Sunday, November 29, 2020

INOV-8 MudClaw G 260 v2 Review: The Special Forces in your Shoe Army!

Article by Marcel Krebs

Editor’s Note: We are thrilled to bring you Marcel’s first review for RoadTrailRun. Marcel lives in Germany and is an OCR racer. His bio is below. He will also be translating the review to his native German. 

Inov-8 MudClaw G 260 v2 ($185 / €165.00)

Inov-8 says: “The world's toughest shoe for the world's toughest muddy mountain runs and obstacle course races.” 

While marketing claims sometimes are wishful thinking, Inov-8 really hit the nail on the head with this remark and also made clear which niche this shoe is intended for: extremely muddy and soft terrain - this is where Inov-8 shoes excel.  

When doing OCR races not only just for fun but one becomes more serious, there is almost no other brand beside Inov-8 which is so much well-spoken of in the field. Why? Because Inov-8 is synonymous for grip. Therefore, I have competed in several models of Inov-8 shoes for OCR racing and training . Nonetheless, during the past couple of years, Inov-8 has become almost out of focus for me because the fit was just too narrow for me and the midsoles were just too unforgiving on my calves and knees. Unfortunately, one does not become younger as the years go by…;-) 

But after having tried the fantastic Inov-8 TerraUltra G  270, I was more happy to test the brand new MudClaw260 V2. I was positively surprised...


Snug and precise fit while also accommodating wider feet

Fantastic grip

Durability. Graphene for longevity in the outsole and a dense upper which is enhanced in key areas such as at the tip of the shoe


Small field of application; even when doing OCR on a regular basis, you will think twice even if the course is that muddy that you need such an extreme grip at the cost of minimal shock absorption 


Weight. For “what you get”, the weight is fine. But the extreme 8mm lugs come at the cost of increased weight.


  Official Weight : 260g / 8.17 oz  

  Samples: 313g / 11oz for an EU 43 (US10)

Midsole Stack Height: 8.5mm / 4.5mm;  Drop 4mm

Available now. $185 / €165.00

First Impressions and Fit

Even though I have a quite wide forefoot and a high midfoot, the fit of the Mudclaw G260 V2 is comfy but snug at the same time, which is the perfect combination for such kind of shoes.

This was a positive surprise for me, keeping in mind that Inov-8 has their own fit-scale going from 1 (very narrow) to 5 (widest). On this scale, the model at hand scores with “1”. In contrast, the highly appreciated TerraUltra 270 scores a “5”. While this scale for sure gives some orientation, my experience after having tried both models is that the difference is not that huge as the scale-difference might suggest. 

Inov-8 MudClaw G 260 v2 fits true to size, but one has to be aware that Inov-8 has a sizing-table which is different from most other shoe companies. Therefore, make sure, to always take the shoe length as a reference and not your local sizings. For example, a 28 cm long shoe (also named the chinese or japanese size) classically equals a US 10 and a UK 9,5. With Inov-8, a 28cm shoe length equals a US 10 too, but is at EU 43 (instead of 44) and a UK 9 (instead of 9,5). If you keep this in mind, the shoe fits true to size.

As far as looks are concerned, the sample I've got from Inov-8 really stands out as far as the color is concerned and especially during the dark time of the year this might also work as a safety feature. Nonetheless, Inov-8 might consider adding a more conservative color too as they do with most models, but this is personal preference. 


As far as the upper is concerned, I think Inov-8 nailed it perfectly. 

The upper is dense enough to prevent mud from coming through and firm enough for good protection against limbs and smaller stones, it is still breathable and flexible. 

The tongue is also perfectly balanced between cushioning and not adding any more weight than necessary. 

As the Inov-8 Mudclaw 260 V2 is clearly positioned as a “mud shoe”, one might argue that a sock-like gaiter would make lots of sense and I tend to agree. 

This might be an idea for Inov-8 to follow with the next iteration of the shoe. On the other hand, there are some pitfalls when it comes to those built-in gaiters: some folks find it irritating on the skin and therefore even consider cutting it off (with the Salomon S-Lab Sense 8 SG, for example, while I did not recognize any problems there). A low gaiter also can cause trouble. With the Salomon S-Lab Ultra 3, which is a fantastic shoe in my opinion, the low gaiter cut into one of my ankles so badly that I had to pull them off my feet after a few steps which unfortunately was a deal stopper for me. Therefore, be careful what you wish for;-)


Inov-8 positions this shoe for use on soft ground only. And that is for a reason. These shoes are really, really firm. For what these shoes are intended for, this totally makes sense, as it gives you lots of stability on shaky ground. Nonetheless, be aware that running on concrete or even man-made trails in dry conditions for longer periods will really put your calves and knees under stress. 

