Published on February 2, 2016
Inov-8 ROADCLAW 275
As Bob Dylan once rightly noted the times they are a changin’ – and the inov-8 ROADCLAW 275 marks a foray into pavement territory for these trail specialists.
What’s the fuss?
Anyone who knows trails, fells and mud (glorious mud) will be familiar with inov-8’s solid reputation for shoes that can tackle all terrain. That makes the idea of a road-specific inov-8 shoe one part very exciting and one part slightly unnerving. Imagine if your favourite super-car manufacturer suddenly segued into making skidoos or, indeed, segways.
So how does the Inov-8 ROADCLAW 275 look?
Out of the box
The ROADCLAW 275 is unmistakeably an inov-8 shoe. Not to suggest that inov-8 are lacking in the aesthetic department, but there’s always something quite hard-core and utilitarian about them – they look reassuringly fit-for-purpose. That certainly still goes for the ROADCLAW 275. The men’s iteration comes in dark blue and neon yellow, whilst the women’s is lighter blue and ‘berry’ (close to a fuchsia pink.)
We have always found inov-8 unwaveringly ‘true to size’ but the ROADCLAW 275 initially felt somewhat constricted. They bedded in nicely across our test runs (around 100k, across a week of running), but we would certainly recommend a ‘try before you buy’ policy in case you want to opt for a half-size up from normal.
The weight – always easy to work out from inov-8’s naming strategy – is a fairly modest 275g, if you’re used to wearing the RACE ULTRA 270 on trail then the ROADCLAW obviously comes close. The standard fit is, as noted, snug but actually ultimately very comfortable with the heel held firmly but just about enough room through the toe box to allow the feet to swell or simply ‘spread’ across longer distances.
Comfort and performance
Padding around the heel is superb and just as well judged through the tongue (unusually for inov-8 not gusseted, a nod to their non-trail credentials we guess.) There’s a solidly responsive feel to the ride with the ROADCLAW 275, and the tech you would expect from their trail shoes – such as the Dynamic Fascia Band for increased energy return – is all present and correct.
As you would hope from trail-specialists the grip is another area where the ROADCLAW shines pretty brightly. The dual-compound lugs are well spaced and work multi-directionally for road work on adverse cambers, but they’re also generously deep for a road shoe and had no trouble tackling icy conditions on a number of runs.
The ‘POWERFLOW midsole technology’ claims to offer up ‘10% better shock absorption and 15% better energy return than standard midsoles.’ Hard to quantify those claims on test, but the ride was smooth and easy across every test outing we took.
So, who are they for?
A good question, and no doubt inov-8 have done their market research before taking the plunge, but they will certainly appeal to trail runners looking to switch to road to mix things up. If you already know and trust inov-8 for your muddy runs, it’s a simple leap of faith to pick up the ROADCLAW 275 for your pavement sessions. Hopefully they’ll find proper mass-market appeal too, because in the final analysis they’re an excellent road option that look and feel sturdy enough to last many, many miles.
The inov-8 ROADCLAW 275 are available in men’s sizes 7-12 and women’s 3-9, both including half-size options. They retail at £110 with further details at inov-8.com and online purchase at, amongst other places, wiggle.co.uk