When TriGear tested the inov-8 Race Ultra 290 back in July 2014 we thought we’d hit upon the closest we had seen to the perfect distance trail combo – now though comes the Race Ultra 270…
The headline difference with the Race Ultra 270 is, of course, a 20g weight saving; that neither sounds or initially feels like a big deal but multiple your strides over a longer distance run and trust us, you’ll notice. More significant in many ways though is the reduction in heel-to-toe drop – whilst the Race Ultra 290 offered up an 8mm differential, the 270 halves this to just 4mm, something of a quantum leap for getting closer to the ground and nearer to the barefoot equivalent. Those transitioning away from a more ‘traditional’ heel strike might find this a step too far, but those already reaping the biomechanical benefits will appreciate just what a difference this makes to proprioception. That said, the Race Ultra 270 doesn’t skimp on either cushioning or comfort…
Inov-8’s ‘Meta Shank’ and inbuilt flex zone towards the toe adds to the comfort when the hours are ticking by and the increased internal volume means that gradually swelling feet are never really an issue.
The flatter outsole helps with stability and the lugs are – like its predecessor – an excellent combination of ‘sticky’ and ‘high abrasion’ that makes easy work of everything from pavement to technical trail and mud. The adaptability really makes the 270 the kind of shoe you can wear door to trail (and back), in short: an ideal ultra shoe that feels pretty much at home regardless of environment.
As you would expect there’s a fully gusseted tongue to keep detritus out and, as with the 290, the shoe features discreet on-shoe gaiter pockets to attach the Race Ultra Gaiters (available separately, but an excellent and worthwhile additional purchase.)
The many miles over which we have tested the 270s have been a joy. We might not expect anyone currently racing in 290s to immediately trade-up to the 270s, but when the time comes we couldn’t recommend highly enough the chance to appreciate the evolution these represent.
The Inov-8 Race Ultra 270 retails at £110 and is available from, amongst other places, Wiggle.co.uk
For details of the full inov-8 range see inov-8.com