It is an often asked for shoe type, something that has enough cushioning and is hardwearing enough for road yet can also be taken off road – often it is those that are new or occasional runners and those looking for an ultra shoe. So it’s quite an ask. It really has come down to two contenders as there has been so little going on in this category, yet both have something different to offer and both have proved themselves to be popular across a spectrum of runners.
Saucony Koa TR – First reviewed here >>
A brand new shoe this summer and follows the highly and ongoing success of the Saucony Peregrine.
– High levels of cushioning including an Everun Topsole
– Stable platform for the foot to sit on
– Surprisingly good grip
– Snug heel fit with a more accommodating toe box
Inov-8 Parkclaw – First reviewed here >>
Another new shoe that jumped on the success of the Roadclaw and requests for a grippy trail version.
– 4mm deep grippy lugs
– Cushioned yet responsive
– Accommodating standard fit
– Reasonable ground feel
The Best in Test 2017 Hybrid Running Shoe is… key those drums once more….
The Saucony Koa TR and the Inov-8 Parkclaw
The truth is that this was one tough decision. Which ever way I looked at it they both had positives where the other didn’t, or they were just different with neither difference being to the shoes detriment.
OK, on road and hard-packed trail the Koa TR had the cushioning dialled without losing so much of a responsive feel. Whereas the Parkclaw came into its own on wet days when a little mud could be found.
Fit and comfort is always going to be a more personal thing yet neither shoe in my book was a so much different. Perhaps the Koa just won in that ‘out-of-the-box-straight-onto-feet’ feeling.
The only other key difference was in the drop, heel to forefoot differential, with the Saucony KoaTR at 4mm and the Inov-8 Parkclaw at a claimed 8mm. Yes, I preferred the lower drop although the Parkclaw has never run like its an 8mm drop shoe, more like 6mm.
I guess to differentiate and to make a choice in choosing to run in one pair over the other… If you want a little more grip then go with the Inov-8 if its cushioning and underfoot protection then the Saucony has it.