Inov-8 Terraultra G 260. The best zero-drop trail runner? [review]

Altra Lone Peaks have long been the favorite trail runners among long-distance hikers. Terraultra offers a more agile, grippy, and durable alternative.

Inov-8 Terraultra G 260. The best zero-drop trail runner? [review]

I’ve been hiking in zero-drop trail runners for the past several years. They’re lightweight, comfortable, and dry out quickly, so I don’t need to worry about taking them off when fording creeks.

My go-to hiking shoe has been the Altra Lone Peak, starting with the 3.0 shoe. I have wide feet, so the foot shape toebox and wide fit have been great. In fact, I’ve never had a single blister with them.

But as good as the Lone Peaks have been, they aren’t without their issues. Altra keeps changing the design frequently, sometimes making them narrower, sometimes less breathable. But the biggest problem I have with them is the durability.

I got a new pair of Lone Peaks for my JMT hike. The toe guard started to separate before I got on the trail, after a bus ride and a stroll through Yosemite valley. By the third day on the trail, they were open enough to funnel sand straight into my shoe.

Altra Lone Peak 4.0 with separated toe guard.
The Altra Lone Peak 4.0 is comfortable but poor quality

Inov-8 Terraultra G 260: zero-drop, durable, and comfortable?

When I was researching alternatives to the Altra Lone Peak, I ran into the Inov-8 Terraultra 260 trail runners. The G 260 have Graphene enhanced rubber soles that offer more durability and grip. Additionally, the toe box is reinforced with Kevlar for extra strength. Inov-8 claims that the bottom is 50% stronger, 50% more elastic, and 50% more durable than a standard rubber sole.

Picture of the inside of a Inov-8 Terraultra G 260 trail running shoe box
Graphene enhanced soles promise more grip and durability

The Inov-8 trail running shoes are also designed for people with wide feet, although they aren’t as obviously wide-looking as the Altras. Combined with the fact that they’re also zero-drop, I had found my next pair of hiking shoes.

Review: light and agile on the trail

The first thing I noticed with the new shoes was how light and small they felt compared to the Lone Peaks. They are very minimal, with nothing extra. They don’t have velcro or loops for gaiters or random heel-flaps that fling sand on your calves (what the heck is that about Altra?).

Black Inov-8 Terraultra G 260 shoes with kevlar toe reinforcements
The Inov-8 Terraultra G 260 are minimalistic and durable

The Terraultra fits my foot more snugly than the Altra, in a good way. I have plenty of space in the toe box, and it doesn’t feel like my foot is sliding around as I hike. The sizing seems to be consistent with Altras, I wear a men’s size 11 in both.

The Inov-8 is much sensitive than the Lone Peaks. They give you a good feel for the ground underneath you without being too poky on sharp rocks. Combined, the smaller and lighter shoe and the increased sensitivity make you feel more agile and nimble. It’s a great feeling.

The verdict: an excellent trail runner for long-distance hiking

I’ve hiked and run over 100 miles on the Inov-8 Terraultra 260s in terrain varying from gravel paths to Sierra granite in Desolation Wilderness. Except for one thing, these are superior to the Altras I previously owned.

The shoes have held up well. There’s a bit of wear on the soles and toes from the rough granite, which is expected. But structurally, the shoe is good as new. After 100 miles, the Lone Peaks had already started falling apart, parts of the sole detaching from the shoe.

Review: the sole of the shoes have held up well after 100+ miles of rough terrain
The bottom of the G 260 has held up well to rough granite
The Inov-8 kevlar-reinforced toe guard is still intact after 100 miles
The toe guard is still intact

My only big gripe with the Inov-8s are the laces. They’re too short, making them difficult to tie securely. I ended up swapping them out for longer laces from my Altras, which took care of that problem.

The laces on the Inov-8 Terraultra G260 are annoyingly short.
Why so short?

Where can you buy the Inov-8 Terraultra 260 trail running shoes?

If you’re in the US, your best option is to order through the Inov-8 Amazon store. The shoes are often cheaper than on the Inov-8s own website, and you can get free shipping.

The Inov-8 web-store only offers free shipping from Europe on orders over $150.