Best Shoes for Tough Mudders Reviewed
As these races have gained popularity, major brands have started making shoes designed for the sport. We looked at some of the most highly recommended products on the market and came up with a list of the 10 best shoes for tough mudder training.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 18 hrs of research
- Comfortable on uncomfortable running surfaces
- Flexible and tight-fitting
- Modest price point
The Best Shoes for Tough Mudders
1. Salomon Speedcross 4
- Comfortable on uncomfortable running surfaces
- Flexible and tight-fitting
- Modest price point
- Unconventional style
These shoes will not let you down. They have a great fit and are comfortable to wear which is a huge plus when you are competing in a grueling physically challenging race. They are easily cleaned off and have great traction.Read more
The Salomon Speedcross is designed and constructed to wrap around the foot and provide the flexibility that will ensure not only a comfortable fit but a secure one as well. The Kevlar string fed through friction-free eyelets will allow for you to have a better even fit as you lace up.
Materials and Technology
The Salomon uses a 3D open stretch mesh will be an underlayer that offers maximum breathability to allow for fresh air to circulate through your shoe and keep your foot cool and refreshed. EVA Moulded OrthoLite sockliner that creates a cooler, drier healthier and more cushioned shoe.
Cost and Value
You get a lot of style, technology, and ruggedness with this trail-ready shoe for a moderate overall price. The Salomon Speedcross 3 trail shoe is definitely built with off-road trekking in mind. You can be confident in training with these shoes for your tough mudder and know they will not let you down on race day.
2. Merrell Trail Glove 4
- Sophisticated and eye-catching design
- Reliability, Merrell is a leader in off-road shoes, you almost can’t go wrong with a pair
- Quality materials, great treading by Vibram
- Improved arch support
- Plyable material that help with movement and don’t make the shoe look minimalistic
- The shoe can be feel a little narrow, which may not be as comfortable for some
- Questionable durability for a minimalist shoe
Merrell is a top tier name in outdoor hiking. Best known for their high quality, dependable shoes specifically aimed and designed for off-road and the rough terrain wear. The company whose boasts “always your trail,” has designed the updated Trail Glove 4 Runner with improvements and as alway ensure it is still one of the most stylish Trail Gloves available.Read more
The Merrell Trail Glove 4 Runner can accommodate anyone’s exercise needs. Although they are designed to be used outdoors with increased tread and zero-drop (so your feet are protected on uneven or rocky surfaces) they are supportive and light enough to be a good all-around athletic shoe option for minimalist running or even weight training.
In the Trail Glove 3 Runner the tongue was a separate piece but in the 4 it is combined in the shoe. The increased tread is a huge advantage on slippery, uneven or steep surfaces. Merrell lengthened the laces and changed the design of the eyelets which makes the shoe much more secure, comfortable and handsome as always.
Cost and Value
Merrell is a leader in the off-road, active outdoor shoe industry. The Trail Glove 4 Runner has had a lot of great updates which make the shoe an excellent option for a complex physically obstacle challenge like the Tough Mudder. It is light and minimalistic, will protect the soles of your feet, wear comfortably and when you are running the Tough Mudder you can still use these shoes to train for it indoors or in the muck!
3. Salomon S-Lab XA Amphib
Great traction even on wet surfaces
Extremely breathable and drain well
Quick fit lace system
Run large, check sizing chart carefully before ordering
A list of the best shoes for Tough Mudder's wouldn't be complete with a pair of Salomon's. This company is known for the attention to detail of their designs, high-quality construction, and thoughtful features that runners appreciate. This option drains extremely well and the outsole gives great traction even on wet surfaces. They're expensive, but for those in the know, they're worth it.Read more
These are designed to drain and do so quickly. As a result they're also highly breathable which is great for training and/or trail running.
The outsole is specifically designed to give great traction on dry as well as wet surfaces. Users were surprised by the level of grip these offered even on slippery rocks during river crossings.
These don't have a toe bumper or any other ways to prevent injury so as always we advise caution during your race.
Although lightweight, the high-quality materials and construction makes them longer-lasting than you might think given the design.
