee: For sizing, true-to-size should be fine for most runners. Runner’s between half sizes could go with the half size down if they enjoy a tight fit. Like the first version, the upper of the G 270 will “adapt” to the foot after some miles. The width is a “5” on Inov-8’s width scale, and the shoe has plenty of room/width/volume in the toe box. 

The midfoot and heel security are fantastic. Runners with narrow feet shouldn’t let the “5” width be a deterrent. The tongue is thin, but offers more padding than the first version. I had some issues with the tongue bunching and digging into my ankle on the first version (although not a big deal). The minor changes in padding are an improvement. The overlays across the midfoot on both sides help with security.

[Left: v1, Right: v2]

Renee: As compared to the first version, the overlays are farther back toward the midfoot than the forefoot, the heel overlay is gone, and the upper no longer includes gaiter attachment/slits on the heel. 

The upper summary: comfortable yet secure, making it a good choice for training miles and race days, especially for runners who like minimal uppers.

[Left: v2, Right: v1]

Renee: I thought the upper on the first version felt stiff across the forefoot after running through mud and rain. During testing, I ran through snow and lots of mud. Whatever changes are made here are enough to keep the upper a bit more flexible. Inov-8 states the upper is “proven to be 25% more durable” thanks to a “new lightweight mesh material." While long-term durability is yet to be determined, the change in bumper and overlays prevent, I think, the creasing across the forefoot that you’ll notice in my photo of v1 versus v2. The mesh itself seems to be the same thickness but less rigid after getting wet.

Jacob: The Terraultra G 270 (v1, now “Trailfly”) is among my favorite trail shoes of all time working for slow to fast, short to long, road to mountains—always secure with great traction. I still run it—the lugs are worn lower at 380 miles but the ride is still great and the shoe has conformed excellently to my foot. There is nothing I would change from v1, though I did occasionally have discomfort on the top of my foot from the laces post run if I left them on while hanging out and could imagine this being a problem in ultras. Like many running, my partner is also a fan and frequent G 270 runner but has more issues with the upper feeling overly snug especially in the lace area on top of the foot. Thus seeing the Trailfly G 270 v2 is only an upper change is good news.

Out of the box, the deeply saturated blue upper and orange midsole of the men’s lead colorway is bright and unique but not as extreme as the vibrant green of v1. It’s decent—it looks a bit artificial and I prefer the light blue-yellow v1 colorway that I have, but style is of low importance to me and it’ll look more mellow as it gets dirty. The midsole and outsole are identical to v1 as advertised. 

On foot, it feels comfortable and notably roomy in the forefoot. I had to do an A/B with v1 as I was surprised by how loose it felt. I have to lace tighter (showing less of the tongue) than in v1. The upper feels softer, the tongue has more padding, and most notably the overlay pattern has changed with the forefoot having no overlays making it feel much more expansive. It has a really nice locked-in glove-like fit from heel through midfoot and then opens up into a soft and roomy toe box. V1 had overlays going from the tip of the lace area forward to near the toe, covering the little toe and providing a more of a snug fit in the toe box while still being wide. The photos show this well. It worked really well for me with a medium-to-wide foot. The lack of those overlays in v2 is striking in an A/B test while standing around and v2 feels more free. For those with wide feet or who had an issue with toe box pressure in v1, v2 will be a fantastic improvement.

For me, running mostly technical trails, I was initially not enthused by the change as I feel like the less forefoot structure decreases performance when moving quickly on technical trails. I had to stop and re-lace tighter on my first two runs as I was not feeling secure. V1 is definitely more glove-like throughout for me, I don’t have to lace as tightly and it is more secure for technical terrain, but v2 is more comfortable and resolves any lace pressure I had in v1. Some of the “perfect fit” of v1 may be due to it breaking in to fit my foot over time as well. Either way, the differences are relatively minor in practice: in a 3-mile technical trail + bit of road A/B test I did, I had moments where I forgot I was wearing different shoes even with my v1 having 380 miles and my v2 being fresh (this shows great durability that v1 still rode so similarly). In conclusion, v2 is still excellent, overall only minorly different, will be better for some runners (wide feet or preference for spacious toe box), is slightly more comfortable, and both models are equally performant.


Dom: No changes here.  Personally, I was a little disappointed that Inov-8 didn’t opt to use the new “nitrogen-infused”, “FlySpeed” foam that they introduced in the TrailFly Ultra G 280.  I felt this bouncy foam was a high point of an otherwise underwhelming shoe.  However, given the huge success of the G 270 v1, I can see that Inov-8 would be nervous to introduce changes without a clear mandate.  The 12 mm of “PowerFlow Max” midsole foam in the G 270 v1 and v2 remains an excellent choice.  While not exactly springy and energetic, it does however provide nice cushion, great ground feel and stability.   I’ve worn the G 270 v1 in a couple of 100 km races and personally found myself wanting just a little more cushion.   But for daily running and races up to, say, 50 miles, the G 270 is right on the money for me.

