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INOV8 Mudtalon Speed Review

28 March 2024
INOV8 Mudtalon Speed Review

The INOV8 Mudtalon Speed features a new shape that hugs the natural contours of your foot. They lock in at the heel and widen at the toes. A new tough wraparound ripstop material shields the feet from debris while letting them flex and breathe. The new design also features more cushioning, improved grip and greater protection for your feet.

We gave the INOV8 Mudtalons to a few of our staff members to test out and share their thoughts.

Initial thoughts

Hannah -  An interesting new look for INOV8. A very pleasing aesthetic! They look much more durable than previous shoes, even down to the pebbled nature of the insole.

Eadaoin -  Overall, a really interesting new shoe from INOV8. I think it will be more durable than other models. They feel brilliant on wet boggy ground and the anatomical shape gives them a secure feel. I'd recommend them for anyone running on wet boggy pathless terrain.

I've only tested them on one run so far. I'm keen to get out in them again and they've also motivated me to sign up for the Saunders Mountain Marathon.

The shape looked great. You can see that the toe box is larger than some other shoes. The feeling once I first put them on was really positive. The first look at the sole was intriguing as it's super aggressive while still having decent cushioning.

Kiefer -  The fit has been completely overhauled for the new Mudtalon Speed. I have been using the last wide variant which has a lovely freedom to the forefoot, without being excessively baggy. The major differences I've noted has been the neater heelcup with the lowered cut. This provides brilliant freedom of movement with no loss of lockdown. The broader forefoot gives great freedom to the toes but still allows for good response through multidirectional movement. For a forefoot dominant style of running this gives a really nimble sensation. 

Ben -  As a trail runner, most of my experience on the hill has been running longer distances over a mixture of soft and hard paths. INOV8’s Trailfly 270 and Roclite 275 models have been excellent choices for the majority of my routes in the Peak District and Snowdonia. Having used a variety of models from INOV8, I appreciate how they continue to develop lightweight trail shoes that don’t compromise comfort or performance. Using a specialised soft-ground racing shoe is something I haven't had much experience using. I was very interested to see how the new Mudtalon Speed would perform in a muddy environment. I decided to take them for a test in the West Pennine Moors, around White Coppice. This was to compare how they perform on routes I am familiar with but also to get a feel of how they perform as a speedy fell running shoe on a long-distance run (~20 km).

As soon as I put the shoes on I noticed that this model is considerably narrower than previous models (e.g. X-Talon Ultra). This is because INOV8 has two different shaped models of the Mudtalon Speed: Precision and wide. The model I used is the precision fit. This version of the Mudtalon Speed is a great fit for my narrow feet.

Foot protection

Hannah - 8/10 The toe guard, rock plate and outer all feel like a great midway between protective but lightweight. I know their speciality is mud but next, I'd like to try them on rockier ground and see how that feels for my feet.

Eadaoin - 7/10 They feel structured enough around the toes for adequate protection during my test.

Kiefer - 9/10 in class but 5/10 overall  This Shoe is designed for a very specific type of terrain, so judging protection is relative. Compared to a highly stacked road shoe or a firm terrain shoe with a stiffer rock plate this shoe lacks protection and is very minimal. But compared to mud and fell shoes this has a lovely balance to it. Cushioned enough for the odd firmer terrain, stable enough banding through the midfoot to provide lateral and medial support, and the rockplate has saved my foot from some hidden gems underfoot multiple times.

Ben - 7/10 Materials and cushioning are important for foot protection but equally as important is ensuring the fit is right. Thankfully the fit of the Mudtalon prevented my feet from moving and bashing the front of the shoe, a problem I am all too familiar with in other trail shoes. Finding the right fit for this model will be vital for ensuring your feet are protected over the run. The cushioning and structure of the shoe felt protective, and after the run, my feet were in good health. 


Hannah - 9/10 I put them to the test on tracked wet snow and ice, deep wet snow over unfrozen bog, on a range of steepness slopes, slippery clean rocks and a short bit of tarmac at the end. They felt grippy across all of these surfaces but I am yet to try them on wet grass/mud. I did wonder whether they might ball up with the wet snow but they shedded the snow in the same way they shed mud.

Eadaoin - 10/10 Really impressive traction. It will be interesting to see how they last over time.

Kiefer - 10/10 Tremendous. They are remarkably grippy so far (used on snow, frozen winter trails, mud, and rocky terrain). The lug layout is fantastic for acceleration. They shed mud very easily. Braking is effortless with the depth and tread positioning. Due to the softer rubber being highly tacky it sticks on a wide variety of surfaces even if you don't get ground penetration. If you don't lift your feet enough I can see the depth being a tripping snag, but that hasn't been an issue for me. 

Ben - 9/10 My favourite thing about this model is how they consistently gave excellent traction and support running fast up very muddy inclines.


Hannah - 10/10 The snug fit around my foot, particularly my heel, gave me a great sense of trust in them. The stability in my running is not hampered in any way. Interested now in how the long lugs feel on more rocky terrain. 

Eadaoin - 7/10 The width and moderate stack height could reduce stability slightly. The heel is structured and goes up high which could be an issue for some people.

Kiefer - correction 2/10 midsole 6/10 overall 5/10 If your feet have underlying pronation or supination issues, this shoe won't correct your imbalances. As it is a neutral support shoe with a removable insole this can be remedied by insoles if desired. Once running this is a stable shoe in its ability to plant. The flared midsole increases your surface area and stabilises your foot to a flat plant if entering from an angle. I've mainly noticed this through natural banks and uneven terrain, but it's also noticeable when entering uneven terrain at speed. Very confidence inspiring in that regard. 