4. Inov-8 Terraclaw 250
- Super lightweight
- Easier on joints and body
- Superior drainage
- Great traction
- You can use Amazon reviews to find pros
- Could improve the laces which would be an impediment if they become untied during the race
- Design of the shoe is prone to allowing the entry of small rocks
Made by a British company that emphasizes off-road running. The Inov-8 Terraclaw 250 Trail Running Shoe is a comfortable, flexible and best-designed shoe for obstacle course running and competition. They are designed with the body in mind and they are very protective and put quite simply an excellent all-around shoe.Read more
The natural functions of human body biomechanics are taken into serious account when Inov-8 designed the Terraclaw 250. The constant pounding and repetitive stress on your feet and joints training can cause injuries which no one wants to have happened. The fit is fairly neutral but the support of this high-performance shoe will make your foot, ankles, knees, hips, and back thank you during your intense training and competition.
All Seasons Shoe
These shoes have way better breathability and airflow than they appear, which is good because it helps your foot so it won’t get too hot in the warm weather months. In the winter, you don’t have to be side-tracked from your workout because of the snow, the cleat-like treading will give you enough traction to still train outdoors.
Cost and Value
These shoes are very popular amongst obstacle course runners. They are flexible and light enough for racing but still provide great grip in wet conditions with the type of sticky rubber sole in their design. They have an overall good fit and they have excellent drainage in wet, muddy conditions.
5. Under Armour Micro G Speed Swift 2
- An extremely comfortable shoe, with extra cushioning
- For each product on the list
- Great weight distribution
- Tends to run small in size so try a size up in addition to your current size for comparison
- Drainage could be improved
While Under Armour is best known for their high-performance active clothing lines which boast incredible materials for awesome sweat wicking, compression or heat retention during training and competition, it is worth taking note of their athletic shoe lines. The Under Armour Micro G Speed Swift 2 is a well-rounded shoe to consider for a Tough Mudder. They are very comfortable, with a ton of cushioning in a very light weight and stylish package.Read more
The Micro G Speed Swift 2, is a very balanced shoe whose cushioning is not only comfortable but it really distributes your weight. Weather running or lifting, this lightweight shoe won’t leave you with any joint pains and will help you feel stable throughout your workout.
These shoes tend to hold up well with minimal wear and tear for training and/or if you have to wear them all day to accomplish other tasks on your feet. Their breathable mesh and bonded film at the midfoot attribute the durability and the best part is that they are easy to wash and keep clean.
Cost and Value
A great athletic shoe that will keep your feet feeling fresh and offers as much comfort and support to protect your feet and joints when training, the Micro G Speed Swift 2 are an affordable high impact shoe to check out.
6. Merrell All Out Crush Tough Mudder
- Top tier Drainage
- Durability, will hold up to harsh conditions and excessive training with minimal physical wear and tear and it will stay snug and pleasant to wear
- True-to-form fit
- Dries out quickly
- Soles could be thicker
- Could use more cushioning
We already hit on the highly respected brand Merrell is, so if you thought you’d only see them on here once you were grossly mistaken. The Merrell All Out Crush Tough Mudder Trail Running shoe can’t be more to the point than it already is in its name. It was made for the Tough Mudder and here are a few aspects why it is a great shoe to look into for your training and competition.Read more
Made for MUD
You can’t compete in a tough mudder without getting dirty. Merrell made sure the Tough Mudder Trail Running shoes had excellent drainage and were a breeze to clean. They take no time at all to dry out and be ready to put on for your next outdoor adventure challenge.
You can run in the mud or scale the side of a mountain, the tread will keep you steady, safe and you will stick! Rain or snow, these shoes and glide and they can support you climbing the most extreme rocky formation.
Cost and Value
Another high-quality Merrell product that will do exactly what you need in a Tough Mudder, drain, help you scale walls with ease, run fast, keep your feet protected and stand up to the intense training and activity required to complete the race. Fairly priced for such a specialized shoe, that can do all these things well and still be enjoyable to wear even after you have put miles on them.
