You might be wondering what shoes to wear for a Spartan Race, especially if you’ve never done one before and both words strike fear into your very soul – although, admittedly, that’s kind of the point. If you want to smash your goals and cement yourself as the greatest endurance athlete of all time (or at least in your circle of friends), you need the right gear to ensure you can make it from start to finish in one piece. The best shoes for Spartan Races give you that extra edge over everyone else, providing the comfort, grip, and durability to handle whatever the course has to throw at you.
Much like the best trail running shoes for men and trail running shoes for women, finding the right shoes for you will keep you going throughout even the most intense parts of your mud run. Regular running shoes just can’t cut it, and you need a pair of shoes that are just as tough, if not tougher, than the course you want to conquer.
With this in mind, let’s get pumped up and ready to see which Spartan Race shoes are the perfect ones for you.
The Best Shoe For Spartan Races
Our best and first pick of the best shoes for Spartan Race are these New Balance Men’s Nitrel V1 FuelCore. A versatile pair of mud run shoes, they’re ideal for a variety of intense and demanding terrains with the improved rugged all-terrain outsole.
You’re also protected from sharp ground and the toe cap protection system prevents injury. The no-sew construction also prevents fraying, while the stretch fabric ensures a comfortable fit that’s wide enough for most Spartans to prevent strain and discomfort.
Improved rugged all-terrain outsole
Revlite midsole with NB 2.0 Performance insert
No-sew material application eliminates chance of fraying
Toe Protect design saves injuries on hard and tricky ground
- BrandNew Balance
- ModelMTNTRCO1 D
- Weight3 pounds
Wide fitting to suit most Spartan Race runners
Comfortable stretch fabric
Excellent price for top-quality performance
Shoe laces are a little too long for some and could cause problems
If you’re looking for one of the most superior OCR shoes around, the Inov-8 Men’s Terraclaw 250 fits the bill entirely. Our premium pick of the top Spartan Race shoes, these deliver everything you could ever need from your trail footwear.
Despite having a traditional lace up design, you’re still getting an excellent and secure fit that’s bound to support you across uneven and treacherous terrain. As for protection, the layered toe cap keeps you from bashing your toe on rocks and The Wall, while also ensuring you don’t tread on sharp rocks or sticks when wading through water.
Lace-up mesh upper for centralized support and comfort
Layered lightweight toe cap offers protection
Diagonally sewn tongue helps keep debris out
Triangular lugs release grit and gravel to maintain consistent traction
- ModelTerraclawTM 250-M
- Weight1 pound
Lightweight but durable construction provides reliability
Superb drainage when battling wet terrains
Aggressive treat performs excellently with a variety of obstacles
Slight rear flex in back of shoe when leaning down to retie them can cause stones to get inside
The Altra Women’s Lone Peak 3.5 boast a thick, solid sole for enhanced cushioning and protection and is great for all shapes and sizes of feet. It performs superbly in a variety of situations and also helps you improver, too, with a design that improves the natural foot position, toe splay, and comfort.
For long, treacherous races, this is essential for durability, and the absence of a break-in period ensures you can use them as soon as they arrive at your door. It’s MaxTrax TrailClaw lugs provide security, and the Zero Drop platform is gives you greater balance by keeping you as close to the ground as possible.
Designed to improve natural foot positioning, toe splay, and comfort
Fully cushioned Zero Drop platform with foot shape toe box
Moderate cushioning protects soles from strain and pains over long distances
MaxTrax rubber outsole with TrailClaw lugs
- Weight12 ounces
Comfortable yet high performing shoe perfect for all types of feet
No break-in period allows for immediate use and results
Ideal for both trail running and hiking
Toe seam may dig into toe and cause discomfort
The famous lug pattern is the staple of the Salomon Men’s Speedcross 4 CS and ensures you can tackle and overcome both soft, casual, and more technically demanding terrain like you’re running on air. They’re suitable for a variety of environments, and use strategically placed weather-resistant to keep you dry, while the anti-debris mesh ensures breathability and keeps stones and debris out the shoes.
