The Ultimate Guide – What to Wear For Tough Mudder or Any OCR

Written By: Jeremy N

Mud. It’s everywhere. But how close do you really want to be to it?

In the Tough Mudder, you become one with the mud.

 In fact, by the end, you will be more mud than human.

As for your clothes, you need to pick something that will last and survive its time in the trenches. Perhaps this is a little dramatic but in reality, any Tough Mudder, Spartan Race or OCR you are going to be covered in mud, from head to toe. 

The Ultimate Guide – What to Wear For Tough Mudder or Any OCR - The BEST Gear List

What Am I Getting Myself Into? Tough Mudder or OCR Overview 

The Tough Mudder is known as one of the world’s toughest mud runs and obstacle courses. Athletes take part in three different races which range between three miles, five miles, and ten miles. Runners choose which one suits their running style and then compete to slog through the mud and clamber over obstacles designed to test an athlete’s limits.

Previous obstacles have included the Funky Monkey, the Devil’s Beard, and Electroshock Therapy, hindrances which challenge a person’s flexibility and resilience. Most competitors begin training months in advance in order to succeed, although others enter the event for fun.

One of the biggest challenges runners face, though, is what to wear. The Tough Mudder can cause real problems for people who are used to exercising in their best equipment or on dry ground, as the mud will get everywhere and require assets that won’t slip or absorb too much moisture.

You don’t need to watch the entire video, but the two speakers and the athletes in the images they show demonstrate the broad range of clothing which people wear during this event. You need to find something comfortable for you, so take these suggestions as just that – suggestions.

 Below are some of the top items available on the market and why they would be useful in this gauntlet of a competition.

Best Gear for Tough Mudders

1. Tough Mudder Shorts Selection

Storelli Women’s BodyShield Impact Sliders 2 | Padded Soccer Sliding Undershorts | Enhanced Lower Body Protection | Black | Large

You’re going to want to cover all of your bases before the Tough Mudder, including your butt. Runners are expected to dive, lunge, avoid friendly fire, and a myriad of other challenging tasks that leave competitors sore and begging for more.

The perfect pair of shorts is going to come down to preference. Some people prefer tighter, more fitting clothes while working out, and others want loose fabric with few physical restrictions.

When it comes to the material, there are also numerous varieties with different benefits. Seamwork Magazine comments that the majority of the options available are designed to wick moisture away from the body and keep runners comfortable, including synthetics.

This means you have many options from which to choose. I tested a bunch and found the Storelli as a great option for protected and warm.

I tested a bunch and their are not really shorts designed for Tough Mudders. I am aware that these are soccer protective shorts but they do exactly what you would need to them to do. 

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.

If you would like a more in-depth details on these shorts you can view it here.

One of the main purposes of shorts during the Tough Mudder is protection. 

Flimsy dollar store shorts will leave you exposed to the elements, uncomfortable, and miserable. The chosen products above all provide extra levels of padding and comfort to stop you from being hurt by rocks, the ground, and hard obstacles.

Runners should also determine whether or not they want some form of compression or not. Some athletes enjoy having the extra support, but others prefer loosey-goosey fabrics that provide more space.

One thing that all shorts should have, though, is a breathable fabric. You are going to sweat. A lot. You need something that will get the moisture away from your body, prevent you from overheating, but also keep you relatively warm when diving through the mud.

The options listed here are some of the toughest clothes available for runners, but they aren’t your only choices. Find something which works for you and go with it.

2. Tough Mudder Socks Selection

MudGear Quarter Length Trail Running Socks - Men and Women - Running, Hiking, Cycling, and More, 2-Pack  (Black/Orange, Large)

It’s time to contact the sock monster in the dryer, because you need some real bad boys to help you. Regular people might not think about their socks too much, but runners definitely do.

For an event like the Tough Mudder, you need a pair that will protect you from the harsh elements you’re going to face.

Mud runs are grueling normally, and this mother of the mud runs is no exception. You need a material that will stop mud from coating your legs and feet, will wick away moisture, and keep you warm and dry as you progress.

My TOP CHOICE is MudGear. There are specifically designed for Mud Runs, Tough Mudders, or any OCR. 

MudGear Quarter Length Socks - Trail Running Socks for Women and Men for Sport, Gym, Running, Yoga, Tennis, Travel,Cycling,Golf - 2 Pack Athletic Low Cut Anti-Slip Workout Socks (Black/Orange,Large)
  • COMFORTABLE CREW SOCKS : Mudgear mens athletic socks are thick-cushioned where you need it, breathable and light-weight where you don't. Extra-cushioning is located at the top of the foot and on half of the foot-bed. A snug-fit collar and upper-arch support keeps these thin socks secure and prevents slipping in any condition.
  • HIGH QUALITY AND DURABILITY OF ATHLETIC SOCKS : Mudgear sport socks are made from 95% Polyester, 5% Spandex. Originally designed for obstacle races like Tough Mudder and Spartan Race. The crew length of womens running socks is perfect for dealing with mud and dirt during outdoor-sports, but is also great for work-outs  at the gym, any sport or activity like running, boxing, basketball, tennis, yoga, crossfit, and more.
  • MEDIUM ANKLE COMPRESSION OF WORKOUT SOCKS – This gym socks have the perfect amount of compression to keep out dirt and debris from the trail, but remains comfortable over extended periods of exercise. Designed not to retain water and quickly drain when wet, this low cut socks are perfect for hiking, mountain-biking, climbing, OCR, or Ultra-Marathon, or any activity where mud and water are involved.

