Inov-8 Mudtalon Speed Review

The Inov-8 Mudtalon Speed is a top option for mud runs and XC races because it delivers outstanding grip in a lightweight design

Inov-8 Mudtalon Speed running shoes on grass
(Image: © Nick Harris-Fry / Future)

Our Verdict

The Inov-8 Mudtalon Speed is one of the best trail-running shoes for soft ground, with its exceptional grip shining brightest on fast runs in the mud. It’s also comfortable for such a lightweight shoe and can handle short stints of running on hard ground. It’s not that versatile, though, so unless you’ll benefit from the speed it provides on soft ground there are better options.


  • Excellent grip on soft ground
  • Light design that drains well
  • Sheds mud well


  • Not that comfortable on hard ground
  • Other shoes are more versatile

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Inov-8 has a well-earned reputation for making some of the best trail-running shoes for soft ground. The impressive grip you get from its X-Talon and Mudclaw shoes makes them ideal for fell running, cross-country (XC) and mud runs.

So to say the Inov-8 Mudtalon Speed is the best soft ground shoe I’ve tried from the brand is high praise. It’s not a particularly versatile shoe—it isn’t designed to be—but for muddy conditions it’s the best trail-running shoe available.

Inov-8 Mudtalon Speed: Price And Availability

The Inov-8 Mudtalon Speed launched in January 2024 and costs $140 in the US and £130 in the UK. It’s not expensive for a trail-running shoe, although you can get cheaper mud-running shoes from Inov-8, such as the X-Talon 212.

How I Tested This Shoe

Inov-8 Mudtalon Speed

(Image credit: Nick Harris-Fry / Future)

I’ve run 30 miles in the Mudtalon Speed, using it mostly for training runs in my local forest, which isn’t short of muddy areas to test out the shoe’s grip. I also used the Mudtalon Speed for a five-mile XC race on a hilly course that offered a mix of mud and frozen ground.

Design And Fit

The Mudtalon Speed combines some of the features of Inov-8’s Mudclaw and X-Talon shoes. You’re getting best-in-class grip for the mud and the lightweight feel of the X-Talon shoes, plus some of the comfort and protection of the Mudclaw.

This is no featherweight shoe, but the Mudtalon Speed—weighing just 9oz/257g in my UK size 9—is remarkable given the 8mm lugs on the outsole. These are made from Inov-8’s STICKYGRIP rubber and shaped to provide reliable grip when running fast up and down hills on grass and mud, and to shed any mud the shoe picks up quickly so you’re not carrying extra weight. The rubber provides traction on harder surfaces as well, including wet rocks, and though the Mudtalon Speed was more at home on soft ground I found it comfortable for short stints on harder trails. 

There is a flexible rock plate in the shoe to protect your foot when running on jagged rocks, and while it’s far from a cushioned shoe, the midsole is 11mm thick at the heel and 7mm at the forefoot, which is taller than past Inov-8 X-Talon shoes I’ve tested. The stack is 26mm at the heel and 22mm at the forefoot for a 4mm drop. The midsole is made from Inov-8’s POWERFLOW PRO foam and the shoe has a 6mm thick sockliner made from a beaded TPU foam, which provides more comfort and bounce than you may expect from what is still a low-stack shoe.

Inov-8 Mudtalon Speed

(Image credit: Nick Harris-Fry / Future)

Inov-8’s mud-running shoes have often had quite a narrow fit in the past, which has suited me, but the Mudtalon Speed has a foot-shaped toe box and comes in two fit options: Precision and Wide. These refer to the width of the toe box, with Precision being narrower. 

I opted for a Precision fit and it was great in my usual running shoe size. I also found the Mudtalon Speed more open at the collar than the X-Talon shoes I’ve tried, which made it easier to get on and off. The shoe has a ripstop upper designed for durability and fast drainage, with added protection around the toes for when you inadvertently bump into rocks and other debris.

Running Performance

I’ve been a fan of the Inov-8 X-Talon shoes for some time and have used the X-Talon 210 for many XC races to great effect over the past few seasons, as well as other muddy runs. I didn’t use the Mudclaw so much because I found it heavy for my taste, but the idea of the Mudtalon Speed combining some of the comfort and protection of that shoe with the speed of the X-Talon appealed to me, and the shoe hasn’t disappointed.

It still gives you flexibility and feel for the trails, but the Mudtalon Speed is more comfortable than the X-Talon, which makes it better for longer races or events with a mix of terrain where you have to spend some time on hard surfaces, as well as for easy training runs. I’ve done several of those easy runs in the Mudtalon Speed, having rarely used the X-Talon 210 for them because it doesn’t offer much cushioning.

The Mudtalon Speed is also still lightweight and nimble enough for racing. I used it for a five-mile XC race where it was great for speeding down frozen hills and chugging up muddy climbs, and where the reliable grip was invaluable in making the ascents less taxing. I found the lugs shed mud pretty well, which isn’t always the case with heavy clay soil. The upper drains well too, so you’re not adding water weight over the course of a run in wet conditions.

Is The Inov-8 Mudtalon Speed Worth It?

Inov-8 Mudtalon Speed

(Image credit: Nick Harris-Fry / Future)

Some may want even more cushioning for soft ground runs, but I think the balance of comfort, speed and grip is pretty much spot on with the Mudtalon Speed. I rate it as the best trail-running shoe for the mud, especially when you’re aiming to move fast. However, if you’re doing long runs on soft ground there’s a case for looking at a more cushioned shoe.

The Mudtalon Speed is a shoe that serves a specific purpose though, and if you want a more versatile option there are shoes like the Saucony Peregrine 13 or Inov-8 Trailfly G 270 V2 that handle mud well while being more comfortable on firmer trails.

Another great option in the category of soft ground speedsters is the Adidas Terrex Agravic Speed SG, which is lighter than the Inov-8, though I’ve found the grip of the Mudtalon Speed to be superior on both hard and soft surfaces.

Nick Harris-Fry
Senior writer

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.