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Trail Running Shoes • February 15, 2024

Inov-8 Mudtalon Speed Review: Talon-t Show

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What You Need To Know


9.1 oz. (260 g) average weight across all sizes

Stack Height / Drop

26 mm in heel, 22 mm in forefoot (4 mm drop, midsole only)

Best For

Tackling muddy terrain with the biggest claws you’ve ever seen

Key Features

Wide or Precision foot-shapes, StickyGrip outsole with 8 mm lugs, PowerFlow Pro midsole, Meta-Shank rock plate

On The Run
Excellent grip Sheds mud and water quickly Not a good bet if you want a plush ride

$140 (£130 in the UK)

Introduction to the Inov-8 Mudtalon Speed

JOHN: When it comes to grip on trail shoes, most companies offer decent coverage, but only a few pride themselves on going above and beyond. Inov-8 is one of them. Over the years, I’ve had my ass kicked in extremely wet ultras, with the 2021 Barkley Fall Classic landing among the worse. It was a race that actually made me seek out grippier shoes because of several parts of the course where I just couldn’t find my footing at all. I slipped and slid all over the place, and it was terrifying.

That experience led me to Inov-8 purely for the purpose of testing them out, but I really became a fan of VJ’s offerings because I’d never seen anything like them. The VJ MAXx remains a firm favorite to this day.

Now, enter the Inov-8 Mudtalon Speed with its beastly 8 mm lugs. I have to say they’re the most aggressive I’ve ever seen. The lugs are long enough that this looks like a soccer shoe, but how does it work out there on the trail? I took it to the Wild Oak 100 to find out.

MELISSA: A low-weight, low-drop, low-stack shoe made for flying over soft trails and mud — I absolutely love the idea. Inov-8’s Mudtalon Speed arrived at my door at the perfect time, just days before SoCal was hit with record-setting rainfall. I waited patiently for the rain to hit and make my local trails nice and muddy before heading out for my first test run, and I’m glad I did. To say that I had fun is putting it extremely mildly.

John and I were both at the Barkley Fall Classic in 2021, and I can confirm that a shoe like this would’ve been a game-changer that day. I recently tested a similar shoe, the Saucony Peregrine 13 ST, which is what first opened my eyes to the concept of a shoe designed for wet conditions. Now that I have an idea of what to expect, there are several things that I would look for in a rainy-day shoe: great drainage, comfortable, secure fit, and fantastic grip.

Overall, the Inov-8 Mudtalon Speed checks pretty much all of the boxes, so let’s get into the finer points.

What we like about the Inov-8 Mudtalon Speed

JOHN: The Mudtalon Speed utilizes Inov-8’s Precision footshape and tries to offer a tailored fit so you don’t slide around. The fit isn’t necessarily narrow, but I was still worried about how it was constructed when first looking at the shoe. My foot isn’t wide, but I can see someone with even a slightly wider foot needing to size up or swap to the Wide footshape (fortunately, this shoe does come in wide). Inov-8’s PF Pro midsole is also not exactly soft but still provides the support to keep you comfortable.

Between the hyper-aggressive lugs, rock plate, and the PF Pro midsole, you get grip, incredible protection, and confidence on the trails. This is also an incredibly light shoe, given how protective, comfortable, and grippy it is. Inov-8 deserves a lot of credit for keeping the shoe so light. I also love how well this shoe drains water. It’s breathable, keeps debris out, and dries very quickly after emerging from water crossings and wet conditions.

Now, for my testing experience. The Wild Oak 100 is made up of four loops, each around 27 miles with a total of 8,000 feet of elevation gain, so lots of ups and downs. I used the Mudtalon Speed for one loop with extremely steep and rocky climbs and plunges, and everything was fine without blistering, pain, or any real complaints.

Count that for 28 miles of rocks, roots, wet conditions, uphills, and downhills without a single flinch. The shoe is for sure durable and hardly showed any wear. This rugged runner will keep you upright and stable in just about any condition, so if there’s a trail out there too much for this shoe, I want to see it. The fit also worked well for me, with no slippage or toe jamming (despite constantly going up and downhill).

The $140 price tag is just awesome, and you get a hell of a shoe. I feel like you can use it for 100 milers like I did, but also on shorter distances too. Also, not only on rocky terrain but also mud, snow, and dirt. It’s really an amazing shoe, I’m kind of obsessed.

