Mud run and obstacle course races are becoming increasingly popular these days. Running these races gives you an advantage over running road races because sport obstacle course races force you to use your entire body strength –you don’t know how strong you really are until you’ve completed one of these race.
As for footwear, ideally you want a minimalist running shoe that moves naturally with your foot and fits snug, like a sock, so you don’t lose your shoe in the mud or creek. You want a barefoot-like running shoe that is zero-drop, light and flexible that not only enables you to get quick turnover to run quickly between obstacles, but gives good traction in the mud and water and grips well to the obstacles.
Best Minimalist Shoes for Mud Run and Obstacle Course Races
Here are the most recommended minimalist footwear that you can use to your advantage and that are durable for the best mud runs.
Vibram FiveFingers KMD EVO – If you like cushioning, you’ll like the KMD EVO because they have a thicker outsole than most Vibram running barefoot shoes, but they still allow a reasonable amount of ground feel. They are well ventilated, so they are great for summer races. You can however, wear them in the winter if you wear toe socks.
Vivobarefoot ONE – The ONE is more barefoot feeling than than the Vibram KMD EVO. The One’s give you better ground feel, and with that, you’ll be able to be more responsive in maintaining good forefoot running form, and when you run with good form, you don’t fatigue as easily as you would in regular cushioned running shoes.
Vibram FiveFingers KomodoSport LS – The unique lacing system of the KomodoSport LS allows for a sock-like, snug fit without adding pressure to the top of your foot. They don’t slide off your foot when you are running through water. Like the KMD EVO, the KomodoSport LS are one of the thicker Vibram shoes, where the outsole is so thick that you barely feel the rocks on your feet.
Inov-8 Bare-XF 210 – Great for running on grass, pavement and matted surfaces, the Bare-XF 210 is very form fitting –the shoe stretches and fits accordingly to your unique foot structure; they also fit well around the ankle and are great for agility.
These are the shoes that are working for mud/obstacle runners and they would be great for helping you through these races, too. In the meantime, check out my other recommendations on minimalist running shoes for forefoot running.
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BSc Neurobiology; MSc Biomechanics candidate, ultra minimalist runner & founder of RunForefoot. I was a heel striker, always injured. I was inspired by the great Tirunesh Dibaba to try forefoot running. Now, I'm injury free. This is why I launched Run Forefoot, to advocate the health & performance benefits of forefoot running and to raise awareness on the dangers of heel striking, because the world needs to know.