Minor upgrades, same winning trail shoes: Inov-8 Trailfly G270 V2 review

The award-winning trail racer is back, and it’s the same but better

T3 Platinum Award
Inov-8 Trailfly G270 V2 review
(Image credit: Kieran Alger)
T3 Verdict

If you liked V1, you’re going to love the inov-8 Trailfly G270 v2. It retains all the excellence of the first-gen trail tamer – the speed and agility, balanced protection, great grip, and robust durability – and adds a little extra upper comfort. Another winning trail shoe from inov-8.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Top-quality construction and durability

  • +

    Fantastic grip off-read

  • +

    Copes with road-to-trail scenarios well

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Cushioning might be a bit firm for some

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    Zero drop approach might take some getting used to

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Welcome to our Inov-8 Trailfly G270 V2 review. It’s fair to say that the first generation inov-8 Trailfly G270 was a huge hit. With its combination of durable uppers, fast and snappy zero-drop, graphene-infused midsole and super-sticky grip, it scooped best trail shoe awards all over the place.

But when a shoe finds a winning formula, we’re always wary of the follow-up. Brands love to tinker. Not always in a good way. So has the brand new Trailfly G270 2023 edition made smart improvements? And does it still belong among the best trail running shoes? I put it to the test to find out. 

Inov-8 Trailfly G270 V2 review: Price and availability

The inov-8 Trailfly G270 V2 launched in February 2023, and they’re available to buy now from inov-8 UK, inov-8 US and inov-8 AU for a recommended retail price of £150 / $170 / AU$265. That price tag puts them roughly in the same ballpark as shoes like the HOKA Speedgoat 5 (£140 / $155) and the New Balance Fresh Foam X Hierro v7 (£145 / $139.99). But notably cheaper than some of the speedy carbon plate options like the new The North Face Vectiv Pro (£225 / $250). 

Inov-8 Trailfly G270 V2

(Image credit: Kieran Alger)

Inov-8 Trailfly G270 V2 review: What’s new?

When you’ve made an award-winning shoe, it seems sensible to stick to an ‘if it ain’t broke’ approach. Though we don’t always see shoe brands be this sensible. Luckily, in this instance inov-8 has been smart. Everything that worked well in the original Trailfly G270 is still here. You’re essentially getting the same fast-feel, zero-drop trail running shoe designed for tackling long distances at speed. The same grippy outsole and springy insole. 

The main changes come to the upper that inov-8 says now offers a better fit, greater comfort and longer-lasting durability. That redesigned upper sees the supportive overlay strips on the medial and lateral sides move back, to help deliver more great unrestricted stretch and breathability across the forefoot.

Inov-8 says the new lightweight mesh material has also been laboratory tested and “proven to be 25% more durable than its predecessor on the V1.” There’s also a new more-cushioned, slimline tongue for better comfort on the longer miles.

Beyond the uppers, the rest of the shoe formula remains untouched. There’s the same zero-rop Powerflow Max midsole. That comes with a 22m / 22m heel-to-toe stack (though just 12mm of that is in the midsole) and is there to provide the fast-feel bounce and energy return, while retaining shape and improving durability.

Protection and cushioning is still boosted by an unchanged 6mm Boomerang insole, packed with expanded TPU beads that inov-8 says deliver 40% more energy return than standard insoles.

Flip them over and you’ve got the same multi-directional, 4mm Graphene-enhanced G-GRIP rubber lugs to provide the all-important off-road stickiness. That lug pattern has also been designed specifically to prevent debris from sticking to the outsole and to help water disperse faster. Rubber dimples also aim to give extra grip on wet surfaces.

The final outsole detail are the familiar flex grooves across the forefoot. They’re there to help deliver underfoot responsiveness and agility. The idea here as the shoe flexes, giving you the feeling of being able to mould feet over uneven or rocky terrain.

Inov-8 Trailfly G270 V2

(Image credit: Kieran Alger)

Inov-8 Trailfly G270 V2 : Fit

When it comes to fit, I’d recommend going true to size. I ran in my usual UK size 8.5, and I found the overall comfort and hold a spot on. There’s good step-in comfort, with balanced heel and tongue padding and ample wiggle room in the toe box. Crucially there’s enough space up front – and up top – to prevent any toe bashing on the steep downs.

I found it easy to get a good, snug hold across the midfoot without any lace pinch. And there were no blisters or hotspots on my 2-hour-long test runs. If anything, these happily ticked the box of shoes you forget you’re wearing. They certainly offer the kind of comfort that makes them an ultra-mileage option.

Inov-8 Trailfly G270 V2

(Image credit: Kieran Alger)

Inov-8 Trailfly G270 V2 : Running performance

I’ve run around 30 miles and put in some long duration runs in the inov-8 Trailfly G270 V2 in testing. That’s on a mix of road-to-trail, compacted river paths, rolling forest trails, wet and muddy fields and steep, narrow twisting coastal paths. In dry and wet conditions. The only thing I’ve not done is take them onto mountain trails. And here’s my TLDR: If you loved the Trailfly G270 V1, you’re going to love these. I did.

