The new Inov-8 X-claw. Inov-8 are well known for their fantastically grippy, fast and light off-road running shoes, let us introduce the new addition to the stable, the X-Claw 275...
For years, the X-Talon 212 has been a hugely popular choice in the Inov-8 range proving to be highly versatile over multiple terrains and distances. However, some people want a little more protection and comfort for longer races or training and Inov-8 have responded to this with the introduction of the brand new X-Claw 275.
Don’t be concerned that extra cushioning means excess weight and less feel for the ground (something that Inov-8 is renowned for). The X-Claw still only weighs 275g, which is still light, less than the Mudclaw 300 and not significantly heavier than most out and out racing shoes. Certainly not enough to slow you down!
The X-Claw utilises Inov-8’s 2-Arrow cushioning system in combination with their unique “Powerflow” midsole and an 8mm drop (height difference between the heel and forefoot) to provide excellent cushioning and protection whilst remaining responsive. The real addition to the X-Claw above Inov-8’s other extreme terrain shoes is the “Powerflow” midsole which it claims delivers 10% better shock absorption and 15% better energy return than standard midsoles. From our wear test we can certainly feel a real boost in terms of cushioning and associated comfort and protection, a real positive in our opinion for all day comfort.
The sole unit also includes the Dynamic Fascia Band, to add a responsive, positive feel and is a feature we are big fans of. The band is positioned to anatomically replicate the natural ‘windlass effect’ of the feet and effectively gives you an extra ‘push’ with each foot strike.
Probably the most important feature when running in the hills and mountains is grip and we can safely say that Inov-8 really know how to produce a shoe that sticks to the ground it is designed for without question! The X-Claw is no different providing un-compromised grip on extreme terrain thanks to the newly designed X-Claw. The “Claw Cleat” design and layout is not dissimilar to that of the Mudclaw with a few subtle tweaks to make it ideal for all day mountain adventures.
The pyramid studs have been positioned to optimise the shedding of mud and thus maintain the aggressive grip. The “Dual-C” rubber compound is a mix of medium and hard sticky rubbers that offer the ideal balance between durability and friction. In our opinion Inov-8 have some of the best rubber compositions for grip on wet, rocky surfaces, which is a really difficult thing to achieve. The X-Claw really delivers outstanding grip and gives you confidence to really let it fly on any terrain in the knowledge every foot placement will be secure.
A further nod to the X-Claw’s longer distance goals is the wider toebox. The shoe is built on Inov-8’s “Standard Fit” last which is slightly broader allowing the foot to function more naturally with the toes being allowed to splay on landing to help absorb the impact and release energy into the next stride. The slightly more roomy feel also adds additional comfort during ultra events were foot swell can be a race ending problem and comfort is a premium.
The fit doesn’t feel loose though. This is thanks to the design of the upper which utilises welded overlays to hold the midfoot securely. The heel is also well held to prevent unwanted movement and rubbing.
All the materials used in the upper are lightweight yet durable and are DWR treated to provide a water repellencey ideal for trail running so water ingress is limited but if it gets in it can get out!
The X-Claw is all about protection and this is further evidenced in the upper with a full rand, toe bumper and internal gusset protection against injury from rocks and other trail debris.
In our opinion the new Inov-8 X-Claw is an excellent addition to our trail running selection and will appeal to both longstanding fans of Inov-8 shoes and those new to the brand looking for a highly versatile trail running shoe that offers exceptional grip without compromising comfort and protection. Despite not being an out and out racer it can certainly move quickly! Equally at home on short, sharp fell races or all day adventures across the mountains the X-Claw is going to have a huge fan base.
Check out our full range of Inov-8 Trail Running Shoes here.