Best Shoes for Spartan Races Tested & Fully Reviewed

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A Spartan Race is characterized by various obstacle races of different distances and difficulty levels that could be as simple as 3-mile races or as complicated as marathon races on varying terrain. These events present an opportunity to showcase your mastery of off-road racing skills required to complete obstacle races. The obstacles can be numerous and vary from one race to another. These are highly challenging races that require preparation and the right attitude to match. However, no matter how well-prepared you are, your chances of winning the race are low if you don’t have the right shoes to battle other participants in the tough competition.

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Salomon Speedcross 4
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La Sportiva Wildcat
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Having the right shoes for the occasion is the first step toward completing and winning this dreaded competition. Running uphill and downhill, on stones and flat surfaces, through mud and gravel, and jumping over ropes, is not a task you can perform with just about any pair of shoes. Tough sports events require adequate preparation and specially designed shoes to withstand all of the challenges that come with running or participating in obstacle races. There are many manufacturers claiming to make the best shoes to support your sports ambition, but not all are suited for tough tasks such as the Spartan Race. Today, the high number of shoes on the market can be overwhelming and confusing when it comes to choosing the right shoes for a specific racing event. Below are best shoes for Spartan Race reviewed for quality.

The Spartan Race is for the tough-minded individuals who love challenging and pushing themselves to the limit. With a combination of obstacle races to complete and win, you cannot risk wearing any other shoes except those you can count on to perform even on the roughest of terrains. With reliable shoes, you can be sure that going through varies terrain would not be as difficult as it would be without trusted sportswear to depend on. When shopping for a pair of shoes to help take you through a challenging competition, it is important to pay close attention to some specific features and benefits that could help make your work easier and support you to give your best.

 

10 Best Shoes for Spartan Races

 

1. Salomon Speedcross 4

This is one of Salomon’s innovative shoe designs for the lugged trail runner to help go through soft and hard ground with precision speed. They will help you cut through a range of terrains while leaving you in control of your balance and stability, thanks to the precise foothold and aggressive grip. The lightweight cushion offers lightweight protection.
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EVA Midsole

The shoes feature EVA midsole design to provide the runner with lightweight cushioning for comfortable running. They are great for trail running and adventure racing, but can greatly enhance your mountain sports experience.

Precise Foothold

The shoes are designed to remain close to the foot and provide ultimate comfort to enable the runner to focus on the sport and not on shoe comfort. They provide the much-needed comfortable feel.

Cost and Value

The water-resistant texture and anti-debris mesh will keep the water and debris away. The shoes also fit comfortably for ultimate comfort while doing marathons. They are affordable as well.
Pros

Anti-debris mesh to prevent debris and grit from entering your shoes

Aggressive grip for the desired traction

Lightweight cushioning for stability

Strong, one-pull tightening shoelace

Cons

May develop crack or rip apart when subjected to intense use

May feel too tight on feet

2. ADIDAS CF Racer Tr

2. ADIDAS CF Racer Tr
The ADIDAS Men's CF promises a more comfortable pair with a lightweight but tough rubber sole to increase grip and a breathable mesh to boost comfort. The outer textile material finish is made of a tough synthetic material to increase the quality of the shoe and can boost performance easily on any Spartan event.

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Breathable Mesh

This is perfectly fitted on the upper side of the shoe to provide proper air circulation and increase breathability. This way, the athlete is able to increase their output since they have maximum comfort.

Precise Foothold and Rubber Sole

The shoes are designed to hold onto your foot as you run and maneuver your way through the rugged trail. You will feel comfortable while running offroad in this pair.

Cost and Value

The aggressive grip and rubber sole ensure you remain stable on track while the precise foothold delivers utmost comfort. This pair can be slightly costly but will deliver on the promise.
Pros

Rubber sole for better grip aggressive grip for off road terrain

Precise foothold for a comfortable fit

Breathable Mesh for maximum comfort and air circulation on foot

Cons

Slightly costly

Not water resistant

Takes a lot of time to dry when washed.

3. Inov-8 Terraclaw

3. Inov-8 Terraclaw
Whether you are expected to perform on single track or run on steep descents, these shoes will deliver an astounding performance on a wider variety of trails than you can ever imagine. The shoe features a unique lug design effective in releasing debris and grit in an unbelievable manner. You will also get an optimum grip on the ground with every foot stride.
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Lace-up Mesh Upper

The lace-up mesh upper is designed to ensure ventilation and adequate aeration to the shoes and feet. You will also experience centralized comfort while wearing these shoes and running on any terrain.

