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Photo credit: Fiona Russell.

Inov-8 Terraclaw 250 running shoes review

21-Oct-15

Last updated: 20-Aug-18

By Fiona Outdoors 

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.

In the beginning, 10 years ago, there were far fewer styles of inov-8 off-road shoes but each did something specific. My first three pairs served three purposes: Running on muddy terrain, running on mostly rocky terrain and running mostly on hard-packed trails.

I can’t recall their names because I find that the names of inov-8 shoes all sound quite similar, however I quickly found that each of the shoes were very, very good at what they claimed they would do.

Since the early days, the inov-8 brand has gained a huge following and the range of footwear has become mind-bogglingly wide. The brand also now makes shoes for road running.

Inov-8 Terraclaw 250 - Features

  • 6mm footbed
  • 8mm drop from heel to forefoot (a Terraclaw 220 has a 4mm drop)
  • “Standard” fit to offer a little extra room in the toe box
  • Terraclaw sole that has a lug design to “release debris and grit like no other and deliver optimum grip with every foot strike”
  • Footbed: 6mm
  • Midsole: Compressed EVA
  • Meta Flex forefoot sole to offer great “feel” from the shoe
  • Dual C: Two colours on the sole unit are different densities for “increased grip and protection in the areas you need it”
  • X Lock “fit” that is aimed at keeping the foot in place
  • Upper has a forefoot rand and toe bumper for greater protection
  • Fit for men and women
  • Weight: 250g
  • UK RRP £120

Photo credit: Fiona Russell.

Pros: What’s good about the inov-8 Terraclaw 250

The shoes are not super stiff, nor are they super flexible and I like this. I want a shoe that gives some support yet still allows me to bend and flex my foot to cope with the off-road terrain.

The shoe also feels immediately comfortable when I slip my foot inside. This is important to me. I don’t want to feel the upper fabric, the ankle or the lacing system rubbing at all and in this shoes they feel perfectly at home.

The sizing is as you would hope: Not too small or too big. I tried a women’s UK 8.5 and this fits very well.

The sole of the Terraclaw 250 has fairly well spaced and deep-ish triangular lugs. The lugs are not as dense or as aggressive as some other inov-8 shoes, such as the Talons or Mudclaws, but they still offer good grip on multitude of surfaces.

This means that the Terraclaws are best suited to terrain that is sometimes muddy, sometimes rough grass, sometimes a bit rocky and sometimes steep.

The shoes give confidence in terms of grip and allow the mud to easily disperse so the spaced-out lugs do not become clogged up and useless.

inov-8 shoes give a lot of feedback to the runner in terms of foot contact. The soles are fairly thin and quite flexible, which means you can really feel the ground beneath your feet.

The soles are also super durable. Of all the off-road shoes I have worn in the last decade, inov-8 soles last the longest.

The uppers have also proved to be generally pretty long-lasting. If they wear out, it’s usually at the side of the toes. I have owned some Inov-8 trainers for almost five years and they are still useable.

The Terraclaw 250 has a new design styling that I think looks quite funky. The toe box looks more rounded and it has a rubber “bumper” over the toe. This means the upper will be more durable when used on rough off-road terrains.

When I first looked at the shoe I thought it would be too wide for my foot but it gives good levels of comfort and allows the foot to push out and widen as you run.

I find this to be an advantage when running off-road because I do not want my toes to crush against the upper fabric. (However, if you prefer a shoe that snugly fits all around your foot you should choose another style or brand.)

The lacing system is fairly short but nicely effective. Once the laces were tied with a double knot they stayed tied.

I also felt the lacing system and fit kept my foot in the right position in the shoe whatever the terrain. So, my feet did not move too far forward or from side-to-side when running on varied or steep terrain.

There is also a good degree of upper cushioning around the ankle area. Again, this is useful when taking the knocks of off-road running.

The upper is made of a light and breathable fabric, which means the shoes dry out quickly and are really easy to clean afterwards with a garden hose. They also allow water to get in and also quickly escape when running through the wet.

Photo credit: Fiona Russell.

Cons: What’s not so good about the inov-8 Terraclaw 250

inov-8s have a fairly minimalist sole and a flat footbed. They can also feel narrow at the heel and low down in the ankle area. You either love them or hate them, in my experience. I personally find them a great fit and feel, although I know other people who do not get on with them at all.

These are not the type of shoes you would choose if you are looking for a lot of structure and support.

The Terraclaw 250s also feel like hard work on harder surfaces. They have very little give or cushioning and you can feel the hard packed trails and stones beneath your feet.

While the brand describes the Terraclaw 250 as one of their most versatile shoes for different ranges of terrain I don’t agree.

In my opinion, these shoes are for off-road when it’s soft, muddy, wet and rough. They do not feel good for running on hard-packed forest trails or tarmac.

And this is where I take issue with inov-8. While it’s a great idea to have so many shoes that are specific to all kinds of terrain, it means they do not really sell a shoe that is as versatile as other brands.

Of course, they might argue that too much versatility goes too far on the compromise scale and this creates shoes that are not ideal for any specific terrain but a run rarely takes place on landscape that is only muddy, grassy, rocky or hard. Most outings include a lot of different surfaces.

I sometimes feel that when I am out in inov-8s I need to carry two spare pairs of shoes to suit the changing terrain. So while the Terraclaws are totally perfect on a soft, soggy and grassy hill run, when I then come to hard-packed forest trails or tarmac, they feel too unforgiving. It’s then that I would want to pull out another pair of more cushioned inov-8s.

I feel like I am criticising Inov-8 for making so many perfect shoes to suit all kinds of tricky off-road terrain but what they are calling a versatile shoe isn’t really.

Saying that, the Terraclaw 250 does offer a bit more cushioning than other more aggressively soled Inov-8s so perhaps they are trying to push towards a more all-round shoe.

Photo credit: Fiona Russell.

Conclusion

inov-8 are like Marmite: You either love them or you don’t. If you are a fan you will find these new and improved Terraclaw 250s to be a good buy for hill running. There are lots of great, wee design extras and they offer excellent grip in mud and on rough paths and grass.

Durability is a plus-point of inov-8 but they can be pricey at full RRP. Having to buy a different shoe to suit every type of terrain means you may well need a wardrobe of inov-8 trainers. You can be sure you’ll get a sole that perfectly suits a style of terrain, but doesn’t offer a lot of cushioning if you need to run on tarmac as part of you long-distance run. 

Score  
Design 9/10
Features 8/10
Performance 9/10
Value 7/10
Total 8.25/10

 

Have you used the inov-8 Terraclaw 250 running 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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08:42 24-05-18

I've got the Terraclaw 220s. What they are particularly good at I find, is preventing debris (sand and grit) entering to the degree of any other Inov8, or indeed any other running shoes I've tried.