Deciding on the right choice of shoes for Spartan race is a tough decision for most Spartans, given that no one wants to opt for a pair of shoes that will put them in harm’s way on a trail.
This is a common challenge among Spartan race competitors.
We are up to the task of solving this challenge for you so that when you tackle your next obstacles, your eyes will be only on the finish line without worrying about your feet.
This in-depth scrutiny on what makes the 10 best shoes for Spartan race tick was embarked upon so you can choose with ease.
According to most reviewers, Salomon Men’s Speed-cross 4 CS Trail Runner with its Contragrip and Climashied features comes tops!
This pair will help push your body through the race without strain or sprain.
What other shoe options can vie for the top spot and challenge Salomon’s? Do they have what it takes to survive on tough terrains?
Let’s embark on an eye-opening reading trip!
Best Shoes for Spartan Race
1. Salomon Men’s Speed-cross 4 CS Trail Runner
The Salomon 4 CS is a great trail runner designed for neutral foot movement.
Made with a water-repellent upper, this incredible pair of shoes ensures that your feet will remain dry when you are moving through wet, muddy terrains during your race.
The speed cross lug pattern on the sole also has a monster-like grip to see you through rough terrains and crazily difficult trails.
Your foot is cradled from the midsole to the lacing system, thanks to the use of Sensifit, a fantastic shoe-making technology that provides a secure, snug, and customized feel for your foot and as well prevents slippage.
- Use of contra grip technology to achieve optimal grip and traction on all surfaces
- Gore-tex technology keeps the feet dry and water-proofed in all conditions
- The mudguard feature protects the base of the shoe from damage
- Use of Sensifit and Quick-lace system to have a sock-like feel on the feet
- Underfoot cushioning and support by the EVA footbed and midsole attribute
- Anti-debris mesh protects the shoe from picking up dirt and debris on the trail
- Synthetic mesh lining helps keep moisture away from the feet
- Available in different colors
- Not optimally breathable
- Too narrow
- The high heel might make it unstable in an uneven terrain
The essence of the advanced features in Salomon Men’s Speed-cross 4 CS Trail Runner is to guarantee the protection and comfort the series offer, ensuring you gain confidence in tackling more dangerous and challenging terrain.
With the lightweight, durable, and dependable qualities, it will serve you well for hikes and competition running on all kinds of trails.
2. La Sportiva Men’s Wildcat Trail Running Shoe
If you want to go hiking or backpacking, La Sportiva Wildcat is a heavy trail runner that is simply perfect for you.
Made with a medium amount of cushioning to keep your feet comfortable for long trips, running through steep trails will look like jogging on the freeway.
The standard arch makes it suitable for most foot types and has a moldable lacing system that you can adjust to get a snug fit.
The pair features a fantastic impact brake system, an ideal grip, and shock absorption element, which keeps your feet balanced and stable.
It’s also got an offset lug pattern, which is multi-directional, making it stable yet flexible.
- Single-density midsole and thick EVA outboard provide stable and excellent cushioning
- Use of sticky FriXion AT outsole to produce optimal friction on and off the trail
- Nylon-molded shank in the midsole to control the toe spring, give extra stability, and offer protection against sharp rocks
- Vented AirMesh upper keeps the feet cool and dry to prevent moisture build-up
- TPU transkinetic heel stabilizers and Ure Tech reinforcement provide ankle support to keep you stable during rugged long-journey trails
- X-Axis rubber soles enable you to negotiate steep rocks, hills, and rough trails with ease
- Exceptional quality at an affordable price
- Protective toe cap keeps the toes safe from injuries
- Small sizes, it is advisable to pick a ½ size up
- Fabric at heel area is not durable
- It feels heavy on the leg
If you are gunning for the ultramarathon or want to get away from civilization, La Sportiva Men’s Wildcat Trail Running Shoe is one of the best Spartan race shoes for rugged terrain that will not hurt your feet, owing to the aggressive tread it is made of.
3. Altra Women’s Lone Peak 4 Trail Running Shoe
This is a fusion of technology and aggressiveness meant to give Spartan shoes a whole new definition – while you conquer more obstacles.
