Best Spartan Race Shoes
Training for Spartan? Thinking about training? If so, you know that equipping yourself with the best gear can be the trick to really pushing yourself farther than you ever thought possible. The right shoes will really help you scale difficult obstacles, and run through muddy and rocky terrain– all while keeping your feet dry and comfortable. While you are getting ready, it is best to pick a pair of trainers to wear while you prepare, so that you aren’t breaking in a new pair of trainers on the big day. It is also important that to prepare, you take your trainers out on muddy, treacherous trails on rainy days to get yourself in the right headspace for the competition. Below we have listed the top ten pairs of runners to help you complete the Spartan and feel comfortable while doing it.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 14 hrs of research
Water-resilient outer shell
Built specifically for extreme obstacle courses
- Salomon Speedcross 4
- Salomon Pro 3D
- Merrell Glove 4
- Inov-8 X-talon 200 T
- New Balance MT410V4
- Mizuno Wave Kazan
- Reebok Extreme WC
- Tesla T330/T320
- Adidas Ultraboost
- Reebok All Terrain Super 3.0
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top Ten Spartan Race Shoes
1. Salomon Speedcross 4
Water-resilient outer shell
Built specifically for extreme obstacle courses
Salomon is the name that you want to look out for when it comes to training on extreme courses. Their products are made to be worn just about anywhere, on any type of terrain and on any climate. You won’t find a better sneaker to train and perform with than this model.Read more
The outward design of this model is pretty simple, however, it is available in a lot of different color options such as blue, orange, gray, and yellow. It has a bulky and rugged design that looks like a tank. If you wanted something stylish that will look good on the sidewalk or while you are shopping at the mall- this isn’t the sneaker for you. If you plan on getting them down and dirty- this is what you want.
Where this model shines is out there on the trails. It has really deep and rugged treads that make it so that you are able to scale the bumpiest or muddiest trails that mother nature can whip up for you. While the treads are really impressive, that is not the best feature of this product. The part that extreme racers really appreciate is the water resistant exterior shell. You really won’t have to worry about soggy socks when wearing this design because it is made to keep feet comfortable and dry.
The cost of these are a little bit more than the average price of these types of trainers- but surprising they are still reasonably priced. If you are looking for something that is built for these types of courses in mind- this is going to be well worth the price tag.
If you need something that was built specifically for the needs of the extreme runner that isn’t held back by mud or rain or obstacles- the Salomon Speedcross 4 is going to be a perfect addition to your training.
2. Salomon Pro 3D
Sits higher on foot
Some find them to be too stiff
Salomon is known for making products that are built for the most extreme condition, and the Pro 3D is no exception. It has a sharp exterior design and all of the features that runners will what when training for difficult obstacle courses in any types of weather.Read more
The exterior design of this model is incredibly sharp and has a lot of bright accents that will make you stand out from the crowd. Of course, if you prefer, it is also offered in a solid black design. It sits a little higher than most on your foot, which will offer you just a little bit more support.
Just like any other Salomon trainer, where this design really shines in in the traction. The tread aggressively dig into the dirt and the mud so that you will always have a firm grip on the trail ahead of you, and you don’t need to worry so much about slipping. It’s important to note, however, that unlike a majority of the Salomon designs out there- these aren’t waterproof. That isn’t to say that they are great about draining water, but they just cannot repel water like some of the others.
The cost of these shoes is a little bit more reasonably priced, and run about in the middle of the road. What’s even better is that they come with a 2-year warranty in case you find that there are any components that are defective or don’t live up to your expectations.
If you are in the market for something tough and don’t want to spend as much money as some of the higher end models- this is an excellent solution that will meet all of your needs as you train for the competitions.
3. Merrell Glove 4
Breathable mesh overlay
The tongue can place too much pressure on the top of the foot
Some competitors like brands that have a lot of traction and offer a lot of support to their foot, while others perfect something that is very lightweight and fits like a glove to keep them quick and nimble while scaling different obstacles. This design satisfies the latter. It is incredibly lightweight but provides your foot an impressive amount of support.Read more
No matter what your personal style, there Merrell makes a design that is sure to match your style. There are colors that are more muted such as white, black and gray, and more fun colors such as green, red, and electric blue. It sits very low on the foot to give you the feeling as if you aren’t even wearing anything at all.
