The inov-8 Mudclaw G 260 V2 ($105) is a fell running shoe designed for the soupy and sticky mud found in the U.K.’s Lake District and the muddy world beyond. We did not get the chance to test this shoe on its home turf, but we did find ample mud in the Wasatch and Uinta Mountains of northern Utah where this shoe performed splendidly.
The shoe features a thick, durable, and warm upper that is surprisingly comfortable, despite this shoe’s claimed narrow fit. Even our testers with wide feet found it to be comfortable. It has massive eight-millimeter lugs and a minimal 8.5 to 4.5-millimeter stack height for a total drop of four millimeters. In short, this shoe puts your foot close to the ground, which is exactly where you want it for stability in slippery, unpredictable conditions.
Before you coat these shoes in a layer of mud, they have an actual weight of 310 grams or 10.9 ounces in a men’s size 9. After a few miles, they’ll surely weigh more than that, but not as much more than most shoes, because these manage to purge mud so successfully.
We’ve enjoyed this shoe so much that we named it one of the top shoes in our best trail running shoes for mud guide.
Inov-8 Mudclaw G 260 V2 Upper
Operating under the assumption that some runners’ feet will not dry out through the entirety of a run, the inov-8 Mudclaw G 260 V2 is made with a thick upper to keep feet warm even when they’re wet. In our experience, it worked as designed, keeping debris out, draining well, and holding in heat. The upper’s material didn’t seem to hold onto water weight but it didn’t dry out readily either.
The fit was a pleasant surprise. We found it to be both more secure and more comfortable than most mud-specific shoes we tested. The heel pocket was narrow, the midfoot secure, and the toebox roomy enough for most feet.
Inov-8 has a fit scale that ranges from one to five, one being the narrowest in the toe, and five being the widest. Although this trail running shoe is supposed to be a one, we found it to be plenty roomy for all of our testers. We think this is due partly to the shape of the last. It is very straight and has a rounded rather than pointed toe, so the outer edge of the shoe does not cut inward, toward the third and fourth toes. Even our wide-footed testers found this shoe’s fit to be acceptable because of the excellent shape of the last.
One tester with a particularly wide foot found the shoe to be slightly too narrow, but also said the snugness was, “barely noticeable while having so much fun scurrying and scampering around the mountains.”
Inov-8 Mudclaw G 260 V2 Midsole
The EXTEROFLOW midsole on the inov-8 Mudclaw G 260 V2 is 8.5 millimeters at the heel, tapering to 4.5 millimeters at the toe, for a total heel-to-toe drop of 4 millimeters. Essentially, this EXTEROFLOW midsole is a very thin piece of compressed EVA sandwiched between the graphene outsole and the footbed. It isn’t even visible from the outside of the shoe.
What this means is that the midsole and the lugs are just about the same thickness, so on harder ground, your foot is only 16.5 millimeters off the ground. When those claws sink into the mud, your foot is virtually right on the ground.
This minimal midsole feels just about right to us. It keeps our feet low to the ground and offers just enough protection from the lugs. After all, we found that we could feel the lugs way more than we could feel the ground, especially on hardpack.
Inov-8 Mudclaw G 260 V2 Outsole
To claw into soft ground, the inov-8 Mudclaw G 260 V2 has massive, widely spaced eight-millimeter lugs. These aggressive lugs prompted one of our testers to report, “The wetter the terrain, the happier I am with these shoes!” The rest concurred that we couldn’t have been happier with the traction and grip. These huge lugs facilitated quick running in treacherous conditions. We felt confident rounding tight corners with deep mud without slowing down much at all.
The giant lugs purged most mud as expected. Thicker, more plastic clays like those found in the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains of Utah still caked, despite the tread’s best efforts. Moreover, the tread managed to punch through the caked mud by just a millimeter or so.
This shoe’s lugs aren’t just huge, they’re also constructed for durability. They’re enhanced with a compound called graphene, which is supposed to make the outsole stronger, more elastic, and longer-lasting than typical rubber outsoles.
We must admit, it does look and feel durable, but we haven’t had this shoe long enough to know for sure how durable it is. Assuming we keep running in these trail running shoes over the next year — we don’t know why we wouldn’t — we’ll keep you posted on their durability.
Inov-8 Mudclaw G 260 V2 Overall Impressions
The inov-8 Mudclaw G 260 V2 is an aggressively lugged, durable, secure, and very fun shoe made for fell running but that can find a home anywhere there’s even seasonal mud — which is most everywhere. But it’s especially great when a high-performing shoe has a pretty universal fit, as this one does.
With a supposed fit of one or very narrow on inov-8’s five-point fit scale, we expected this shoe to be uncomfortable for those without narrow feet. For some reason, and it’s hard to put a finger on it, this shoe fit all of our testers — all of us narrow- to wide-footed folk — just fine. This comfortable, somewhat universal fit was a good place to start. Because the shoe fit all our testers well, we were all able to enjoy this shoe.
We found the inov-8 Mudclaw G 260 V2 to be super fun for muddy hill running in the Wasatch foothills and puddle hopping in the Uinta Basin where I live in Utah. The upper kept debris out and our feet warm, and the gigantic lugs found purchase on any soft landscape we tread. While a shoe like this is probably not necessary year-round for runners who live in arid places with seasonal mud, if you have a pair and use it only in the spring, it could last you many years.
To learn a little more about this shoe, check out the review in our best trail running shoes for mud guide.
Call for Comments
- Have you used the inov-8 Mudclaw G 260 V2 for fell running, mud running, and obstacle course races? How did it perform for you?
- How durable is the graphene-enhanced midsole? How long have your shoes lasted?
[Editor’s Note: If you’re affiliated (i.e., an employee, ambassador, etc.) with a brand, please share your relation in each of your comments on this article. Thanks!]
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