The 5 best Inov-8 running shoes 2021 - Trail shoes for any kind of terrain

The 5 best Inov-8 running shoes 2021 - Trail shoes for any kind of terrain

Se Laura Nijhuis' profil
 By Laura Nijhuis


Inov-8’s trail shoes are renowned for their exceptionally good grip with the surface, which is mainly due to Inov-8’s use of the miracle material graphene in the creation of their soles. In this article, you will learn more about how the Inov-8 running shoes distinguish themselves from the masses, and you can find the Inov-8 trail shoe that best fits your needs.


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Inov-8 make special running shoes for trail running, orienteering, OCR, and much more. Their philosophy in developing running shoes is to focus on the weight, the functionality, and the natural movements of running. What makes Inov-8 different from other brands is how Inov-8 categorises its shoes according to the width and weight. The name of the shoes is typically followed by a G and a number, which respectively indicates that there is graphene in the outsole and the weight of the shoe.

This makes it incredibly easy and manageable to find the pair, or pairs, of shoes that fit your needs. This way, the shoes by Inov-8 are also encompassing a bigger crowd of runners.


See our selection of Inov-8 here


The most revolutionising feature of the Inov-8 running shoes is, however, without a doubt the graphene in the outsole!



Previously, when you were buying running shoes, the options were between a sticky rubber sole, which worked great for the wet weather conditions but less durable, or the hardened rubber sole, which was more durable but provided less grip with the surface.

Since then, there are now many options to pick and combine the best from both worlds, but no one has managed to do it quite like Inov-8 – at least not as thoroughly! In 2018, as the first brand ever, Inov-8 released a running shoe with a particular graphene blend in the outsole. The graphene is 200 times stronger than steel, and the Inov-8 running shoes are therefore able to proudly boast of having the world’s hardest grip!

It has even been scientifically proven that once the rubber is added to graphene it becomes 50% stronger, 50% more durable, and 50% more elastic, compared to regular rubber. This provides the best conditions for the otherwise challenging surroundings of trail running, OCR, and orienteering. In these environments, you will need a durable outsole that is capable of delivering a good grip with the often loose and muddy terrain. Anti-slip is crucial when it comes to terrain running, and for this reason, you should consider a trail shoe from Inov-8, if you want the best security on your runs in the terrain!




The running shoes by Inov-8 come in different widths to offer shoes to any kind of foot and foot shape. To make the navigation of the different shoes as user friendly as possible, Inov-8 categorises their running shoes on a scale from 1-5.

All of Inov-8’s shoes are designed with a so-called MET-CRADLE technology, which ensures the mid-foot is locked and stable inside the shoe. The shoes vary in width at the front in the area of the toe-box. The lower down the scale, the narrower the fit.

So, shoes with grade 1 are narrow around the toe-box, which keeps your toes locked and in place. It may be worth picking this model and fit if you want to pick up the pace for interval training or race-days, or if you are running in muddy and technically challenging terrain.

Shoes with grade 5 are great for runners with wide feet. A wider running shoe is perfect for long-distance runs, ultra runs, and trekking where you need a bit of extra rooms to allow your toes to swell after some time on-the-run. The Inov-8’s running shoes with a grade of 5 can – in broad terms – be compared to the 2E models.





Inov-8 TerraUltra G 270

The best all-round trail shoe / The best running shoe for ultra running


Inov-8 TerraUltra G 270


The TerraUltra G 270 is the Inov-8 trail shoe with the best shock-absorption. This makes the shoe ideal for long-distance runs and ultra running. The ultra runner Damian Hall even set a world record in a pair of Inov-8 TerraUltra G 270 – this indicates a shoe with premium comfort and performance. With its 4 mm lugs on the outsole, the Inov-8 TerraUltra G 270 is a really good all-round trail shoe suitable for almost any type of terrain. At the same time, the TerraUltra G 270 is one of the Inov-8 shoes with the hardest toe-box. For these reasons, this trail shoe is great for the runner with wide feet who runs trail on different terrain and different distances.

