Offroad running brand Inov-8 has launched a shoe which it thinks it may have solved the problem for trail runners who want supreme cushioning underfoot coupled with unbeatable durability.
It's launched a maximal cushioned shoe called the Inov-8 Trailfly Ultra G 300 Max [if the durability is as long as the name the brand will be on to a winner] and the key technology is the brand's newly developed midsole foam, which it calls G-FLY.
It contains graphene, a one-atom-thick layer of carbon atoms, which makes it the world's thinnest substance. It's also one of the planet's toughest materials too and is 200 times tougher than steel.
The shoe is the result of an ongoing collaboration with the University of Manchester, where a team of over 300 staff has pioneered projects into graphene-enhanced sports cars, medical devices, aeroplanes and sports footwear.
We've received our test pairs of the Trailfly but haven't yet had the chance to take them out on the trails - we'll be posting a review as soon as we have. In the meantime here are the key details about the shoe:
It's aimed at long distance runners and ultramarathoners
The outsole contains Graphene Grip, which is as it sounds. We know from wearing the Terraultra G270 that the addition of graphene in the outsole gives outstanding grip on a variety of surfaces.
There's a new tech called Adapter-flex - essentially 10mm deep outsole grooves which the brand say flex and adapt to uneven terrain better. In theory this greater distance between outsole and midsole means the bottom part of the shoe can be twisting and flexing without compromising the midsole, which can get on with the job of simply providing the cushioning and allowing your foot to sit at a more natural angle no matter how bumpy the terrain you're traversing.
Inov-8 says that lab tests show that the G-FLY midsole delivers 25% greater energy return than a standard midsole, and is far more resistant to compressive wear. This would mean long distance runners would not only get more underfoot bounce and comfort for much longer, but would be able to maintain faster average speeds too.
Average weight of the shoe across the sizing range is 300g, and the heel-toe drop is 6mm (30mm in the heel and 24mm in the forefoot).
Michael Price, Inov-8 COO, said: ‘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.
'We’ve worked incredibly hard for the past two years in developing this innovation. A team of 40 athletes from across the world tested prototype shoes and more than 50 mixes of Graphene-enhanced foam. Trail test reports show G-FLY foam still performing well after 1,200km – double the industry standard.'
Dr Aravind Vijayaraghavan, Reader in Nanomaterials at The University of Manchester, home to both the National Graphene Institute and Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre, said: 'As well as on the trail, we also tested extensively in the laboratory, including subjecting the foam to aggressive ageing tests that mimic extensive use. Despite being significantly aged, the G-FLY foam still delivered more energy return than some unaged foams.
'We are proud of G-FLY foam, the TRAILFLY ULTRA G 300 MAX and all we have achieved in our highly-successful partnership with Inov-8. We look forward to the next phase and further expanding the use of Graphene, a material that has limitless potential.”
Wayne Edy, who founded Inov-8 in 2003 said: '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.'
The Inov-8 Trailfly Ultra G 300 Max will be on sale from April 8th priced at £170, but is available on pre-order ORDER NOW
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