It’s also worth noting that the 270 v2 retains Inov-8’s outstanding “boomerang” footbed.  Made with eTPU beads embedded in the footbed foam, this can make a relatively lifeless shoe feel bouncy and energetic.  These footbeds are genuinely fantastic: they provide extra cushioning, don’t absorb water when wet, and retain their shape and resilience over many hundreds (thousands?) of miles.   I’ve had great success in moving them from the G 270 to other shoes, changing the character of other shoes for the better.

Renee: The midsole/underfoot is unchanged from the first version. The midsole stack is 12mm of POWERFLOW MAX. With a 6mm Boomerang footbed (i.e. insole) and the outsole, the total stack is 22mm. 

I think in terms of cushion, the G 270 runs like a 22mm stack shoe, which should be plenty for some runners to tackle long distances. I find the midsole to be enough for long runs. Depending on terrain, the G 270 is enough for me to handle a 50k but as it’s so light and responsive, it’s a great choice for short, fast runs too. The midsole is meant to have a “fast-feel bounce and energy return.” I totally agree. Underfoot, the G 270 is the most fun trail shoe I’ve ever worn. 

Jacob: The Trailfly G 270 v2 midsole is a solid zero drop, mid/low stack, medium firmness, light rebound, stable EVA blend. The thick TPU bead sockliner above provides critical cushion and rebound—Like Dom, I have used the sockliner in many other shoes to give them more cushion and bounce and am glad to see it again in v2. 

The midsole is performant, protected enough, has great stability, balanced flexibility, some rebound, and runs well slow and fast on a huge variety of terrain. At fast paces it moves along nicely with notable light bounce off the forefoot. The ground feel/protection combination is great for hiking and moving slowly in technical mountainous terrain. I think I notice the firmness less and rebound more when running fast as well and feel a bit more fluid. Generally I think it’s better when my legs are fresh as when I’m tired, since I’m used to softer shoes with drop and tend towards a heel strike, I notice the firmer heel and zero drop in a negative way more.


Dom:  Outsole remains identical to v1, which again seems like a good decision.  Traction from the “graphene-enhanced” outsole rubber and lug pattern is excellent.   My own experience has been that while this outsole is really good, it is arguably overhyped, and doesn’t appear to be class-leading in grip or durability.   When doing side-by-side friction tests against Vibram MegaGrip, the Vibram rubber definitely grips better on wet, slick rock.

Dom:  Although rock protection is generally solid, on rare occasions, I have noticed that the point of a rock can hit right on one of the “meta-flex” gaps in the outsole.  So every once in a while you can experience a surprising jab in the forefoot.  I say this with the caveat that this is a top-flight, well-rounded shoe, so this is a minor nitpick.

Renee: The outsole is unchanged from the first version, i.e. same Graphene Grip, 4mm lugs with “rubber dimples” to help with wet surfaces. The flex grooves under the forefoot is a great feature, and coupled with the fun midsole, the shoe has a fast turnover. I ran through snow and mud on dirt and gravel terrain. The shoe is so nimble and light that running through thick mud is a lot easier than the 4mm lug depth suggests, and overall mud sheds fairly quickly. 

Jacob: The Graphene Grip outsole is a great aspect of the G 270. It has excellent traction—among the best all-around traction I think, comparable to Vibram MegaGrip (though I didn’t do specific side by side same run testing)—is durable (my v1 pair with 380 miles is still usable), and is good on road and on technical trail. These pros are due to the material and the pattern of medium-height, broad, sharp-edged lugs with flex grooves and balanced spacing. I feel confident in any terrain and it leads to a smooth ride. A great outsole.


Dom:  As discussed above, the only changes in v2 are to the upper, and unsurprisingly, the experience of running in v2 is identical to v1.  When running with v1 on one foot and v2 on the other, I couldn’t tell the difference.   As with the outgoing shoe, the ride is perfectly in the sweet spot for most runners, with a lovely balance of protection vs ground feel, and cushion vs stability.   

Renee: The ride is fun. The G 270 is still the most fun trail I have right now. The shoe is lightweight and runs lighter than its weight suggests thanks to the zero drop and excellent ground feel. I’d need a slight drop and more stack height for long/ultra runs on flat terrain, but otherwise the G 270 is good for me for basically any run. For those who don’t like low drop and low stack height trail shoes, I think the G 270 is still a good option for speed days or shorter distances. 

Jacob: The Trailfly G 270 v2 ride is stable, energetic, smooth, and responsive. The stability of the medium stack height, broad forefoot, zero drop, locked in upper, and great traction are prominent aspects. 

