Leanne Davies, founder of Run Mummy Run, puts the latest Inov-8 PARKCLAW 275 GTX running shoes to the test, to find out if they really offer a seamless road-to-trail experience.
A year ago, I lived in an area where I mainly ran on the roads. We moved to the Surrey Hills in 2016 and it opened up a whole new world of running to me: trail running. Over the last year, I’ve learnt to love hills, enjoy the landscape and embrace the thick mud of autumn and winter.
The terrain I run on now is vastly different from what I was used to, so I’m always on the lookout for good trail shoes. I’m keen to learn how they can enhance my running experience, especially on varied terrain. On many occasions, I run from my house on the roads to an off-road location. I’ve always found that part slightly tricky when it comes to choosing suitable footwear.
My road shoes are not waterproof and are way too slippy for many of the routes I run. My current trail shoes are very heavy and lugged, and not at all suitable for road. So when Inov-8 asked me to review its Women’s PARKCLAW 275 GTX ‘road to trail’ shoes, I was more than excited and very happy to oblige.
Inov-8 describes these trainers as a versatile running shoe, perfect for runners wanting to run on paths and trails. According to Inov-8, the Women’s PARKCLAW 275 GTX will keep your feet dry and comfortable in the foulest of road-to-trail conditions. The company says that with the all-new GORE® Invisible Fit, you can enjoy all the benefits of protective footwear technology with a shoe that keeps feet dry and comfortable in the harshest of conditions, yet with the fit and feel of regular running shoes.
I decided to put these claims to the test with an eight-mile run on the roads from my house to the muddy terrain of the Surrey Hills. Running on the road, the PARKCLAW 275 GTX felt so different from my usual trail shoes. They felt light to wear and really soft and comfortable, even on tarmac. These running shoes are perfect for those runners who, like me, start their journey on the road but are heading to an off-road route.
Once I hit the trail, I wondered whether the PARKCLAWs would be grippy enough to handle the rough terrain and sticky mud. I was pleased to find they had excellent grip on all the various terrains of my run. It was a particularly muddy day when I tested these shoes, but I felt they kept me steady and safe. Inov-8 says this is because the PARKCLAW features 4mm deep studs on the outsole for increased trail grip that, because of the wide surface area, also ensure a smooth ride on the road.
I have an eye for detail and I like my kit to look good and perform well. The PARKCLAW 275 GTX look great – a stylish black body colour with a beautiful injection of coral and grey. They feel so comfortable to wear with decent cushioning. They have a nice wide fit, yet still feel like they gently hug your feet.
Another feature I love about the PARKCLAWs is they are waterproof. Dry feet during winter trail runs is such a bonus, and it felt great to have the extra confidence of waterproof shoes on both the wet roads and the muddy trails.
Something I was also interested to learn is that unlike a typical GORE-TEX® shoe, where the lining is sewn into the shoe, the PARKCLAW simply has the GORE-TEX® covering the upper fabric only. The inside still feels supple, cushioned and comfortable.
I am genuinely delighted with these shoes. I tend to be a creature of habit and not one to vary once I find a shoe I like, but this review has given me an opportunity to test and experience a new type of running shoe, which offers some excellent features.
I love the fact that I can travel on the road to my trail routes in shoes that will equip me for the whole journey from start to finish. Having a waterproof feature while I’m on the road is a huge plus point for me, especially in the depths of winter, when navigating puddles and slush. From hardened trail runners to parkrunners alike, the Inov-8 PARKCLAW 275 GTX really will suit everyone who run multi-terrain routes.
To find out more about these shoes, or many of the other shoes Inov-8 has to offer, go to: www.inov-8.com/women/