Facts

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Terrain

Road

Shoes best for road, track and light gravel. See the best road shoes.

Trail

Shoes best for trail, off road, mountains and other unstable surfaces. See the best trail shoes.

Good to know

As long as you stick to the road or path, and if you want just one running shoe, buy a road running shoe.

Arch support

Neutral / cushion / high arch

Shoes for runners who do not need any additional arch support (Around 50% of runners). Best for people with high or medium high arches. See the best neutral shoes.

Stability / overpronation / normal arch

Shoes for runners who need arch support (Around 45% of runners). Best for runners with a normal arch. See the best stability shoes.

Motion control / severe overpronation / flat feet

Shoes for runners who needs a lot of arch support. Best for runners with flat feet. See the best motion control shoes.

Good to know

- Rule of thumb: If in doubt, buy neutral shoes to avoid injuries.
- More about arch support in this video.
- Find your arch type by following steps from this video.

Daily running

Cushioned shoes for your daily easy running. Great comfort. See best shoes for daily running.

Competition

Lightweight shoes good for races, interval training, tempo runs and fartlek. Here are the best competition running shoes.

Good to know

If you want just one pair of shoes, buy a shoe for daily running.

Price
$130
Weight
Men: 10.2oz
Women: 9.3oz
Show more facts

Road

Shoes best for road, track and light gravel. See the best road shoes.

Trail

Shoes best for trail, off road, mountains and other unstable surfaces. See the best trail shoes.

Good to know

As long as you stick to the road or path, and if you want just one running shoe, buy a road running shoe.

Neutral / cushion / high arch

Shoes for runners who does not need any additional arch support (Around 50% of runners). Best for people with high or medium high arches. See the best neutral shoes.

Stability / overpronation / normal arch

Shoes for runners who needs arch support (Around 45% of runners). Best for runners with a normal arch. See the best stability shoes.

Motion control / severe overproanation / flat feet

Shoes for runners who needs a lot of arch support. Best for runners with flat feet. See the best motion control shoes.

Good to know

- Rule of thumb: If in doubt, buy neutral shoes to avoid injuries.
- More about arch support in this video.
- Find your arch type by following steps from this video.

Daily running

Cushioned shoes for your daily easy running. Great comfort. See best shoes for daily running.

Competition

Lightweight shoes good for races, interval training, tempo runs and fartlek. Here are the best competition running shoes.

Good to know

If you want just one pair of shoes, buy a shoe for daily running.

The height difference from the heel to the forefoot, also known as heel drop, toe spring, heel to toe spring or simply drop.

There are many opinions about what a good heel drop is. We do not recommend any in particular. Lean more in this video.

Summary

We spent 7.2 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

5 reasons to buy

  • A soft mesh and some synthetic materials make a comfortable and breathable upper unit based on the remarks of several runners.
  • Most reviewers appreciated the attachment tabs on the upper for gaiters, which offer more protection against dirt and other debris.
  • Runners generally welcomed the anti-microbial treatment given to the Ultra 290 because it keeps the interior environment healthy.
  • The Meta-Shank Generation III delivers flexibility and impact protection for the forefoot area.
  • Sticky rubber in the outsole area ensures durable protection and traction that’s needed for racing, according to a few testers.

4 reasons not to buy

  • Some runners felt that the Race Ultra 290 was a bit narrow in the forefoot area.
  • Others weren’t impressed by the mid-sole, which to them was mostly stiff in the mid foot and heel areas.
  • It has an expensive price.
  • A few thought that it was a bit too heavy for their feet.

Bottom line

The Race Ultra 290 from Inov-8 is a great addition to the shoe collection of many runners. It offers moderate stability, durable components and responsive performance for everyday training.


Rankings

Best rated Inov-8 running shoes: Add to compare

Ratings

4.3 / 5 based on 48 ratings

5 star
56%
4 star
23%
3 star
15%
2 star
4%
1 star
2%

My Rating

Expert Reviews

Experts are running shoe geeks, who post reviews at youtube, directly at RunRepeat or at their own websites. Each expert is categorized from level 1 to level 5 based on expertise. See stats on expert reviews and how we calculate scores here.

Are you an expert? Apply to contribute here.

87 / 100 based on 15 expert reviews

  • 95 / 100 by RunRepeat • Ivan Rojnica • Level 3 expert

    More importantly, if you are of heavier build with wider feet and are looking for shoes which will not kill your feet, these ones could work for you!

  • 88 / 100 by Running Competitor • Brian Metzler • Level 5 expert

    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.