Bonus info: In 2020, the TerraUltra G 270 was awarded the running shoe of the year by Runner’s World and lots of other media outlets covering running.


Width (1-5): 5

Lug depth: 4 mm

Drop: 0

Weight: 270 g.

Favourite surface: Hard and rocky


Buy the TerraUltra G 270 here



Inov-8 Mudclaw G 260 V2

– Best for the soft surface (short distance)


Inov-8 Mudclaw G 260 V2


This model is brilliant for the muddy, wet, and soft terrain model. The deep 8 mm lugs will efficiently dig through the terrain, and the Inov-8 Mudclaw G 260 V2 are therefore ideal for off-road runs and extreme running. Due to the technically challenging terrain of a muddy and soft surface, Inov-8 has designed the Mudclaw G 260 V2 with a narrow fit to ensure optimal control and stability when you are running.

The Mudclaw G 260 V2 also has the most aggressive grip we have ever seen in any running shoe before!


Width: 1

Lug depth: 8 mm

Drop: 4 mm

Weight: 260 g.

Favourite surface: Soft and muddy, Loose


Buy the Mudclaw G 260 V2 here



Inov-8 Mudclaw 300

- Best for the soft surface (long-distance)


Inov-8 Mudclaw 300


The Inov-8 Mudclaw 300 ranks high on both comfort and the responsiveness of the sole. It is a trail shoe that shares many commonalities with the Mudclaw G 260 V2 – however, the difference is that the Mudclaw 300 does not have Graphene-Grip in the outsole. On the other hand, you do get more comfort under your feet. It is fair to say that the Mudclaw G 260 V2 is great for the muddiest and most technically challenging terrain, while the Mudclaw 300 is better for the less challenging surface and less aggressive in terms of comfort. The Inov-8 Mudclaw 300 delivers a better shock-absorption on long-distance runs, compared to the Mudclaw G 260 V2


Width: 2

Lug depth: 8 mm

Drop: 6 mm

Weight: 300 g.

Favourite surface: Soft and muddy, Loose


Buy the Mudclaw 300 here



Inov-8 X-Talon G 235

- Best lightweight shoe with Graphene-Grip


Inov-8 X-Talon G 235


With its relatively low weight of just 235 grams, the Inov-8 X-Talon G 235 are great for race-days.  Compared to other models like the TerraUltra G 270 and the Mudclaw 300, there is less shock-absorption but a lot of responsiveness. The Inov-8 X-Talon G 235 will provide you with a reliable toe-off, so you are quickly and efficiently ready to take the next step. The X-Talon G 235 are not the narrowest pair of Inov-8 trail shoes, but it is still a relatively narrow shoe.


Width: 2

Lug depth: 8 mm

Drop: 6 mm

Weight: 235 g.

Favourite surface: Soft and muddy, Loose, Rocky


Buy the X-Talon G 235 here




Inov-8 X-Talon 212 V2

- Best for OCR running


Inov-8 X-Talon 212 V2


The X-Talon 212 V2 is the lightest of the Inov-8 trail shoes. With its lightweight and narrow fit, the shoe is perfect for quickly navigating through your OCR run and other competitions that require precision. The deep lugs make the Inov-8 X-talon 212 V2 ideal for soft and muddy terrain. Nevertheless, the lugs are also perfectly capable of being used on rocky terrains. The X-Talon 212 V2 do not have Graphene-Grip in the outsole, which is not a disadvantage. The X-Talon 212 V2 are designed with a focus on minimum weight and maximum speed, and it is not a type of shoe that requires the same level of durability as other Inov-8 long-distance trail shoes.


Width: 1

Lug depth: 8 mm

Drop: 6 mm

Weight: 212 g.

Favourite surface: Soft and muddy, Loose, Rocky


Buy the X-Talon 212 V2 here




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