I’ve competed in 7 tough mudders and know how important the right shoe is for your performance and safety. I have been through countless pairs of shoes and have determined two things. One, no one can tell you which shoe is right for you. Two, I know which tough mudder shoes are the best.
After years of experience in tough mudders and hours researching, I have compiled a list of the best tough mudder shoes covering a wide range of factors from laces to comfort. Despite the many great options, my research indicates that the best tough mudder shoe is the Salomon Men’s Speedcross 3 with its Quicklace system and comfortable fit.
Salomon Men’s Speedcross 3 Trail Running Shoe
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Merrell Men’s Trail Glove 4 Runner
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Inov-8 Men’s Terraclaw 250 Trail Running Shoe
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3 Best Shoes For Tough Mudder’s
1. Salomon Men’s Speedcross 3 Trail Running Shoe – Top Pick
The Salomon Men’s Speedcross 3 is a tough, comfortable and breathable mudder shoe. It boasts a compressed EVA midsole which is lightweight, resists compression set and forms easily to provide shock protection. The 3D ProFeel film provides comfort by spreading the impact of rocks across the outer sole. Its 3D Mesh lining speeds up sweat evaporation and the EndoFit internal fit sleeve securely wraps the foot to improve comfort and feedback. The open mesh upper with synthetic overlays offers breathability and structure. Its Quicklace system offers polyester cord laces running through friction-free lace eyelets allowing the laces to tighten evenly and lock in place.
Features: open mesh upper with synthetic overlays; 3D mesh lining; polyester cord laces; friction-free eyelets; internal fit sleeve; lightweight midsole foam; 3D ProFeel film; Contagrip; Sensifit
- Durability – 3D ProFeel film and synthetic overlays
- Traction – the treads are designed specifically for the sports surface conditions
- Comfort – EVA midsole, EndoFit internal sleeve and Sensifit
- Lacing System – polyester cord running through a series of friction-free lace eyelets
- Sizing – They tend to run on the small side and are better suited for narrow feet
- Price – You do pay more for the quality of these shoes
2. Merrell Men’s Trail Glove 4 Runner – Best on a Budget
Merrell Men’s Trail Glove 4 Runner is breathable, protective and comfortable. This mudder offers a breathable mesh lining to accelerate sweat evaporation. Its TrailProtect pad provides excellent rock and debris protection for the bottom of your feet. The 4 Runner is constructed with a mesh and TPU upper for breathability and support. The lightly padded tongue and collar plus the barefoot technology provide a sock-like feel and locked-down fit.
Features: mesh and TPU upper; breathable mesh lining; lightly padded tongue and collar; barefoot technology; TrailProtect; 3 mm lug depth; zero drop
- Comfort – lightly padded tongue and collar, barefoot technology.
- Protection – TrailProtect pad provides excellent rock and debris protection
- Breathability – Mesh and TPU upper, interior mesh lining
- Durability – A by-product of their soft and comfortable soles is they tend to wear out quicker than other mudders
- Odor – These mudders tend to hold foot odor in the sturdy construction of its uppers
3. Inov-8 Men’s Terraclaw 250 Trail Running Shoe – Best Traction
The Inov-8 Men’s Terraclaw 250 Trail Running Shoe provides superior traction and comfort. The triangular lugs are designed to release rocks and debris offering excellent traction. This feature combined with the dual-c sticky rubber outsole offers the mudder unparalleled confidence on the slickest of surfaces. Its full rand higher stack height, double-layered toecap, welded overlay and diagonally sewn tongue provide extra protection from debris. The lace-up mesh upper provides comfort and support.
Features: dual-c sticky rubber outsole; multi-directional lug pattern; double-layered, lightweight toe cap; welded overlay that wraps the forefoot; diagonally sewn tongue
- Traction – triangular lugs and dual-c sticky rubber outsole
- Comfort – lace-up mesh upper
- Protection – double-layered toecap, welded overlay and diagonally sewn tongue
- Too soft – very cushy for a mudder shoe, there is too much give in the insole but very comfortable
Optional, But Recommended
Salomon Trail Gaiters Low
The Salomon Trail Gaiters Low is a durable and protective gaiter. The Salomon Trail provides a durable elastic jersey to protect your ankles from rocks and debris. It measures 2” high and 8” wide. The perfect option for mudders who prefer a lower cut shoe. The external Velcro side closure provides an ease of use and the sole strap provides an additional layer of stability preventing the gaiter from moving or falling completely off.
Features: elastic jersey; external side closure; Velcro closure; sole strap; reflective; 2” high; 8” wide
- Ease of Use – Velcro closure with external side closure
- Durable – elastic jersey
- Protective – forms a 2” high barrier
- Size – order a size down, they run big
Tough Mudder Shoe Buyer’s Guide
So, you decided to test yourself and joined a group of friends to participate in a tough mudder. You can’t use your yard shoes (in case you didn’t know). Those old Asics that are sitting in the garage with a few hundred miles on them aren’t going to cut it. Mudders are different, here are some things to consider to help you find the right shoe.
Good traction is an important feature of a mudder shoe and helps to prevent injury. A mudder shoe with a tread that grips slick surfaces and removes debris will enhance your confidence as you attack the course. Poor traction creates unnecessary exertion and timidness which will slow you down.
The additional weight of wet, muddy clothes and shoes is enough of a challenge. There is no need to get a head start on being weighed down by purchasing a heavy shoe. Ounces matter. The additional weight slows you down, increases the chance of injury and is exhausting.
In order to keep your foot firmly secured inside the shoe and to prevent it from slipping off as you move through the mud, a good lacing system is crucial. Mudders offer a traditional lacing system and a corded lace with a locking apparatus. Laces should be easy to tighten, evenly tighten and lock in place.
Mudders, like most shoes, offer a variety of fitment options: a wide toe box, narrow fit, foot support and varying ankle heights. A wide toe box offers your toes more room to move and foot to swell during the race. Selecting a narrow fit will allow for a secure fit for the narrow foot competitor and reduce the chances of the shoe slipping off. As is the case with narrow versus wide feet, the same holds true for high arches versus flat feet.
It is important to find a shoe that will provide the most comfort and reasonably conform to your foot. This will prevent pain and foot fatigue. The higher the ankle support, the greater the chance that they will dig into your ankles and create blisters and cuts. A lower ankle ride exposes your ankle to debris which can result in cuts or bruises. If this is a concern, you may want to consider a lower ankle shoe and protective wrap such as the Salomon Trail Gaiters Low.
What is the Best Tough Mudder Shoes in 2023? – Final Thoughts
My experience with tough mudders has taught me that running with the right shoes is critical for confidence, performance and safety. Before purchasing a pair you should consider a wide range of factors: traction, comfort, durability, laces, weight and price. The goal is to find a mudder shoe that will fit you, your needs and protect your feet.
Mudders are essential for a tough mudder course. It is important to find a pair that will give you confidence across all terrains, are protective and not produce bruises or cuts. The right shoe is the difference between a long and exhausting experience or a fun and challenging experience. It is important to choose wisely.
My research, covering a wide range of factors, points to the Salomon Men’s Speedcross 3 as the best tough mudder shoe with its mesh upper with synthetic overlay, 3D mesh lining, polyester cord laces, friction-free eyelets, internal fit sleeve and Contagrip.