Its quicklace system provides a consistent snug fit to offer better stability and give you the best grip necessary. The large toe box also ensures excellent comfort even on longer trails. However, anyone buying this should remember they’re a little too narrow compared to standard fits, so half a size up may be the best place to start.
Speedcross lug pattern eats up soft and technical trails with ease
ClimaSalomon strategically placed weather-resistant functionality protects in all conditions
Anti-debris mesh keeps shoe clear of stones and dirt
Quicklace system maintains fit and ensures stability
- ModelSPEEDCROSS 4 CS-M
- Weight10.9 ounces
Keeps feet dry even in sodden conditions
Plenty of space in toe box to prevent cramping and increase comfort
Superb grip on gravel and loose terrain to guarantee safety and prevent slipping
Not true to size and slightly narrow
With perhaps the coolest name on the list, the La Sportiva Men’s Wildcat are an excellent pair of Spartan Race shoes suitable for both moderate and technical terrains to ensure you can use them all year-round.
They are well-cushioned to ensure comfort but also incredibly stable to provide the vital protection from over-pronation during when hitting your stride. For hard ground, they also boast shock absorbing capabilities to protect your sole whether you’re running marathons, off-road, or backcountry courses, and the FriXion AT sole gives you greater grip when racing over less-than-reliable surfaces.
Well-cushioned, stable, and neutral to perform well in moderate and technical terrain
Shock absorption delivers all day comfort for hikes, marathons, off-road races, and backcountry runs
Grippy FriXion AT Sole with Impact Brake System and X-Axis puts you in full control
TPU transkinetic heel stabilizers provides support and reduces risk of injury
- BrandLa Sportiva
- Weight2.4 pounds
Suitable for both wide and narrow feet to ensure versatile appeal
Top tier construction maintains quality and provides durability even through more demanding races and trails
Excellent back ankle support to ease strains and prevent injury
Tongue is a little too low and could cause debris to spill in
The Reebok Women’s Trailgrip RS 5.0 is our choice for the finest and most appealing shoes for a Spartan Race if you’re looking for superb value. There’s all-terrain stability to keep you secure and prevent injury across a variety of surfaces. This is made possible by the active traction lug tread pattern that allows for excellent grip on both flat and inclines to maximum safety.
The low-top style may not protect your ankles as much as other options around, but it actually ensures better stability on uneven ground. The closed-=weave mesh upper ensures protection but also breathability, which is essential for the intensity you need to deal with.
All-terrain mid-foot stability ensures easy movement over any surface
Active traction lug pattern provides superb grip on flat and inclines
Synthetic and closed-weave mesh upper provides protection and breathability in hot environments
Low-cut design helps stabilize on uneven terrains
- ModelTrailGrip RS 5.0-W
- Weight3 pounds
Super lightweight design eliminates risk of fatigue on long treks and trails
Durable construction lasts longer than standard trail runners
Provide great foot protection on uneven and sharp surfaces
Moderately wide fitting
If you’re searching for a shoe that offers speed and flexibility, the Inov-8 Men’s X-Talon 212 is an ideal option for your next Spartan Race. It’s designed to perform in a plethora of harsh environments and across all terrains while the lightweight construction and design will reduce fatigue and increase comfort.
Despite the light materials, it’s still sturdy and durable enough to cope with the most intense obstacle courses around, and the no break-in period allows you to get outside immediately. However, if you run on hard ground with little give, you may have troubles with lesser padding, at least compared to similarly priced options.
Designed to perform on all soft, muddy, and hard terrains across a variety of environments
Iconic 8mm studs claw through soft ground and hold strong on harder ground
Lightweight design ensures comfort and reduces fatigue
Excellent flexibility complements foot’s natural movement to increase speed
- ModelX-talon 212 s Mens
- Weight1 pound
Phenomenal traction across all kinds of surfaces and terrains for maximum reliability
No break-in period required for immediate use
Durable construction keeps them at high performance for a long time
Not as much padding as other runners provide
Much like its male counterpart, the Inov-8 Women’s X-Talon 212 is a speedy, flexible option for different terrains however, it doesn’t seem to suffer from the same padding issue. The all-terrain purpose ensures versatility, and the abrasion-resistant construction provides that crucial level of durability you need to tackle arduous and demanding courses.