Diagonally Sewn Tongue

The shoe’s tongue has also been diagonally sewn to ensure all the debris remains out while you maintain focus on your sprinting or jogging goals. You will never have to worry about soil and debris entering your shoes.

Cost and Value

The diagonally sewn tongue keeps debris out while the mesh upper provides ventilation while running. These shoes will help you perform every time. The cost is fair as well.
Pros

Triangular lugs release soil, gravel or grit

Layered toe cap provides protection

Skillfully sewn tongue to keep debris away

Lace-up mesh upper provides comfort and support

Cons

Soft toe box may not be as supportive

The dye on upper may paint your feet and socks

4. Reebok Trailgrip

4. Reebok Trailgrip
If outdoor running adventure is your way of getting in shape then you can get a grip on it by fitting one of Reebok’s Trail Grip 5.0s. Keeping fit has never been easier with these active traction design shoes that ensure you remain steady on virtually any terrain. With underfoot cushion backed by midfoot stabilizers, you can be sure your running session will be cushioned and secure.
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All-terrain Midfoot Stability

The shoes come with mid-foot stabilizers to ensure the runner gets the stability needed to jog and perform sprints. In addition, this all-terrain pair of shoes ensures more stability while running.

Cushioned

Reebok shoes are based on making athletes run faster and feel comfortable while at it. The shoes come with underfoot cushion to provide the soft feel while running.

Cost and Value

With active traction design and excellent grip, these shoes are guaranteed to perform no matter the terrain. They are also cushioned and quite stable. The price is affordable as well.
Pros

Rubber sole for grip and durability

All-terrain midfoot stability

Cushioned underfoot for comfort

Active traction-lug pattern

Cons

May feel uncomfortable after long hours of use

Lace straps and brackets may become broken over time

5. Salomon Speedcross 4 CS

5. Salomon Speedcross 4 CS
Just as the name suggests, these shoes are designed for ‘cross-terrain’ running. The monster grip will hold onto the ground whether you are jogging on soft ground or sprinting on a hard surface. Despite being highly cushioned, the shoes remain relatively lightweight to enable the runner to go through different terrains without focusing on comfort or weight of shoes. They are fun to dig through a range of terrains.
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Aggressive Grip

Running on multiple terrains can be a challenge for those who don’t have the right shoes to match. However, with the aggressive grip these shoes present, you can be sure of stability while running.

Lightweight Protection

The lightweight design provides just the right amount of protection needed to facilitate your jogging and sprinting activities. They are light on feet and allow you to move with speed through the forest, mountain, or deep descent.

Cost and Value

The shoes deliver the aggressive grip required to maneuver through the forest while remaining lightweight throughout your runs. They are quite affordable and can be obtained for a few dollars.
Pros

Contragrip technology to perform on any surface conditions

Sensifit technology for a snug fit

Quick-lace design for one-pull tightening

Upper mesh material for enhanced breathability

Cons

May feel small on some feet

Toe box may be too narrow

6. New Balance Nitrel v1

6. New Balance Nitrel v1
This trail running shoe is what you need to energize your sprints uphill and skillful descents downhill. The rubber sole will provide the grip you need to avoid slipping unnecessarily and ruining your morning runs or evening sprints. The shoe provides the stability needed to maneuver technical terrains. Whether you intend to use them for lugged trail running or adventure jogging, their ability to withstand a wide range of conditions will surprise you.
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Revlite Midsole

The shoes’ midsole and interior are both soft and comfortable to allow you to use the shoe for an extended period of time and over varied terrain.

Rubber Sole

The rubber sole is not only durable but also provides the grip required to run on the soft and hard ground without slipping. The rubber sole will outlast most other sole materials out there.

Cost and Value

Soft, comfortable midsole and durable rubber sole ensure the shoe fits and retain a good grip on the ground. For a small price of a few dollars, you can add this pair to your collection of Spartan Race shoes.
Pros

Rubber sole for a perfect grip on the ground

Revlite midsole provides comfort

Mesh upper allows ventilation and promotes airflow

Designed to protect the toes

Cons

Slim fitting and may feel a little tight for their size

Not suitable for heavy-duty jogging

7. X-Talon 212

7. X-Talon 212
Whether you want to run uphill or fly over all terrains that require traction, talon-grip will ensure you are comfortable. The shoe is very popular among elite athletes and has been used to win several world championships. If you are an elite off-trail athlete, this super-fast inov-8 classic pair will be your reliable companion to help you accomplish the running goals you have set for yourself or even win the championship.
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Exceptional Grip

The model design features Inov-8 patented sticky rubber design to provide athletes with the grip required to run over challenging terrains. You can be confident that the shoe will guide you through the terrains no matter the conditions.

