inov-8 X-CLAW 275 Shoe Review

©iancorless.com_inov8_XClaw275-06454

The inov-8 Mudclaw 300 has long been a favorite shoe of mine when I need a shoe with grip and secure feel. It’s a ‘go-to’ shoe for a couple of hours on muddy trails. (Review Here). However, the precision fit (which I love) and less cushioning has often left me wanting a shoe with a little more cushioning, a more relaxed drop and maybe a little more room in the toes for my feet to splay. Step in (pun intended) the X-CLAW 275.

In the past 12-months, inov-8 as a brand has looked at its shoe range and started to streamline the shoes on offer. For some, that may well be a bad thing, for me, it’s a positive! I seem to remember a couple of years back that the brand had over 90 shoes on offer.

The company that pioneered the arrow system to define drop, has stuck with its heritage and now 1 arrow (4mm drop) and 2 arrow (8mm drop) are the norm. The purists may well complain but 4mm and 8mm drop are for sure the most popular.

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For me, I switch between the two drops constantly, happily running shorter and faster sessions in the lower 4mm drop but when I go longer, I prefer the relaxed and more forgiving drop of 8mm. The X-CLAW 275 has been a long time coming, but now it has arrived, I have a big smile on my face:

8mm drop

Standard fit

Cushioning

Grip

In brief, the shoe is a winner.

©iancorless.com_inov8_XClaw275-06454

The X-CLAW 275 has the usual distinctive inov-8 styling and colours, I keep saying it but the brand always (nearly always) make good looking shoes with great colours. The lacing is standard and secure, the heel box is plush, holds firm and is comfortable. The tongue is secured into the upper on the left and right sides (thank goodness) and holds the foot firm, secure and in comfort. The toe box has standard fit and therefore there is more room for toes to splay and move around a little. The toe box also has great protection with some good rubber on the front of the shoe to protect against rock impact. The shoe is cushioned for longer runs and has protection from underfoot obstacles but without loosing a feel for the ground. Lastly, the grip is as one would expect, claw like.

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The X-CLAW has been put through its paces on a multitude of terrain and in all scenarios it has been a winner. Several recent outings in the Mourne Mountains in Ireland really did provide an all-in-one mixed terrain circuit allowing for: road, stone steps, loose rock, gravel, scree, bog, water crossings, fell, fire trail and all with a mix of wet and dry weather. The X-CLAW just performed never causing me to question of grip would be compromised at any time. I had wondered if the standard fit would leave me feeling less secure and precise on technical trail – no so! I was able to compensate by pulling my laces a little tighter and the addition of the gusseted tongue held my foot secure and firm giving me 100% confidence. On a 3.5hr run, we finished off with a 5km stretch of stony fire trail that zig-zagged 600m downhill. It was the type of terrain in the past where I would have been wishing for a shoe with a little more comfort and protection… not so with the X-CLAW.

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The cushioning was superb allowing me to run with protection while still feeling the ground beneath. The outsole handled the mixed terrain so well and I am always amazed how shoes with so much grip can feel so good on the road. Obviously, the Dual-C compound used will have less life if too much road is run on, but that is not the point, the combination of elements that are packaged in the X-CLAW 275 make it a real winner. Finally, despite running through wet ground, mud and small water crossings my foot actually only got wet in the final couple of miles of my run when I placed my foot in a puddle that was ankle deep, prior to that the water repellant upper had done a great job keeping my feet dry.

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As the UK heads into winter, the trails will become muddier, the rocks wetter and I am convinced that the X-CLAW 275 is going to be one of my ‘go-to’ shoes – It delivers outstanding grip, comfort and protection while still remaining lightweight, flexible with great energy return from the Powerflow midsole technology that really does keep you on your toes with better shock protection. The toe bumper and full rand are also great additions that make the shoe really feel as though it’s up for some hard and challenging terrain.

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The shoe fit as ‘true,’ I regularly use a size 9.5 and my X-TALON is a 9.5. However, if you are used to a tighter toe box (precision) you may well feel that the standard fit of this shoe makes it feel a little larger? My advice would be to lace up the shoe correctly and tighten the laces so your foot feels secure. Remember, the toe box is designed to allow for some movement and splay.

In summary, the X-CLAW is an excellent shoe for those who need a little more comfort, a relaxed drop and a roomier toe box. The shoes perform exceptionally well on all terrain (even road) and if you are out for longer days on the hills, mountains or fells, the 8mm drop and cushioning will make your legs and feet happier.

