inov-8 Parkclaw 275 running trainer review

Last updated: 30-Dec-19

By Fiona Outdoors

Running brand inov-8 are continually evolving their collection of shoes to suit an ever-broadening market. Their new inov-8 Parkclaw 275 is aimed at runners who enjoy both roads and trails.

The shoes have what inov-8 call “versatile grip”. This means they have a “slightly more aggressive, trail-style stud pattern compared to a road-specific shoe but the design of the studs ensures it feels smooth when running on roads”.

I have been testing the female version of the new Parkclaw on a variety of terrain.

Features

  • Useful for both road and trail running
  • Aggressive outsole for increased grip
  • Versatile grip
  • External Heel Counter wraps to provide support to aid foot stability
  • Protective, durable upper materials
  • Standard fit
  • 8mm drop from heel to sole
  • “Power Flow” midsole to deliver 10% better shock absorption and 25% better re-nergy return (than standard midsoles)
  • Shank DFB
  • Male and female versions
  • Weight: 275g per shoe
  • Price: £125

RUNULTRA_inov-8-Parkclaw-275-review

Pros: What’s so good about the inov-8 Parkclaw 275 running trainer

I am forever on the hunt for trainers that can cope with a range of terrains. My usual running routes take in tarmac, harder-packed forest trails and muddy hill paths. Sometimes I think that for longer runs it would be worth having a different pair of trainers in a rucksack to swap into.

The above is mainly an issue on longer runs, because too much tarmac or hard-packed trail in an aggressively-soled shoe is tiring and hard underfoot, while a run on muddy paths in shoes that are not studded is also tricky and unsafe.

So the Parkclaw seemed like a great idea. The ability to run on harder surfaces and also on trails appealed greatly.

The shoe fits like many other inov-8s. It has a wider toe box/forefoot than in previous years. I believe the theory is that feet like to spread out when running and the wider fit allows for this. (See my frustrations below).

The shoe is ideal for people with mid-width feet and possibly also wider feet.

The length of the shoe seems perfect. As in, if the shoe is a UK8, it fits like an 8. Some brands make shoes a little bigger or smaller than standard.

The heel cup feels supportive and it is not what I would call low-cut. It’s a mid-height and supportive heel cup that is meant to keep your foot stable and prevent general fatigue. I can see the theory in this.

The shoe feels much more like a road shoe in terms of design and heel to toe drop. The inov-8 off-road trainers tend to be flatter and with less cushioning in the heel and forefoot.

The sole of the shoe looks like a mix of road and trail shoes. Take a look at this blog to see how the inov-8 soles compare.

The Parkclaw 275 has a stud style but the studs are not as deep as, for example the inov-8 Roclites. So, they are a compromise.

Running on hard surfaces in the Parkclaw 275 is great. There is a nice level of cushioning. It’s not overly apparent but there is enough to provide you with a bit of bounce and “give” when running on the tarmac.

There is more cushioning in the specific inov-8 road running shoes but I felt there was easily enough in the Parkclaw to enjoy running on tarmac for up to about eight to 10 miles, or more if you like a less-cushioned sole generally.

When transitioning to the trails I found the shoe also worked well. It is great for hard-packed forest trails and paths. I found my feet slipped about when running on muddy hill paths and steeper inclines with rocks and wet grass.

As the name suggests I would say the trainers are best kept for park-style running, where harder trails and well-trodden paths are the main part of your route choice.

The biggest advantage of these hybrid style shoes is the cushioning in the sole.

There is also a GTX (Gore-Tex) version for a bit more cash, which should keep your feet drier.

The shoes are available in a nice range of colours and the price is standard for this type of shoe.

RUNULTRA_inov-8-Parkclaw-275-review

Cons: What’s not so good about the inov-8 Parkclaw 275 running trainer

I wish that inov-8 would make their shoes narrower again. When they founded the company the trainers were a perfect fit for my narrow foot. I know that narrow feet are not as common-as-medium to wide feet but if only they made more of their shoes in a choice of narrow, medium and wide fit.

Anyway, that’s my personal complaint and I expect most people will like the fit of the Parkclaw 275.

The other feature I am not so keen on is the heel cup. It feels too rigid and supportive for my foot. I suffer with Achilles issues so I prefer a more forgiving heel cup.

Inov-8 state that the “Power Flow” midsole delivers 10% better shock absorption and 25% better re-nergy return. But, compared to what? If they mean, compared to an average inov-8 trail shoe then that might be the case but when compared to the likes of Hoka shoes, for example, that is a nonsense statement.

It is nice to have a more cushioned shoe that works well on tarmac and trails but the percentage claim is a bit silly.

The features include a statement that the shoes have an “aggressive outsole for increased grip”. The word aggressive is a bit misleading. They are not what I would call aggressive by inov-8 standards. They do offer increased grip compared to road shoes but not compared to other trail shoes.

When I put the shoes to the ultimate test on slippery decking and autumn leaves they did not do too well.

I would like laces that stay tied. Even when double knotted they tend to ease apart. What about those nifty laces with the knobbles on them that stay tied?

Conclusion

For mild to good conditions on tarmac, as well as hard packed trails and paths, the Parkclaw 275 trainer is a good compromise. It offers good levels of cushioning as well as grip. If you want to run in wet and muddy routes you will need to choose a trail shoe with a more aggressive sole. I think the compromise of the road-to-trail features are really pretty good so long as you use them in the right conditions.

Score  
Design 10/10
Features 8/10
Performance 9/10
Value 8/10
Total 8.75/10


Other running shoes you may want to consider:

Salomon SpeedCross 3
Brooks Cascadia
Hoka One One (various)

About the writer: Fiona is a keen runner, preferring off-road and hilly to flat and road. She lives in Scotland where the weather is fickle so needs to be prepared for all conditions. See more of what she writes at Fiona Outdoors.

Have you used the inov-8 Parkclaw 275 shoes? Don’t agree with this review? What’s your opinion? Add your own comment to this review and share your experience and passion for running with others.

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OUR RATING:
4/5
YOUR RATING:
0.0/5

"The shoe is ideal for people with mid-width feet and possibly also wider feet"

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