Summary

We spent 8.2 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

6 reasons to buy

  • The Synthetic Mesh upper is lightweight and soft to the skin.
  • The inclusion of a toe cap enables some protection for the forefoot from debris.
  • Many runners appreciated the Injected EVA mid-sole with a 3mm foot bed for added cushioning and comfort.
  • The Met-Cradle synthetic webbed forefoot secures the foot and keeps it in the shoe based on a handful of comments.
  • A sticky rubber outsole makes the Mudclaw 265 more capable when it comes to gripping the various surfaces of the trail as noted by a few runners.
  • It’s one of the more lightweight Mudclaw models on the market.

3 reasons not to buy

  • Some runners thought that the forefoot area was still a bit wide despite the forefoot securing mechanics.
  • The testers noticed that it was one size smaller than the usual.
  • It has an expensive price.

Bottom line

The Mudclaw 265 from Inov-8 is a reliable trail shoe for everyone who wants responsiveness and durable performance when tackling the off-road paths. It’s a neutral shoe that offers mild securing mechanics and moderate amounts of cushioning for a better ride.

Facts

Expert Reviews

71 / 100 based on 6 expert reviews

  • 70 / 100 | Outdoor Kinetics | Level 3 expert

    I’d say that the new upper is marginally less comfortable than the old version for long runs but it does what it’s supposed to do in that it’s tough, it has even better water resistance and drains well.

  • 92 / 100 | Outdoor Kinetics | | Level 2 expert

    To be honest, I’ve found it really tough to find anything I dont’ like about the Mudclaw 265.

  • 88 / 100 | Outdoors Magic | Level 2 expert

    For typical Dark Peak trails and battling the Kinder hags and groughs, I reckon they’re probably the ideal shoe for both racing and training. I’ve also put them through their paces in the Lakes and North Wales, where they also shone. I’d strongly recommend them for off-road purists but, if you tend to include road or hard-pack regularly on your routes, you might want to opt for something a bit less aggressive.

  • 23 / 100 | Caveman Clarke | Level 2 expert

    Maybe with different shaped feet or very thick socks this may not be a problem, but for me, these shoes left my feet feeling constricted, crushed and blistered.

  • 85 / 100 | Another Runner | | Level 1 expert

    They're like that first pair of snow boots you received as a kid, when you ran outside and stomped on everything and felt invincible.

  • 84 / 100 | Outdoors Magic | | Level 1 expert

    I’d strongly recommend them for off-road purists but, if you tend to include road or hard-pack regularly on your routes, you might want to opt for something a bit less aggressive.

Become an expert
  • Tough and wet terrains are no match for the Inov-8 Mudclaw 265. This minimal trail running shoe uses a low-profile design to give the wearer a more natural feeling when in it, while an aggressive outsole construction makes sure to provide the right amount of grip on different types of surfaces.
  • The upper of this running shoe brings durable and comfortable coverage. It features some of the most efficient components and fabrics in order to make sure that the foot stays snug and secure while inside the shoe. The unit itself isn’t weighty, and it allows the natural movement of the foot.
  • A minimal mid-sole unit truly captures the minimalist performance needs of runners who specifically desire this style of running. The platform itself is still comfortable because the foam used here is of high quality. Cushioning is still very much palpable, and a 3mm foot bed adds more to that underfoot comfort.
  • The outsole unit of the Inov-8 Mudclaw 265 uses a trail-specific design to fully provide protection for the rest of this running shoe when it comes to the abrasive nature of the outdoor terrain. Gripping lugs pockmark this external layer, efficiently delivering multi-surface traction.

The Inov-8 Mudclaw 265 is true to its size. The men and women’s versions follow the regular measurements for its length. The medium width accommodates the runner who has a medium sized foot. The semi-curved shape of this running shoe allows the natural shape of the foot to acclimate well to it when wearing it.


The outsole unit of this running shoe uses a sticky rubber material that is very durable and very reliable when it comes to protecting the shoe from any damaged caused by debris or surface condition. Its shielding capability is top-notch because it has been optimized to last long. The sticky rubber material is also used in some popular Inov-8 running shoes like the Inov-8 Trail Talon 290 and Inov-8 X-Talon 230.

Gripping lugs are placed all over the outsole. These nodes are the ones responsible for holding onto the surfaces with ease. They are 8mm in height for the Inov-8 Mudclaw 265. They deliver sure and dependable traction over many types of surfaces.


The mid-sole unit uses an Injected Ethylene vinyl acetate material for a lightweight, comfortable and resilient underfoot experience. It doesn’t wear off easily, so it stays efficient even after many uses. It also offers memory retention so the runner constantly feels a platform that’s tuned to their specific needs.

The 1 Arrow Shoc-Zone™ offers additional minimal underfoot cushioning. A minimalist feel is greatly achieved because of its 3mm drop from the heel to the toe.


The upper unit of the Inov-8 Mudclaw 265 uses synthetic mesh, which is a soft yet durable material that covers the foot comfortably and securely. It permits the natural movement of the foot, so the running gait stays enabled.

A Toe Cap protects the forefoot section of the foot from any injury or discomfort brought about by the trails or debris.

The Met-Cradle™ is a webbing that’s made from synthetic materials. It supports the forefoot area and delivers a secure fit that’s comfortable and tuned to the needs of the wearer.

A 3mm Food Bed is added to improve the underfoot cushioning. It’s a helpful layer, especially since the Inov-8 Mudclaw 265 is a minimalist shoe that’s created to tackle unpredictable terrain. Additional underfoot comfort is welcome.

Author
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.

jens@runrepeat.com