Best Traction

There is no denying that this shoe has the best traction and even won the 2013 Best Traction award by Competitor Magazine. Under the "Fit Feel Ride" award category, the shoe emerged on top and can now be regarded as dependable when it comes to providing aggressive grip.

Cost and Value

If you are looking for shoes with the best traction on today’s athletes’ footwear market, this pair will provide the exceptional grip you need to have confidence in your running abilities.
Pros

Aggressive yet flexible outsole

Provides best traction on the sportswear market

Comes in precision and standard fit to suit different individual needs

Suitable for running on obstacle courses

Cons

May present sizing issues for many people

May feel very tight

8. Merrell Bare

8. Merrell Bare
Powered by FlexConnect to deliver hybrid performance, these shoes will make you experience ultimate versatility. They are comfortable and have the ultimate ground connection needed to perform on the trail. Rocking a pair of these shoes will enable you to run on any road or terrain while maintaining stability even on the most rugged of trails.
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FlexConnect EVA Midsole

The shoes feature FlexConnect midsole to provide breathable comfort while running on rugged terrains. The soft midsole will comfort your feet to help you deliver a good performance on the track.

Mesh, TPU Upper

Running can be a hectic endeavor, but the mesh upper will supply the ventilation needed to support your running goals. The mesh will ensure your shoes are well aerated to provide air and comfort to your feet.

Cost and Value

With a soft midsole for comfort and mesh on the upper side for breathability and ventilation, these shoes could help support your running or sprinting goals. The price is also quite affordable.

Pros

Mesh, TPU upper for ventilation and breathability

The soft midsole make the shoes comfortable

Cushioned interior for support

Good grip and traction

Cons

The sole produces squeaking sound sometimes

The seams bordering the toe box may begin to fray

9. X-Talon 200

9. X-Talon 200
Designed to be racing shoes, this lightweight pair is very flexible and delivers unmatched grip regardless of the terrain you are running on. They have also proven to be super-fast on dry terrains. Whether you are an elite or a novice athlete looking to improve your sprinting techniques with the help of reliable shoes, the X-Talon unisex pair will help you with that.
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Multi-terrain Running

The shoes are designed for running in a wide range of terrains. Whether you want to use them for off-trail running or mountain running, these shoes will deliver no matter the terrain.

Renowned Grip

The sticky rubber studs are 8mm thick and will claw through virtually any terrain, whether soft or hard. They hold firmly and deliver impressive all-around grip even on the harder ground.

Cost and Value

If you are looking for good running shoes to provide great grip no matter the terrain, these shoes could be your ideal pair. They will deliver impressive performance and are quite affordable too.
Pros

Anti-debris mesh to prevent debris and grit from entering your shoes

Aggressive grip for the desired traction

Lightweight cushioning for stability

Strong, one-pull tightening shoelace

Cons

May develop a crack or rip apart when subjected to intense use

May feel too tight on feet

10. La Sportiva Wildcat

10. La Sportiva Wildcat
For long distance runs, these shoes deliver what is expected of running footwear. The 1-piece air mesh upper delivers the much-needed ventilation while running. They also maintain breathable comfort while your feet enjoy protection from abrasion-resistant panels. In addition, the foot-wrap lacing heightens security and stability by locking your foot into place to avoid unnecessary shifting while on track. You also get to enjoy cushioning from the dense midsole.
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1-piece Airmesh Upper

The 1-piece air mesh upper is to help promote the much-needed ventilation while running. You can maintain cool breathability and comfort while running as air enters the shoes through the mesh upper.

Shock Absorption

If you are looking for all-day comfort, then you can rely on the high-cushion midsole to deliver the results you want. Whether you are going for ultra-marathons or off-road races, you can be sure that the layer of LaSpEVA will deliver extra shock absorption.

Cost and Value

The shoes are not only stable and neutral but also cushioned to perform like true running shoes. The high-cushioned midsole will maintain comfort while performing off-road races. The price is also fair.
Pros

Well-cushioned for stability even in technical terrain

Added shock absorption makes them ideal for serious runners

Lightweight air mesh upper for breathability and ventilation

Good grip and traction for stability

Cons

Size chart may be different from that of user

The tongue might pull out over time

 

Criteria Used in Choosing the Best Shoes for Spartan Race

With many shoe brands on the market, it often gets confusing choosing the right one for the job. Depending on the running task ahead of you, you can select shoes that fit and will remain comfortable throughout your running session. There are a number of features to consider when shopping for your ultimate Spartan Race shoes. To begin with, you need shoes that provide the best traction no matter the terrain. These shoes should provide the right grip needed to claw into the ground and offer the support necessary to help you run uphill. Whether you will be running on the soft or hard ground, the shoes should be in a potion to handle the task. Below are the criteria for evaluating the best shoes for Spartan Race.

