I originally bought them to use in the Lakeland Fells, but was not sure about going full on barefoot style because of the rougher terrain. In turns out they were excellent for summer use in the fells, and I was an instant fan. The grip is excellent on all sorts of terrain; even the rock.
I wasn’t sure whether to use the Mudclaw 265 or the Bare-X at Endure so took both. However, given the conditions at Endure it was clearly stupid to try using anything other than the Mudclaws. At no point did I feel like I was losing grip once my foot had made contact with something vaguely solid. Even in the flowing mud. Sure my ankle/lower legs were working hard on stabilisation, but having the foot planted helped a lot. There are some decent lugs on this shoe and they work well.
Putting them on cold and wet and muddy is as horrid as it sounds. However they felt comfortable pretty quickly once on. They did hold some water and mud from the runs, mostly during it, but movement seemed to deal with most of the water. Given the conditions there was not much that could be done about the mud 🙂 They are a comfortable shoe, even to wear all day (the fells), or when running on them. I’ve never had any blisters from them which is pretty good going.
The Mudclaw 265 have a 3mm drop so are almost barefoot style. However those 3mm with the deep tread is fine for me. There are also lighter racing shoes but these are a lot lighter than any other trail or fell shoe I’ve had. I think a few grams here or there for non professional athletes is acceptable! Given the weight of them the build is excellent. The only part showing wear so far is at the toe bend. I’m not sure the rubber around the edges (good for strength and grip) is quite flexible enough on parts that need to be flexed constantly.
Another plus for them is that it turns out that a friend of mine runs in them off-road. He runs fast and does silly things like Ironman Triathlons (well he will be very soon). So they can clearly withstand that sort of training load too.
Since the race I let the shoes dry naturally for a week or. I then brushed off as much loose mud as possible. I then washed them in soapy water by hand. And they’ve come up pretty shiny again. There is definitely some ingrained mud on the ripstop fabric used for the outers, but hey these shoes have earned those mud-stripes! And they look pretty good post wash and re-dry.
If you are an Inov8 fan I wouldn’t hesitate to get these for trail runs. And if you’ve never tried Inov8, give them a go.