User Review: Inov-8 Mudroc 290
Materials: mesh, synthetic panels
Use: Technical trail running on 'soft' trails
Break-in Period: 1 decent run
Weight: 0.29 kg
Price Paid: £65
This shoe comes in the category of 'fell shoe' really, which I realise is not so familiar to people from the US. Fells are rough, often muddy UK hills; fell runners are often not on well groomed paths, and although the hills are small, the inclines are steep and the weather can be shocking!
These shoes are a lightweight model with a fairly thin midsole and a deep, studded tread. They look really narrow, but in fact it's just the soles that are: most running shoes have a flared profile to the sole (to spread shock), but a narrow sole adds stability. Because they're meant for 'soft' underfoot conditions, the lack of cushioning isn't a problem and the narrow sole is a boon.
They inspire great confidence because of their stability and grip. The uppers are not waterproof, but drain well and dry quickly. They also grip my foot very well, making standard running shoes feel really sloppy. The difference between these and 'normal' trail shoes on steep, wet ground is almost as great as that between a mountain bike and a road bike! I love them.
They do have a heel cup which doesn't suit all feet. Inov8 recommend holding the inside of the heel over a boiling pan of water for about a minute, then putting them on and lacing them tight while they're still warm: this will mold the heel.
If you've not seen shoes like this before, you won't even think they're running shoes; they look so different, but if you like running in tricky terrain (steep, soft, sometimes muddy), with not too many road sections, they're fantastic.