Staying quick and nimble on your feet is the key to be able to quickly scale obstacles, and this shoe offers such a lightweight design that you will feel like you aren’t wearing anything at all. Despite the lightweight and easy design, it still offers ample traction support for those difficult and rocky trails. The exterior shell is made from a really lightweight and breathable mesh that will keep your foot cool and comfortable when the pressure is really on.
While these aren’t the most expensive units out there on the market, they are just slightly higher than the average price that consumers are willing to pay. Considering how much past users have loved this design- it is well worth the slightly padded price tag.
If you are something that wants something that feels like you aren’t wearing anything at all, but still offers excellent support and traction- these will be well worth it when it comes to training and competing.
4. Inov-8 X-talon 200 T
Runs a little narrow
The Inov-8 X-talon is designed a lot like the Salomon Speedcross 4, only it has a few minor design changes and it is offered at a significantly lower price point. It has all of the things that extreme runners need while engaging in difficult courses and weathered terrains without weighing you down.Read more
A down point about this design is that it doesn’t come in many different varieties of colors. It does sport a sharp red, orange, and yellow stripes against black fabric. It sits lower down on the foot and has really great treads for effortless traction.
These were designed specifically for engaging in outdoor activities that require you get a little down and dirty. The exterior shell is made from a material that is water resistant so that you can run in the rain or through muddy trails and you don’t have to worry about finishing out with soggy socks. It has significantly deeper treads than regular trainers that will give you a lot more traction on rocky trails so that you are always in control and you never have to worry about a steep climb getting the best of you because you can’t find the right footing.
What’s great about this design is that it gives you all of the benefits of a trainer designed for extreme trails, but it comes in at a significantly lower price point. The cost of this might run you about the same price that you would spend on a regular pair of trainers that you might use at the gym.
If you are in the market for something that is specifically designed for obstacle courses and treacherous terrain, and you don’t want to spend the higher price tag of some of the other designs- this will be an excellent choice that won’t break the bank.
5. New Balance MT410V4
Lots of added padding
The forefoot is a little narrow
Every athlete is different, and some prefer something that is a little bit more rigid and structured with it comes to all-terrain running and obstacle courses. While a flexible sole will allow you to be a little bit more nimble, a more structured sole- like the one provided by the MT410V4- that will help you transition to different types of courses without skipping a beat.Read more
There aren’t a lot of different designs offered by the MT410V4 design. It is only offered in various shades of light and dark gray, and each model hosts the classic New Balance logo. It sports a serious looking sole that has ample treading and simple shoelaces.
This design is made to fit on your foot as comfortable as possible. It has a lot of padding on both the tongue and the heel to prevent rubbing and blistering when worn for longer periods of time. AS every runner knows, there is nothing worse to toy with your performance than footwear that is causing uncomfortable blisters. The very thick sole has a lot of treads so that you won’t have to worry about awkward transitions between different types of terrain.
New Balance has made quite a name for themselves in the athletic world, and one of the top reasons that runners love their products is that they come at a reasonable price point. This model is no exception. While it is still made from high-quality materials that will keep up with whatever you throw at it, it also costs significantly less than a lot of others out there on the market.
If you are looking for a design that is just a little bit more structured than some of the others out there on the market, and want to use a brand that is familiar and trusted- these will be an excellent addition to all of your training.
6. Mizuno Wave Kazan
Unique color and design options
Cradle sole design
This product will make it look like your feet have caught fire as they zip around the course. They are offered in really interesting and unique color options and designs, and they are also built be really be able to take a beating. If you are looking for something tough to keep up with you- these are going to be your best bet.Read more
The design is what makes them really stand out from the crowd. They are offered in really wild colors with complicated designs that almost look like flames coming off from the front. There are many different color combinations available such as orange, blue, gray, and black.
If you were looking for something that can cradle your foot in comfort as you push your body to its limits- this is the design that you will need. The sole isn’t too thick, and still, offer a good deal of flexibility. It has a toe overlay that prevents water from penetrating the front of the foot, and nice and soft tongue that doesn’t have a lot of extra padding. Sometimes the padding on the tongue can cut into the foot when you lace it up tightly, but that won’t be the case with this design.
