As spring brings warmer weather and sunny weekends, it also brings the start of the 2017 obstacle course and mud run racing season. No matter if you're a seasoned vet or a newcomer determined to tackle your first Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash, Spartan Race or local obstacle course, one of the most important things you'll need to prepare—besides a training plan—is a good pair of shoes to get you through.
From deep pools of muddy water, to bumpy trails and nearly insurmountable walls and other obstacles, it's important to have a pair of running sneakers that are not only comfortable and durable but also provide grip and traction on slippery surfaces, protect your feet from any rocks and help drain any water or moisture as you're racing. To help you choose the best shoe for your next outdoor challenge, we've rounded up the most popular, top-rated obstacle course racing and mud run sneakers below.
Salomon Speedcross 4
Loved by many, this Salomon shoe has a lot of cushioning for added comfort, a reinforced tongue area to keep debris out and a lacing system that allows for a customized fit and stay-put laces.
Available at zappos.com, $130
New Balance Minimus 10v1
Ideal for a rough and rocky terrain, these trail running shoes have a sole with flexible grooves made with Vibram technology. Equipped with minimal cushioning, they are also extremely flexible so you can feel close to the trail with every step.
Available at zappos.com, $114.95
Reebok All Terrain Super Running Shoe
Originally made for Reebok Spartan Races, these shoes are a great choice for any obstacle race or mud run on any course. This sneaker has a bit more cushioning for longer-distance endurance races and features an underfoot rock guard, ports for water and moisture drainage and more.
Available at amazon.com, from $99.95
inov-8 X-Talon 212
A popular choice for obstacle course racers and trail runners alike, this shoe is lightweight and flexible for racing but still provides grip in wet conditions with a sticky rubber sole that was modeled after climbing rubber technologies.
Available at zappos.com, $100
Merrell All Out Crush Trail Running Shoe
These vegan-friendly, special edition sneakers will get you through the toughest trails and terrain and feature drainage ports, great traction and a slim, traditional running sneaker fit. An SI editor tested them out in a Tough Mudder and found them particularly helpful on the slippery surfaces and the race’s famous final obstacle, Everest 2.0.
Available at amazon.com, from $65