Ben - 7/10  For a racing shoe with light materials and structure, the stability is understandably quite minimal but still does a great job. I rarely found myself losing stability in my ankles. Personally, I would recommend using insoles to support your feet on longer runs, but this is a very personal modification specific to your needs.


Hannah - 8/10 They have an odd moment of creasing over the toes as you flex your foot which I thought would be annoying, but I forgot all about it once I'd set off. They also sit quite high against my Achilles which was completely fine out running this time, but something I'd keep an eye on for rubbing. I really liked the level of cushion, my feet where happy. I think I'm at the max width for the precision fit (I have average width feet). I'm keen to try the wide fit next to compare. Even thwelching them out of the sticky bog, coated in mud and snow they felt moulded and totally secure to my feet.

Eadaoin - 8/10 The shape of the shoe makes it very comfy and the cushioning feels good under foot.

Kiefer - 9/10 The grade of foam feels far softer than previous powerflow midsoles but the rebound is higher. It's a very plush and springy midsole. Combined with the boomerang insole it gives a great dampening on planting your foot and energy return when exiting a stride. That and I'm Aussie so anything called boomerang I'm sold on. 

With the comfort of the midsole and insole, the improved last shape and the incredible rubber used on the outsole this is easily the most comfortable INOV8 shoe I have used in the last 10 years. As a lightweight sensory shoe designed for mud and variable conditions, this is a truly fantastic option. It makes me excited to run in them and to see what the future holds for the rest of the INOV8 range.

Ben - 8/10  Before I even started running I noticed the surprising comfort and cushioning for such a lightweight, minimal race shoe. Throughout my run, they continued to feel comfortable.


Hannah - 10/10 Fab.

Eadaoin - 7/10 The uppers are super lightweight.

Kiefer - 10/10 Featherweight. You barely notice they are on making them feel really light on your feet. Even after going through a few streams and getting them thoroughly soaked they still feel light and not waterlogged which could easily be the case. 

Ben 10/10 I appreciate how INOV8 continue to develop lightweight trail shoes that don’t compromise comfort or performance.

Sensitivity/trail feel

Hannah - n/a I was running mainly on/in deep wet snow and bog so I don't feel I've tested them on technical terrain yet. They are very snug to my foot shape so I am hopeful that they'll feel good on nice mountain ridges too. They certainly felt good in the bog knowing my feet weren't moving around in them at all.

Eadaoin - 7/10 After using this shoe I would recommend it to a wider pool than I would have thought. The shoe dealt well with rocky terrain and the grip was impressive. I also wore it on runs with a little bit of road running either side and it was comfy. I would recommend this shoe particularly to runners in UK/Irish wet boggy hills. The other cohort would be anyone who suits the shape even if the tread is a bit more aggressive than needed.

Kiefer - 10/10  Tremendous. When reading the specs before I got them I was apprehensive about the rockplate as their inclusion often means a loss of sensitivity, but no such issues here. the midsole is softer and more pliable than any INOV8 shoe with a similar stack I have ever used. you can feel everything from the inconsistencies in the ground to the flex of the rubber lugs as they are initiating grip then toeing off.

Ben - 7/10 I was conscious of overusing these shoes on longer stretches of hard ground. They didn't feel bad running over patches of stone path but I could feel the impact and abrasion of the relatively soft 8mm lugs. As time goes on, I will be able to get a better impression of the durability of the sole. But as of now, I’d rather keep these on soft ground for as long as possible on my runs.

This shoe will be a favourite for fast-paced soft ground races. It also performed well in a fast long-distance fell run.


Hannah - 9/10 They feel a lot more durable than previous pairs of INOV8s. The Stickygrip lives up to its name.

Eadaoin - 8/10 The uppers are quite unusual but were super breathable. I didn’t get to test them out in super wet terrain and it will be interesting to see how durable they are over time.

Kiefer - 8/10 So far so good. At first the see-through ripstop fabric was off-putting as i wasn't sure how durable the thin transparent material would be. But it has been holding up brilliantly so far, so I really can't complain. The biggest thing for me to get over was being able to read 'smartwool' on my socks through the shoes.

Ben - 8/10 This shoe is specialised to excel on soft ground and its performance and durability will be heavily dependent on the terrain you use it on.

A great feature of the shoe is the high rate water is expelled and drained from the shoe during use. Cleaning and drying of the shoe after my run was also easier because of this.


Hannah - 9/10 Cute! The see-through sections are initially odd but I like the look. They'll look different with each pair of socks I have!

Eadaoin - 9/10 I quite like how they look. I like that they have a wide toe box while still narrow in the heels.

Kiefer - 7/10 It is a bold-looking shoe for sure. I think they look good in the forest and hills, but it is a bit loud for some. I like it, but my wife thinks they are terrible. quite like vegemite in that regard, it's very polarising. 

Ben - 7/10 Overall I like the new direction INOV8 is going with this new wave of shoe designs. The Mudtalon speed captures a very refreshing but familiar aesthetic. The new INOV8 shoes have a consistent minimal aesthetic. The Mudtalon speed design fits in with the new family of models whilst being recognisably distinct from its counterparts. I think the colour palette is quite simple but doesn't detract from the look. I’d personally love to see this done in other colours, like vibrant INOV8 green.

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