The cost of these are a little bit more than some of the other more affordable options out there on the market, but if you wanted something that made you really stand out from the crowd as well as keeping your feet comfortable while training- these are well worth the slightly padded price tag.
For those that want something a little bit more flashy, and that also offer some support to the foot without limiting flexibility too much, these are going to be a really great addition to all of your rigorous training leading up to the big day.
7. Reebok Extreme WC
Sole made from Kevlar
Sizes run a little big
Editor’s Ranking: 8.9/10
The Reebok Extreme looks as if it was designed to get muddy and dirty. It has a unique outer shell that looks like it already got a little bit dirty, and a comfortable fit that is perfect for extreme trails- just like the name indicates.Read more
The design of this model is just a little bit different. The sole is a neon yellow with brown and black splotches on it that resemble mud or paint splatter. The top sole has a yellow underlay and a black mesh cover on top giving it almost a glow. It sits pretty low of on the foot, and don’t really have any extra padding around the tongue or the collar.
What makes this model special is that the sole is made out of Kevlar. Kevlar is a material that is used in the manufacturing of tires, gloves, and vests. It is incredibly durable and perfect for trails that are a little treacherous. The sole has incredibly deep tread to ensure that you always keep your footing no matter how muddy and rock the course gets. It also doesn’t have traditional tied shoe laces- which is always a plus. It also has drainage ports to ensure that you will never be running with water sloshing around by your feet when the trail gets wet.
This pair is going to set you back a little bit of money. It is not the most expensive pair out there on the market, but it is far from the least expensive. If you are looking for something that will really help you perform and train at your best without holding you back- this is the perfect solution.
For those that want something from a trusted company- and are willing to pay a little bit more money that most of the other options out there- this is a great solution to help you get ready for the big day.
8. Tesla T330/T320
Wears faster than the name brand designs
This tank of a trainer is designed to be used in the most extreme conditions that mother nature can throw at it. It has a tank like design that will hold up during even the most difficult of obstacles. IT has a tough top sole and a really thick tread, and it is made for these types of events.Read more
There aren’t a lot of color options available with the T330, but what they lack in style they make up for in durability and performance. There are some subtle design options available that change the colors of the laces and offer some sleek neon accents and are applied to the black base.
Where this design really shines in in the traction department. The sole of this trainer is really thick and comfortable and has really deep treads that will allow you to really grip the earth to move your way through obstacles without losing your footing on slippery mud or gravel. It also sports a high top design that will keep debris from infiltrating the top of the shoe and distracting you from the task at hand.
If you have spent all of your money on traveling to the competition, and don’t have a lot of money left to spend on pricey trainers- these are going to be a perfect fit for you because they are one of the most affordable options out there on the market- while still being made from superior materials.
If you are in the market for something that is a little bit more affordable because you have spent a lot of your funds traveling to the course- these are going to be a really great choice that won’t break the bank.
9. Adidas Ultraboost
Lightweight, flexible sole
Fitted ankle cuff
When dealing with courses that can get pretty muddy, you want to have something that is lightweight and won’t hold you back when faced with surfaces that are less than ideal. The create a tighter fit that a lot of the other products out there on the market which makes them perfect when you are darting around obstacles.Read more
It’s the design of these that makes them really stand out from the crowd. The soles are made to be thick and sturdy, but they are also incredibly flexible. These are designed to be high tops, but the top of the design is soft and stretchy so that it adheres tightly to your ankles. This design is offered in many unique colors such as burgundy, white, tan, and various shades of grays.
When you are training, or it’s time for race day, you want something that isn’t going to give you any trouble- and these will not hold you back in the slightest. When dealing with obstacles you want something that is lightweight and that will feel like an extension of your foot. The tight cuff will ensure that they will stay snuggly in place no matter how difficult the terrain becomes. The thick, sturdy sole conforms to the shape of your foot over time and is incredibly flexible so that it will feel like you are wearing nothing at all. When it comes to obstacle course racing, you want to make sure that you have a little holding you back as possible.
