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Obstacle Race

What to wear on Spartan Race Day?

Image from Spartan Race
Image from Spartan Race

Every newcomer to Spartan Races often asks, “what do I wear on race day?”

Do I wear clothing that I don’t want to keep anymore in case it gets stained by mud, do I wear good shoes or shoes I’m looking to retire, should I carry a hydration pack? These are more than the 1000 questions every Spartan wanna-be asks, and you might find some helpful tips in the guide below.

Bear in mind, due to inclement weather and the heatwave we’re facing now, remember to drink up and keep hydrated. Passing out on the course is not an option, Spartan!

What NOT to Wear:

• Do NOT wear ANYTHING Cotton! Cotton will absorb water and weigh you down and cause wonderful things like chafing…NO COTTON!!

• Do not wear anything white unless you want it forever gray.

• Do not use regular running shoes as these will prove to be unstable and will lack traction in the wet uneven muddy terrain.

• Do not race with your wallets, car keys, iPod, sunglasses, cell phone, wedding rings, or any other type of jewelry or “thing” that you don’t or can’t afford to lose. Use the Spartan Race bag check or leave them at home.

Image from Spartan Race
Image from Spartan Race

What To Wear:


• I strongly recommend that you wear a pair of good trail running shoes which provide you with the traction that you need for the muddy uneven terrain.

• Choose Trail Running shoes that are light weight and provide adequate drainage when it gets wet.

• A good shoe that is built for purpose is the Reebok All Terrain Super running shoe.

• Make sure that you run some trails in the shoes that you plan to run the race with and run with them wet as well.

• Shoes will get very dirty but no need to throw away like others have suggested. Use a pressure washer like the one at your local coin operated DIY car wash.


• Thin socks are your best bet. Get socks that are of synthetic material and NO cotton as it retains too much water.

• I recommend socks with individual toes slots (known as Toe Socks). They are a lot more comfortable when your feet are wet and muddy and I have found that they reduce the potential for blisters. Make sure to do a few test runs with them on first.

• Tall compression socks are another alternative as they prevent little stones form getting between socks and skin, protect shins and may help prevent calf cramps. But note that they can run on the pricey side.


• Spandex underwear or compression shorts, even for the ladies. NO COTTON!

• Note: If you plan to use your expensive compression shorts or lingerie they will get very dirty and after washing may still smell like mud.

Image from Spartan Race
Image from Spartan Race

Shorts or Pants:

• Wear 5″ or 6″ running shorts or compression shorts/tights. This will help reduce the likelihood of chaffing.

• Look for shorts with minimal to no pockets so you don’t collect extra mud and debris along the course.

• If wearing pants, find compression wicking material.

• Highly recommended – compression tights (long or short) with moisture wicking or board shorts over it.

• Learn where your body’s hot spots are so you can lube up before a race to prevent chaffing.


• Many male elite and pro OCR athletes prefer to run without a shirt, and the ladies, with just a sports bra. Skin dries a lot quicker than any fabric so will keep dry quicker.

• If you are not into the compression shirts then use a shirt with moisture wicking material. Do not wear cotton!

Head Gear:

• I don’t recommend head gear even if you want to manage sweat but if you must then you may want to try a bandana. It’s easy to put around your neck when not in use.


• I don’t recommend it as I like to “feel” my obstacles and they end up becoming wet, annoying and eventually lost. But if you must, then get a good pair of wide receiver gloves as they are fitted and will stay on well while offering some level of breathability.


• Sunglasses and glasses will get lost. If your eyesight is such that you need then I suggest contacts.


• Protect your skin from the sun. Long sleeve shirts and the caked on mud do help but applying sunscreen before the race is never a bad idea.


• Not recommended as most watches will be unusable at the end, but some watches such as the Casio G-Shock Mudman Watch are made for purpose.

Hydration Pack:

• For the Spartan Sprint (5km) race I don’t believe you will need it especially if you have hydrated well before. However if you think that you may be racing for 2 hours or more (as in the case with the Spartan Super and Beast) then a small compact low profile hydration pack such as what Camelbak has will work.

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