7. Adidas Terrex Agravic GTX
- Water Resistant
- Ideal for long distance activity and repetitive impact
- Sleek, stylish design
- Easy on joints, does well absorbing impact
- Does a great job keeping your feet dry in almost all environments and elements
- Tight, narrow front
- Not well suited for people with wide feet
A terrific trail running shoe that offers a breathable design and Gore-tex membrane which will keep your foot dry. Light and comfy with a true-to-size fit, these Adidas outdoor Terrex Agravic GTX shoes are gonna hit all the needs of the Tough Mudder competitor.Read more
The midsole Boost absorbs helps with an impact which is great for your joints. Keeps a natural, pleasant fit and promotes an increased comfort over long distance runs. Just enough cushioning to fill, without overwhelming your feet.
These shoes can be used on or off road for training. They are ideally designed to be functionally used in every environment, snow, grass, sand, dirt/gravel, mud, ice and you’ll get terrific traction and you can be your feet will stay warm and dry. All-terrain quality shoe that offers the traction needed for climbing and steadiness in slippery environments. Easy to wear for long distance running and softens impact that will lessen joint pain and stiffness. This shoe can definitely stand up to the wet and dry variations you will encounter in a Tough Mudder and your feet will be able to have air flow to help them breathe but they will also be kept dry.
8. Inov-8 X-Talon 212
- Solid Control
- Aggressive Tread
- Holds up well in obstacle challenge races
- Sizing runs small
- Construction issues, stitching sometimes does not hold up well
The Inov-8 Talon 212 (S) Trail-Running shoe offers a light, highly flexible design with the grip ability to go over soft or extreme terrain easily. It also functions well running at high speed on dry trails.Read more
Controlled Fit for Running in Rough Terrain
These shoes will fit your foot well especially in the toe area so you can have better control of your foot placement when you are running. And the knobs are great for working out on dirt and rocky trails in the mountains and woods. The aggressive tread will keep you from slipping when running through water or in the rain.
Specifically Designed for Obstacle Course Races
These shoes are special purpose gear that has been specifically designed for OCR use or trail running. They will definitely keep you safe in the woods, on the trail, and on any muddy slippery surface. The intense lugged sole makes it hard to use them for street or casual wear, but just like any other training shoe, it is best to only use training shoes when training and not in other life situations to keep the wear and tear on them minimal and their lifespan long.
Cost and Value
Running a Tough Mudder, you certainly will not be disappointed with the Talon 212 (S) Trail Running Shoe. The cleats will help you get through the obstacles, and their ability to have quality drainage and to keep your feet dry while offering significant foot control, make these shoes an absolute must to consider.
9. Reebok All Terrain Super 3.0
- Great Traction
- Won’t let water pool in the shoes
- Easy to put on and take off
- Work well in mud and won’t allow mud to cake on shoe
- Light and Flexible
- Can be very pricey
- Sizes larger
The Reebok All-Terrain Super 3.0 Trail Runner uses an H2O Drain technology to effectively drain the water you will encounter in your shoe when you run the Tough Mudder. It has an obstacle grip with 360-degree tread for responsive traction. High-quality ripstop materials along with a toe bumper make them hard as nails.Read more
Great trail running/mud run shoes on the market with superior drainage technology and which keeps this already very light shoe staying light through wet environments. The holes are located on the outside of the shoe next to the base of your small toe which helps the water drain right out each time you pick your foot up from the mud or water.
They are going to provide you a terrific grip so you won’t slip while everyone else around you is falling in the mud! The drainage technology will make sure they do not get too mucked up in the mud so you will be able to run faster by not being held back with the heavy mud.
Cost and Value
Talk about the cost and overall value of the product. You can compare it’s cost to the other products on this list. This should be 30 words and should let the reader know why the value is worth the cost and what things give the product the most value.
10. New Balance Nitrel v1 Fuel Core
Not the most durable
Although they're a bit pricey, these are a great option that's not only great for Tough Mudders but for trail running in general. They're lightweight, comfortable, and are highly breathable for those who get extra sweaty when they run. The AT Tread Hybrid Outsole has great durability and traction on variable terrain, but the midsole could use more cushioning if you plan on using them for distances longer than 10 miles or so.Read more
Users found these to be highly breathable so they're a great option for Tough Mudders.
