Sunday, 8 January 2012

Mudclaw 333 Review

Ok, so I have quite a few pairs of inov8 shoes. I've never had a pair of mudclaws before, never really needed them. Living in London, you get the occasional bit of mud, and running in a number of places, roclites or mudrocs tended to be fine, no matter what you were running on. Ok, you might get the odd bit of ground where you might slide a little, but nothing serious.

Since living in the Peak district and running a lot on peat bogs and around the moors, I have used the Baregrips, which have been great, but when running on stoney and lumpy, rocky ground, they just don't work for my feet. Its too painful and I lose all semblence of pace and running ability. (I've always been like that on stoney ground... pebbly beaches were my nemesis as a child). (and seaweed, but thats another story).
As winter came, and wetter weather, the moors have become a bit more boggy and a lot more wet, and hence, they have become a lot more slippy. Perfect for Baregrips, but when you don't spend the entire run on terrain like that, you need something that is going to work well on bog, and also not be agonising on stone. I have put off getting a pair of Mudclaws for a long time, but after a run where I fell over a good 5 or 6 times within 20 minutes, I figured that it was probably a good idea to get a pair, see what they were like, and save myself the agony of continual pitching over in the mud and down drain holes.

Brand spangly new
The 333s have a 2 arrow sole, so slightly less sole difference than the roclites, and quite a bit more than the Baregrips, the grip on the bottom is quite extreme with huge studs in a very aggressive pattern. Its the kind of thing that would take your face off if you got hit around the head with it. Just what you need for slippy slidey mud. The idea was to have a pair of shoes that quite simply does not slip under any but the most ridiculous circumstances, and provides some protection from rocky ground as you pound down a hill at the end of a race/ run.

The sizing of the 333s is much the same as old school Mudrocs, and the current Baregrips. For me the 7 is just a fraction too long, and the 6.5 is certainly too short. I opted for the 7s as I'm going to be running over winter, larger sizes in which I can fit another pair of socks was going to be a pretty good idea. On the first run out, they were fine. No blisters, no issues, nothing.
Comfortable as you would hope a pair of shoes to be.
Having used the Baregrips, I knew what I expected on the levels of grip, and across mud, bog, peat, grass, steep hillside etc, I was not disappointed. They grip onto all these things as if you have nailed your feet to the ground. No problems in the slightest. I have to say that I have slipped in mud a few times, but not necessarily slipped over, on those occasions, I think it would be fair to say the only way you could have not slipped would be to be wearing nailed boots. (A small point, but don't expect to go out and NOT slip over, or slide a bit on really deep mud, if you don't want to slip over, don't run in the mud)

The only thing they do not grip to in any way shape or form is wet rock.
This is fine if you are tentatively clambering across a large amount of it, simply because you know you can't grip to anything. Don't stand on the top of rocks, you'll slip off, don't trust your feet unless you have them wedged into a crack, or at the lowest point of the rock where they cannot slip off. However, when descending a welsh hillside at a relatively decent speed, and you put a foot on a previously hidden bit of rock as opposed to the grass all around it, a rather good impression of a flailing idiot is needed to prevent you from losing all balance and dignity.
Pressure points after a couple of runs
Good grip to a point, but not on all surfaces which you are likely to come across in a run/race.

Having done a good couple of hundred miles in these now, I can happily say that I haven't had any blister issues, or crazy painful points in them. Not even the blood blisters on the medial side of the 1st metatarsal head that that I got from the Baregrips has appeared. Actually, tell a lie, after I did about 3 days in a row of a fair distance of running, I did have a couple of hot spots around the big toe on my left foot. Apart from that, however, they seem pretty ridiculously comfortable for short and long runs, and the pressure points have not returned, or developed into blisters.

I do have a minor issue with the length of the sole, and I realise this is quite a personal thing - but is worth mentioning. When running in heather and long grass, the extra little bit on the end of the shoes that I am not used to having- the 7's are ever-so-slightly too long for me, I keep catching the ends on the undergrowth, and have taken a fair few spills because of it. (not just in these, but also in the Baregrips). The Roclites are fine (I wear the womens model in a 7- which is a perfect size), but the last on these just seems to be a bit long for me, and it takes just that extra bit of brain processing and muscular effort to enable me to remember where my shoe ends, as opposed to my toe. If the shoe was made with a womens specific last- where the 7 is just that mite smaller than the mens 7, it would be perfect.

The uppers are not showing any signs of wear- unlike the Baregrips- I bought the 333's specifically because they seemed a lot more robust than the 272's, and that decision seems to have been vindicated so far. The 2 arrow sole, with the extra grip underneath seems to give me adequate protection from stones etc on mixed paths, though I try not to run on them too much, considering the grip on the bottom, I'd rather not wear it down too much with excessive path running. None of the studs have come off (yet) I head this was a common complaint with previous models of Mudclaws. Also, my heels are in good shape, they have not been ripped to shreds as the old white ones used to do to Robs heels...
I will be using these shoes quite a lot over the next few months, along with the Baregrips, though where the Baregrips will mostly be an on-the-moors training shoe, the Mudclaws will be a racing shoe, until the weather turns nicer and I can go back to the Roclites for the Spring/summer.

Not quite as new, but still pretty clean
A great shoe for complete confidence on wet, muddy ground. Even hiking boots feel like ice skates after wearing them. However, a nightmare for wet and icey stone.
Comfortable, seemingly robust and a good choice for winter on the moors and mountains.

1 comment:

  1. Those carneddau rocks are more slippery than a very slippery thing, covered in very slippery stuff.