With the foot-shaped toe box, your toes feel relaxed and spread out to boost stability and comfort when going uphill or descending downhill.
This design from Altra also enjoys the uniqueness of Fit4Her technology customized to fit the female feet.
- Energy-return compound to reduce impact from the ground
- Strapless gaiter attachment disallows build-up of debris beneath the shoes
- Strategically-positioned canted lugs below the metatarsal provide traction at the toe area
- StoneGuard enables you to have a smooth experience as it deflects rocks from rough terrains to the midsole
- Durable mesh upper provides breathability to keep your foot cool
- The grippy MaxTrac rubber sole offers the right traction, grip, and durability
- Addition of a trail rudder for extra stability on trail surfaces that are not even
- The zero-drop platform makes the forefoot and heel to be on the same distance from the ground, helping to absorb the low-impact landing
- Presence of 4-point Gaiter trap to prevent debris from gathering under the shoe
- Heavy sole unit
- The lacing system is too tight and can cause bruising on the skin
- The upper part is not water-resistant
- Lacks arch support
If you want a Spartan race shoe that offers protection, ruggedness, aggressiveness, and better lockdown in the midfoot, this should be among your choice.
Altra Women’s Lone Peak 4 Trail Running Shoe is well appreciated because of its continuous improvement to make you comfortable on your adventure outdoors.
4. Salomon Men’s Speedcross 3 Trail Running Shoe
The speedcross 3 is known for enhancing speed on its wearer since it is fast, light, and has a precise fit while guaranteeing a perfect grip in all-terrain trails.
The use of a Contagrip rubber outsole that has multidirectional lugs with grippy rubber elements provides optimal traction whether you are walking through slush, ice, and snow.
With the Sensifit design that every Salomon has, your feet get cradled for an accurate fit, which will prevent the feet from slipping within the shoe.
- Light and strong quick-lace system ensures a customized and secured fit
- Protective toe caps shield the toes from bumps and protects the upper from abrasion
- Antimicrobial treatment to prevent bad smells
- Dual-density EVA padding in the midsole for excellent cushioning
- Presence of lace pocket to tuck the lace away and keep free from dirt
- Use of nylon forefoot plates to protect and stabilize the feet when on a rough terrain
- Narrow fit in the front area
- Slow drainage
- Non-lasting lacing system
- Slippery on smooth surfaces
- Tread wears off fast
Among the all shoes for Spartan race, Salomon Men’s Speed-cross 3 Trail Running Shoe comes top because it provides the needed cushioning and traction that keeps the feet free from pain on rugged trails.
With its stylish look, design, and varying colors, you will look fashionable and fit on your Spartan adventures.
5. Inov-8 Mudclaw 275 – Trail Running OCR Shoes
When you intend going for a Spartan race that involves a lot of moving and sliding in muddy terrain, rely on the Mudclaw 275.
This superbly rugged pair of shoes has the right features to keep you through all the obstacles without a dent to your feet.
The latest addition to the Inov-8 design is the reinforced ballistic nylon upper combined with the grippiest sole to keep you on your toes all through the worst conditions you might encounter on the trail.
It has a mesh upper that dries when you are running through water-logged areas or rain to keep your feet free from moisture.
- An aggressive outsole with 8mm cleats and water dispersal channels provides a claw-like grip no matter the thickness of the mud
- The gusseted tongue keeps debris out
- Use of overlays to give the feet snug and secured feel
- Flexible outsole technology provides natural freedom and flexibility to move on all trail surfaces and weather conditions
- Use of adjustable rock plate offers underfoot protection while moving with ease on the trail
- Natural forefoot flex enhanced with the Meta flex insert
- Not designed for speed
- Restriction in the forefoot because of the precision fit
- Lack of proper cushioning unlike others from the brand
- Mainly for narrow feet
Inov-8 Mudclaw 275 – Trail Running OCR Shoes also has a unique Met cradle lacing that nicely wraps around the forefoot behind the metatarsal head.
This attribute is aimed at giving a firm foothold while going in and out of mud or up and down the trail on a harsh terrain or soft ground.
6. Reebok Men’s All Terrain Thunder 2.0 Running Shoe
The All-Terrain Thunder 2.0 made with Reebok’s skin technology repels water and mud no matter the terrain you are in.
