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5 of the best Inov-8 trail shoes

The UK-based off-road brand specialise in shoes built for the toughest conditions. Here's our top picks from its trail running offering

If you're after a new pair of trail shoes, look no further than those produced by Inov-8. A UK-based off-road brand, Inov-8 has been been producing trail shoes, road shoes and clothing since 2003, designed for all types of terrains and environments – but, in particular, those that are lumpy and gnarly!

Its shoes are worn by the likes of 2019 Spine Race winner – and recent Barkley Marathon 'Fun Run' finisher – Jasmin Paris and legendary ultrarunner Damian Hall, who holds multiple FKTs and has completed the UTMB four times, with a fifth place finish in 2018.

The brand is heavily focused on sustainability, so you can be sure any shoes you buy have been produced with the least possible environmental impact.

Our team have been running in Inov-8 trail shoes for many years now but here's our five top picks on the market right now for both men and women...

1.Inov-8 Mudclaw G 260 V2

Mudclaw G 260 V2
Inov-8 inov-8.com

  • TYPE: Trail
  • PRICE £140
  • WEIGHT 260g (unisex)
  • DROP 4mm

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    For many years, the inov-8 Mudclaw has been a go-to shoe for fell runners and obstacle racers alike. It’s aggressive 8mm lugs, water-resistant upper and no-nonsense design mean that, the worse the conditions, the better it performs.

    The ‘G’ in G260 stands for ‘graphene’, the hard-as-nails material that inov-8 is using on its flagship models. The graphene outsole should hold up to 1,000 miles of running – double that of its non-graphene predecessor.

    As you’d expect from a shoe called the Mudclaw, it’s grippier than a Greco-Roman wrestling match. That’s thanks to its 8mm lugs, which stick to mud like a limpet to a rock.

    If you’re a fan of the Mudclaw range – and are happy to make a long-term investment – give these mean, green, mud-eating machines a try.

    2. Inov-8 Parkclaw G280

    Parkclaw G 280
    Inov-8 inov-8.com
    • TYPE: Trail
    • PRICE £160
    • WEIGHT 280g (unisex)
    • DROP 8mm

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      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. 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 to the task.

      The Inov-8 Parkclaw G280 is that shoe. 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 a burgundy one for women.

      The inclusion of Graphene – purportedly second only to cockroaches in the durability stakes – means the shoe should last and last. It’s supremely comfortable, too. 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. You’ll want to go up a half size in these, though, as they come up slightly small.

      3. Inov-8 X-Talon G 210 V2

      X-Talon G 210 V2
      Inov-8 inov-8.com
      • TYPE: 210g (unisex)
      • PRICE: £120
      • WEIGHT: 210g
      • DROP: 3mm

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        There are times on the trails when you want to bumble along with your head up marvelling at the scenery. And there are times when you want to put the hammer down and crunch over and through anything in your path as fast as you can. This is a shoe for the latter times. It’s the lightest, fastest shoe that Inov-8 has in its range.

        There are 9mm of cushioning at the rear and 6mm at the front, which is not a whole lot (for reference, a normal cushioned road shoe would have at least double that). The midsole foam is a fusion of EVA and rubber, which provides some cushioning and plenty of underfoot protection against rocks and general trail debris. The focus is very much on the latter though, so if you’re after a plush feel to go with your ‘afterburners’ speed, then these shoes are not the chaps for you. A definite firm-but-fast feeling.

        4. Inov-8 Ultra 260 v2

        X-Talon Ultra 260 V2
        Inov-8 inov-8.com
        • Weight: 260g (unisex)
        • Heel-to-toe drop: 8mm
        • Type: trail
        • Price: £125

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          Inov-8’s X-Talon has gone through more line-up changes than Sugababes. Since launching in 2008, the majority of X-Talon models have been both extremely lightweight and extremely grippy, making them a favourite among top fell and mountain runners. The latest iteration, the Ultra 260 v2, is a little different. Weighing in at 260g, it’s the heaviest of the X-Talon range and has a thicker midsole, making it ideal for longer runs and races.

          As you might expect from a shoe named after a pair of claws, the X-Talon range prides itself on its vice-like grip. The Ultra 260 v2 is no different. It feels grippy even in thick mud, wet grass and gravel. Like other Inov-8 trail shoes, it holds up surprisingly well on concrete, making these a viable multi-terrain option if you’re looking for something that can handle road and trail. Unlike some other Inov-8 models, however, the Ultra 260 v2 doesn’t have graphene studs. So it may wear out slightly quicker – but is also £15 cheaper than most of the Graphene-enhanced models. If you’re in the market for one trail shoe that does everything well, while also looking the part, then there’s plenty to recommend here.

          5. Trailfly Ultra G 300 Max

          TrailFly Ultra G 300 Max
          Inov-8 inov-8.com

          • Weight: 300g
          • Heel-to-toe drop: 6mm
          • Type: Trail
          • Price: £170

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            If you’re looking for supreme cushioning underfoot, coupled with unbeatable durability, this shoe delivers in spades. It’s like the lovechild of a Hoka and an Inov-8, and will appeal to anyone looking to move long distances over rugged terrain in relative comfort. Inov-8 says that lab tests show that the G-FLY midsole delivers 25% greater energy return than a standard midsole, and is far more resistant to compressive wear. So, theoretically, you should be get more underfoot bounce and comfort for much longer, while also being able to maintain faster average speeds.

            They’re extremely comfortable on the move, and feel surprisingly nimble for such a well-cushioned shoe. If you have deep pockets and are looking for a shoe packed with cutting-edge tech, the TrailFly is the one for you.

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