Material

This is perhaps one of the most important factors to consider because it contributes to several other features of the shoes. It also greatly determines the performance of the shoe. On top of your must-have runner sneakers should be shoes made of lightweight material. If you are going to hit the ground running, note that you will be doing so with an immense force that could double your own body weight. Running generally makes you add more force to the ground when stepping on.

This implies that your muscles and joints stand to suffer if you do not have high-quality shoes to handle the challenges. The shoes should have a lessening impact on your joints and muscles, which makes it even more important to consider the material you will be wearing. In this regard, you should first go for a lightweight high-quality material that can provide the right support to your joints.

Arch Support

The arch is an important feature of the foot. It bears the full body pressure with every stride you take. Since they carry immense pressure that your full body exerts, they should get the right amount of support to reduce the risk of injury or developing various musculoskeletal issues. Many people have developed pain as a result of unsupported arches that are forced to carry the body’s immense weight.

However, it is important to note that each individual needs a different kind of arch support to be able to perform at an optimum level. It is recommended that runners get motion control shoes with the ability to prevent collapsing/ inward rolling arches, especially if you have low arches. On the other hand, those with high arches need sneakers with inbuilt cushioning to help provide support and prevent outward rolling while at the same time developing inward arch strength.

Cushion

You cannot deny that running on varied terrain exerts so much pressure on your feet that you risk developing injury and various musculoskeletal issues if you do not get the right cushion you need to help you absorb all the shock that a Spartan Race can throw at you. If you would like to spring back as quickly as possible following a strenuous run, you might want to cushion every stride you take. Picture yourself running on stones and gravel on bare feet or very thin sole.

This can be a devastating experience because your heels will hurt and your whole foot will experience pain. However, with the right amount of cushioning, you can even run on fire without feeling a thing. It is crucial to get the right cushioning to absorb all the shock directed toward the muscle, joint, and even spine whenever your foot comes into contact with the ground. Note that different individuals need different cushioning depending on the type of feet.

Full Support

While some feet tend to remain intact and rigid when running, others tend to roll and twitch at the slightest opportunity. These feet will roll whenever they land on the uneven ground. Since Spartan Race is performed on varied terrain, where there are stones, gravel, mud and just about any other obstacle you could encounter in the wild, you should give utmost protection to your feet to avoid any possible injury when running.

Apparently, midsole cushioning tends to minimize chances of injury to the ankle, heel, and even toe. This is because cushioning will improve the overall support to the foot and ankle as well as help to reduce the amount of stress placed on these areas. By running using cushioned sneakers, you could be preventing possible injury to the hip, back and even knee. Clearly, the importance of using sneakers with cushioned midsole cannot be stressed enough.

Traction

It is no secret that sneakers need traction, which greatly determines grip and balance no matter the condition. Running on tough on-road and off-road surfaces could exert immense pressure on the heel, ankle and entire feet. Rubber sole can help absorb all the shock related to running on all kinds of terrains. While flat roads may not exert as much pressure on heel and feet as loose, unbalanced terrain, it is important to have a durable rubber sole to help provide and maintain the grip and balance needed to run over unpredictable trails.

All running shoes have some sort of traction but it is important to find one that has the traction tread that is right for you and your needs and that offers you the grip and support you need during your Spartan run. A shoe with the best support and cushioning is useless if you can’t keep your footing and are constantly losing traction while you run.

Breathability and Durability

A pair of sneakers made of synthetic leather and nylon tends to score highly when it comes to durability. Since Spartan Race involves running on varied terrain, often comprising of obstacle races, you need to have durable shoes to handle all of the challenges that come with running on mud, gravel and stones. Durable shoes can withstand all the challenging tasks involving uphill sprints and steep descents. The shoes should also be flexible enough to allow air to go through and keep the feet aerated while barring moisture from entering the shoes.

Look for running shoes with breathable windows and looser materials that allow air flow and help to keep the feet cooler and drier during your runs. You also should look for running shoes that are made with neat seams to avoid rubbing your feet and possibly causing blisters.

Heel and Ankle Support

Those with flat feet (plantar fasciitis) may also suffer heel pain. The importance of heel support cannot be overemphasized considering that the heel takes so much pressure when running. Therefore, wearing the right shoes with the right heel support can make all the difference between safe running and sustaining injury. In contrast, an incorrect pair of shoes with no sufficient support to the heel can worsen the pain felt in the heel.