There is a drain hole in the toe box area that pushes water out from the shoe while on the move.
Excellent traction provided by aggressive trail lugs in the forefoot.
It has soft tread underneath that allows you to pass through the soft and muddy ground with ease without losing your balance.
- Drainage port helps to keep water out
- Speed lacing system with a quick tie mechanism for easy slip-on and off
- Dura-grip toe box offers protection to the toes
- C51 foam midsole for optimal cushioning, comfort, and durability
- Presence of a foot-liner with antimicrobial features to keep out the odor
- Underfoot sprint web in the outsole propels your feet when running
- Stiff upper
- Feels heavy on the feet
- Lugs not enough for Spartan race
- Non-durable bottom
- Narrow width
With the well-placed treads on the sticky rubber outsole, Reebok Men’s All Terrain Thunder 2.0 Running Shoe has exceptional gripping abilities and traction, which will keep you on your feet no matter the thickness of the mud.
With its stylish colors, lightweight, durability, and easy to clean factors, it will serve you for a long time without losing its shine.
7. Inov-8 Mudclaw G 260
Mudclaw G 260 designed with ground-breaking technology of Graphene-enhanced rubber to adapt to the toughest terrain encountered on a muddy mountain trail or obstacle course.
High-quality materials used for the upper areas to enhance breathability, durability, and also offer support and protection.
It has an exteroflow midsole that absorbs, keeps, and releases energy for propulsion through the gait cycle.
Your feet stay balanced and steady on the trail, thanks to the even placement of the outsole.
- Graphene technology makes it long-lasting, more cushioned, and provides better grip in mud, soft, and wet ground
- Use of Kevlar in the tongue area for flexibility and breathability
- Mesh upper allows water to drain out fast
- It has an attachment point for ankle gaiters
- Addition of underfoot metal plate to give protection to the feet
- It is available in an attractive color
- Durable, lightweight uppers offer protection and flexibility while on the move
- You get value for your money
- Roomy forefoot
- Narrow toe box
- The upper creases at the forefoot make for an uncomfortable experience for some users
The 4mm drop provides a natural gait because it reduces pressure on the calf and Achilles while allowing you to move your ankle joint in a different direction.
Reflecting its motto: “50% stronger, more elastic, and harder wearing,” Inov-8 Mudclaw G 260 is worthy of a place among the shoes for the Spartan race.
8. New Balance Men’s Nitrel V2 FuelCore Trail Running Shoe
This is a rugged all-terrain shoe made with aggressive trail technology and an AT tread hybrid sole unit to enable you to run fast, far, and in style with ease.
It is a fusion of traction, style, and speed on uneven terrain, given that it has a durable synthetic upper.
The materials used for the Nitrel V2 makes it a cool, breathable, and lightweight Spartan shoe.
- The rubber sole is durable and gives the right traction required on a trail
- REVlite midsole for support and optimal comfort
- Breathable mesh allows for the flow of air to keep the feet cool and dry
- Use of performance insert for extra support and protection to the feet
- The lace-up closure gives you a snug and comfortable fit
- Durable synthetic overlays offer durability and flexibility
- Available in different colors and can serve as a casual footwear
- Runs narrow
- Low ankle support
- Inaccurate sizes
- Lack of durability in the midsole
- No support in the heel area
If you have a high arch, you will find that New Balance Men’s Nitrel V2 FuelCore Trail Running Shoe offers the right arch support in the heel area to keep you pain-free.
You will be able to flex your toes with ease since the toe box is roomy, comfortable, and has a toe-protect rubber compound that will protect the feet from the elements.
Although the low price might make it seem to be of low quality, nevertheless, you will get more than your money’s worth from this product from New Balance.
9. Merrell Men’s Trail Glove 4 Runner
With the sock-like feel that gives a lockdown feel, Merrell Glove 4 Runner is a much sought-after Spartan race shoe with minimalist built for high performance.
The use of a Vibram sole for this design gives it more cushioning and protection compared to others.
It offers motion control, thanks to it’s lightweight, flexible, and durable attributes, making it ideal for running and daily use.
