Best Shoes For A Spartan Race
What are the best shoes for a Spartan Race? Mud, Rocks, Hills, ropes, walls and running. The right shoe for a Spartan Race needs to handle all these things, take a beating and come back for more! oh and look damn cool doing it too, because we all want that EPIC picture at the end to be awesome! With so many brands out there what is the right shoe for a Spartan Race?
Here are my 7 criteria to be a top shoe for an OCR:
- Equally good with mud and rocks
- Can withstand rope climbs
- Excellent drainage
- Looks cool
Inov-8 is famous for their Fell running shoes and their OCR specific line is the best out there. They put the weight of the shoe in the name (200 means 200g)
X-Talon (pronounced Cross Talon) Series 200, 212, 225. The lighter the shoes the more agile they are but the less foot protection they have.
This is the line I have the most experience with. When I ran my first race with my x-talon 190 I felt like I had super powers. i did not slip in the mud, my feet dried quickly and didn’t make that annoying squish sound when I ran. I also may have annoyed my race buddy who I taunted by running up and down a muddy hill while he slipped all over scrambling up that hill.
The only issues I had with them was running on courses that had too much rocky terrain as my model did not have any shank protection to make them as light and flexible as possible. And my pinky toes pushing out the side as they ripped from wear and tear. For this reason I switched to the Trailroc 245s. The Trailrocs had a model with more foot shank support and side protection. Unfortunately, they have been discontinued They were replaced with the Terraclaw 250 but can still be found on sale. They have since redesigned the x-talon line to include more side and shank protection in 3 different weights so I will switch back when these Trailrocs are done.
- Light and fast
- Great grip
- Excellent drainage
- Designed with OCRs and mud in mind
- Not great on extremely rocky terrain.
- Lightest model does not have shank support
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All Terrain Super OR
All Terrain Super OR series is fairly new to the market but in it’s third iteration of models. While the first 2 had their issues with durability the new Terrains are light and tough with great drainage and hold very little water when wet. The Shoe can be a bit narrow for some feet. They are extremely light and flexible. The upper layer is made of a synthetic material that does not absorb much water so they dry quickly. They use a speed lacing system that some racers do not like. I would try them out and swap the laces as needed. The grip is excellent with good lugs. The only downside to these lugs is I have seen them break on rope climbs. It is not a crucial area for the lugs so in the future I expect a redesign with smaller lugs in that area. I give them big points on the cool factor. The synthetic uppers give them the ability to have logos and designs on the shoe. So you can get a Spartan Race branded version just to let everyone know how Spartan you really are.
- Extremely light
- looks great, stylish
- great traction
- Laces may need replacing
- Upper does not keep out debris
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The Speedcross 3 is an extremely well designed shoe. Very popular for mountain races. They have great traction, great upper protection, great ankle protection, but they are too well designed for most OCR races. These are great for racers that need proper foot protection and are not moving too fast. The lugs are probably the best out there and can handle dirt, mud and snow. The heel has a 9-10mm height which may make this shoe a bit unstable for some racers, especially on technical terrain. Most of the racers that I know wear these because they feel secure and sure. The drainage is not that great on this shoe, which is why they are great for mountain races but not really wet OCRs.
The uppers and sole are top notch and will take a massive beating and keep going. They are designed to keep debris out of the shoe and do an excellent job.
- Excellent traction
- Very durable
- Keeps debris out
- Feels secure
- Lugs may be too big for technical terrain
- poor drainage
- Not great for rope climbs
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So there are 3 different shoes that I think are the best depending on what kind of racer you are. All of them are in similar price ranges so you should choose the one that fits your running style and foot best. The Inov-8’s can sometimes be difficult on sizing so I suggest being okay with returning them a few times or find a local store that carries them.
My Verdict: The best overall are the Inov-8 X-Talon series. They fit my 7 criteria across the board so they win the Best Shoe for a Spartan Race!