The 5 Best Shorts for Tough Mudder, Spartan Race or Mud Runs

In just a few short years, mud runs and insanely challenging events like Tough Mudder have taken the sporting and fitness industry by storm. 

Along with other events such as Spartan Races, these runs will push your limits with seemingly impossible and over the top obstacle courses that will put your physical and mental fortitude to the test.

The Best Overall for Tough Mudder

Under Armour Men's HeatGear® Sonic Compression Shorts, Black/White, Large

An ultra-soft and smmooth fabric that provides extreme comfort with very little weight.

4-Way Stretch Fabrication

Prevents the growth of odour causing microbes.

4.6 of 5 Stars

I learned from my first Tough Mudder that it will outright punish you and make you very sore! You’re looking at a course laden with about 10 miles of mud, hills, ice water, walls, ropes, more mud, barbed wire, electric shocks and some friendly fire to keep you on your toes.

Simply put, think of Tough Mudder as the course from hell, and this year’s new course is no different as you’ll see in the video below. But before the video, the list of our favorite shorts for a mud run, Tough Mudder or Spartan race. 

That said, I think it’s going to take more than a hulkish fitness level to make it to the end. It’s all about preparation, grit, mental toughness, camaraderie, and most importantly, the right gear for a Mudder.

One of the areas that I learned first-hand was what shorts I should be wearing during the race. I break down the five best shorts for tough mudder and why you should consider these below.

Best Shorts for Tough Mudder or Mud Runs

NIKE HYPERCOOL MAX 3/4 TIGHT, Black/Dark Grey/White, Small

I know we’re reviewing the most popular shorts for Tough Mudder, but Nike made their tights so damn great that it’s hard to resist them.

They bring a lot to the table and as a bonus, they give you appropriate knee and shin cover. So what other features do you get apart from the fact that they’re basically longer shorts?

Nike Womens Pro 3'' Power Compression Short (Large, Royal)
  • Inseam length: 3" (all sizes). Hip width: 15.5" (size medium)
  • Nike Power fabric with Dri-FIT technology
  • Lined inseam gusset
  • 92% polyester 8% Spandex
  • Embossed waistband interior

More Protection and Support

Tough Mudders can be really brutal on the knees; that’s why I appreciate the fact that the Nike Pro Combat Hypercool Compression Tights extend beyond the knee. I mean, protecting your thighs and junk is great and all, but it’s your knees that are going to be clambering up walls, crawling in mud pits, kneeling on stones and getting bashed all over the place.

The extra compression also helps provide support to the entire leg as opposed to the thighs alone.

Hypercool Technology

Apart from keeping dirt and mud at bay, the Nike Pro Combat Hypercool Compression Tights comes with an added advantage for wet work.

The Hypercool technology allows the tights to dry instantly while also keeping athletes cool and refreshed.

The tights also provide sun resistance as well as bacterial protection.This is especially important considering that you will be jumping and crawling through water and mud during the course.

I also like how they are snug so they can't get caught on branches and limit getting stuck when you crawl under the electric fence and wire. 

Looking at the Sugoi 9-Inch Piston 200 Tri Pocket shorts, it’s easy to tell that they were designed with triathletes in mind.

This means that not a single effort was spared in making these bad boys what they are today. If you’re looking to perform at the highest levels and make use of the latest bottom technology on the planet, then here’s why you need to try out these shorts.

Professional Design

It doesn’t matter if you’re hitting Tough Mudders for fun, things just got serious here. The Sugoi 9-Inch Piston Tri Pocket shorts come in an all black design that gives off an unmistakable air of professionalism. In addition to looking great, the design allows for graduated thigh compression and optimum air and blood circulation.

Comfort and Convenience

Your comfort is very important, especially since you’ll be wearing your shorts all day long. So while the Sugoi 9-Inch Pistons are extremely durable, they also have a surprising degree of flexibility. The material is also fast drying and includes some pockets for your energy bars and gel packs.

Women's BodyShield Impact Slider 1

You see the shape and style of these shorts and you know things just got a whole lot more serious.

