two runners running down trail with sun setting in background

Curious as we are about a shoe that can last nearly 800 miles and still stay responsive? Read on to learn about inov-8’s latest trail shoe with graphene-enhanced foam that claims to do just that.

Any serious runner can tell you how important a midsole is. The midsole is where support, cushioning, and responsiveness between your foot and the ground live. To innovate a better midsole, inov-8 partnered with The University of Manchester to develop its first — and the world’s first — graphene-enhanced foam.

What is graphene? It’s one of the strongest and thinnest materials on the planet. Technically, it’s a single atomic layer of the material graphite. It’s 200 times stronger than steel, yet 1,000 times thinner than a human hair.

Now, graphene has been used in trail shoes before. (Inov-8 created the first graphene-enhanced rubber in 2018.) But this will be the first time the material is used in a shoe’s foam, instead of plastic, rubber, or EVA. “With [this shoe], we deliver insanely sticky traction … we pioneer in grip,” said Michael Price, inov-8’s COO.

The first shoe model with the new graphene foam is inov-8’s TrailFly Ultra G 300 Max, which has graphene in the rubber outsole as well. On a media call, inov-8 noted that the TrailFly is “designed for durability and performance for ultra-marathon distances.”

inov-8 athlete alison walker running in GFly G 300 max trail shoe

One of the biggest questions we had about this shoe was not about how it performs, but rather how it’s designed — specifically, why use graphene? Using graphene is inov-8’s way to increase the brand’s sustainability in its products, as using graphene-enhanced foam increases the shoe’s longevity.

Inov-8’s athletes who have been testing the new foam in the TrailFly shoe said that “it was still performing well after 1,200 km,” which inov-8 reminded us is double the industry standard. Shoes that can run long distances, and last longer, can mean less material going to waste in the long run.

TrailFly Ultra G 300 Max Specs

Inov-8 GFly G 300 trail shoe from 3 angles

  • 6mm drop
  • Grippy, 4mm lugs
  • Wide toebox
  • Midsole design optimized for ultra distances
  • Medium-to-high stack height (30mm heel/24mm forefoot)
  • 25% better energy return than a shoe with EVA foam* (25% better than inov-8’s POWERFLOW foam, which is EVA)
  • Weight: 300 g/10 oz.
  • Price: $190

* independent lab tested at The University of Manchester in England

We haven’t tested this shoe yet, but we’re looking forward to pounding out some trail miles on them soon.

The TrailFly Ultra G 300 will go on sale on April 8.

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