Inov-8 Unleash Trailfly Ultra G 300 Max with Graphene-Enhanced Midsole
Inov-8 have officially launched the new Trailfly Ultra G 300 Max. The first running shoe with a Graphene-Enhanced Midsole. The new shoe premiered yesterday via a live-streamed presentation, followed by a Zoom Q&A. We were eagerly awaiting this release, and it did not disappoint!
Inov-8’s Graphene-Enhanced Midsole. Alternative to the Carbon Plate Trend?
Inov-8 built their name on lightweight, minimalist footwear. They came on our radar during the height of the barefoot running trend. The super-responsive, close to barefoot feel, of their shoes is one of the reasons we’re such fans.
But trends change. With the barefoot craze losing lustre, and new technologies such as carbon-plates breaking new records, it was time for Inov-8 to… Innovate!
Adding a carbon plate wasn’t on the cards. This wouldn’t fit with the Inov-8 philosophy of shoes that keep you connected to the trail. The solution? Graphene-enhanced cushioned foam: G-FLY™.
In an industry where running shoe manufacturers seem hung up on underfoot carbon plates, we’ve delivered an innovative proposition. G-FLY cushioned foam not only gives runners incredible long-lasting energy return but an underfoot feel free of rigidity and full of agility.Michael Price, COO of Inov-8
If you were thinking, “I thought Inov-8 already used graphene?” you’d be correct. Inov-8 pioneered the use of Graphene in 2018 with GRAPHENE-GRIP™ rubber on the outsoles. This innovation solved the problem of having to choose between grip and durability. You could now have a sticky sole that didn’t wear down.
Graphene is stronger than diamond and more flexible than rubber while being the thinnest, lightest material on Earth. Impressed by the properties of graphene, the Inov-8 team looked for more applications. Working with the University of Manchester, graphene-enhanced foam is another pioneering breakthrough.
Inov-8 G-FLY™ Graphene-enhanced foam
Graphene-enhanced G-FLY™ cushioned foam is another industry first. The Trailfly Ultra G 300 Max is the only shoe to use this technology.
G-FLY™ foam uses a proprietary blend of Graphene, Thermo PolyUrethane (TPU), and EVA (Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate). Each has outstanding elasticity which keeps the foam bouncing back.
Testing shows the foam is very resistant to wear. It retains its cushioning and snappy energy return for longer. Runners feel faster and fresher over greater distances. Laboratory experiments show that the new graphene-enhanced midsoles give 25% more energy return. As with the outers, the graphene also adds strength: This energy return lasts much longer than in traditional foams.
We continue to carve our own trail, with innovation at the forefront of everything we do. It would be easy to follow others, but that is not in our DNA. Our revolutionary use of Graphene, first in rubber and now in foam, proves that we dare to be different.
Wayne Edy – Inov-8 Founder
New ADAPTER-FLEX™ sole – Adapt & react to the terrain
Another classic compromise in running shoes: Reactivity versus cushioning. How do you stay connected to the ground, while still protecting your feet on long, rocky trails?
Inov-8’s proposal is the ADAPTER-FLEX™ sole.
The depth of the foam is 25mm at the heel and 19mm at the forefoot. With the outsole lugs (4mm) and base rubber (1mm), the full-stack height is 30mm at the heel and 24mm at the forefoot. This is Inov-8’s deepest-ever foam cushioning. While there’s no rigid carbon plate, this is still a long way from minimalist footwear.
The Trailfly Ultra G 300 Max features a 10mm deep groove under the arch of the foot, aligned with the midtarsal joint axis allowing the forefoot to move independently of the heel. This means more flex, mobility and natural movement and reduces strain on the ankle. Vertical grooves under the forefoot inline with the metatarsals again facilitate natural movement and adaptability to rough terrains.
I had previously been sceptical of high stack shoes on trails, but these allowed me to retain that reactive, close-to the-ground feel while also having the cushioning to keep you going and going.Alison Walker, British-based Malaysian ultra runner & record-holder for 300km Smog Graham Round.