Adidas is a trusted brand that seasoned runners know are made from top quality materials and innovative designs. With that being said, this model packs quite the price tag. You will be paying quite a bit more than you would for basic trainers, but if you need something that will work in almost any type of condition, these are well worth the price.
For those that want to get the best gear to train and compete in, and who are willing to spare no expense- you simply cannot go wrong with these superior trainers. Past users that have tried these have instantly fallen in love.
10. Reebok All Terrain Super 3.0
Sizes run large
These Reebok’s are not meant to be lacked for a nice day out shopping, they are made to get down and dirty on some muddy trails. Reebok has been in the business of bringing athletes really great gear that is perfect for all types of environments, and the All Terrain Super 3.0 is no exception. It provides an excellent fit and has great traction no matter how difficult the trail ahead gets.Read more
Sleek and understated are the words that come to mind when describing this model. It isn’t as bright and flashy as many of the modern designs that could probably be seen from space. It comes in simple matte gray tones with a kick of color around the soles and on the laces. It sits on the foot somewhere between a high top and a low top, to give you a little bit of ankle support without limiting your range of motion.
There isn’t a whole lot of extra padding on the tongue of along the collar, because these trainers were made to fit securely right up against your foot. This means less of a change for trail debris and water to infiltrate through the top to make your socks wet. Where this model really shines is in its traction. It has incredibly deep and tough treads that makes it really easy to keep your footing on muddy trails, or trails that are incredibly rocky or uneven. When you don’t have to worry about slipping, you can focus on performing faster.
These will likely set you back a good deal of money, as they land on the higher end of the price scale for these types of all-terrain trainers. However, if you need something that can really dig into the ground to keep you firmly upright as you scale some difficult obstacles, these are well worth the money.
If traction is something that you are looking at for your next big competition- these are really going to make all of the difference. Plus, they are incredibly comfortable and sport a sleek design that will never go out of style.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
This is a really important aspect of training because if your feet aren’t comfortable your mind is going to be partially distracted from the task at hand. We wanted to select gear that didn’t run the risk of digging into your feet, and that also had a comfortable sole and ample toe boxes. One thing that we really liked in an all-terrain trainer was that many of them didn’t have a traditional tongue. Instead of a tongue that can cause friction and become loose (and in turn inviting rocks and other debris inside of your sneaker), they used one solid piece of stretchy fabric.
This design choice means that there are not going to be any points that will rub up against your foot, and also means that it will stay securely in place. Another thing that we liked- and is pretty standard for all-terrain sneakers- is the absence of shoelaces. When you are up to your elbow in mud trying to make your way through a particularly difficult obstacle, the last thing that you want to contend with is tying your shoelaces.
We would be lying if we weren’t initially swayed by how each model looked. Of course, we investigated the materials that they were made from and how they would help on the day of competition, and if we didn’t like what we saw we gave it the boot- but we partially swayed by various trends and design choices that might make you stand out from the pack. Bright colors are something that we have been seeing a lot of in recent years, and they will really make you stand from the rest of the pack. However, you will only be standing out at the starting line, because by the time you make it to the finish line everyone’s footwear will be the exact same color: mud.
We know, we know- there is no such thing as a trainer that can actually make you jump higher. However, there is such a thing as a trainer that can hinder how high you can jump and how long you can run. We made sure to keep an eye on a few key details when selecting the best trainers to help you get ready for the big day. The most important thing that we looked at was traction. These types of courses are riddled with tricky terrains that can be rocky and steep, and can also be incredibly muddy.
Trainers that have ample traction will ensure that you will never lose your foot no matter what the course throws at you. We also were drawn to models that fit very snug on your foot because you will not only be running, but you will also be climbing, swinging, crawling, and jumping, and wearing something that fits too loosely will be a recipe for disaster. Designs that didn’t have shoelaces were an added plus because it meant that they have the materials on the inside that allows them to fit tight without the need for laces that tend to come untied at the worse times.
While every competition is essentially the same in one way or another, the runners that are competing in them often have different needs. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that there is a definitive type of shoe that is perfect for that specific competition because it just simply isn’t the case. You want to make sure that what you end up purchasing does have really good traction, but as far as foot design and support- that is really your call.