At faster paces when I am on my forefoot, it feels well-cushioned, quick moving, with a great balance of ground feel and protection. At slower paces due to zero drop and relatively low heel stack it feels firmer—it’s never plush and more of a low ride than all the road shoes I regularly run—it’s a performance ride. However, the stability leads it to work well running slow or hiking as well, it’s not a run-only style. As mentioned earlier in the review, in my A/B test run with v1 I noticed no difference in ride between the two.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Dom:  The outgoing G 270 v1 was a stellar shoe that delighted just about everyone who tried it.  For version 2, Inov-8 have wisely (and cautiously) kept changes to a minimum.  A longer, more padded tongue is a clear upgrade.  Removal of the forefoot overlays makes the forefoot a little more accommodating, which – as a wide-footed runner – I personally appreciated, but it does make me wonder if narrow-footed people will see this a regression. 

The shoe remains zero-drop, which is not for everyone: a minority of runners have never managed to adapt their gait to this shoe.  But for 99% of people, the Trailfly G 270 v2 remains an outstanding choice.  

No single shoe can be perfect for all uses, but the G 270 exemplifies the ‘Goldilocks’ philosophy: for most people, most of the time, this one shoe will make you happy.  It finds a near-perfect compromise between protection and ground-feel, between cushion and stability.  Grip is excellent.  Durability is excellent.   And perhaps most surprisingly, the G 270 manages to nail these compromises without feeling bland and forgettable.  It remains a fun, engaging and distinctive ride.

Renee: The G 270 is my favorite trail shoe. I know not all runners like a zero drop shoe, but for those who enjoy lightweight, low drop shoes with excellent ground feel, there is no topping the ride of the G 270. 

At $170, it’s a bit pricey especially for runners who may also need a higher stack shoe for long runs. For me, it’s worth the cost. I still wear my first version three years later and I think I underscored the value in my initial review for RTR. You won’t go wrong if you buy the first version at a discount, although I think the minor changes to the upper make the new version slightly better. 

Renee’s Score: 9.9/10 (-.10 cost)


Jacob: The G 270 is a great all-around trail shoe. It has a comfortable and secure fit with ample room in the toebox and nicely snug midfoot and heel, balanced, versatile, stable, lightly energetic ride, great traction, and is durable (my v1 with 380 miles feels very similar to my fresh v2). 

It works on most terrain, not feeling overbuilt for smooth trails while also being confident on technical trail. I recommend it for hard, fast efforts over short distances as well as any pace in the mountains including casual hiking. 

It is very similar to v1 with the same midsole/outsole and ride—currently I prefer v1 as it has a more glove-like fit so feels more secure, but I can imagine liking v2 more over time as I build experience in it and it breaks in to fit my foot. I think those who had issues with discomfort with v1 may have their problems resolved with v2. Since v1 was great for me, I didn’t need this upper change. Thus, if you liked or loved v1, I’d recommend getting v1 again especially if at a lower price—really the only disappointment of v2 is that it’s not a decisively better shoe for me. Overall though, aside from comparisons to v1, the Trailfly G 270 v2 is an excellent shoe and I think will be enjoyed by many runners for many miles.

Jacob’s Score: 9.45  / 10

Ride: 10 (30%) Fit: 9 (30%) Value: 9.5 (10%) Style: 9.5 (5%) Traction: 9.5 (15%) Rock Protection: 9 (10%)



Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Inov-8 Trailfly G 270 v1 (RTR Review)

Renee: We have comparisons throughout the review. Overall, it’s the same great shoe with slight improvements to the upper. 

Jacob: Detailed comparison is in the review body, but in summary: both shoes have the same midsole and outsole—I find the ride identical as well. V2 has a redesigned upper with more tongue padding, fewer forefoot overlays, and a more open-feeling toe box. I have to lace tighter in v2 and don’t find it as glove-like on technical terrain in the forefoot. It is easier for me to get a locked-in fit in v1. I prefer v1 at this point so do not get value from this update, though both are great. V2 may be slightly more comfortable and especially for longer efforts this may make up for a slight decrease in forefoot security. The difference overall is minor though and in an A/B test I had points where I forgot I was wearing two different shoes.

Inov-8 PARKCLAW G 280 (RTR Review)

Renee: The PARKCLAW G 280 is an 8mm drop road-to-trail shoe with 99 lugs on the outsole. I wish I could say the PC G 280 is an 8mm drop version of the G 270, but that’s not the case. The midsole and forefoot flex are still great, but the shoe is heavier and has a shallow/short toebox. The PARKCLAW runs at least one half size shorter than the G 270. 

