Shoe Of The Week: Inov-8 Ultra 290

The new Inov-8 Race Ultra 290 was created for the hard miles of ultra-distance racing.

Inov-8 is a British brand of shoes with an office in the Boston area.

Inov-8, a brand known for its light and fast short-distance trail racing shoes, unveiled the Race Ultra 290 recently as the brand’s first ultra-distance running shoe. On initial test runs, the Competitor wear-test team has found the Ultra 290 to have a good combination of moderately soft cushioning, ample flexibility and supportive (but not overbearing) structure while still maintaining a distinct feel for the trail. It’s definitely “more shoe” than the lithe and lightweight models Inov-8 is known for, but it’s definitely not a bulky ride and actually quite nimble for a shoe in this category. (It’s lighter than it looks and runs lighter than it feels when you first pull it out of the box.) With its grippy and stabilizing outsole lugs (made from three types of rubber) and protective features, this shoe seems most at home on semi-technical or really rocky terrain. It’s light and agile enough to maintain natural foot movement and rhythmic running on smooth, flat trails too, but our wear-testers have reported that they definitely like it best on more rugged trails. The Race Ultra 290 has a medium foot volume in the heel and midfoot, but a more generously spacious toe box. Other features include a gaiter attachment (gaiter sold separately) and an X-Static silver-lined antimicrobial footbed, which helps keep bacteria at bay.

Price: $130
Weights: 10.0 oz. (men’s size 9.0); 8.9 oz. (women’s size 7.0)
Heel-Toe Drop: 8mm
Info: inov-8.com

RELATED: 2014 Summer Trail Running Shoe Buyer’s Guide

 

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