Some athletes like something that will really offer them a lot of extra support and comfort, while others prefer to feel like they are wearing nothing at all. Before you make your final choice, be sure there you know they will meet all of your needs. The most important piece of advice that we can give you, however, is you need to make sure you train in them before hitting the course. If you decide to save them only to wear on the day of the competition, you might run into some problems with rubbing blisters if you don’t break them in first. If you are getting ready to participate in your first competition, we wish you the best of luck for the big day!
Expert Interviews & Opinions
There are a lot of things that you are going to need to consider when selecting the best trainers to get you ready for the big day. Of course, you need to first consider the type of trainers that work best for your feet- whether they be something for high or flat arches or additional support in the ankles. You will want to select a design of trainer that is labeled ‘all-terrain’. This means that it will have enough traction to really be able to dig into whatever type of terrain you are running on, and it will have enough support in the sole and flexibility to not hinder the range of movement.
Other Factors to Consider
When it comes to looking for a pair of runners for your upcoming competition the bottom line is you need a pair of shoes that are ready to step up with you and battle through an intense course for the taste of competition. When you are looking for a pair of runners make sure they are comfortable, offer great support, and will not cause you any issues when the day to compete arrives.
The best way to ensure that the shoes that you have your eye on are the ones for you is to check the customer reviews. The customer reviews will be your inside look at how these shoes worked for other customers in their daily life and on competition day. You can see if they hold up and they will be the shoes to bring you that much closer to achieving your goal.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What is the Spartan Race?
The origins of the competition span all the way back to 2004, when it was a simple add-on event to something called the “Death Race”. The first competition came in 2012, and it was so popular in its first year that in subsequent years additional sponsors began to get involved such as Reebok.
Competitors compete on a course that can span anywhere from 3 miles to 26 miles, and if filled with various types of obstacles to overcome. There is usually a great deal of mud and muck to contend with, walls to scale, and lakes to swing over. Athletes that finish are rewarded with a metal, and top athletes can even win prizes. It is designed to be messy and wild, so be prepared to get muddy, wet, and cold.
q: What types of obstacles are there?
If you are worried about getting a little dirty- this competition was not designed for you!. Many of the obstacles revolve around mud. While each course is just a little bit different, some of the obstacles you might encounter include crawling through the mud underwires, scaling rope walls, traveling via monkey bars over pools of muddy water, flipping tires, and long runs over rocky terrains. Be prepared to cross the finish line covered in mud and sweat, and possibly even a few tears.
q: What types of shoes won’t work?
There aren’t really any shoes that are banned from the event, but there are some types that will limit your time as well and your enjoyment. You don’t want to wear trainers that don’t drain well, or else you will be running the entire even with footwear that is full of water. Be sure to select footwear that is either considered to be waterproof or made from a lightweight mesh so it drains easily and dries quickly.
q: What else should I wear?
As far as clothing is concerned, it is in your best interest not to wear anything that is made out of cotton. Sure, cotton is really light and comfortable, but when it gets wet it becomes cold and heavy- and you will most definitely be getting wet while competing in this event. Try to select clothes that are made out of nylon or polyester so that it doesn’t hold water and it will be able to dry faster than other types of fabrics.
The fewer materials that you have weighing you down simply means that you will be able to complete the course faster and happier. Plus, whenever you have to adjust your clothing means you are going to be losing time that you could be running or climbing, essentially putting you behind.
q: How should I prepare and train?
One thing that a lot of veterans will tell you is that you should avoid training in the gym. This competition is messy and wild, and gyms are very organized and clean. One of the most important things to get ready for this event is to get in the right headspace. Don’t just reserve training days for those lovely days in the middle of May. Lace up those sneakers and head out on the trails in the middle of a rain shower.
Don’t be afraid of getting a little messy even while you are training! Knowing how you perform when you are wet and cold will really help you be prepared for the day of competition. Another thing that veterans urge is that you need to perfect everyone’s favorite exercise: the burpee. While going for runs and lifting weights might help you get stronger, burpees are the perfect exercise that will engage all of those small muscles needed to scale various types of obstacles.