These shorts definitely look like something batman would wear if he decided to sign up for a Tough Mudder. But do these shorts actually offer more than just devilish handsome looks or is there more to it than meets the eye?

Storelli Unisex BodyShield Impact Sliders | Padded Soccer Sliding Undershorts | Enhanced Lower Body Protection | Black | Medium
121 Reviews
Storelli Unisex BodyShield Impact Sliders | Padded Soccer Sliding Undershorts | Enhanced Lower Body Protection | Black | Medium
  • ARMORED SOCCER SLIDING SHORTS: Premium compression sliding undershorts for soccer players, armored with heavy-duty yet flexible 3mm XRD Extreme Impact Protection materials designed to shut down distractions and promote dominance on the field.
  • EXTREME IMPACT/TURF BURN PROTECTION: Professional-strength thigh pads absorb up to 90% of impact. Maximizes protection of the lower body, hips, and thighs for added confidence when sliding and tackling.
  • FLEXIBLE & FORM FITTING: Form-fitted style keeps padding close to the body. Ideal for layering. Features a pocket for a protective cup (not included). Designed to bend without impeding movement. Maximizes safety without compromising comfort.
  • BREATHABLE & SWEAT WICKING: Employs lightweight sweat-wicking compression fabric that ensures a dry, comfortable performance in all weather conditions. Designed with built-in mesh ventilation panels for maximal, long-lasting breathability.
  • MACHINE WASHABLE: Machine washable, air dry recommended. UV resistant. Body fabric: 82% Nylon, 18% Spandex. Foam: 100% Urethane.

Tough SOBs

There’s no other way to put it; the Storelli Shorts are definitely some tough SOBs. Storelli surely put a lot of effort to ensuring that you remain as safe as possible all through a Mudder.

I’m talking about the extra layers of foam on these bad boys that protect you from obstacles, scratches, and debris. These shorts will take a brutal beating and still live to tell the tale.

Water Friendly

There’s a solid reason why they call them the sliding shorts. Once these Mudder shorts get wet, they make for one slippery surface that allows you to slide and weave your way through any course.

As a bonus, the water and mud do not make it through the material for an all day long dry experience.

Ah yes, finally into some compression shorts. Now, you’ll notice that almost all the professional Mudders prefer to pair a larger short like the previous model with compression shorts.

That’s because while the compression shorts acts as a tight base layer that protects you from mud and debris, the larger shorts are a great outer layer to protect your thighs from bumps and bruises.

That’s why I have to insist on you pairing these shorts with the Under Armor Obstacle Shorts.

Comfortable and Supportive

The Under Armor Running HeatGear Sonic Compression Shorts are so incredibly light and comfortable that it will almost feel like you’re wearing nothing.

When it comes to stretching, compression shorts give you optimal leeway to stretch out your legs as much as you want. The extra squeeze also provides runners with all the support they need to mow through the obstacle course.

Moisture Wicking System and Extra Protection

Thanks to Under Armor’s Moisture transport system, these compression shorts dry as soon as you expose them to air and the sun.

They may not necessarily act as a waterproof barrier, but at least they keep mud from getting into places you don’t want it.

MudGear Freestyle Running Shorts for Men - 7

While I generally prefer to stick to compression short for obvious reasons (no water or mud up every nook and cranny), most people do not really give plenty of attention to their shorts.

I’ve seen some of the craziest costumes in some of my previous Tough Mudders. 

Including a couple of guys showing up in bikinis and stilettos. 

That’s why the MudGear are definitely highly recommended for someone who just wants to have fun without all the compression.