These shoes hit the maximum on comfort, grip and cushioning, and even defy logic by having the same stability of a lower-profile shoe. I look forward to putting them on every time.Chris Holdsworth, British international trail runner.
Performance, Durability and Sustainability?
Performance, durability and sustainability were Inov-8’s goals for the Trailfly Ultra G 300 Max.
All too often, advances in one area come at the expense of another. But with this shoe, Inov-8 promise no compromises, can this be true?
GRAPHENE-GRIP™ has certainly lived up to expectations. We’ve tried and tested it on the Terra Ultra and they still grip like a vice. The lab and athlete’s field tests indicate the same is true of the new midsole.
The shoe’s sustainability, say Inov-8, stems from this durability. Shoes that last longer need replacing less. Increasing product lifecycle reduces pollution from manufacturing and waste production.
But what about graphene? Graphene is usually made from graphite, a crystalline form of carbon. This is a non-renewable material traditionally mined from the hills of Northern England. Early techniques for extracting graphene used hazardous chemicals such as acids, oxidizing and reducing agents.
Fortunately, modern techniques can produce graphene from any carbon source, without the use of toxic materials. Inov-8 use graphene produced to REACH standards, the highest available.
At the end of their lifecycle, the shoes can be recycled into playground surfaces.
Graphene-Foam vs Carbon-Plate?
The new Terafly Ultra looks like an amazing shoe. We can’t wait to get our hands (or should that be feet?) on a pair to test them.
Based on previous experience, we expect them to live up to all of Invo-8’s claims.
What does remain to be seen, is how the Graphene-Enhanced Midsole can compete with a carbon plate? The new North Face Vectiv is already making waves and setting FKTs. How will the Terafly stack up against this?
My suspicion is that this is going to depend a lot upon personal preference, and also the type of trail. But only extensive testing in the field will tell.
Trailfly Ultra Key Features
• GRAPHENE-GRIP™ – Traction AND durability, no compromise. 50% stronger, 50% more elastic, 50% harder wearing.
• ADAPTER-FLEX™ technology, aiding adaptability and flexible grip when running over uneven terrain.
• 35 multi-directional 4mm deep lugs improve both propulsion and braking.
• Spacing between the lugs shed mud, and water dispersion channels give extra grip in the wet.
Graphene-Enhanced Midsole & Insole
• G-FLY™ Graphene-Enhanced Midsole gives 25% more energy return. It retains thickness and rebound for longer. Energy return AND increased durability, no compromise.
• Laboratory tests show that even when the foam is aged to mimic extensive use, it still delivers more energy return than some unaged foams.
• A 30mm Stack height make this Inov-8’s most cushioned shoe ever. A 6mm drop hits the sweet spot for long-distance comfort.
• The “boomerang” insole features TPU beads that compress and spring back for 40% more energy return.
• ADAPTER-FIT™ technology ensures a snug fit that adjusts to the movement and swelling of the foot over long distances. Lightweight, breathable materials give a soft, natural feel without compromising on durability.
• A wide toe-box and lightweight tongue enhance comfort, while a toe guard provides protection against rocks. The tongue is gusseted to keep debris out of the shoe.
New Trailfiy Ultra G300 Max Spec
Weight: 300g (average weight across size curve)
Drop: 6mm (heel to forefoot differential) Full stack height (midsole & outsole): 30mm heel / 24mm forefoot
Midsolestack height (midsole only): 25mm heel / 19mm forefoot
Lug depth: 4mm
Fit: Grade 5 (Inov-8 fit scale in the toe box is 1-5, with 5 being the widest). More details.
Patent-pending technologies: GRAPHENE-GRIP™, G-FLY™ Graphene-Enhanced Midsole, ADAPTER-FLEX™
The TRAILFLY ULTRA G 300 MAX is available to pre-order now. It’s priced at £170 / $190 / €195. Learn more at www.inov-8.com