Published on July 16, 2015
Inov-8 TERRACLAW 250
The latest shoe from inov-8, the TERRACLAW 250, promises the ruggedness and reliability upon which the company’s reputation is forged combined with more than a dash of innovation.
The clue to the weight, as always with inov-8, is in the name – so the TERRACLAW 250 comes in at a relatively svelte 250g, varying very slightly dependent on size. They feature a fairly wide toe box allowing the toes to spread a little on push-off, something that proved fine for RunningMonkey in our regular 8.5 size (for inov-8) but may well come down to personal preference.
The drop on the TERRACLAW 250 is 8mm but those looking for something closer to a minimalist might consider the sister-shoe the TERRACLAW 220 with a reduced 4mm differential – of course that’s not the only difference between the two iterations and to be slightly reductive the 220 looks better suited to shorter, faster trails probably with less demand on climb and decent.
Comfort levels are well judged in the 250s, the lack of weight is noticeable (and appreciated) and the cushioning is just enough to take some of the pounding out of the run. On tarmac the ride feels a little unforgiving and although road is clearly not the natural habitat of the TERRACLAW 250 it’s fair to judge them here too unless your lucky enough to live with a trail-head directly out the door. Also worth noting is that although the grip, when box-fresh, was prone to slight skid on wet tarmac they bedded in nicely over time, meaning that they are likely to perform well if you’re looking for a multi-terrain shoe.
On the subject of grip both the TERRACLAW 250 and 220 employ what inov-8 call their ‘Dual-C’ tech. In practice this means that around two-thirds of the quite deep lugs are made from a more durable and hardwearing compound with the remainder being softer and ‘stickier’ for better grip. It’s claimed that the Dual-C solution means that a dedicated underfoot rock-plate isn’t necessary, but in practice, over sharper ground, we’re not wholly convinced.
The TERRACLAW 250, like others from inov-8, also features ‘Meta-Flex’ grooves on the outsole – two semi-decoupled regions, one at forefoot and smaller one at the heel, which allow for a flex somewhat in line with that of the foot itself. In practice it certainly adds to the natural smoothness of the run and is more immediately advantageous than the ‘Dynamic Fascia Band’ buried in the midsole and intended to deliver a ‘kick’ of returned energy with each footfall. On test, even over extended runs, its difficult to really judge the benefits of the Dynamic Fascia Band, perhaps it works, perhaps time and more miles will tell; arguably a nice additional touch though.
Unlike the inov-8 roclite 282 GTX – where a GORE-TEX membrane laminate gives the shoe both its name and water-resilience – your feet are going to get wet in the TERRACLAWs (you’re a trail runner, get used to it) and there’s no provision for using the Race Ultra Gaiters with them either. A shame.
We haven’t immediately fallen in love with the TERRACLAW 250 in the same way we have previously with other shoes from inov-8, but we’re hoping that time and distance will rectify this. They’re an absolutely solid option for training and good, we suspect, for trails of the right condition (not too flinty) up to marathon distance. Beyond that and looking to go longer we’d still opt for the more rugged Race Ultra 270 or 290 – both admittedly heavier and with less aggressive grip than the TERRACLAW 250 but both somehow more substantial.
The TERRACLAW 250 definitely has much to offer – not least that it’s almost embarrassingly comfortable for something designed for trails – and represents an excellent jumping in point for those new to inov-8’s ever-growing range.