Having been a devoted wearer of Salomon Fellraisers for the past few years, a slippy run out with Chris finally convinced me that it was time to invest in some shoes with more grip. So we invoked the nuclear option, and went with Inov8‘s ultimate-grip shoe — the Mudclaw.
Whilst working at planetFear, I’d dabbled with the old version of the Mudclaw, but found the slightly odd heel didn’t work well for me. I spent most days after running with the old Mudclaws suffering from foot pain, so I’d stayed away. Never the less, Chris convinced me that the new shoe was a different beast all together and how right he was!
So far, the Mudclaws have been taken round a couple of mountain marathons, a couple of training runs, and a (nearly) half marathon up Hedgehope in Northumberland.
The Mudclaws feature 8mm (8mm!) studs and a 6mm heel-toe drop and I have found them to provide stable placement for my feet when out running. In particular, the stability provided by these shoes is hugely important for me, due to over-pronation caused by a misaligned left ankle. I have also noticed an improvement when descending as the outrageous grip provided by the Mudclaws allows for greater margins of error. The lacing running the length of the shoe allows for a snug fit along the entire foot and has saved the loss of a shoe on more than one occasion!
My one complaint is that I cannot get the lacing very snug around my ankle but this may be more to do with my orthotics taking up more space than Inov8 would anticipate in their design.
Grip on (wet) rock also leaves a little to be desired, but I find this is almost always the case with any shoe and so I don’t really consider this a negative against the Mudclaws
They seem to be holding up reasonably well for the time being, but having only done ~100 miles in them it’s early days to be making any comment on the Mudclaws’ durability.
So the take-away message is: a comfortable shoe, with a middling drop and just utterly outrageous grip for anyone who battles through deep mud or slippery grass.
As always with shoe reviews, this is only my own opinion. Everybody’s feet are different so please take the comfort/fit comments with a pinch of salt. Oh, and always try new shoes out at least once before a race!