The outsole is rubber and abrasion-resistant and has a trail protection pad in-between that protects the feet from sharp objects on uneven terrains.
- Vibram TC5 outsole offers improved flexibility and excellent grip during Spartan races
- Trail protect pad used to distribute pressure on the foot so the forefoot can be flexible
- 4mm CMEVA and molded EVA foam in the midsole serves as an underfoot cushioning for stability and shock absorption
- Omni-fit lacing system keeps your feet secure and comfortable
- Anti-microbial agent in the footbed to keep the feet dry and smell-free
- Breathable mesh in the upper and overlays helps with sweat absorption
- Synthetic material promotes flexibility and movement in the toe area
- Use of padded tongue and collar to give support to the ankle
- Thin mesh
- Low cushioning
- Lack of grip on slimy rocks and muddy trails
- The plastic overlay makes the sole stiff
Extra support and reinforcement are provided in Merrell Men’s Trail Glove 4 Runner, using TPU overlay to maintain the weight and also enhance the durability.
Besides, the cushioning in it offers more protection, support, and stability to your feet, keeping you safe always on the trail.
10. Salewa Men’s Ultra Flex Mid GTX Training Shoe
An outstanding feature that makes Salewa stand out shoes for the race is the use of Michelin outsole designed with sculptures and grooves.
This enhances stability and traction on rough, wet, and muddy areas allowing you to move with ease.
The mid-cut upper allows for natural foot movement and support when coming downhill on trails or hikes.
With its strategic lugs and rugged pattern, you need not worry about wetness or dryness of the trail.
- Mid-cut upper offers natural foot movement and superb stability
- Ortholite footbed gives extra cushioning and prevents moisture build-up on long trips
- Presence of stretch gaiter to keep trail debris out
- Gore-tex extended comfort lining offers breathability and protection against wetness
- Flex-collar provides natural rear ankle movement needed when descending hills
- Use of the 3F system to connect the instep with the heel and sole to promote support, flexibility, and a snug fit
- Narrow toe box
- Price is on the high side
- Non-lasting eyelet
- Slippery on damp rock
- Tread wears off quickly
Salewa Men’s Ultra Flex Mid GTX Mountain Training Shoe is designed for rugged outdoor activities, is comfortable, and blister-free since it offers excellent support.
It is suitable for high-intensity mountain training, speed hiking, walking, and trail running, given its outstanding grip features on rugged terrain.
Consideration Before Buying Shoes for Spartan Race
The type and quality of materials used to manufacture the Spartan race shoe of your choice will determine how well it will serve you during an obstacle race or hikes on the mountainside.
To get the best out of your shoes, do opt for those made with lightweight materials that can drain out the water – and are water-resistant.
Such shoes get dry with ease and do not weigh you down during a race.
Most Spartan shoes made from synthetic and mesh materials are durable, breathable, flexible, and can survive any weather conditions without causing you discomfort.
The material must be easy to clean after running through dirt and mud.
You need a Spartan shoe with a sole that offers superb grip and stability to keep you balanced on uneven terrain or when going uphill and downhill.
Whether you are running, climbing, walking, and jumping, the soles should have a sticky grip.
You should be able to move through muddy water, rocks, and steep hills without losing your momentum.
Some soles have extra cushioning such as lugs to keep your feet protected and comfortable.
But the sole must not be too thick such that they hinder your movement and stability.
Always ensure that the sole of the shoe you buy offers stability, control, and comfort.
Fit & Comfort
Getting a snug and secure fit from your shoes enables you to stay in control during a Spartan race.
The risk of injuries gets minimized as you stay comfortable on all terrains.
No worrying about pain from an ill-sized shoe or straining your ankle from shifts within the shoe.
Having the right fitted footwear promotes aeration that keeps your feet dry and comfortable. This is achieved if it is lightweight, has breathable lining and cushioning so your feet don’t get hot and sweaty.
The midsole must be durable and supportive of protecting your feet from falls on an uneven trail.
The number of activities that you get involved in during a Spartan race will affect the joints and muscles in your body, depending on the impact.
You have to protect your body with a proper pair of shoes that have a shock-absorbing ability, saving yourself from stress and tiredness.
