Are you about to engage in an obstacle-course race? Spartan races are a great way to test your fitness and challenge your capabilities. You’ve got the right gear, and you’ve been training for months, but what about your footwear?
As your feet pound through the mud and over hills and under obstacles, you’ll require shoes that can keep up with this vigorous work.
So, we’ve created an in-depth review of some important features to keep at the front of your mind, as well as a buying guide for the best shoes for a spartan race.
Ways to Care for Your Shoes
Choose footwear for spartan race are likely to become dirty, and require lots of care. The best way to keep your shoes in tip-top condition is by using a soft bristle brush water and some soap.
Each time you wear your shoes, it’s important that you clean them straight away to prevent the mud from drying and leaving permanent stains. The first thing to do is to remove the shoelaces and any inner soles and sock liners if applicable. Then, gently scrub away any visible dirt and debris from the shoes. You may also want to turn them upside-down to remove any dust particles from inside of the footwear.
Rinse the shoes with cold water and never place them in a washing machine to keep them in the best condition possible. Footwear suitable for the washing machine because they become misshapen and deformed. Once you’ve rinsed your shoes, let them air dry, and refrain from keeping next to direct heat, such as a radiator, or in the sunlight. Doing this can affect the shape and cause the shoes to discolor.
What Kind of Shoes Are Best for Heel Pain?
Shoes for heel pain come in an array of styles, which means that you can find a pair for any occasion. When you think of footwear for heel pain, you probably envision something clunky-looking, but nowadays, these shoes are more fashionable than ever.
Certain features will help relieve discomfort in the heel and arch areas, while some will exacerbate the problem. Because of this, you should take care in choosing your next pair.
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Shoes for a Spartan Race
Before we share the best shoes for a spartan race, there are some important factors to consider. But don’t worry, because we have carefully selected these high-quality shoes based on a strict critera. Below are some of the key features we kept in mind during your search.
Selecting footwear for a spartan Race requires a different upper than shoes for runners. Throughout the race, you’ll experience a range of demanding and uneven courses, where you’re likely to get wet and drenched in mud during the overall race. As a result, your feet will require a high level of protection to prevent any injuries and keep your shoes in the best quality possible.
Consequently, it’s an important requirement that your footwear is fitted with technology in the upper to prevent any discomfort or affect your fitness while running. During the race, you’ll encounter twigs, rocks, and pebbles, which could cause your shoes to fall apart if they don’t have the correct upper needed.
As such, we recommend footwear with a strong upper that won’t tear or easily get caught on distractions, when applicable. The shoes should be specific and dedicated to tough terrain. A few features to look for in the upper is mud guards, toe bumpers, and more. Anything without these features will lead to a disaster.
We also suggest looking for strong overlays for additional protection, though this could affect your overall speed – so please bear this in mind. Leather isn’t suitable, and doesn’t offer the support you need for a lengthy run. Alternatively, materials such as TPR and nylon are better choices, while remaining flexible.
Now, you might be considering waterproof footwear, be consider your options when doing this. For example, waterproof shoes tend to be heavy, and can slow you down during your travels, plus leading to fatigue. Plus, if you’re deep within mud, no amount of waterproofing will help you – so this feature is a waste of money and won’t hold its promise.
Look for footwear with a padded upper, especially in the collar area. This is highly important to prevent any rubbing, because socks aren’t always enough to stop this on their own. A padded upper also allows you to fasten your laces tight for added safety, without causing the laces to dig into your skin.
No matter the type of footwear you’re searching for, comfort will always be a top priority, and it’s no different for shoes for a spartan race. You need to perform at your best, without shoes holding you back. The more comfort the shoes provide, the more enjoyable the experience and better you can perform.
You need to strike the balance between rugged, durable footwear with comfort. You’re going to require cushioning under your feet to protect you when standing on rocks and debris, but you also need that softness and extra layer within the shoes to keep your feet cozy. But the shoes must provide protection around the arch to prevent any injuries and keep you literally on your feet quicker.
As such, some of the comfortable features to look for include softness, breathability, and flexibility; the latter feature being the most important of the three. You want the shoes to mold to your feet and move wherever you go. If they hold you back, and send you off-balance, they’re not suitable for a spartan race.