The deep cleats provide reliable traction on both soft and hard ground perfect for unstable terrain and protects you from slipping or injury. However, while they’re great on the ground, the drainage system is slightly lacking, which could pose a problem.
All-terrain design with abrasion-resistant construction
X-Talon outsole with deep cleats to ensure tough and reliable traction
Heel pull loop makes it easy to pull shoes on and take them off
Lightweight construction improves speed and prevents foot and leg fatigue
- ModelX-TalonTM 212-W
- Weight1 pound
Awesome grip keeps you confident on more slippery and unstable terrains or surfaces
Easy to clean to maintain quality performance
No break-in period to eliminate risk of discomfort when wearing for first time
Do not drain water as sufficiently as other options available
Our final women’s shoe is the Reebok Women’s All-Terrain Thrill, which delivers on its name over and over again. Using a locked-in style, the heel remains on place to provide support and security, preventing injury whatever the terrain.
To keep your feet dry (or as dry as they can be) the built-in drainage system is one of the best we’ve come across, and the underfoot Rock Guard ensures protection when racing across backcountry and cross-country trails and keeps your foot from looking something akin to a mangled chicken once you take the shoe off.
Heel clip delivers locked-in fit style for excellent support on variety of terrains
Built-in mid-foot drainage allows water release on cross-country runs
Medial and lateral forefoot lugs on midsole enhance stability
Underfoot Rock Guard protects against hard and sharp objects underfoot
- ModelAll Terrain Thrill-W
- Weight9.9 ounces
Excellent traction across flat, slanted, loose, and firm ground
Vibrant colors give you something a little different to other options
Ideal for both intense activity and casual everyday wear
Difficult to tighten laces, especially when on the move
The Salomon Men’s S/Lab Sense Ultra 2 aren’t the most expensive pair of shoes available, but they’ll still cost you quite a bit. For top-quality Tough Mudder shoes, you can justify such an expenditure, though, and just a glimpse at their features will raise more than a few Spartan Eyebrows.
The Profeel film challis supports the foot during energy transfer, while the EnergyCell Plus midsole design provides a more comfortable transition from heel to toe. Its Quicklace system is also reliable and minimizes stoppages to tighten or re-tie, while its toe box is spacious enough to handle downward slopes without cramping your feet.
Profeel film challis engages during transition phase to support foot and improve rolling during toe off
EnergyCell Plus midsole provides exceptional energy return and cushioning
Minimalistic Quicklace system is strong and keeps shoes snug on long trails
Sensifit cradles foot to provide customizable fit for all wearers
- Weight1.75 pounds
Perfect size toe box won’t cramp or chafe toes
Lots of control over different terrains to increase confidence and speed
Comfortable and durable construction for long, all-day trails
Price exceed some people’s budgets
Our final pick of the best shoes for Spartan Races are the Reebok Men’s Trailgrip RS 5.0, which are the male version of or best value selection. They boast much of the same features as their female counterpart, including a low-cut design for better movement and stability, and the Gore-Tex construction ensures durability but also reducing the chance of fatigue.
The DMX midsole is both responsive and cushioned to encourage a better bounce and superb energy transfer, while the MicroWeb lacing provides the snugness necessary for easy control and balance across uneven terrain.
Gore-Tex fabric with synthetic overlays provides durability and lightweight feel
Low-cut design offers freedom of movement around ankle for better mobility
DMX Ride midsole is responsive and cushioned
MicroWeb lacing system improves fit and enhances support
- Weight3 pounds
Fit as expected to ensure snug and stable feel
Comfortable design to make all-day wear simple and hassle-free
Stylish design stands out against other standard shoes
Debris can get caught in lugs and treat and minimize traction potential
Spartan Race Shoe Buying Guide
How We Chose Our Selection Оf Mud Run Shoes
We wish we had the stamina and the determination to battle Spartan Races every day, but unfortunately we couldn’t do it to ourselves. Instead, we considered these 3 important factors to help us determine which mud run shoes are the top options available.
