Getting a shoe with a decent grip is one of the first things you should think about when you get into mud running or obstacle racing. It can totally transform your experience. Instead of flailing around like Bambi on ice you'll actually be able to run relatively confidently over most terrain. Of course, due to the nature of all of that muddy, wet and punishing running our footwear will take a pounding and, in turn, so will our wallets. That's why a pair of extremely cheap running shoes caught my attention. The More Miles Chevoit 2 shoes claim to be comparable to Inov-8 Mudclaws, and are available online for between £29 and £35.
"Surely at that price these shoes wouldn't cut the mustard?" I hear you say. Well, as an Inov-8 Mudclaw fan, I thought I'd put the Chevoits to the test.
Out of the box, the Chevoits look and feel like your average pair of trainers. They have a slightly padded mesh upper and certainly don't make use of the technical materials that we have come to expect from the more high-end trail shoes. However, when you turn them over you'll see a beastly tread. It has lugs that any ATV would be proud of. In fact, they actually seem to be a fair amount deeper than the Mudclaw.
Once on the foot, they feel padded all-around and are a relatively tight fit for their size. I've seen a few recommendations online to order half a size up with these. I'm not sure about that, but you'd certainly want to try them on before buying or at least order them from a store with a good returns/exchange policy.
With such enormous and deep lugs, when you're on hard ground you actually feel like you're raised up on platforms. For anyone used to minimal shoes this will feel a little odd, at least until your find yourself in soft terrain, where the lugs can dig down a little more. Although the lugs are deep, they are also quite wide and closely packed. That, combined with a relatively secure sole, makes them react better to tarmac and hard pack than you'd expect.
Once in the mud, the Chevoits come into their own, it's clearly what they are built for. You'll bight through extremely well in the most slippery terrain. Although they grip well, they don't like to let go. You may find that you'll carry that mud around with you. The same applies to water, with more of a padded feel all-around, they will soak up and retain a little more after being submerged. So, although these shoes start off relatively light (actually not far off the Mudclaws), they may not always stay that way.
So, if you're looking for a cheap trail shoe that will make training more affordable, yet still allow you to bight into mud, More Mile's Chevoit 2s are definitely worth checking out. They aren't quite the polished quality product of the Inov-8 Mudclaw, but at half the price would you really expect them to be?