All of these models share some common features that you should look for. First is a tight fit. You don’t want your socks to slip around while you’re running because of the discomfort and potential for injury if you get twisted and stuck in your shoe.

For further, more in-depth review of the socks you can check that out here.

Second is the ability to withstand moisture. No one likes running in wet socks, including avid athletes. They’re squishy, they’re smelly, and they’re breeding grounds for bacteria. No one needs that while they’re already challenging themselves!

 Third is the presence of materials that will keep you warm. All of these products are a combination of synthetics and natural fibers that will regulate your temperature while diving through the mud.

3. Tough Mudder Gloves Selection

Mechanix Wear: M-Pact Tactical Work Gloves, Small, Black/Gray (MPT-58-008)

Gloves are an optional part of the Tough Mudder. Some runners wear them all the time, while others will only put them on during obstacles that are known to chew up hands and spit them out.

Some obstacles include the need to grip ropes or hang by plastic and metal, so it’s important to choose a material that favors grip. It can also be cold during the event, so if you’re someone whose extremities get cold during exercise, then you might want a fabric or synthetic that will keep you warm.

Some of the best options for the Tough Mudder is the Mechanix Wear. I liked these as they kept grip the entire race, kept my hands semi-dry and protected. 

Mechanix Wear: M-Pact Work Gloves with Secure Fit, Work Gloves with Impact Protection and Vibration Absorption, Safety Gloves for Men (Black/Grey, Small)
  • MADE FOR WORKING HANDS – Rugged .8mm synthetic leather gloves for hard-working individuals. Great as tactical gloves, safety work gloves, hunting gloves, or home improvement gloves to provide protection in any environment
  • TOUCHSCREEN GLOVES – The perfect blend of dexterity and durability, these can be used for smart phones, tablets, and any capacitive touch-screen devices on patrol or in the field
  • IMPACT DURABILITY – Ergonomic designed D3O palm padding absorbs and dissipates vibration, while Thermoplastic Rubber provides high impact knuckle protection on these heavy duty gloves

Both products emphasize the importance of grip and comfort and are made using a combination of natural and synthetic materials. 

The design additionally utilizes a breathable mesh that will allow you to cool down in between obstacles. 

You can read a more in-depth analysis of the gloves here.

It’s important to pick a glove that fits well and cushions sections of your hands that could become injured. The National Safety Council notes that it’s easy to strain and task muscles too much without protection, leaving you open to damage.

4. Tough Mudder Shoe Selection

This might be hard to believe, but it’s difficult to find the perfect mud run shoe. There is no single type which will be perfect for everybody, especially since you need to go through many different terrains and obstacles.

Some factors you should look for are grip, tightness, breathability, and durability.

Grip is how well your shoes will latch onto the ground. During the Tough Mudder, you will mostly be running through the slimy mud, which is challenging and difficult to grip. A shoe with a moderate to strong bottom will stop you from slipping, sliding, and eventually falling face first into the sludge.

The highest recommended shoe is the Solomon Sonic (they come in options for Men and Women). 

Salomon Men's Sonic AERO-M Trail Runner, Surf The Web/Blue Depths/Flame, 10 M US
  • So light you'll feel like you can fly, at approximately 243gm (8.6oz), the Sonic Aero is among the lightest training shoes.   
  • Salomon's 3D Ride concept ensures there are no "dead spots", for more response and connection to the ground. 3D Grip delivers positive traction on wet or dry surfaces.   
  • Combining Salomon's high performance last with EndoFit and SensiFit closure, Sonic fits precisely and securely, with or without socks.   

Tightness is important because you don’t want to lose your shoe while running, especially since it could easily become lost in the mud. You also don’t want the ground to suck your shoe away, which can happen to athletes who don’t have theirs tightened enough.

Going along with this, you also don’t need a shoe which is too tight. If it’s constricting your feet, then you’re not getting enough blood flow, could go norm, and cause injuries.

Breathability is significant so you don’t overheat. Many breathable shoes can also stop moisture from building up, which prevents discomfort and wet socks.

Finally, you want something durable. There are some athletes who will specifically buy a pair of shoes for the Tough Mudder just because of how challenging it is on the feet.

Your shoes need to be able to keep up with the shock of the elements; you don’t want something that will fall apart halfway through the competition!

For some people, this could mean a pair of barely there footwear that allows them to feel the surface of the ground. Others will want something with more grip, cushioning, and padding to protect their feet from the elements.

Before you wear a pair of shoes to the Tough Mudder, be sure to test them out on a moderately challenging outdoor course, just so you’re prepared.

What to Wear For Tough Mudder or Any OCR - BEST Gear List Wrap-UP

The Tough Mudder is a great way to test your strength, your endurance, and yourself. Most athletes need to complete many months of training in order to be able to finish the races, particularly the five and ten mile courses.

Clothing will be an important decision, and you are the only one who can decide what you wear. The selections in this article demonstrate items which have many of the qualities necessary to keep you comfortable while slogging through the mud.

Remember, you need to know yourself and your limitations when picking an outfit for the big day,

Now, get out there and show the world what you’re made of!

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

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 Jeremy. 

I have run over 250 races including the California International Marathon, Clarksburg Country Run, and various other 5K & 10K races throughout the United States. I am a former Athletics department employee at University of the Pacific and Shoe Consultant with Dicks Sporting Goods

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