I’m a massive Vibram FiveFinger fan. But after doing the Yorkshire 3 Peaks and 50K on “The Ridgeway” trail. I thought it might be worth trying a different way to protect my feet over long distances or rocky terrain. Don’t worry I’ll still be running everything except long distance and rocky terrain in my #vff V-Trails.
So after a little research, I found out that Inov-8 was releasing a new trail shoe that contained #Graphene in the rubber of the outsole and #kevlar in the upper. The claim is they are supposed to be tough as the sole should last 1000 miles and as we know #kevlar is used in bulletproof vests.
Let us start with something that doesn’t matter too much to me, the looks. They are green and totally in your face and recognisable, to be honest, I quite like that and am never shy of making a statement or being different.
Never to look this clean again!
Now for the important stuff. Having been that #FiveFinger guy and half Filipino I have a wide, flat foot. So any shoe that I will be wearing over long distances need to accommodate my normally wide foot but also needs to cater for foot expansion/ swelling over long distances. It is safe to say, straight out of the box they are wide enough for my tree climbing feet. From memory Inov-8 have a width fitting between 1-5 and the TerraUltras are a 4 whatever that means. To be honest they are super comfortable. Almost as important as being wide fitting the TerraUltras are zero drop, which means I don’t have to change my running style significantly.
For reference, I ran part World’s Toughest Mudder 2017 in a pair of Hoka Speedgoat 2 and they just weren’t wide enough, although they are so cushioned you feel like you are walking on air.
Unlike any of my #FiveFingers I thought I should at least make an attempt to “break” these shoes in, so I hit the trails on some local common land and the 8 miles were a breeze, no tight spots or discomfort on my Achilles. No more hopping over stones or sticks. The “ride” was stable and comfortable.
So with an 8-mile trail run done, I was confident that I’d be able to handle a Tough Mudder weekend in the new wheels. The rest of the team were shocked I had stepped out in “normal” shoes to run an obstacle course. The plan was 2 full laps on the Saturday and 1 lap on Sunday
For you STAT junkies, here you go:
First Lap STATS
As you can see I covered circa 27 miles over the weekend and the elevation gain/loss is not dramatic. I will say it was wet and guess what… MUDDY, we had almost consistent rain and even hail at one point. Grip was good in the wet fields and very muddy trails and I felt confident running over the wet tree roots in the forested areas.
Overall comfort is excellent and even though I’m used to running on sub-8mm soles I get a decent amount of “ground feel” from these thick soles.
Gratuitous Action shot
All good so far! Now the not so good bit:
Right Shoe Tongue
The threads on the upper at the base of the tongue is already starting to fray and come apart
Right Shoe Upper
You can see a thread appears to be coming from the inside and again the green threads are fraying and coming apart, moreover, the stitching where my big toe joint is starting to break down already.
Left Shoe Tongue
The same notable issue as on the right shoe in the tongue area but not as noticeable.
Left Shoe Upper
Again the threads on the upper are starting to fray and come apart.
I purchased these recently released shoes in-store from the Run and Become store in Victoria, London. I wanted to try them on before buying so an online purchase was a no go and to be fair the online price difference wasn’t significant, I always knew that buying a new release is a gamble, they have no history, you can’t ask for advice from your friends and fellow OCR crazies. Most of the online reviews are from people that are sponsored by Inov-8 and the people that receive early access to new shoes often have a vested interest in providing reviews. I, however, spend my own money on equipment and use it to run on the trails and all the obstacle course I run.
So the cost, £140 and thus far the Inov-8 TerraUltra G260 have only done circa 35 miles. That is about 4 British pounds a mile, which I think is frankly shocking. The Inov-8 claim of the outsole being able to last 1000 miles is frankly irrelevant if the upper is going to break down after only 35 miles. I concede that Obstacle Racing may not be what these shoes are specifically designed for and Tough Mudder by definition is supposedly “tough”. But 35 miles an unacceptably low distance for a shoe to start breaking down when its made of bulletproof material and #Graphene according to Wikipedia is the strongest material ever tested. To be fair the outsole is holding up well. So my only real issue is the build quality of the upper. “Which is kind of important” for an ultra running shoe. My plan was to run World’s Toughest Mudder in the Inov-8 TerraUltra, but from the looks of it, they may not even make it to the end of Tough Mudder season. Thoughroughly disappointed
Be good, if you cant be, good be, sensational!