These have some of the best traction of any shoe on this list and they're great for hitting some local trails after you're done, and recovered, from your Tough Mudder.
These feature a protective toe bumper that will help keep your precious toes from damage from the obstacles that the race organizers have fun throwing your way.
These don't fall apart super quickly, but they won't last forever due to the lightweight design and construction. That and price are just about the only downsides of this shoe.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
These races are one tough mudder! Pun intended. Seriously, though, tough mudder races challenge every part of the body and brain. You’re required to come up with the best ways to navigate obstacles, with or without a team. On top of extensive physical exertion, you’re also dealing with the drag created by large amounts of mud and water. To keep your feet healthy and in the best possible shape, you need to find mudder shoes with an excellent level of drainage. The longer that water and moisture stay in your shoe, the more it can weaken your skin and cause injuries. It also leaves you open to the development of fungi and bacteria. Water is also extremely heavy, and if it collects in your shoes it can slow you down. Some athletes have started customizing their own footwear for tough mudder races. They may line their shoes with Gore-Tex, or even drill holes at intervals to allow the water to drain out.
The shoes that we looked at kept Drainage in mind and used materials and construction methods that allow water to escape. When you’re participating in one of these races, it’s inevitable that you will get water in your shoes. It’s just a matter of making sure that it can flow right out without accumulating or causing you any issues. In addition to waterproof shoes, it’s always a good idea to incorporate water resistant socks as well. The more you can protect your feet from moisture, the more comfortable you’ll be during the tough mudder race.
Gore-Tex is an amazingly breathable, and waterproof material that can actually stop rain from getting into your shoes all while it lets your sweat out. So, it basically, keeps you really dry which is why it is such a go-to fabric for not only athletic clothing but also in specialty athletic shoes.
Like we pointed out earlier, a tough mudder race is more than just a standard jogging trail. It involves serious obstacles and engineered adverse conditions. Most recommend shoes that provide you with a solid base and that increase your traction. The more high-quality rubber you can get on the ground, the more likely you are to be able to navigate even the trickiest obstacles. Good mudder shoes will have a different type of tread that resists getting packed with dirt and keeps you moving. The last thing you want is a pair of shoes that has a smooth or slippery bottom. You’ll end up swimming throughout the course instead of running it. A wider tread will allow water to escape and can grip the ground and surrounding area in a more effective way. Trail shoes can be a good option for mudder races, as they’re usually designed for rough terrain.
Even the most seasoned athletes claim that tough mudder races are some of the hardest in the world. They require extreme stamina and impressive physical conditioning. Because of this, it’s important to have shoes that are capable of protecting your feet from injury. This also helps to minimize the damage done to your joints. Trying to run with a twisted knee is excruciating, and good shoes can help prevent this. Your mudder shoes should be made out of heavy-duty materials that are also lightweight and easy to maneuver. Consider trail shoes that include a rock plate or stone guard to prevent certain areas of the mudder race from irritating your feet. This can help to sustain balance and improve your performance. Ultimately, the type of shoe that you use will be determined by your preferences and the conditions of the race.
Some people find that training in heavy, cushioned shoes will help protect your joints because they provide a softer landing and help to develop strong legs. Then on race day, you use your specialty lightweight shoes and that combination will help protect your joints and feet and also help you have a strong race to improve your time.
Shoes that you can easily clean off and offer faster drying times allows you to easily get out there and prepare for your next training session and challenge. As you will see in the FAQ section below, there is information on the best way to wash your shoes to keep them in tip top shape.
If you are interested in keeping your shoes clean and in good shape so you can extend their lifespan and keep you supported during your training and in races, there are a couple of things to consider. Never wear your running or training shoes for anything other than your workout. Every time you use them, even if its just to do a quick run to the store to pick up avocados, your putting extra wear and tear on the them and that is going to add up and wear out the cushioning. The other reason is a really important one as well to think about. You are additionally exposing them to more sweat and dirt, bacteria and fungus with all the additional time they are on your feet.