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Finally, for all you precision fit, less-cushioning and lower drop fans (4mm) don’t worry… the X-TALON is available in a 225 version. Review to follow.

What inov-8 say:

For all extreme terrain running, including off-trail conditions encountered on mountains and fells.

Phenomenal grip: New X-CLAW outsole features DUAL-C compound (a mix of medium and hard sticky rubbers) for improved durability and stability. Refined claw cleat stud configuration ensures quick release of mud and debris.

Increased comfort on long runs: Unique POWERFLOW midsole technology delivers 10% better shock absorption and 15% better energy return than standard midsoles. Wider to box allows toes to splay.

Enjoy more protection: Super-durable, yet lightweight, upper material, full rand, toe bumper and internal gusset offer protection on descents and from debris. Water repelled by durable water resistant coating.

Does it all: Equally adaptable to training or faster running. Cutaways on the outsole increase flexibility and reduce weight. Dynamic Fascia Band delivers kick of energy with every stride.

  • Colour: BLACK/BLUE/RED
  • Weight: 275g / 9.7oz
  • Fit: Standard Fit
  • Gender: MENS
  • Footbed: 6mm
  • Midsole: POWER FLOW
  • Drop: 8mm

20 thoughts on “inov-8 X-CLAW 275 Shoe Review

  1. Hi Ian – great write up as always, these look like an excellent shoe for longer trail/fell outings – they’re on the “next shoe” list!! RegardsRussell

    WordPress.com | talkultra posted: “The inov-8 Mudclaw 300 has long been a favorite shoe of mine when I need a shoe with grip and secure feel. It’s a ‘go-to’ shoe for a couple of hours on muddy trails. (Review Here). However, the precision fit (which I love) and less cushioning has ofte” | |

  2. Pingback: inov-8 X-CLAW 275 Shoe Review — iancorless.com – Photography, Writing, Talk Ultra Podcast – TheKnackeredRunner

  3. Hi Ian great review and I now have my eye on these for the off trail days. Following your review of the Trail Talon 275s, I did something that I swore I wouldn’t do; and bought a pair of TT275s online, unseen and untested based on your recommendation. This was mainly because I find my local shops in Glasgow area don’t have a good range of Inov8 (or trail come to that). My gamble paid off and the TT275s are brilliant and were right from the off. So going by that, I think even if my local shops don’t stock the X claw 275 I’ll go for them unseen based on your review. Thanks again, enjoying the blog Matt

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  5. Hi Ian, thanks for a great review. Do you think X-Claw 275 is suitable for the terrain encountered during the Dragons Back Race? What is the cushioning compared to Roclite 295?

    • Yes, I think it would work for Dragons Back but remember there is lots of mixed terrain and grip in wet, mud, rock etc will be a key requirement. In my opinion, they are more cushioned than the Roiclite.

      • Thanks Ian. More cushioning for all those long days is a plus for me. My only worries is for all that hard stuff underfoot together with those big lugs. I.e. will I feel the lugs after a day full of rocks, slabs and the occasional road.

  6. Ian – doing MDS 2017 and wondered what’s your view on suitability of X claw 275 ( I used it on 75 mile ‘ brutal’ pen Llyn ultra in August and on subsequent Ultra ) ?
    Was using Speedcross 3 prior to this for years but felt too ‘ toppy / unstable ‘ on them plus I have a wide foot ( right foot only ! ).
    As an aside I’ve suffered a bit with soleus problems since the switch to Xclaw 275 but perhaps that’s unlinked to show change as very little difference in drop between Speedcross (9mm?) and Xclaw ( 8 MM ).

    Your comments / sage advice mis welcome
    Cheers
    Jeremy

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  10. Hello Ian,

    in your opinion would you choose the X-claw275 or the Roclite 305 for running a race like the Lakeland50 (trail with some fell/bog and some road)(14-18 hours of running, for me).
    i currently run all off road in Salomon Fellraisers, i like them a lot but the longer i am spending on my feet the more i realise i need a more versatile shoe.

    Thanks

    • I would go with the X-Claw 275 personally. I don’t think the Roclite is for ‘any’ mud whereas the X-Claw mixes things up well and the wider toe box will keep feet happy as the hours pass.

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