Investigate the footwear’s lining, too. The shoes should feature a breathable lining with moisture-wicking abilities. After all, you’re going to be exposed to mud and water, and you don’t want this to enter into your shoes. Instead, the footwear should evaporate any moisture, lending to overall comfort, and protecting your feet against infections, blisters, and bacteria from growing.
No matter what activity you’re performing, your footwear should always support your feet. It just so happens that you’re going to need more support completing a race than standing in an office all day. The best shoes for a spartan race can help you win and perform at your best, but they must have the support you need.
Search for high levels of support, particularly around the heel and arch. As with choosing any type of footwear, you should always consider the type of arch you have and select a pair of shoes that offer the support you need. In the event of a spartan race, look for footwear that lifts the arch to help you run faster and literally stay on your toes. The shoes should also absorb any shocks so you don’t feel any pressure in your feet.
Look for footwear that offers support around the upper, too. The lacing system is significant to the amount of protection you receive. Poor-quality laces and a lack of construction can lead to injuries and permanent damage. As we mentioned earlier, a padded upper allows you to tighten the laces to suit your comfort.
You should feel stable and balanced in your chosen footwear. This includes having no unwanted movement at the front, which could through you off-course and impact your speed and agility.
Finally, the best shoes for a spartan race will be suitable and safe to wear in various types of terrain. It’s critical that you can move from one type of terrain to the other without your footwear holding you back. If it’s difficult to move from a smooth surface to rocky, muddy terrain, your shoes aren’t doing you justice and the outsole isn’t suitable for the surfaces.
Look for the tread on the shoes, as this will determine if they’re suitable for all types of ground surfaces, including on flat and rough terrain. Opt for shoes with a lug (the tread on the shoes) and aggressive traction that can battle through the trenches and help to push you forward when you feel like giving up.
There’s no doubt that you’ll feel bouts of fatigue throughout a spartan race, but it shouldn’t be caused by your footwear. Carefully inspect the lugs on your desired footwear as spacing is an important feature. If they’re too close together, they’ll hold onto the dirt. Opt for evenly-distributed lugs so they release the mud as you pick it up to not weigh down your shoes.
Reviews: Best Shoes for a Spartan Race
Now that you’re aware of some of the top features to consider throughout your search, we’d like to present some of the best shoes for a spartan race. All of the below footwear is based on the above criteria and have been tried-and-tested in such scenarios.
While you sift through this extensive list, keep the above features in your head so you don’t get distracted by pretty colors and unique styles. Function, practicality and comfort are more important than style and design.
Salomon Men's Speedcross 4 Trail Running, Black/Black/Black Metallic, 7 - Men's Speedcross 4 Trail Running Shoe
The Salomon shoes are designed for vigorous training and all types of terrain. They’ll help you perform and move at your best, thanks to the monster grip that’s dedicated to soft trail conditions. Plus, they’re lightweight and highly cushioned for excellent comfort and practical purposes.
- Rubber sole for a durable, long-lasting shoe that won’t crumble with each tiny movement
- Lightweight and flexible for added comfort and to prevent you from slowing down
- A custom foothold that cradles the foot from the midsole to the lacing system
- The sock liner delivers comfort and breathability to keep your feet feeling comfortable, and prevent any odors and moisture from building up within the shoe
- Sharp lugs that send mud flying to prevent a build-up on your footwear. These are made from a compound to offer adhesion and improve balance durability
- Rugged, yet cushioned feel that’s built for comfort and rough terrain
Inov-8 Women's Roclite 290 Trail Runner, Grey/Pink/White, 5.5 D US - Women's Roclite 290 Trail Runner Shoes
These women’s shoes are the perfect gear for a spartan race. From holding the shoe, you can appreciate its high-quality materials and compound build that’ll help you excess in any sport. Plus, they’re designed with a hard durable rubber along the heel for increased traction and maximum support.
- Available in a range of colors and designs
- Lightweight and flexible design to help you move quickly and confidently across grass and soft surfaces
- One-piece mesh upper features a webbed overlay that’s breathable and resistant to debris to keep your feet feeling fresh and free from infections, while retaining the shoe’s quality
- External heel counter at the rear of the shoe to keep your feet in place and offer stability while you scramble up a muddy hill, quickly
- Firm and flexible underfoot, which offers a solid platform that allows you to dive on the floor and pound the pavements without risking any injuries or damage to your feet and calves
adidas Men's Rockadia Trail M Running Shoe, Black/Black/Dark Grey Heather, 7 M US - Men's Rockadia Trail M Running Shoe
You can always trust an Adidas shoe to offer comfort, practicality and excellent function. Looking for a reliable shoe that offers protection, resilience, while retaining style? These are your pair. Their relaxed fit around the heel and midfoot region won’t leave you dying to throw your shoes off after the race, while the semi-curved shape accentuates your foot’s natural shape.
