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Inov-8 Race Ultra 270 Trail-Running Shoe (Spring 2015)

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9.5 oz | 4mm drop | $120

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The Dirt: The Race Ultra 270 has the same comfortable fit, forefoot rock protection and sticky-rubber tread of Inov-8’s well-received Race Ultra 290 (Editor’s Choice, Fall 2014), in a lighter, lower-drop package that will appeal to minimal-leaning runners looking for protection and traction on the trails.

Testers gushed about the Race Ultra 270’s agility and grip on technical terrain, though the changes that make it a lighter shoe than its burlier cousin come with tradeoffs: the thinner midsole can feel unresponsive on roads or flat, less-technical terrain, and some testers had concerns about the durability of the flexible mesh upper.

Best For: Technical trails; runs up to marathon distance.

Fit: True to size; snug in the midfoot and roomy in the toebox.

>More spring 2015 trail-running shoes


Tester Raves

“A very lightweight shoe that allows the feet to do a lot of the work of running, while still providing some protection, foot and ankle support and cushioning.”

—Kari Fraser, Boulder, CO

“They’re flexible, light and give ample room in the toebox, while affording a moderate degree of protection, and they drain and breathe well.”

—Ben Luedke, Seattle, WA

 

Testers on Fit

“The snug fit felt like it was part of my foot, and minimized foot movement in the shoe.”

—Tina Mowery, Ellerslie, MD

“The stretch and resilience of the RU 270 upper means that I can cinch the shoes fairly tight without aggravating the tendons along the top of my instep, and midfoot holding on steep descents is exceptional.”

—Kari Fraser, Boulder, CO

“The most comfortable Inov-8 shoes I’ve worn, because they are wide and accommodating for my feet.”

—Jonathan Loewus-Deitch, Washington, DC

 

Testers on Tread

“The tread is sticky on a wide range of rock surfaces, including wear-polished granite slabs on heavily used trails that are notoriously slick even when dry.”

—Kari Fraser, Boulder, CO

“The amount of traction is just right: comfortable for hardpack and confidence-inducing on super-steep sections.”

—Ben Luedke, Seattle, WA

 

Testers on Downsides

“I found the sole flat and lifeless on anything but the most technical, rock-hopping sort of trail.”

—Kari Fraser, Boulder, CO

“The front sides [of the upper] concerned me a bit because they’re thin, and if bushwacking, I’d be afraid of the sides ripping or my foot getting stabbed by branches and rocks.”

—Jonathan Loewus-Deitch, Washington, DC

>More spring 2015 trail-running shoes


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