Price: $119 at the time of writing
Where to buy: Amazon (affiliate link)
For your first obstacle course race, wearing a pair of old shoes that you don’t mind getting muddy isn’t such a bad idea. However, once you’ve caught the OCR fever, you’ll probably want a shoe that provides more traction in that slippery mud and more support, among other features. One option is the Salomon Speedcross 4 Trail Running shoe.
This shoe has become my go-to shoe for any race with mud or on a dirt trail and is worth checking out after you ditch your old pair in the trash can at the finish line of your first race. In my book, it’s worth the investment once you’re sure you want to do more races (I’m sure you’ll be hooked.) or if you’re a more experienced racer looking to try a new pair OCR shoes.Pros:
Traction – I’ve run mud runs in a variety of shoes from regular running shoes to trail shoes to OCR shoes from other brands. These by far had the most traction in muddy and water-filled conditions that race directors love to have runners traverse. Think of everything from mud puddles to swamps. I’ve tested these shoes in all of those conditions and noticed it was easier for me to run in these shoes than the shoes of some other racers around me.
Drainage – This is common in a lot of OCR shoes now, and it’s safe to say I would avoid any shoe that doesn’t have this option. That being said, these shoes are quick to drain after running through water or mud. That makes it a lot more comfortable than running in shoes that hold in the water.
Stays on your foot (technical term) – The lacing system is quick and easy to use. Instead of tying your shoes, they have a built-in drawstring for easy on and off. The result is a secure, but comfortable fit. There’s no having to worry about your shoes coming off in a deep, thick mud puddle.
Supportive – The shoes have plenty of support on the upper to protect your foot from banging around on the obstacles. Plus they prevent your ankle from taking a turn in the wrong direction on uneven terrain. Bonus points for the fact that there’s enough cushion for most trail conditions. They’re very comfortable on your soles.
Lightweight – And while they’re supportive, they’re not heavy. The official weight is 1 pound, 5.5 ounces. However, I’ll say in a more general way even when these shoes are wet, they don’t feel like you’re lugging around concrete.
Narrow? – I’ve read reviews that for some people these shoes are too narrow. My feet are average width and this hasn’t been a problem for me, but it’s something to take into consideration. In other words if you buy online, check the store’s return policy.
Price – The other aspect is the price. At the time of writing, the unofficial average price online was $119. It’s not cheap, but it’s an investment that you may want to make if you plan on running OCRs a few or more times a year.