When shopping for Spartan Race shoes, always consider shoes that provide support to your heels. They should firmly hold the heel while leaving you to focus more on the race and less on hurting heels. When the heels are firmly held in place, it could help you prevent over-pronation, which could result in twitching and intense pain that could ruin your racing moment. It is also recommended to test the ankle support when shopping for running sneakers to ensure they would provide the right amount of support needed to ensure you continue running to win the competition. Check the heel counter of the shoes you intend to buy by fitting them and taking a stroll around the shoe store.

Shoe Width

Having flat feet tends to make them wider. Many people with wide feet are more likely to feel that sneakers are too tight even if they come in their right size. This is because they can feel their outer toe stretching the shoe fabric in search for more room to allow the toes to breathe. Shopping for the right fitting shoes can be a painful process especially if you have wide feet and all you find are narrow shoes unable to accommodate all of your toes.

Fortunately, there are numerous high-quality sneakers that are wide enough to accommodate all of your toes without pinching them. Tight shoes can squish your toes and leave them with nasty blisters. To be safe, always look for shoes with enough room in the toe area. They should be able to fit tight enough to feel comfortable while running and yet spacious enough to leave room for you to wiggle your toes. Feet are known to swell after intense physical activity, and wearing tight shoes can make the situation worse. In fact, your runners should be larger than your usual official shoes or casual footwear to provide sufficient room for your feet to move inside when running on varied terrain. Some shoes are designed for standard and precision fit to help accommodate those with wide feet. Therefore, take your time to ensure your ideal shoes fit well around the toe area to prevent possible blisters after an intense running session.

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a Spartan Race?

A: This involves a series of activities and obstacle races of varying distance and difficulty levels, often performed over short or long distances, and on varied terrain. It might involve jumping over or under bars, running through mud, running on stones and gravel, running uphill and on steep descents, and running through any other obstacles the natural environment may present. These races are often for the tough-minded individuals who love challenges and would do everything possible to overcome them.

Q: Which are the best shoes for Spartan Race?

A: A Spartan Race is a highly challenging race with varied terrain to maneuver. The best shoe for this racing event is a pair of sneakers that can withstand all the challenges of running on stones and gravel. These should provide support to your ankle and heel. The immense pressure exerted on your feet when you step on the ground should not harm your heel and ankle. The midsoles of this shoe are also cushioned to help absorb all of the shock common with running on rugged trails. In addition, the shoes should be lightweight and feel comfortable to wear and use, while providing the right grip needed to prevent you from slipping. Lastly, they should be durable and offer the best traction to ensure you remain on track no matter the terrain.

Q: Where can I get good shoes for Spartan Race?

A: There are many retailers selling running shoes, but not all of them are equipped to perform in a Spartan Race. You can find good shoes in various stores across the country. However, if you want a place to give you several options, then you are better off visiting popular online stores, as they are known for their variety. You can log onto your computer or use your tablet and smartphone to check these popular eCommerce platforms for variety and unlimited options. However, be sure to confirm all the features on the product description page to ensure you are buying the right product. You can then place your order and have the sneakers delivered to your doorstep.

Q: How much do Spartan Race shoes cost?

A: The cost of these sneakers may vary from shoe to shoe depending on the manufacturer and features. Ideally, some of the factors that determine cost include material used, cushion level, traction, design, breathability, and several other features that make the shoe unique. However, these shoes are generally more affordable these days. With a few dollars, you should be able to add a pair to your collection of footwear.

Q: What should I look for in a pair of Spartan Race sneakers?

A: Different sneakers are designed differently to help easily handle the task ahead. Spartan Race shoes are designed to withstand the tough conditions of the race. From running through mud to jumping over stones and running on steep descents, these shoes can perform in virtually any condition. When shopping for Spartan Race sneakers, always ensure they fit properly, are well cushioned for shock absorption, have wide shoe width to wiggle toes and prevent blisters, good traction, rubber sole for a good grip, arch and heel support to prevent possible injury, mesh upper for ventilation and enhanced breathability.

Q: How do I ensure I get the right fitting shoes for Spartan Race?

A: After you have identified the shoes you intend to purchase, you can visit the store and go through the features highlighted. In fact, you can try them on and walk around the store to determine whether they are comfortable wearing them and that they provide the right support to your ankle and heel.

Sources

  1. Dario, What the Pros Wear, Obstacle Racing Media, Oct 03, 2016
  2. SI.com Staff, Best shoes for obstacle races, mud runs, Spartan Races, Tough Mudders and more, Sports Illustrated, Feb 28, 2017
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