I first tested the inov-8 G270 V2 without looking at the spec sheet, so I had no idea what had changed. My first reaction: these feel just like the first-gen Trailfly. That’s a good thing. Though I noticed some of the positive changes, too. The extra flex in the uppers improves the roominess and the reworked tongues add to the well-balanced  cradling comfort you get from the padded heel collars. 

Just like the original, this shoe runs firm and direct and you’ll notice that zero drop in the early miles if you’re not used to it. If you’re a fan of the softer, more cushioned shoes we’ve seen hitting the trail – the likes of the New Balance Hierro, The North Face Vectiv Pro – then it’s worth noting that the Trailfly G270 V2 run notably firmer than those shoes. Firmer than a HOKA Speedgoat 5, too. It’s actually something I like about inov-8 shoes. The good ground contact and directness are something I look for in a good trail shoe.

That was most noticeable on the compacted ground and road sections in the early miles. But once I’d warmed the midsoles up and reached softer trails, all you feel is the excellent balance of speed and just-enough cushioning. They’re nimble, lightweight with a hint of road-shoe agility paired with a high-grip outsole you can trust on most terrain.

The trails I ran in testing weren’t particularly stony but the flex grooves – and those puffed up TPU insoles – worked well to swallow any lumps and bumps under foot but without removing that all-important ground connection that brings stability and confidence in your foot placement.

This isn’t strictly a hybrid road-to-trail shoe but while it’s undoubtedly most at home on technical off-road terrain, it runs perfectly well on the road. Provided you’re not looking at big miles on the tarmac, they make a happy road-to-trail option. 

Inov-8 Trailfly G270 V2

(Image credit: Kieran Alger)

Inov-8 Trailfly G270 V2: Grip

Just like on the first-gen, the inov-8 G270 V2 grip is excellent. It stuck well to almost everything I encountered and I can safely say, this is a shoe that keeps you confidently upright in most conditions. 

The only place it struggled was when my test miles took me to the North Devon coast path over a few wet and windy days. The steep, narrow trails were seriously sloppy and slippy in places. The kind of mud mousse that few shoes can cope with. On those patches, the G270 couldn’t either. And so I wouldn’t recommend these for muddier expeditions. But for the majority of that tricky 2-hour trail test, the graphene grip served up the kind of reliable traction you need. I’d happily select these for a rolling UK ultra, drier coastal runs and trips onto the more mountainous trails in Europe.

Inov-8 Trailfly G270 V2 : Durability

Inov-8 builds its shoes to last. My pair of first-gen Trailfly G270s are still going strong after many 100s of miles and the V2 shows all the signs of packing the same longevity. The combination of the robust uppers, that toughened graphene outsole and good, solid construction will soak up a lot. I’d predict you’ll easily get north of 500 miles at least in these shoes.

Inov-8 Trailfly G270 V2 review: Verdict

Inov-8 has played a smart game with the updates to the Trailfly G270. Everything we loved about first-gen remains: the excellent grip and durability, the light, speedy agile ride, the balanced cushioning and stability. In fact, it feels like you’re running in the same shoe but for some subtle tweaks to the uppers the edge up the comfort. This is evolution not revolution and if you loved the first-gen, you’re going to love these. If you already own the first-gen and they’re not dead yet, there’s no real reason to upgrade just yet.

Inov-8 Trailfly G270 V2 review: Also consider

If you’re a fan of inov-8 but want a shoe with a bit more bounce and a higher drop, then the inov-8 Trailfly Ultra G280 is worth a look. It’s marginally heavier but comes with an 8mm offset and a bigger 33m/25mm midsole stack. You get the same graphene-infused foam and 4mm lugs, and, like the G270 – it’s also one of inov-8’s widest toe box options, too. 

Another alternative worth considering is the Nike ZoomX Zegama. One of the first shoes to bring ZoomX foam to the trail, it's a solid trail running shoe offering plenty of cushioning, stability and speed. Read Matt’s full Nike Zegama review for more info.

Alternatively, the Hoka Speedgoat 5 is a great versatile trail running shoe that’s good across a range of distances and terrain. The slightly lighter upgrade to the Speedgoat has a new, sock-like mesh upper made from recycled materials, excellent midsole rebound, great traction and grip from a Vibram Megagrip sole with Traction Lugs. Read Claire's Hoka Speedgoat 5 review to dive deeper.

Kieran Alger
Freelance writer

Kieran is a freelance writer and editor working in the space where health, fitness, sports and technology collide. He covers everything from virtual reality and smart scales to the latest wearable health trackers. Kieran is also a borderline-obsessed runner and is passionate about using the latest technology to hack his health in search of marginal gains.