- Rubber compound outsole to securely hold your shoes in place. Plus, the secure grip remains dedicated to keeping you moving – even through difficult terrains
- A long-lasting material that won’t rip apart from any sign of mud or debris
- Excellent gripping lugs that ensure easier navigation and excellent stride on a range of surfaces
- Mesh upper for breathability and keep the shoe durable and long-lasting. The airflow offers adequate ventilation to keep your feet dry and cool, no matter the weather or conditions
New Balance Women's FuelCore Nitrel V1 Trail Running Shoe, Light Porcelain Blue, 5 B US - Women's Nitrel v1 FuelCore Trail Running Shoe
This footwear is an excellent choice for an upcoming spartan race. Featuring lightweight materials, these shoes will help you excel and perform at your best, with no exceptions. Available in an array of designs and colors, they’ll help you stand out and stay fashionable on the field.
- 1.0 Performance insert provides a cushioned, soft base for your feet. It’s also removable for easy cleaning, helping to improve overall hygiene and make the shoe long-lasting
- The shoes mold to your feet to provide a comfortable feel, while evoking the flexibility and stability you’re looking for during a spartan race
- Run faster and for longer with the enhanced midsole that provides your arch
- A soft sole to keep your feet protected and comfortable, even while traveling over stones and rocks
- A thick outsole makes the shoes durable, while offering all the protection you need from transitioning between different surfaces
Available in an extensive range of colors, these running shoes are the most versatile on this list. Wear them for general running on flat, smooth surfaces or put them to work with a vigorous obstacle course. Either way, they’re a durable purchase for all surfaces and occasions.
- Rubber sole for ultimate durable and a long-lasting, protective layer
- The shoes absorb impact against rough terrain and when traveling over rocky surfaces
- Extensive arch support. These shoes allow your feet to go in the direct they want to, without any restrictions
- Flexible material for a great comfort factor
- 3mm lugs is the average measurement so mud won’t remain trapped in the shoes, but also to provide a smooth transition to smooth, flat surfaces
- Fresh lining to offer excellent breathability and keep your feet feeling fresh and free from moisture
Merrell Women's Vapor Glove 3 Trail Runner, Baltic, 7.5 M US - Merrell Women's Vapor Glove 3 Trail Runner
Don’t compensate style for practicality and protection with these high-performance shoes. They’ll help you reach your destination without any injuries and no feet ache the following day. Clamber through the mud and sprint up hills with the durable sole, while ensuring your arch is supported the entire way.
- Mesh upper to remain comfortable against your skin and remove moisture and odor from inside of the shoe
- Barefoot Technology makes the shoes feel lightweight and cushioned, without the heaviness of traditional trail footwear
- Rubber sole for optimum durability and to provide a spongy effect as you pound the pavements
- Vibram sole that helps you to run quick and not get stuck in any piles of mud or debris
- Excellent stability so you won’t slip in the mood, and the shoes keep your feet perfectly alligned
We know it’s difficult to decipher the best shoes for a spartan race with so much choice. That’s why we provided a diverse selection based on gender, style, performance, and budget. If we only had the time to share one pair of footwear, we’d declare the Salomon Men’s Speedcross 4 Trail Running Shoe the overall winner.
This footwear excels. The sharp lugs, its rugged outsole and textured upper makes these shoes perfect for long and fast runs. They’re easy to clean and maintain, while offering excellent protection throughout your feet. Slip these on and you’ll feel ready to conquer anything.
Once you’ve purchased your desired footwear, we recommend walking around your house and up and down stairs so they mold to your foot size and shape. Doing so will also help to improve the flexibility, so when it comes to the race, you don’t feel restricted by your footwear.
Do you have any tips on selecting the best footwear for an obstacle-course race? Or perhaps you have some additional recommendations. Share your thoughts and feedback in the comments.
Index Table: Best Shoes for a Spartan Race