Given a midsole stack height of 4.5mm in the forefoot and 8.5mm in the rear and a really firm midsole, it becomes clear that there is not much cushioning at all. You do get a 6mm thick footbed to add some “cushion”. For the intended use this makes sense, but narrows down the use cases for this shoe a lot.


With the brand new V2 of the Mudclaw G260, the extremely tough graphene outsole became very sticky too. Even on a very slippery parquet floor, they stick perfectly. 

Especially when doing OCR-races, this will become important when you have to run up onto steep and slippery half pipes, for example. As you have 8mm lugs all over the outsole (just a few centimeters spared for the logo), you also have very good grip when it comes to rope climbs in a Spartan Race, for example. 


As described in the midsole section, the ride is really firm. There is no bouncy midsole at work but one always has to keep in mind that this is not the intended use case of this shoe. The Mudclaw G260 V2 likes to be taken out on soft ground and under those conditions a bounce midsole just would not make any sense as there is nothing to bounce away from. 

When out there on muddy ground, the ride is firm but also very stable. A thicker and softer midsole would make the ride under these conditions more unstable and would make it more likely that you twist your ankle. 

Conclusions and Recommendations

The Inov-8 MudClaw G260 V2 for sure are the special forces in your shoe army. Their home turf is very muddy and soft terrain. On those surfaces, you will probably not find a shoe with a better grip while at the same time, an almost perfect foothold. Inov-8 found the perfect balance between a snug precision fit and an accommodating toe box even for wider forefoots like mine.


In contrast, this shoe is clearly not intended to be worn on the road. While there will probably be no serious issue with durability compared to other “mud shoes” because of the very tough graphene outsole, it is just no fun at all because of the extreme 8mm studs and the thin midsole. This shoe has to be worn on soft ground and this is where it excels. 

Even though Inov-8 positions this shoe for muddy and soft ground only, I can also see the Mudclaw G260 V2 being a good weapon in a race on snowy ground, especially when combined with a gaiter. This holds true even more when keeping in mind, that spikes are forbidden at almost every OCR-run (for good reasons). 

Score 9.25 / 10 

Ride: 9 (you can’t feel more safe on soft ground and this makes it lots of fun on muddy trails, but this comes at the cost of an extremely firm and dull midsole)

Fit: 9.5 (fantastic precision fit while not too narrow for a wider forefoot)

Value: 8 (limited use  case, special weapon for very soft ground, pricey)

Style: 9 (I am on the classic side when choosing colors, but i think a lot of people will like these viper green colors)


Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Inov-8 MudClaw 260 V1: Comparisons would make sense, but I did not run in these shoes

Inov-8 TerraUltra G 270 (RTR Multi Tester Review)

While the Mudclaw260 V2 is the non plus ultra go-to alternative for very soft ground, the TerraUltra G 270 nails it perfectly as far as comfort, bounce and versatility are concerned. Choose depending on the surface you are running at: fell-racing in rainy UK-like meadows and mud races, go for the MudClaw 260 V2. If you are looking for a fantastic all rounder out on the trails which also can master some muddy passages on an otherwise mostly man-made trail: go for the TerraUltra 270.

Salomon S-Lab Sense SG (Soft Ground)  (RTR Sense 8 SG Review)

It comes down to personal preference and race track: short-distance in the mud, go for the Inov-8 MudClaw  260 V2. Longer distances with passages on concrete combined with focus on weight: go for the Salomon, but keep in mind that the foothold of the Inov-8 is better because of the much denser upper. For example, in a fast downhill on muddy terrain, I would clearly prefer the Inov-8. Both shoes have a snug precision fit, while the Salomon has a more stretchy upper which is a plus for comfort, but a minus for foothold on the downhills.

Salomon S-Lab Cross 

Probably the shoe in the Salomon lineup, which comes closest to the Mudclaw. While the studs are not as brutal and more “runnable” that the Mudclaws, the narrow fit (Salomon especially in the forefoot is even more narrow) and the weight are comparable. 

Nonetheless, while lots of people like the Cross a lot, I clearly prefer the Inov-8 for two main reasons: most importantly, the Mudclaw is much more stable even on soft ground. That's because the Salomon has an even narrower base and - very important - a stretchy upper, which for me personally is a no-go when it comes to foothold on soft ground. Don’t get me wrong: i love soft uppers, especially soft mesh in the summer, but this only holds true for road shoes and on light trails. But when it comes to downhills on soft terrain for example, I would choose the Mudclaw without thinking twice. In addition, if you have a high midfoot like I do, the sock-like fit might be too narrow.