MELISSA: Right off the bat, I could feel how lightweight and springy the Mudtalon Speed is. It is, without a doubt, built for speed. The upper is a lightweight ripstop material that keeps debris out while allowing water to drain easily, which makes this shoe really easy to clean after a muddy jaunt. I also happen to love the overall design and see-through material of the upper.

The PowerFlow Pro midsole gives the shoe a nice, responsive feel. It has a rock plate that keeps you comfortable on the occasional hard surface, but the outsole of this shoe is the real star. The 8 mm lugs and Stickygrip rubber are unmatched. I’d never seen lugs this size before, so I was skeptical and thought they might be too much. Oh, was I wrong. The result is a shoe that grips everything well — mud, rocks, wet fallen trees, you name it.

Finally, the Mudtalon Speed comes in two footshapes, Precision and Wide, with the former offering a new, modified shape that hugs your foot more closely.

Shop Inov-8 Mudtalon Speed - Men Shop Inov-8 Mudtalon Speed - Women

What we don’t like about the Inov-8 Mudtalon Speed

JOHN: The sizing is the trickiest part of the Mudtalon Speed. Even if the shoe does fit, you may question it at first because it’s got a different feeling than you might be used to from Inov-8. It worked perfectly for me in my regular US M11.5 but I’d be mindful when purchasing this shoe (and Inov-8 does offer a wide option).

If you need a plush mountain cruiser, this might not be your best bet. It skews minimal when it comes to comfort, which is great for those who want a mix of weight and toughness but not so good if you want a soft ride.

MELISSA: I agree with John that sizing is an issue with the Mudtalon Speed. I would definitely recommend going up at least a half-size or opting for the Wide fit, or perhaps both. This shoe is really snug in the forefoot, and my toes are right up against the end of the toe box.

I also think that the amount of cushioning in the tongue is a bit of an overkill. It both looks and feels bulky and although I’m a huge fan of old-school/traditional laces, this shoe could benefit from a quick lace system that weighs less and sheds mud or water better than traditional laces.

I previously mentioned that this is a fast shoe. However, I’m not sure that I’d make this my shoe of choice for longer runs and races. I would prefer a bit more cushioning in the midsole.

Finally, I’ll share that the backs of my heels and Achilles were rubbed raw in this one. I can’t quite figure out if it’s a loose heel box, I’m wearing a size too small, the stiffness and lack of cushioning in the heel counter, the wet conditions, or a combination of these.

Shop Inov-8 Mudtalon Speed - Men Shop Inov-8 Mudtalon Speed - Women

Final thoughts on the Inov-8 Mudtalon Speed

JOHN: This is a tough shoe that’s just itching to tackle gnarly conditions straight out of the box. If you need grip and protection over comfort and sizing, this shoe is for you. The fit is tricky, and if you are used to pillow-like comfort out of the box, use it at your own risk, but if you need a shoe that will help you survive hellacious conditions, functionality-wise, this shoe kicks some serious ass. It did very well on the Wild Oak Trail, and I’ll definitely keep this shoe in my car at all times to be ready for impromptu trips to Massanutten, Wild Oak, the Catskills, or any other hard trails here on the East Coast.

MELISSA: Despite some minor fit issues, the Mudtalon Speed is a great shoe to add to the rotation in case of rain, mud, snow, or slush. The $140 price tag makes the idea of keeping this around for the next rainy day less daunting. Inov-8’s Mudtalon Speed is lightweight and has the potential to be fast and fun.

You can pick up the Inov-8 Mudtalon Speed for $140 (£130 in the UK) from Inov-8 using the buttons below.

Shop Inov-8 Mudtalon Speed - Men Shop Inov-8 Mudtalon Speed - Women

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photo of man in yellow shirt
John Calabrese
Habitual Ultrarunner
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An obsessed runner, John has run in most ultra races in the Mid-Atlantic area. Since he’s an ultra runner, it’s no surprise he’s also a lover of food. He’s also a dedicated father, caregiver, and veteran.

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Fav. Distance


  • 23:25:23

    100 Mile
  • 9:13:41

    50 Mile
  • 4:23:38

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Melissa Guillen
West Coast Trail Reviewer
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East Coast raised and West Coast trained, Melissa truly enjoys running, especially ultra distances. She currently lives on the Southern California coast and can be found exploring Santa Barbara front country on the weekends.

All-time favorite shoes: HOKA Clifton, Nike Vaporfly NEXT %, Altra Lone Peak

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100 Miles

  • 20:28

    100 Mile
  • 8:51

    50 Mile
  • 4:58

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