The shoes for a Spartan race should have midsoles made with Revlite, Ortholite, Molded EVA foam, Exteroflow, C51 foam, etc., to absorb shock resulting from high-intensity activities.
The right amount of cushioning must be in the midsole and sole to keep pressure away from the ankle and arch, which are prone to injuries.
Since you want to get value for money spent on your choice shoe, it is vital to opt for a brand and design that will serve you for a long time no matter the terrain you expose it to.
They are made with durability in mind – considering the obstacles and challenges you want to surmount.
These shoes must offer support and protection to your feet during training and actual performance.
A shoe that disintegrates in the course of the journey will throw you off-balance and put you at risk of hurting yourself in the harsh terrain while climbing, walking briskly, crawling, or running.
Having the right support for your feet will keep you stable despite the slickness, incline, and ruggedness of the terrain you will be passing through.
You have to put into consideration your foot shape, arch type, and any foot condition you might have before making a final selection.
You can use the lacing system and overlays in the shoes to adjust the shoes to your comfort level, so your feet will not be under stress – especially the arches and ankles.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Why do you need spartan race shoes?
A. Spartan races cannot be undertaken with a regular pair of sneakers. Such shoes won’t be able to withstand the intensity of obstacle courses that the competition is known for.
There are runner shoes that are manufactured to serve you in such high-intensity race designed to protect your feet no matter the activity you engage in – or the terrain.
A regular sneaker will expose you to falls since it does not have the excellent grip and traction attributes to move through mud, dirt, debris, rocks, and uneven trails.
Purpose-built shoes will keep your feet lightweight and supportive until the end of the trail.
You need a pair of shoes that allow you to transition from one terrain to the other without losing your footing.
Q. What type of lace system is best for spartan race shoes?
A. During a Spartan race, you want your feet to be comfortable and flexible.
Based on your brand of choice, you can go for the traditional lace-up system where you need to tie and retie your lace (which will slow you down during a race).
You can also go for a brand that uses the quick lace design, which you adjust to your feet with ease and tuck in the lace on the go.
Q. How do you get the best-fitting in a spartan race shoe?
A. After picking your preference based on the reviews, you should go for a professional fitting to know the right design that will support, suit your feet, and keep you comfortable.
This will save you the stress of returning to the store or having an ill-fitted shoe that will cause pain to your feet, ankle, knee, and lower back.
Q. What features should your spartan race shoes have?
A. For any shoe to qualify as a Spartan race shoe, it should be able to withstand the tough challenges faced during the exercise.
Your choice should have good heel and arch support, snug and secured fit, roomy toe box to enhance toe flexibility, sole with good grip and traction, quality midsole cushioning to absorb shock, and mesh upper for aeration.
Q. How do you care for your spartan race shoes?
A. To get value out of your Spartan race shoe, it is advisable to clean them immediately after use to get the mud and debris out.
You need a brush, water, and washing liquid or detergent.
Follow these steps:
- You can leave it out to dry for a day or two
- Hit the shoe against the other for the caked mud to drop off
- Soak in a bucket filled with water, washing liquid, or detergent
- Wash off the dirt with the brush
- Rinse and air dry since sun drying will destroy the shoes.
- Replace your Spartan race shoes whenever you notice they no longer offer protection and support to your feet, or the tread is not having the right grip.
Q. How much should you spend on a pair of spartan race shoes?
A. The amount you will spend on a quality pair will depend on the purpose it is to serve, the brand, and what features you want it to have.
There are different price ranges based on the quality of materials and technology used in producing it.
Your finances are also a pointer to what your final decision will be.
Still, the right product at a reasonable price will give you the value you want.
The task of selecting the best shoes for Spartan race will be easier for you as you take part in more Spartan Races.
Your final choice is a combination of all the excellent features which you can find in all the brand reviewed here.
To stay on the trail to the finish line without landing in the hospital is possible if you opt for one or two of the 10 best shoes for the Spartan race in 2022.
These top 10 performers are aggressive, lightweight, breathable, flexible, water-resistant, and have the right grip to keep you steady on all terrains.
To be a winner who has a winning mindset during a Spartan race, start with having the right footwear before getting down and getting dirty!