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Inov-8 Mudclaw 300 trail running shoe review

08:20 13th August 2013 By Fi Spotswood
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An aggressive off-road shoe from the well respected British brand with a very specific purpose: to keep you upright in the muddiest of conditions.

 

The Mudclaw

The Mudclaw

nov-8 have been quietly growing and developing over the last few years and have moved beyond their original focus on just off-road shoes into a whole series of road shoes, minimalist/bare foot shoes and most recently a range of clothing. They have also put an emphasis on their belief in ‘Natural Running’ which is of course very much in vogue at the moment. The idea of lightweight, low cushioned shoes to promote good running form is nothing new for Inov-8 but by using some of the modern ‘barefoot’ buzzwords should help bring people to the brand who are keen to get on board the minimalist band wagon.

Despite these changes, the Mudclaw 300 shows that Inov-8 have not lost their way and still have their roots firmly planted in the County Durham mud. This shoe comes from the ‘Off Trail’ range so is intended for runs/events where the majority of the course will be soft ground conditions, with the deeper and softer the mud the better.

The Mudclaw 300 is a lightweight shoe (the 300 in the name suggesting a 300g weight though the size 11s on test were 334g) which is a surprise given the amount of rubber in the aggressive set of studs on the sole. The upper is a soft and porous mesh material with thin plastic webbing offering support between the laces and the sole. This helps the shoe hug the foot when you tighten the laces and provides a good level of stability when running over varying gradients. There is a short section of synthetic leather material running around the base of the upper presumably to keep out shallow puddles. This should also help with long term wear as this area has been a point of weakness with previous Inov-8 shoes that tended to split where the upper joins the sole after prolonged use.

Those who are familiar with Inov-8 shoes will recognise the arrows imprinted on the heel which indicates the level of cushioning and heal drop.  This pair has two arrows to show they have a 6mm heel to toe drop and a mid-level of cushioning. This is mid-level for inov-8 so don’t expect a sofa like ride! The tall studs on the base are pyramidal and widely spaced to help clear mud and there is a claw like row of smaller studs along the front to help dig your toe in for particularly steep ascents.

The Mudclaw's aggressive sole

The Mudclaw’s aggressive sole

And going uphill is what these do best. As expected the traction is fantastic on soft ground and you may find yourself seeing just how steep a hill you can climb without slipping. Wet roots are also handled well as the studs are able to hook onto them and allow a solid push off. Smaller, loose stones caused a bit of wheelspin where there is not enough for to bite into and you can feel the studs bend around the stones. Moving onto hard pack was still reasonably comfortable thanks to the cushioning in the sole but the sticky rubber studs could be felt on tarmac and sounded like running in a pair of football boots. The rubber compound has been tweaked for the latest incarnation of the Mudclaws to help improve wear resistance while trying not to lose their ability out on the trails but lots of tarmac running is likely to see those studs diminish rapidly.

↑Good

  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable and supportive fit
  • Excellent traction on anything that is soft or rooty

↓Not so Good

  • Not suited for tarmac
  • Rubber studs could wear quickly

Verdict

These are not an all-purpose pair of trail shoes but in the environment that they are intended for, i.e. ankle deep British mud, they inspire huge amounts of confidence. If the conditions look decidedly damp and you know that you’ll be spending the whole run on soft ground then it would be worth reaching for the Mudclaws.

Score: 9/10

The Facts:

www.inov-8.com

What Inov-8 says about the Mudclaw 300s: Enhanced comfort and durability, ideal for mountain and off road running . An aggressively studded sole guarantees grip when ascending, descending or contouring in the steepest and wettest of conditions.

Brand: Inov-8 Model: Mudclaw 300 Price: £90 Used for: Soft, muddy running

Spec:

Weight: 334g (size 11) Inov-8 claim 300g (size 8)

Fabric: Synthetic, TPU upper, Mesh lining

Sizes Available: UK 4- 12 (incl 1/2 ) + 13. Unisex.

Colours: Yellow and Black

 

 

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