Salomon Sense Pro 4 (RTR Multi Tester Review)

A good alternative for everyone who is looking for a more runnable alternative with lower drop and a much more comfortable and lively midsole. The outsole is by far not as aggressive as the Mudclaw260 V2, while the fit is comparable, with the Mudclaw 260V2 having by far the more durable and denser upper.

Salomon Speedcross 5 (RTR Review)

Much heavier, with less aggressive lugs, significantly wider and with a very comfortable midsole . Therefore, the Speedcross is much more versatile. If you are an experienced mudracer with focus on weight and traction, go for the Inov-8 Mudclaw260 V2. If you are looking for a comfy allrounder which you can even use as a hiking shoe, have a look at the Salomon.

Salomon S-Lab Speedcross / S-Lab Speed 2 

A totally different animal than the regular Speedcross. With a fit and very firm and thin midsole comparable to the Mudclaw, the Mud Claw has the more robust upper. The lugs of the Salomon are half the height of the Mudclaw’s and therefore a little bit more “runnable”. Unfortunately it is no longer part of the Salomon lineup. Same holds true for the Salomon S-Lab Speed 2 as it is very comparable and was its (unofficial) successor.

Saucony Peregrine 10 (RTR Review)

Similar fit (on the narrower side of the spectrum), but with less aggressive lugs and a much more breathable upper. While the Peregrine for sure will handle some muddy parts of the trail well, it is not its hometurf. If you know it's going to be muddy on a shorter trail run, go with the Mudclaw. If looking for a good allrounder, have a look at the Peregrine.

Saucony Xodus 10 (RTR Review)

Hard to compare as they are very different shoes, but as it is such a great trail shoe with a very broad range of use-cases: much more breathable upper and therefore less protection from mud coming in through the upper and therefore not nearly as excelling as Mudclaw in that department. Same holds true for the grip. While the Xodus has good grip in general, when it comes to very soft terrain, nothing compares to the brutal 8mm lugs of the Mudclaw G260 V2. While the Mudclaw has a narrower performance fit, the Xodus is more comfortable especially for a wider forefoot at the cost of lesser foothold on shaky ground compared to the Mudclaw.

Reebok Allterrain Craze 2.0 

One of the most overlooked shoes on the market. There does not seem to be even one review out there even though the shoe has been on the market for a while now. It is more “runnable” than the Inov-8, but does not provide the same level of high-end traction. Even more importantly for some, the Reebok is a very wide shoe, which is either very accommodating if you have very wide feet or a knock-out criteria for many, as a snug fit is important for such kind of shoe

Tester Profile

Marcel, almost 40 years old, works as a Legal Technology Consultant and is an avid Obstacle Course Racer (OCR). In addition to his fascination with shoe releases for road and trail, Marcel is also passionate about technical innovations and gadgets. 

After years of too much work and too much fast food, Marcel started to work off his excess pounds in 2014 by doing short runs at the Alster lake in Hamburg, Germany before he discovered the world of obstacle course racing. Initially just for fun in competitions like Tough Mudder and Xletix, his ambition was quickly awakened and Marcel increasingly focused on challenging race series like Spartan Races all over Europe. In addition, Marcel has successfully finished the "toughest obstacle course in Europe" five times in a row with Getting Tough The Race. 

As an additional challenge he was always accompanied by - unintentionally of course - his vulnerability to injuries in the area of the tendons and calves. The combination of a time-consuming office job in combination with a certain susceptibility to injury also gives Marcel a special perspective on the tested models in his shoe reviews. Namely less that of the competitive athlete, but much more the view of an ambitious recreational runner with a love for obstacle races. If you also have a comparatively wide forefoot, you should take a closer look at Marcel's impressions of the tested models.

The product reviewed was provided at no charge for testing. The opinions herein are the authors'.

RTR Team's Best of 2020 Articles
Road Running Shoes HERE
Trail Running Shoes HERE
RTR Contributors Best of Run 2020, Year in Review Articles

Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
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The product reviewed was provided at no charge for testing. The opinions herein are the author's
Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

RoadTrailRun receives a commission on purchases at the stores below.
Your purchases help support RoadTrailRun. Thanks!


Please Like and Follow RoadTrailRun
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Marcel said...


IainGrant said...

Worth pointing out that Inov-8 have always offered a gaiter for use on the majority of their shoes (including the Mudclaw G-260 currently). For me a much better option than having it in-built as you can swap between shoes and if you don't like it no need to pay for it in manufacturing and then cut it off!

Marcel said...

@IanGrant: absolutely. This option broadens the use-cases a lot (see my considerations regarding snow in the conclusions-section).