  • 95 / 100 by Ian Corless • Ian Corless • Level 4 expert

    I really can’t find any negatives about this shoe other than the obvious…. If it’s really muddy you won’t have enough grip but that isn’t a criticism of the shoe, it’s more about having the wrong shoe for the job.

  • 93 / 100 by Running Monkey • Running Monkey • Level 3 expert

    There was little chance that the Race Ultra 290 was going to disappoint and in fact it excelled across the board on test.

  • 92 / 100 by Outdoor Kinetics • Andrew Bentley • Level 3 expert

    What else could you ask for? Well, as I’ve said above I was quite aware of the weight of the shoes, but if you were to reduce the weight, you would probably pay the price in durability and protection so it’s a tradeoff.

  • 72 / 100 by Gear Institute • Jacob Waltz • Level 3 expert

    The cross-sectional profile of the Race Ultra simply does not taper down enough between the forefoot and midfoot.

  • 96 / 100 by Dirt on Your Skirt • Margaret • Level 2 expert

    They have become my shoe to do everything in from grocery shopping, hiking in the mountains, race day, training day, and more.

  • 89 / 100 by Rise to It • Rise to It • Level 2 expert

    The shoe also delivers sensory feedback from the trail, while protecting the foot from the repetitive impact felt when running ultra-distances.

  • 85 / 100 by Outside Times • Andrew Cremin • Level 2 expert

    The shoe upper has been designed to ensure minimum friction and maximum comfort. This is achieved through a 360 degree rand, gusseted tounge, integrated gaiter clips and an X–STATIC footbed.

  • 78 / 100 by Accelerate Store • Chris Hough • Level 2 expert

    I'll safely conclude that rather than being the shoe I loved to hate, the Race Ultra 290 turned out - in spite of my pessimism - to become the shoe I rather resentfully love.

  • 75 / 100 by iRunFar • Kristin Zosel • Level 2 expert

    Despite my frustration with the inability for the shoe to truly become one with my foot, I still really like the shoe. It feels light and fast.

  • 86 / 100 by Trail Running On • Andre • Level 1 expert

    The fit is good as said loosely, but without having to run all the time in the shoe to slide when climbing or descending.I've already worn them a few times in the long run, although they were no longer than at most 30 km.

  • 85 / 100 by The Great Outdoors • Chris Townsend • Level 1 expert

    The fit was good and my feet didn’t move in the shoes though I did feel them tugging at my heels slightly on steep uphill sections. 

  • 84 / 100 by Terrain Trail Runners • Shalini Kovach • Level 1 expert

    After 120 miles of pure trail running in these shoes, I can say that I love the toe splay and the wide forefoot. 

  • 80 / 100 by Taiwan Beast Runners • Taiwan Beast Runners • Level 1 expert

    This size fit me well, even I have little flatfoot and have to tight relatively tinny shoelace. Tongue of shoe is big, but comfortable for long runs.

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Updates to Inov-8 Race Ultra 290

  • The Inov-8 Race Ultra Race 290 features a durable and reliable outsole through the Tri-Endurance compound. It delivers reliable grip on tough terrain and durability on high wear areas.
  • The shoe also comes with Meta-Shank III Trail-Roc shank that is designed to provide added underfoot protection and flexibility for a more comfortable, responsive ride.

Inov-8 Race Ultra 290 size and fit

The Race Ultra 290 is in standard running shoe length. It provides great and comfortable fit, accommodating foot with normal measurements. Invo-8 is offering this shoe in standard D and B widths for men’s and women’s version respectively.


Outsole

The outsole comes with a 4-mm deep outsole lugs that are designed to deliver reliable grip while running on the trail. It also features the Tri-Endurance compound that gives durability to the high-wear areas. In the middle section of the entire outsole features a black and medium density compound which also comes with uphill and downhill lugs.


Midsole

A light polymer Meta-Shank along the midsole aligns with the bones of the foot, encouraging natural foot movement while protection runners on tough terrains. The midsole also has a single density injected EVA that delivers reliable cushioning. It comes with the Meta-Shank III Trail-Roc shank. This is known as a five-finger polymer that aligns with each metatarsal. This helps to retain underfoot impact protection and flexibility.


Upper

The upper of the Race Ultra 290 features a soft mesh that mixes breathability with keeping the dirt out fairly well on dusty and dry trails. For enhanced protection from sideways incursions with rocks and brush, it also has the reinforced toe bumper that extends into a rand. It wraps entirely around the shoe, which can be very useful in many runs.

It has two attachment points for the Inov-8 gaiter lie flush in the rand on the adjacent and medial aspects of the shoe which is convenient if the runner has the gaiter.

A padded, not-so-thick tongue is gusseted three quarters of the way back which keeps rock and dirt out without creating pressuring or discomfort.