'Slipper-like comfort, superb all-round grip and a properly quick, easy rolling feel that brings out your inner sheep-dog'
Outdoors Magic: Comfortable, all-round grippy, natural feeling and downright enthusiastic in its ability to roll along the trail.
Outdoors Tragic: Nothing much at all.
Outdoors Grabbit? Designed for long miles on hard-packed trails, it's a beguiling blend of comfort, just enough cushioning, deceptive grip all round and a tail-wagging enthusiasm that's hard to describe. The multi-compound rubber even feels secure and confident on wet rock. We like these a lot.
Lightweight trail-running shoe / seamless upper with ADAPTERFIT met-cradle / PowerFlow midsole / Integrated gusseted tongue / Dynamic Fascia Band™ (DFB) / multi-directional 4mm studs / 6mm foam footbed / 8mm heel to toe drop / gusseted anti-gravel tongue.
Full Review Below
Trail Talon 275 - The Tech
There are so many acronyms and 'technologies' attached to the Trail Talon 275 that it's maybe a little confusing, but the bigger picture is that they're the latest in inov-8's development of shoes designed to feel as natural as possible.
Stuff to be aware of includes the use of two-piece PowerFlow midsole cushioning that the brand says: 'delivers 10% better shock absorption and 15% better energy return than standard midsoles'.
Up top there's a seamless upper with lightweight toe and mid-foot reinforcement and lacing that's attached to an external cradle distributing the compression of the laces right around the mid-foot.
And then there's the stuff you can't see, the Dynamic Fascia Band™ (DFB) technology in the sole unit that's claimed to echo the human foot's natural propulsive mechanism called the windlass effect. If you're fascinated, there's more about that on inov-8's Trail Talon technology page.
Heel to toe drop, by the way is a low to medium 8mm, which feels natural and comfortable to us. There's also a Trail Talon 250, a lighter more minimal version - review up shortly - which has only 4mm of drop and a lightened, simplified upper to save weight.
The numbers on inov-8's shoes relate to weight, but our 275s actually tipped the scales at 313g per shoe in a size 43. Nit-picking aside, that doesn't stop them being a brilliant blend of slipper-like comfort, deceptive grip from the multi-compound outsole and a surprising amount of cushioning.
We felt immediately at home the first time we wore the shoe. The upper has lovely soft, but secure feel to it helped by the external lacing cradle. There's plenty of forefoot space, to keep distance runners happy and the best word we can come up with to describe the way the shoe feels is 'natural'.
It's light, agile and connected with a sort of zip to it that makes you want to make like a frisky trail hound. How much of that is down to the DFB technology we don't know, but the shoe just made us want to run.
It helps that the 4mm lugged, multi-compound outsole is properly all-round grippy on anything hard to medium including wet rock where it simply sticks to surfaces that Salomon and Saucony shoes squirmed over nervously.
Despite being a shoes designed for 'hard-packed trails', it also managed off-camber grass with ease and bit into medium slop quite happily. Inov-8 has toothier shoes for more fell-like conditions too, but it's nice to know that the Trail Talon isn't out-faced by a bit of slipperiness.
The first-time we ran in the Trail Talon 275s, the shoe felt instantly right and very, very natural. Slipper-like comfort, superb all-round grip and a properly quick, easy rolling feel that brings out your inner sheep-dog sums it up for us.
It's very comfortable on the foot from the off, but without feeling at all insecure and has a quick, connected, agile vibe that makes you want to go faster. There's enough cushioning to cope with harder surfaces, but not so much that it upsets the shoe's composure on rougher stuff.
The fit's quite generous in the forefoot by inov-8 standards, which should suit longer distance use and while it's touted as being 'for long miles on hard-packed trails' there's enough grip to cope with occasional softer surfaces too. Comfortable, but still quick and confidence inspiring.
Forward with a waggy tail!
If you want a lighter, fast version - maybe for racing - we also have the Trail Talon 250 in for a look. It's a pared-down version with less gubbins, a 4mm drop and a genuine 241g per shoe weight.