I’ve had numerous pairs of Inov-8 Mudclaws over the years.
For me they are the shoe for winter training and racing in boggy conditions (and there are quite a lot of those in the Peak District!) My present pair, the yellow version of the 300 have served me well having done almost 1400 km and so I was interested to see that Inov-8 had introduced a new version for 2015.
Well straight away the garish yellow has been replaced by a sporty blue / red colour scheme but this isn’t just the same shoe in a different colour. Closer inspection reveals the main difference; the sole and heel design. The latest model shares the same platform as the Mudclaw 265, having a flatter sole profile and without the flared heel of the yellow 300. The distinctive bulge under the heel has gone.
The heel cup is less rounded and slightly lower and I found that that it doesn’t extend quite as high up the achilles tendon. This could well be good news for runners who suffer from achilles pain.
The rand around the lower part of the upper is now stitched rather than glued / bonded as on the 265 and previous 300 model and I wonder whether this will stand up to abrasion from rough Gritstone boulders and abrasive heather as well as the bonded upper does. Time will no doubt tell.
What’s Not New?
The legendary grip from the distinctive 8mm lugs remains as does the 6mm drop as indicated by the double chevron. The synthetic uppers are again treated with a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) coating and the precision fit (ideal for runners with a narrower forefoot) of the previous Mudclaw 300 is retained.
The shoe gets its name from its weight, the standard size 8.5 weighing 300g hence Mudclaw 300. On the scales my pair of size 6.5s weighed 483g (does that make mine Mudclaw 241 and a halfs?)
The shoes felt comfortable straight out of the box and reassuringly grippy on my first run with them over waterlogged, muddy fields (noticeably more so than my well worn current pair!)
To me the new Mudclaw looks more like the 265 than the existing 300. It has a different sole and thus feels a little more stable particularly when descending. However I felt that the previous rounded heel was a bit better for steep contouring – I suppose you can’t have both. To wear, it feels like the 265 too. The 6mm drop is the main thing that sets it apart from its lighter stable mate and more in common with the previous 300. I guess in reality it sits somewhere between the two.
Whatever version it is, whatever you want to call it, it is undoubtedly a Mudclaw. It gives great traction allowing you to keep going on steep, slippery, muddy climbs and the confidence to tackle muddy and wet, grassy descents at race pace.