Take your time taking your shoes off and putting them on. Never push them off with the laces tied or slide them on with the laces tied. This not only sets you up for injury because the shoe will not fit and support you appropriately, but this type of method often bends the heel collar and lacing system. The uppers also get stretched and there is unnecessary stress put on the stitching and the glue which holds the whole shoe together. This is a quick way to lessen the life of your shoe as well as its ability to provide support and protection for you.
Alternating your shoes between two pairs among your workouts allows them to have a rest period. This is a huge help to keeping those shoes lasting longer. Giving them some time between workouts allows them to decompress and dry out. The last thing you can do is to store your shoes properly. Keeping them in a cool, dry place so they can air out properly will keep them in great shape.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Remember that water resistant does not mean waterproof--so, if you need a pair of shoes that are completely waterproof then make sure that you purchase shoes that are. Water resistant shoes can handle their fair amount of water, but they won't hold up to what a pair of waterproof shoes can withstand.
A tough mudder involves difficult terrain, exposure to water, and obstacles that require your full attention. Make sure to get shoes that are the right size and offer the right support to ensure you stay comfortable during your race.
It's always a really good idea to simulate race conditions during training as much as possible. Having a full obstacle course and mud pits might be a challenge, but do your best to put your shoes through their paces before the race, get in some mud, climb over and under some stuff, and see how your shoes hold up. This will not only help you get ready but reveal any weaknesses in your gear choices before it's too late.
Although this buying guide focuses on gloves, it's a good idea to have a good pair of gloves during a Tough Mudder Race as well. The right gloves will protect your hands from calluses and other damage, and also give you the additional traction that you'll defifinitely want and need to climb ropes and negotiate other obstacles.
Other Factors to Consider
This is another important thing to think about when you're shopping for the right pair of shoes for your next (or first! Are you sure about this? Of course you are, you got this!) Tough Mudder Race. No matter what you do you're going to have some pretty heavy shoes pretty quickly into the event because they'll be covered in mud and soaked in water. Because of this, there's no point in carrying even more weight than necessary by having a heavier shoe than you have to. However, while we recommend buying a pair of shoes that are lightweight, don't get the lightest possible pair. Lightweight running shoes by nature aren't as durable as you'll want and need to survive a Tough Mudder or three intact, so as much as possible find a pair that has a nice mix of durability and weight savings.
When you are trying out shoes you should consider your gait and running style. This will determine the amount of cushioning you will need and the type of shoe you would need, like a stabilizing shoe for instance. Current and past injuries is another factor that also will add to determining the style of shoe that is right for you. Lastly, you will want to look at how much room you need in a shoe. As you run, your feet will swell and expand so you want to take that into consideration when choosing shoe size. Ultimately, pick a shoe that fits and feels right and meets your technical needs.
A good pro-tip to help you get a perfect fit is to get the shoes wet while you're wearing them and then let them dry while they're still on your feet. This will help them conform to the shape of your foot and give you a better all around experience. It may be a little uncomfortable while you're doing it but we athletes are accustomed to making crazy sacrifices for the sports we love.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What is a Tough Mudder Race?
A Tough Mudder is a 10-mile obstacle course designed to test your physical and mental strength. It is a team challenge with your choice of a half which is the 5-mile equivalent or the 10-mile Tough Mudder.
q: What should I wear?
Wear light clothes, rain gear, and sunscreen if needed. It’s best to leave the jewelry at home, and a change of clothes as well as a towel is strongly advised because you are going to get wet and muddy.
q: What is the best way to run on rough terrain?
Maintain good posture by keeping your hips and chest forward and make sure you have a good stride. You want to land under a bent knee so that your joint can absorb more of the impact. You also want to take short, quick steps because this will reduce your risk to be injured.
q: What should I do to avoid injury when running?
Know what type of shoe you need, then get fitted correctly for it. Next, its very basic, keep your training frequent and make sure you also have the right socks to wear with your shoes. Also, replacing your kicks every 300-500 miles will ensure they are in good enough shape to support your training.
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