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Tried and tested: Inov-8 Parkclaw G280

The Inov-8 Parkclaw G280 proudly markets itself as a multi-terrain shoe. But is it an all-in-one triumph or just a trail shoe in disguise? RW put it through its paces

Parkclaw G 280 Men's
inov 8 inov-8.com
  • TYPE: Trail
  • PRICE £160
  • WEIGHT 309g (M), 275g (W)
  • DROP 8mm

    Why do I need a multi-terrain shoe?

    The vast majority of running shoes are marketed as being for either road or trail.

    But, in theory at least, there’s much to recommend about a shoe that’s comfortable on both these surfaces.

    For example, if you have the budget for just one pair of shoes, and the intention to run both on road and off, you’ll need a model that can stand up the task.

    Alternatively, if much of your trail running takes place in parks, it’s likely that a sizeable portion of your route will still be on the tarmac. Pulling on an out-and-out trail shoe, such as the Inov-8 Mudclaw, with its 8mm lugs, might feel a little OTT.

    Should I be running more miles off-road?

    Surprising as it may seem, many of the world’s best road runners log the vast majority of their miles off-road. In his book Out of Thin Air, runner and author Michael Crawley notes the suspicion with which Ethiopian runners view running on concrete. He writes that they limit themselves to one run a week on the surface. The rest of their runs are conducted either in the forest, on coroconch (gravelly trail) or the track. Many believe that too much running on asphalt – or concrete – bludgeons the speed out of the legs. While there may be little by way of hard evidence to support that theory, off-road running is kinder on the joints and can also provide more of a full-body workout, as you’re forced to maintain your balance over uneven terrain.

    If you’re looking to introduce some more off-road sections to your usual road routes, doing so in a shoe like the Inov-8 Parkclaw G280 makes perfect sense.

    What’s new with the Parkclaw G280?

    The first iteration of the Parkclaw felt, like its name, a little safe and underwhelming.

    In attempting to be a shoe for all seasons, it ended up doing nothing particularly well. And it looked dull, too.

    Not so with its successor. Inov-8 has rolled out the red carpet for the Parkclaw G280, giving it a Graphene-infused outsole and a striking honeycombe colourway for men and burgundy one for women.

    The inclusion of Graphene – purportedly second only to cockroaches in the durability stakes – means the shoe should last and last.

    What’s it like to run in the Parkclaw G280?

    In two words: extremely comfortable. The roomy toebox, plush upper and the G-Fly midsole combine to create a shoe that feels both fast and luxurious.

    The 8mm heel-toe-drop feels more like a 4mm drop, and the shoe is in the sweet spot where you get both ground feel and long-miles comfort.

    Inov-8 prides itself on creating shoes that are grippier than a Greco-Roman wrestling match. With the Parkclaw G280, it’s had to rein in the length of the lugs (they’re 4mm), meaning this shoe shouldn’t be your go-to on particularly boggy trails. For the drier stuff, though, it performs brilliantly and, more importantly, transitions from trail to road with ease.

    Are there other multi-terrain shoes out there?

    Although it’s relatively rare for a shoe to market itself as being multi-terrain, there are many out there that can be used as such. Two examples, both in a similar price range to the Parkclaw, are the Salomon S-Lab Ultra 3 and the Nike Terra Kiger.

    But any trail shoe designed for dry trails rather than thick mud can usually do a decent job on road as well as off.

    What’s the verdict?

    If the Parkclaw G280 is not quite as unique as its manufacturers might like it to be, it is a thoroughly impressive shoe that RW can recommend wholeheartedly.

    For those interested in making more of their routes multi-terrain, or beginners looking for a shoe for almost all eventualities, the Parkclaw delivers in spades.

    The Inov-8 Parkclaw is available to pre-order now: Men's and Women's

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