Reviews - Reviews are the best way of helping us discover everything the product descriptions can’t (or won’t) tell us. They let us peek behind the curtain at how the shoes fit, and how comfortable they are while also telling us any problems you might encounter while wearing them. As we’re not able to test them out ourselves, these reviews are vital to finding the most effective and reliable products for you.
Brand - While many people will claim brands don’t always mean anything, we know you’re more likely to put your money towards a brand you know than one you’ve never heard of before. That being said, taking a punt on a brand you’ve never looked at before can prove highly beneficial. To ensure we found a satisfactory range of products for both men and women, we sought out as many brands as possible.
Prices - Nobody wants to pay too much or too little for their Spartan shoes, so we were careful to ensure we didn’t find products that were insultingly cheap nor ridiculously expensive. To ensure our list appealed to the widest audience as possible, we looked for prices that appealed to both experienced Spartans and those just about to dip their toe in.
Features To Look For In Spartan Race Shoes
Before making your final decision on which Spartan running shoes are the right ones for you, check out these essential features to ensure you maximize your potential and achieve the optimal performance for your next run out.
Use - You won’t always need your mud shoes for muddy trails, so think about the other possibilities you might need them for. If you’re a frequent trail runner, Spartan Race shoes are an ideal investment as they provide much of the same benefits. That being said, some shoes may not be as appropriate for other activities as you may think, and things such as flexibility, breathability, and weight are all important features to consider when planning for multi-sport uses.
Grip - OCR shoes require reliable and consistent grip to ensure you can overcome a variety of different obstacles. You will encounter a variety of terrains, so having the proper purchase will help you hit the targets you’ve set yourself at the start of the day. However, you should be careful not to find a grip design that can get clogged up with stones and sticks, as this can lessen the effects and could cause you to slip.
Sole - Along with substantial and reliable grip, the sole should also protect you from sharp rocks and stones you’ll step on along the trail. This can be helped with extra cushioning to ensure better protection and finer comfort. However, a sole that’s too thick can affect your stability, so it’s important to find the right balance.
Lace System - You can choose between traditional lace-up systems and a more modern quick lace design. This system will vary from brand to brand and is often more about preference. That being said, traditional lacing systems can hinder progress and wreck your momentum if you need to re-tie them during the race, whereas the quick lace option is easy to fix should they feel loose.
Fit - A secure, snug fit is vital for ensuring the proper control during the most intense courses around. This helps to prevent the risk of injury while also providing optimal mobility for tackling different terrains and inclines. This fit also ensures comfort, and breathability, as a shoe that’s too tight can cause pains and strains while also leading to overheating, which is one of the last things you want when doing a Spartan Race.
Durability - Tough Mudder footwear are designed to be - well - tough, and so they should be as durable as possible to handle whatever environment you are in. This means they shouldn’t fall apart after just one race to ensure you get plenty of future races out of them. This durability will also keep you better protected against hazards along the trail to ensure you make it from start to finish in one piece.
Comfort - Mud race shoes need to be one of the most shoes you’ll ever wear so they can withstand the abuse your feet will suffer during the course. Comfort is one of the most essential features that can help keep you going, and the right cushioning can prevent your feet from feeling the burn,. Even when the rest of your muscles are struggling.
Support - The variety of terrains and incline means you need top-quality support to prevent the risk of injury. Properly fitting shoes will go a long way towards helping this, but also consider the design for both your ankles and arches, as poor support means your feet with hate you the next day, and likely a few days after that, too.
Materials - The proper materials are essential for your Spartan Race shoes. For the best results, they should be lightweight but also tough, and if they are waterproof, this is even better. Not all shoes can be waterproof, though, as this often comes at the cost of weight. Instead, the best shoes have a built-in drainage system to release the water when running through rivers.
Would you look at that, we got the whole way through the guide without saying This is Sparta, well done, us.
- How to Choose the Right Shoes for an Obstacle Race - Running Shoes Guru
- Spartan Race Checklist - Optimize Yourself
- Benefits of speed laces for your next race - The Triathletic You