MudGear Freestyle Running Shorts for Men - 7" Inseam, Zipper Pocket (Small, Gray)
  • FREESTYLE CUT FOR UNMATCHED MOBILITY: Unique freestyle cut for unhindered freedom and performance for all athletes. This short features a 7-inch inseam, and athletic cut, making it the perfect length for the gym, court, or trail. Includes a secure drawstring waistband closure and mesh liner. Liner can be cut out if desired.
  • FREESTYLE CUT FOR UNMATCHED MOBILITY: Unique freestyle cut for unhindered freedom and performance for all athletes. This short features a 7-inch inseam, and athletic cut, making it the perfect length for the gym, court, or trail. Includes a secure drawstring waistband closure and mesh liner. Liner can be cut out if desired.
  • SECURE BACK ZIPPER POCKET - Securely store your race nutrition, keys, phone, wallet, or other belongings in a 6.5-inch zipper-pocket designed to minimize movement during running. Also features two side-pockets for added convenience – perfect for storing items that require easy access.
  • ULTIMATE COMFORT: 4-way stretch fabric is light-weight and provides increased mobility and range of motion. The unique poly-blend fabric is smooth, soft, breathable and moisture-wicking. Guaranteed to keep you dry and comfortable during training or competition. Mesh liner provides comfort and support, but can also be cut-out if compression shorts or briefs are preferred.
  • STRONG CONSTRUCTION: Originally designed for obstacle races like Tough Mudder and Spartan Race. These men's running shorts can handle anything you throw at them. The stretch-fabric, seven-inch inseam, and freestyle cut make these shorts extremely versatile for any sport or activity. Perfect for jogging, boxing, basketball, tennis, yoga, crossfit, and more.

Flexible and Quick Dry Construction

These shorts are made of durable stretch materials that guarantee a pleasant stretch of comfort all through the entire course.

But what really makes them worth it is their ability to wick away moisture and sweat in a matter of minutes.

This way, you won’t have to lug around cold and wet shorts all day long. The Under Armor shorts dry up as soon as you get out of the mud and water.

Mesh Pockets

I’m not ashamed to say it; the fact that the Mud Gear Obstacle Shorts actually have pockets is one of the reasons why it even made it on this list. The mesh pockets may be tiny, buy they are wide enough to fit a couple of energy bars and some gel to keep you going.

The first few miles on a Tough Mudder can really take a lot out of you; it helps to hydrate and keep energized. Either these are super popular or they tend to not have that many in stock. Either way, keep an eye out as they may run out from time to time on Amazon.

Tough Mudder Shorts Buying Guide 

When buying the best shorts for Tough Mudder, there are some factors you have to consider to get it just right. One of the most crucial elements is compression, and you can read all about its benefits here

Moisture Wicking Features

One of the most prominent elements in Tough Mudder is muddy water. As such, you’re going to need a pair of shorts that not only repels water, but also dries as soon as you get out of the mud.

These are usually the easiest shorts to clean which is a bonus for anyone looking to get down and dirty, then clean later. It also helps if the shorts are breathable to help you keep cool when things become too hot.

Extra Padding

While you want a short that is as light and as flexible as possible, Tough Mudder will make you wish you had a suit of armor on.

You can expect to take a lot of abuse, damage, injuries, falls and hits from other participants. Getting a pair of shorts with extra padding will keep you safe from all these and other debris and pointy objects all through the obstacle course.


The last thing you want is a pair of short that is either too tight or sewn up in all the wrong places. A Mudder worthy pair should be stretchy, flexible and made to contort in as many ways as inhumanly possible.

This will allow you to maneuver through the course with ease and without anything restricting your range of motion.

Get the Right Underwear

Here’s where common sense comes to the rescue. What good will the quickest drying pair of Tough Mudder Shorts do you if you’re wearing things like cotton undergarments?

You’ll just end up with a wet spot on your shorts and some very cold and uncomfortable parts. I highly recommend wearing some bathing trunks for dudes or bikini bottoms for girls.

At least those tend to dry out quicker than regular underwear.

Final Word

There you have it; all the info you need to get the right pair of shorts for the next Tough Mudder event.

I’ve given you the top 5 best shorts; the rest is up to you. You will definitely need the rest of the gear such as shirts, shoes, headbands and other accessories as well as a few lessons passed on by Tough Mudder experts.

And most importantly, remember to take full advantage of all the freebies and handouts at the finish line. That includes some protein powders, cliff bars, snacks, fruits and of course, the customary, celebratory beer to top off a tough day in the mud.

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Hi, Jeremy Here, 

I am the the guy behind Train for a 5K. On this site, I share everything that learned along my running journey. The content I create is the running training I wish I had before we started this journeyAbout Me.

Last update on 2023-09-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API