The inov-8 PARKCLAW G 280 Trail Running Shoes
Written By: SportsShoes
Introducing the new inov-8 Parkclaw G 280 with Graphene, the ultimate road-to-trail running shoe, designed for adventure straight from the door. Turn off the road, escape the grey and unearth your inner wild side.
|Drop||8mm (18mm at the rear, 10mm at forefront)|
|Width||4 (on inov-8 1-5 scale, with 5 being the widest)|
|Patent-pending technologies||G-GRIP, G-FLY|
|RATINGS (out of 5)|
Since its first release in 2017, the PARKCLAW has established itself as one of inov-8’s best-selling trail shoes - and it’s easy to see why. It’s perfect for runners looking to break into the trail and also for those who want an everyday shoe that is equally at home both on the road and on the trail.
This shoe both looks and feels fantastic to wear. It has completely evolved in terms of design and performance from the original PARKCLAW release, which I should add, I was always a big fan.
In terms of look, the inov-8 PARKCLAW G 280 is certainly an attractive looking model, but more importantly, in terms of performance it’s an OUTSTANDING shoe! Like the award-winning TERRAULTRA G 270, this is an ultimate all-round trail shoe, delivering the goods in every department – comfort, protection, cushioning, grip and performance. I’m seriously impressed, hence the excellent ratings I’ve given it across the board.
Starting at the top, the upper material is strong and robust, yet super-breathable and lightweight. The shoe feels extremely comfortable to wear and there is plenty of thick material around the heel which adds extra comfort and protection. The heel counter also helps to provide more support and stability and give you that locked-in feel. This feature is especially beneficial for those with little or no confidence on the trail, helping to reduce the lateral movement and ankle-rolling when running on uneven terrain.
In addition, at the front of the shoe there is a toe bumper which increases protection from rocks and trail debris. But perhaps my favourite feature is the full length, padded tongue which feels comfortable against the top of your foot and wraps around the foot perfectly when laced. It’s also gusseted to help protect small stones, mud and debris from entering the shoe. A bold claim, but possibly my favourite inov-8 tongue of all time - if such a list exists! In terms of lifespan, these shoes feel durable and well-made. Only time will tell if they last the distance, but so far so good!
For a shoe that packs in so much technology into the midsole and one with a robust upper, the PARKCLAW G 280 feels surprisingly lightweight. Recently, this has very much been my everyday trail shoe of choice and it performs exceptionally well across every terrain - on the hard-packed trails, paths and roads.
Based on appearance, this new PARKCLAW model looks like a sibling of the TRAILFLY Ultra G 300 Max. The midsole structure is almost identical in terms of design, with the distinctive hexagonal pattern on the side of the shoe to indicate that this is a *Graphene shoe. The G-FLY foam midsole, combined with a raised 8mm drop is designed to give you 25% more energy return for a fast-feel stride enhanced with cushioning and comfort - this is certainly how it feels when you run.
Both shoes also use the BOOMERANG footbed, which features hundreds of expanded TPU beads that compress and spring back for 40% more energy return and greater cushioning than standard footbeds. It is designed to retain its 6mm thickness and give you optimum performance for longer, and wicks away moisture. You only need to remove this footbed and give it a squeeze to see how super-springy it feels - it really does make a big difference underfoot. Despite modelling a similar look, the two shoes feel very different to wear, which is also surprising given that there is only 20g difference in weight. The PARKCLAW feels like a much lighter shoe, far more than the weight comparison suggests and I would certainly feel comfortable training and racing in this shoe. I also think it feels more cushioned, or should I say the cushioning feels softer and slightly more squidgy (which is exactly the type of cushioning I like in my life!).
*Graphene – the world’s strongest material – in the rubber outsole and foam midsole, this shoe delivers outstanding performance and enhanced durability, with zero compromise.
In terms of fit and feel, this shoe is very comparable to the TRAILFLY, for which I wear a size UK10.5. I’m usually a size UK10 in X-Talon racing shoes, so if you’re in-between half sizes, I’d suggest going for the more generous option with the PARKCLAW.
The good news is that this shoe is rated 4 on the *inov-8 fit scale and has a slightly wider toe box which I know will delight many people reading this.
*The inov-8 fit-scale runs from 1-5 (1 is precision fit for runners with thin feet and 5 is the widest fit). This fit scale is really helpful when choosing an inov-8 shoe as there is a wide range of products to choose from, many of which can be eliminated from your list straight away, so you can just focus on the shoes which match your foot width.
The G-GRIP rubber outsole boasts 98 cleats per shoe, all 4mm in length, that serve up both a claw-like trail grip and a smooth on-road ride. Having tested this shoe on a wide-range of off-road terrain, I’ve been really impressed by the grip. Aside from wet and sloppy winter conditions, you could wear this shoe on almost every type of trail surface and it would perform well. This is one of the many reasons why it’s such an outstanding shoe and one that will appeal to such a wide range of runners, from beginner to elite and from road to trail.
The PARKCLAW G 280 in summary;
- The ultimate all year round road-to-trail running shoe.
- Ideal for beginners and those just starting out on the trail.
- Perfect for all types of off-road terrain.
- Excellent grip with multi-directional 4mm lugs and improved pattern.
- A wide-fit (4 on the fit scale), roomy toe-box and small in length.
- Perfect for training and light enough for racing (280g).
- Super-comfortable, durable, protective and cushioned.
Related posts: REVIEW: INOV-8 TRAILFLY ULTRA G 300 MAX TRAIL RUNNING SHOES