Hoka Torrent 2 and 3 (RTR Review)

Renee: I haven’t run in Torrent 3. The Torrent 2 is one of my favorite trail shoes and is the least “Hoka” Hoka shoe. The Torrent is much cheaper and with its low (not zero) drop, many runners might find it more reasonable. The ride of the G 270 is much faster and more fun, and its upper is far more comfortable and secure. Despite the cost, the G 270 is my choice between the two. I wear a women’s 7.5 in the Torrent as compared to a women’s size 8 in the G 270. 

Saucony Peregrine 13 (RTR Review)

Renee: Another great trail shoe. The Peregrine 13 offers more cushion underfoot and with a 4mm drop, it’s probably a more approachable shoe for those who don’t like zero drop shoes. The G 270 is a lighter shoe and runs much faster. For the price and usage, the Peregrine 13 is the better choice for a daily trainer although, for speed and racing, I’d choose the G 270. Sizing is similar with the G 270 having a more secure upper and a roomier toebox. 

Jacob: Note I have the GTX version of the Peregrine. This is a great comparison as both are daily training/race-ready versatile trail shoes with an EVA blend midsole and thick TPU bead sockliners. Both are great shoes. 

Starting with ride: both are energetic and work well at a variety of paces including fast running. I really like the Peregrine 13 ride though—overall I like the ride more than the G 270 as it has more cushion, I benefit from the drop in making it more easygoing, and I find a more notable propulsive effect. Especially as a daily trainer, the softer feel and small bit of drop help make running more fluid. The G 270 is more stable, has a roomier toe box, a more glove-like fit in midfoot and heel (less heel structure, padding—the Peregrine is closer to a road shoe fit), and is more connected to the ground. In durability and traction, I think the G 270 wins as the softer rubber and taller, less numerous lugs of the Peregrine are wearing on the quicker side (especially with some road running in the mix) and I am not as confident on wet rock and roots as in the G 270, though both have overall great traction. In summary, I’d choose the Peregrine for daily training but for racing or mountain runs would choose the G 270.

Saucony Endorphin Edge (RTR Review)

Renee: The Edge is a more cushioned shoe and because of its Carbitex carbon plate, the Edge provides speed for short or ultra distances. For me, the Edge works better on dry or rolling terrain. The upper security and ground feel are better in the G 270 so for anything technical, I’d choose the G 270. I raced a muddy/rocky 50k with the Edge and found it to be too much underfoot and not the best for wet/sloppy conditions. Sizing is similar; the upper of the Edge has more volume. 

VJ Spark (RTR Review)

Renee: The VJ Spark has a more aggressive outsole for soft/muddy terrain. The shoe is fast, but lacks the underfoot comfort of the G 270. The toebox ran a bit short in the Spark for mid or long distances (for me). Still a great shoe though. I’d only choose the Spark if running soft ground downhill for a short distance. Sizing is similar, although the Spark runs shorter with a shallow toebox. 

Jacob: Both run well fast and are relatively low stack (for modern days), however the G 270 is more versatile. The VJ Spark has a snugger, lower volume fit overall and narrower toe box. Its lugs are taller and more aggressive for soft terrain and VJ’s outsole rubber grip is top of the line especially in the wet, decisively besting the G 270. 

However, the Spark is a technical racing shoe and does not run well slow or on mixed or smooth terrain. The G 270 is also fast and even more energetic due to the TPU bead sockliner but also works well slow and on smooth terrain. For racing on rugged terrain over short distances, I’d take the VJ Spark, and for all other uses, the G 270.

The Inov-8 Trailfly G 270 V2 is available at our partners below

Running Warehouse US


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Tester Profiles

Dom 51, trains and competes mainly on trails in Southern California.  In 2017 he was 14th at Western States 100 and in 2018 finished 50th at UTMB and 32nd at the 2018 Los Angeles marathon in a time of 2:46.  In 2019, his only notable finish was at the multi-day Dragon’s Back race in the UK.  In 2022 Dom finished 4th in the Angeles Crest 100 and was 10th in his age group at UTMB.

Renee is a former U. S.Marine journalist, which is when her enjoyment of running and writing started. She isn’t that awesome of a runner, but she tries really hard. Most of her weekly 50-60 miles take place on rural country roads in Nebraska, meaning mud, gravel, dirt, hills, and the occasional field. She has PR’s of 1:30:59 for the half marathon and 3:26:45 for the marathon.

Jacob is a runner and general endurance sports enthusiast. He runs a mix of roads and trails in the Portland, Maine area. He has been running every day for over four years and averages around 50 miles per week. Jacob races on road and trail at a variety of distances from 5k to 50k. He has a recent PR of 2:49 in the marathon. In addition to running, he does hiking, biking (mountain/gravel/road), and nordic skiing. He is 27 years old, 6 ft / 182 cm tall and 155 lbs / 70 kg. You can check out Jacob’s recent activities on Strava.

Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

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Anonymous said...

How does it compare with the alone Peak 7?

Anonymous said...

Nice to hear if Micke can compare to Topo Runventure 4