Image source: Dan Aubrey
Inov-8 pride themselves on their incessant development, design and testing of products, all with the goal to produce better running equipment. They sent us some of their latest products and we thought who better than trail runner Laura Jones to test them out and let us know how they perform.
Inov-8 Womens Elite 100 Windshell
This little windshell is a perfect spare layer. It’s minimal weight and minuscule pack-size make it a no-brainer to carry on breezy runs. I’ve used it a lot already, and the single chest pocket is ideal for a phone and an energy block. Despite it’s unbelievable light weight and thin fabric, it's not crackly like some others I'd tried, it just works.
Inov-8 Womens HZ Thermoshell
I could not believe how warm this smock is! It has minimal bulk, with a thin layer of insulation in the critical areas. The underarm fabric has plenty of stretch and is thinner to avoid overheating. I would compare the overall warmth of the jacket to a belay jacket of far more substantial size. So if you have some cold runs planned, this is the top to reach for.
Inov-8 Women's Base LS Top
This top works superbly, much like the short sleeve version I have. I like the thumb loops on this one, which give some added protection for the backs of the hands. It’s ideal for cooler runs, or layering underneath one of the wind shirts if it’s even colder.
Inov-8 Race Ultra Mitt
I had only used normal fleece gloves before these mitts arrived, and what a difference. They’re easy to slip on, but the elasticated cuff keeps them in place and keeps any draughts out. The soft brushed fleece liner is a treat for cold fingers, and having them all together generates warmth remarkably quickly. I usually have to take them off because they’re so warm! It’s also great that you can just about use a touchscreen without taking them off. Perfect for cold weather runs and for those (like me) who get cold hands.
Inov-8 Womens Long Tights
These are the best leggings I’ve owned by a long shot. The fit is like a second skin, with no bunching or tight spots. There’s also a drawcord waist which cinches them in for a snug fit if needed. The zip pocket at the back fits an iphone and holds it in position, and the two small pockets either side are just right for some energy blocks. The little details are also useful, such as the reflective sections which have been handy whilst training on dark winter nights.
Inov - 8 Womens Base SS Zip Top
Light, breathable, fast drying and nicely fitted, I love running in this top. It’s comfortable, and it doesn’t ride up whilst on the move. I also love the front zip which helps to vent when the temperature rises. This is my go-to running top for all but the chilliest of races.
Inov-8 Roclite 280 Running shoes
The first thing I noticed when these arrived was the weight, or rather lack of it! I’m used to a more rigid trail shoe, and these were literally a breath of fresh air thanks to the ventilated front section. The laces are what I’d call traditional rather than the speedlocking type, but the Inov-8’s have the benefit of absolutely no slippage. It meant that once I’d invested a minute or so getting them just right, they stayed put for the duration of my run.
The Roclite 280’s have very versatile soles for on and off road, making them an excellent option for someone looking for minimal pairs of shoes for different terrain.
For information about how to choose the right pair of trail running shoes have a look at our buying guide.