Running this winter has felt tougher than previous years. With rolling lockdowns since March 2020, people have been staying close to home and exploring the local trails. As the year rolled on, the days got darker, and the trails got wetter. With an increase in footfall, the sodden trails have been churned into a muddy soup.
Running across mud is exhausting, it can feel like being Bambi on ice as you fail to get any purchase in the mud, slipping from side to side. Earlier in the year, I ran the Gordano Round. Bristol’s answer to the Bob Graham. The mud was unrelenting and during the 42km distance I quite badly pulled a muscle in my groin. I could say this was entirely due to my footwear but, it was only a contributing factor that led to the injury.
Nonetheless, I decided that it was time to get a new pair of shoes that are more suited to handling the merciless mud on the local trails. Having spent time on forums and researching on the internet I decided I wanted the Inov8 Mudclaw G260 trail running shoes. The G260’s is quite a narrow shoe, I bought a half size up and they feel roomy on the toe but fit nicely on the sides of my feet. Note – I was recommended to buy the same size as Salomon Speedcross trail shoes.
- Graphene-enhanced rubber sole
- 8mm studs
- 260g per shoe
- 4mm drop
- £100 – 140
I took the G260’s to Leigh Woods, a trail runners playground, for a test drive. The main paths are filthy, with steep, technical and descents and lung busting ascents. A favourite being the cliff ridge descent, which is a narrow ridge from the top of the woods down to the base of a disused quarry.
First impressions, these shoes are brilliant. The grip, even in deep sludge, is phenomenal. I was confident descending quickly down steep, muddy hills. I enjoyed myself so much, a quick test run ended up going on into the dark. I am completely blown away with the traction the graphene-enhanced rubber and 8mm studs provides. During the run I smashed some Strava PBs.
The next run was from my flat in Bristol, a circular loop which included road running, parks and a muddy single track. On the road, the G260’s felt a bit thin. I was only on the road for a couple kilometres, but I suspect doing long sections on the road could be very tiring. However, as soon as I was back on the muddy single track, the shoes felt right at home. I blasted along the mucky track, having confidence to descend at speed and not once did I slip or stumble when pushing up a steep ascent.
On muddy, loose trails, the Inov8 Mudclaw G260’s is unrivalled. The grip is truly astonishing, giving huge confidence when speeding over demanding terrain. As fantastic as they are on the trail, I find the soles a bit thin for time spent on the road. They are not good hybrid shoes; they have been designed with the purpose of providing grip where other shoes cannot which does mean they are less forgiving on harder surfaces. I would rather pack these shoes in a bag and travel to a trail than run over the road in them.
If you are heading out on to muddy trails this winter, these are undoubtedly, the shoes available.