Inov-8 Roadclaw 275 Review & Road Test
Inov-8 Enter the Road Running Market
When Inov-8 is mentioned you immediately think of the fells. Inov-8’s footwear has become the shoes of choice for many a seasoned fell runner. In 2016 Inov-8 will launch the Roadclaw 275, and take what they have learned on the mountains to the road. Although Inov-8 have made road shoes before the Road-X shoes where more minimal in nature. Where as the Inov-8 Roadclaw 275 is designed to have a smooth cushioned ride.
The fit of the Roadclaw is very similar to the Race Ultra 290. Although it is a little snugger at the heel and a little narrower in the forefoot. It is still made on Inov-8’s standard last and so it still has a roomy forefoot. If you liked the feel of the Race Ultra 290 then the Roadclaw 275 could well be the road shoe for you.
The upper of the Roadclaw 275 is more of an open mesh than Inov-8’s off road shoes. This is to improve the breathability of the shoe. A wide lacing system allows for a good fit on both wide and narrow feet.
Although the Roadclaw 275 is a neutral shoe it is quite stable. This is due to the firm-ish midsole, broad base to the shoe and the Dyanamic Fascia Band, which is in a lot Inov-8’s off road shoes. The Dynamic Fascia Band helps support the foot and give a little bit of extra spring at toe off. Something that those runners used to wearing Inov-8 shoes will experience with every stride. The outsole is completely redesigned, as you would expect and uses two different compounds to offer both grip and durability.
The Roadclaw 275 offers a smooth ride due to inov-8’s unique powerflow midsole technology. Powerflow delivers 10 per cent better shock absorption and 15 per cent better energy return than standard midsoles.
The drop from heel to forefoot is 8mm making the shoe usable for heel or midfoot strikers alike. The shoe weights in at only 275 grams for a UK size 8. The spring from the Dynamic Fascia Band also makes the shoes feel light and springy.
Inov-8 Roadclaw 275 – The Road Test
Test one (Day 1)
House test. The Roadclaws were worn indoors for two hours and the initial impression is; feeling great with that roomy toe box. These feel like a road version of the Inov-8 290 so far.
Test two (Day 2)
House test (b) as before but for five hours.
Test three (Day 4)
Short 3 mile easy road run. Seems very grippy on the damp road/concrete paths, I’m loving this toe box. Mid foot is a nice snug feel, holds the foot well. Sizing seems same as say Brooks or other Inov 8 shoes (290).
Test four (Day 6)
Road/off road (man made flat paths) easy run with stride outs, total of 7 miles. Again feels grippy, responsive from the mid/front foot, I can strike the ground hard and push off with confidence including the off road sections.
Test five (Day 8)
Effort road session. Light enough for this, lighter than other road shoes I have. 5 x 1 mile efforts, warm up cool down. Total 8 miles. This is light enough for a fast session shoe. I’m loving this toe box!!!. More than enough cushioning too. I actually did this without my orthotics; let’s try the next one with them.
Test six (Day 10)
Long run time, 19 miles including target marathon pace effort, all road/pavement. With orthotics this time. No blisters or bruised toes, all ok. Feet feel the same as my other shoes after 19 miles. Plenty of room in the width and length.
Test seven (Day 13)
Pace run. 12 miles including warm up and cool down. Session was a 10 mile pace run. Shoes starting to feel softer but never were that hard in any case, but certainly feel softer now. Test was on concrete paths on a misty damp evening. I’m certainly confident on a damp surface with these on. Mix of flat footpaths and footpaths with hills.
Test eight (Day 16)
Easy run to marshal an event. Easy run home. Total running seven miles. Total time in shoes today was six hours. Feel very comfortable still. Surface where I marshalled was a promenade on the Northumberland Coast. Tarmac covered in sand in many places. These shoes felt great on the testing I did on it. Certainly the shoe of choice today. Now if only Id raced the event!!!
As Id hoped with Inov 8, this is a grippy road shoe for surfaces. It handled very well on small loose or compacted off road trail too. The toe box makes it work for me, I liked the snug mid foot feel and that now after having worn it for different runs it feels softer overall, but not too soft. It would be a yes to use it on either road (its light enough for racing too), or man made/compacted trails. Having done Kielder marathon many times, this will be my go to shoe for this year. Kielder is mainly man made paths of fine grit but with some loose chippings through the trees. Good training shoe for all conditions. Big plus points are the wide roomy toe box and the very grippy sole.
Iain is a UKA qualified coach and has ran the marathon distance and over more than sixty times.