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Inov-8 are making a bold (in every way inc the colour) move into the hybrid road to trail market with the Parkclaw 275. A brilliantly versatile shoe that copes admirably on the road, and excels on the trails. If you are looking for a great all round shoe this should be given some serious consideration – even with the hefty price tag.
Inov-8 make some fantastic off-roaders, but the Parkclaw 275 is an attempt to make a shoe for the masses who like to run off-road but might run on road in order to get there! It's a great looking shoe, but does it achieve their objective?
For alternatives, also check out the Saucony Koa TR and Brooks Caldera 2.
Inov-8 say: Run effortlessly over any road conditions with new Powerflow+ midsole technology. I say I don’t run effortlessly anytime these days, so I don’t believe them, but the midsole coped ok with the hard roads, but its far from ideal compared to a well cushioned Road shoe, but it does come in to its own on the trails and has enough support, flex and protection to deliver a great off road training shoe. Powerflow+ is a 2 layer midsole that offers better rebound EVA close to the foot and stable / durable carrier EVA as the base. Its not ideal for lots of road running but it does more than enough to cope with some road and more off road! The drop is 8mm, which is a lot for Inov-8, so its designed as a more high mileage everyday shoe more than a pure racing animal like many of the shoes in the Inov-8 line.
The forefoot and quarter panels are one piece of sandwich air mesh that has a pretty tight weave so its breathable enough but doesn’t let too much debris in. As with most Inov-8 shoes the lacing system and in this case no sew printed overlays work superbly together to give a great lock down for the foot, and a really secure feeling. The collar and tongue are extremely well padded, and I got this shoe very wet on a few occasions without much water retention – overall it’s a basic and functional upper that does a good job. This is a generous fit, and is pretty relaxed in the forefoot, give an extremely comfortable feeling straight out the box. Definitely no breaking in needed here, and zero issues with the upper throughout the 48 miles I have done in this shoe so far… And I will do more in them, as I really like em!
4 mm regularly spaced lugs give great grip on light to moderate trails and enough ground contact to stop any slipping on damp roads witch is a trail shoe hazard normally. It is a well-designed outsole that sheds mud well, and is pretty good at self-cleaning on a run. There are well placed flex grooves in the forefoot to give a solid, not flexible ride, and the durability so far has been excellent – especially considering I have run quite a bit of road running in this shoe. The cored-out heel is slightly annoying as it fills up with mud easily if you run in the sticky stuff. Why they didn’t build it flat is a real mystery, but I can only presume they wanted a road shoe look as much as possible – it’s a minor setback at best. This is a good outsole for everything except extreme off road.
Its fair to say that the Parkclaw 275 is more at home on the trail than the road, but if your more inclined to go searching for a parkland, path or trail when the weather improves this shoe will deliver everything that you need and more. It copes with some road use perfectly adequately without feeling like a stiff, luggy shoe that you experience in traditional trail shoe. Once you hit the park or trails it is a superb shoe and a great expansion to the Inov-8 product line. One quick note – Inov-8 are a relatively small running brand from the UK, who make shoes out of quality materials and innovative techniques, but don’t have the volume sales of some larger brands, so they will pay more at source for their products, hence to higher price. But in all walks of life – you get what you pay for, and with this shoe, you get an innovative top end off road shoe brand product that is very well thought through.
2 Arrow Shoc-Zone provides moderate underfoot cushioning and a 8 mm heel-to-toe drop. This is inov-8's medium level of cushioning on their 0-4 arrow scale.
PowerFlow+ improves on inov-8's PowerFlow technology to deliver a smooth ride while improving shock absorption and energy return.
Dynamic Fascia Band running from the heel to the forefoot acts as a rigid lever arm, releasing energy with each step and propelling the runner forward.
Tri-C Compound combines three different outsole rubbers for excellent grip and decreased wear.
Versatile lug pattern provides grip on trails while maintaining a smooth ride on roads.
Terradapter heel unit provides added protection and durability at heel strike.
Protective Mesh covers the upper for durable coverage that resists abrasion from the trail.
External heel counter provides heel support and a locked down fit.
Standard Fit is an accommodating fit using a close-fitting heel to lock the foot down and a wide forefoot to allow for natural toe splay.
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|Weight||9.6oz. / 275g|
|Off Road Use|