It’s the most crucial piece of kit for anyone tackling an obstacle course race (OCR) or mud run. Make the wrong footwear choice and you’ll potentially slip and slide your way to an injury. Get it right and, as we’ve heard from many first-time testers of inov-8 shoes at OCR or mud run events, “it feels like you’re cheating.”
So, what makes a good shoe for Spartan Race, Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash, Total Warrior and similar events? Allow us, in our role as official footwear brand of the 2019 Obstacle Course Racing World Championships, to explain.
Get A Grip
Most importantly you need excellent underfoot grip that will not only keep you upright when running up, down and across muddy hills but also prevent you from falling on slippery, often wet, obstacles.
Aggressively studded, super-sticky rubber outsoles are what you should look for. We have been the masters of grip for 15 years now and have plenty of shoe options for you to choose from.
Weight and drainage
Then you need to think about the weight of your shoes and how quickly they drain water. Given they are almost guaranteed to get a soaking, you want footwear that is lightweight and allows water to escape through a breathable upper material… no-one likes running with that sloshing feeling inside their shoes!
Don’t bother experimenting with waterproof footwear – the water is going to get in over your ankles anyway and, in the case of waterproof shoes, it will then struggle to get back out.
Fit, comfort and protection
Finally, you need to think about fit, comfort and protection. Snug-fitting, narrower shoes will hold your feet securely and allow you to react with agility to changes in the terrain. Wider-fitting or more cushioned shoes will increase comfort levels, especially if you’re running longer distance courses.
Add in protective toe-bumpers as standard, and we have all options covered in our footwear range.
MUDCLAW shoes with GRAPHENE GRIP
If you want a shoe with the ultimate grip to tackle the thickest mud imaginable, then our MUDCLAW range is the one for you. Featuring 8mm rubber studs, that are more like fangs or claws, the shoes literally claw through the mud whilst clinging to wet slippery obstacles.
Top of the range is the MUDCLAW G 260, one of our pioneering graphene-enhanced G-SERIES shoes that uses the wonder material to make the rubber outsole 50% stronger, 50% more elastic and 50% harder wearing, while retaining the stickiness our footwear is renowned for.
Weighing in at a super lightweight 260g, the MUDCLAW G 260 is fast and reactive, featuring a breathable super durable, non-absorbent upper. Snug-fitting, it keeps your foot locked in and secure as you navigate tricky terrain and obstacles.
MUDCLAW shoes with STICKYGRIP
The MUDCLAW 275 shares the same technologies as the MUDCLAW G 260, minus the graphene. Instead it uses our STICKYGRIP rubber compound and features newly-developed durable upper materials that are only slightly heavier than the premium G 260. Both shoes offer excellent flexibility that allow the foot to mould to obstacles, while at the same time delivering a nicely cushioned ride.
The much-loved MUDCLAW 300 is not to be overlooked, made from classic inov-8 rubber it is a solid all-rounder and retains the more traditional MUDCLAW stud pattern.
X-TALON shoes with STICKYGRIP
The X-TALON shoes were first introduced to the range in 2008 and are iconic in sports like obstacle course racing, fell running and orienteering. All feature fierce 8mm rubber studs, which not only scythe through mud and soft terrain but also grip firm on harder ground or wet rock.
The newest additions to the X-TALON range are the X-TALON 210, X-TALON 230 and X-TALON 260 ULTRA (the numbers represent the weights of the shoes in grammes). These three shoes all feature our STICKYGRIP rubber compound on the outsole, delivering the best possible traction.
The narrower-fitting X-TALON 210 and X-TALON 230 offer light, fast options, with the 210 excelling in quick-drainage and the 230 providing a bit more protection and cushioning.
The wider-fitting X-TALON 260 ULTRA is slightly heavier than the 210 and 230 but has high levels of protection and cushioning, plus a roomy toe-box, that all add up to offer a really comfortable ride.
X-TALON shoes with classic inov-8 grip
The 212 is a narrower-fitting shoe with a feel most akin to the 230, while the 200 is an alternative to the 260 ULTRA if you’re looking for a wider-fitting shoe but with less cushioning and greater ground-feel.
Quick guide to picking the right shoes
* Learn more about our 1-5 fit scale, with 1 being the narrowest and 5 being the widest.
GO FOR EXTRA CUSHIONING:
X-TALON 260 ULTRA (STICKYGRIP RUBBER). Categorised as 4 on inov-8 fit scale
GO FOR EXTRA GRIP IN THICK MUD:
MUDCLAW 275 (STICKYGRIP RUBBER). Categorised as 1 on inov-8 fit scale
MUDCLAW G 260 (GRAPHENE GRIP). Categorised as 1 on inov-8 fit scale
MUDCLAW 300 (CLASSIC INOV-8 RUBBER). Categorised as 2 on inov-8 fit scale
There really is an OCR or mud run shoe for everyone within the range. That, of course, means there’s no excuses – now strap on a pair, get out there and get to grips with those obstacle-packed muddy courses!
* Related blog post: The A-Z Of Obstacle Course Racing