First run review: Inov-8 PARKCLAW G 280


Inov-8 sent us a pair of their brand new PARKCLAW G 280 shoes to test. They describe them as the “ultimate road to trail shoe”. Our first impressions are “They do exactly what they say on the tin!”

Fresh out of the box

The press release blurb

Here’s what Inov-8 have to say about the new PARKCLAW G 280:

Pioneering sports brand Inov-8 is launching its first road-to-trail running shoe featuring Graphene, the world’s strongest material. The new PARKCLAW G 280 is designed to give runners more confidence to turn off the road and discover the joys of trails.

By infusing Graphene into both the rubber outsole and foam cushioned midsole, Inov-8 say the PARKCLAW G 280 delivers longer-lasting performance benefits for the runner in the form of tougher grip and greater bounce.

Inov-8 founder Wayne Edy said:

This shoe is all about giving runners adventure from their door, allowing them to turn off the road, escape the grey, and unearth their inner wild side. We hope the PARKCLAW G 280 gives people more confidence to run to the trails, and then enjoy the incredible highs that trail running brings.

Discovered in 2004 by scientists from The University of Manchester who later won the Nobel Prize in Physics, Graphene is the toughest – yet also the thinnest – material in the world. It is used in the G-GRIP rubber outsole and G-FLY foam cushioned midsole of the new PARKCLAW G 280.

The G-GRIP outsole boasts 98 rubber cleats per shoe – all 4mm in length – that serve up both a claw-like trail grip and a smooth on-road ride.

Above that, the G-FLY foam midsole – combined with a raised 8mm drop – propels 25% more energy return for a fast-feel stride enhanced with cushioning and comfort.

In both cases, the Graphene imparts its unbeatable strength to ensure the rubber and foam retain their incredible powers for longer, thus prolonging the life of the shoes.

A light and breathable, yet durably engineered, mesh upper further enhances all-round comfort, while the super-springy BOOMERANG footbed delivers yet more bounce.

Inov-8 has had PARKCLAW shoes in its range since 2016. However, this new model is completely different, with new outsole, midsole and upper designs in a package that weighs just 280g.

More details available at

Yellow shoes and orange socks: Yes or no?

What do we think?

After one run in them (4 miles easy, a mix of pavement and grass, plus road strides to finish), it seems Inov-8 may be justified in describing them as “the ultimate road to trail shoe”.

This is as ‘technical’ as the terrain got on my test run

My initial thoughts are:

  • The lugs are the right depth to give grip on soft surfaces, but not so big as to cause problems on the road;
  • The midsole has a good balance between cushioning, and a direct feel to give confidence on sketchy terrain;
  • They’re spot on for the kind of running lots of us would like to do: A bit of everything, all in one run;
  • At around 345g per shoe for a size 11.5, they’re heavier than I would personally choose for a race, or faster tempo shoe. That said, they’re far from heavy, and the weight is pretty good for a ‘regular mileage’ shoe. They’re certainly lighter than a lot of dedicated trail shoes. 
346g for a size 11.5

In the long run

These are just our first impressions of the Inov-8 PARKCLAW G 280 shoes. Though they look promising, it’s hard to tell too much after less than five miles. We’ll continue to wear them, get a few more miles in, and then report back with a full review in the future. Watch this space!

Save 15% with Goat Codes

Remember, Lonely Goats can get 15% off Inov-8 products with Goat Codes. Head to the Goat Codes section on the website to get your discount code: LINK

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