The 9 Best Shoes for Spartan Races of 2021

Equip your feet to meet the challenges

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If you’re a Spartan race runner, you've learned how to run, crawl, jump, and swim, all while immersing yourself in the great outdoors. What protects your feet plays a crucial role in your performance on race day—and how much you enjoy it.

You'll not only want shoes to protect your feet, but also to drain any unwanted water, provide cushioning, lend support, stability, and control. 

Whether you’re a casual trail runner learning the ropes or a diehard Spartan racer, the number one thing for you to safeguard is your feet so that they can withstand the journey, which can be treacherous and exhilarating at the same time.

Here are the best shoes for spartan races on the market.

Our Top Picks
Altra’s overall philosophy is to create a shoe design that mimics the shape of your foot so you get room to push off each digit.
Best Overall for Men:
Salomon Trail Running Shoe at Amazon
It stands out from the crowd in terms of traction, as it’s designed to help you tackle soft ground and grip the surface.
The zip-up front closure makes these shoes easier to put on, while the synthetic sole allows you to maintain your grip.
The toe box allows room for your toes to splay while hiking trails, tackling mountains, or navigating mud-filled water obstacles.
It is a durable shoe for hiking, mountain climbing, or running, making it ideal for moderate-to-technical terrain.
It is constructed with a robust Vibram Megagrip outsole with 0.19-inch lugs, which keeps your footing secure on uneven terrain.
They come in two striking color combos and are sure to make a statement out on the course.
When undergoing muddy challenges, we want to make sure that our shoes won't slip on wet surfaces, plus these drain any water.
Consumers appreciate the Lightweight BioMoGo DNA cushioning, which provides a responsive feel in every step.

Best Overall for Women: ALTRA Women's Lone Peak 5 Trail Running Shoe

Pros
  • Roomy toe box

  • Quick-dry air mesh

  • Solid rock protection

Cons
  • Tends to run wide

Altra’s overall philosophy is to create a shoe design that mimics the shape of your foot, meaning you get a wider toe box and room to push off each digit. The brand also has women-specific, Fit4Her technology that makes them the perfect fit for any female athlete. A huge comfort bonus: the zero-drop cushioning means your heel doesn’t lie higher than your forefoot, so your stride feels more natural.

This particular shoe is also extra lightweight so you can move with speed on the course, but it's also super durable thanks to the lugs on the bottom that protect your feet and stop you from slipping through each step. 

Available in women's sizes 5.5 to 12 and in a variety of colors, including Ice Flow Blue, Balsam Green, Plum, Black, and Khaki.

Best Overall for Men: Salomon Men's Speedcross 5 Trail Running Shoe

Pros
  • Comes in regular and wide widths

  • Deep lugs provide an improved grip

  • Laces stay tied

Cons
  • Tends to run small

  • Inside heel tends to wear down

With the Salomon Men's Speedcross 5 Trail Running Shoe, you won’t have to worry about untied laces—just pull the strings as tight as you want them, and you’ll be set for the day. The lugs underfoot also make them stand out from the crowd in terms of traction—they're designed to help you tackle soft ground, so your feet grip the surface. The mudguard and GORE-TEX finish keep your feet dry and warm in case you battle any water obstacles or extra-muddy conditions

Available in men's sizes 7 to 14 and in regular or wide widths, they also come in a variety of colors, including colorful options like Hawaiian Ocean and Sulfur Spring.

Best Unisex: Reebok Unisex-Adult Sole Fury Trail Running Shoe

Pros
  • Available in a wide variety of sizes.

  • Lightweight

  • Zip-up front closure

Cons
  • Tends to run small

Just because we're offered gender-specific shoes, doesn’t mean we have to go with those choices. If you’re ready to break the gender roles, go ahead and start with Reebok.

The sizes for the Unisex-Adult Sole Fury Trail Running Shoe brand are listed as men’s sizes. A general rule for women interested in this stylish shoe is to subtract two sizes from your usual size in women’s shoes. For example, if you’re usually a size 8 in women’s, try a size 6 in men’s.

Available in sizes 3.5 to 13 and in multiple colors, these shoes also feature a zip-up front closure for easy on and off.

Best for Wide Feet: Salomon Speedcross 5 Wide Trail Men's Running Shoe

Pros
  • Deep lugs provide an improved grip

  • Excellent water drainage

  • Shoes dry out quickly

Cons
  • The "wide foot" tends to feel narrow

  • Limited colors

If your feet run a little wide, you’ll appreciate the toe box of the Speedcross 5 Wide. The roomier fit in the toe box allows space for your toes to splay while hiking trails, tackling mountains, or navigating mud-filled water obstacles.

It is constructed with deep and sharp lugs to improve grip and dynamic upper for better fit and stability, perfect for treading through obstacle course challenges. It also is noted for its substantial traction, reducing slippage on icy or wet terrain.  

Available in sizes 7 to 14, it comes in two colors—Black/Black/Phantom and Grape Leaf/Black/Phantom.

Best for Narrow Feet: La Sportiva Men’s Mutant Backcountry Trail Running Shoe

Pros
  • Breathable

  • Lightweight

  • Provides stability and control

Cons
  • Tends to run small

  • Comes in one color

The La Sportiva Men’s Mutant Backcountry Trail Running Shoe contains a lot of cushion in a sturdy but ultralight package. It is a durable shoe, for hiking, mountain climbing, or running, making it ideal for moderate-to-technical terrain.

Its Integrated Fusiongate Lacing Harness with High-Frequency reinforcements and Spyraltongue technology present a snug, stay-put fit, reducing friction and making it ideal for a narrow fit. It remains comfortable for high mileage trail running.

Available in sizes 7.5 to 13, it comes in a single standout color—Carbon/Flame.

Best Cushioned: Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 Trail Running Shoes

Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 Trail Running Shoes
Pros
  • Comes in regular and wide widths

  • Contructed to make feet feel stable

  • Vibram Megagrip keeps foot secure

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Sharp tongue material without padding

Because of Hoka's trademark cushioning, the Speedgoat is equipped with cushy shock absorption for the long, ultra-distance trail running. With Hoka's bucket seat design, your feet sit lower in the midsole, making them more stable. It is constructed with a robust Vibram Megagrip outsole with 0.19-inch lugs, which keeps your footing secure with dangerous terrain. Built with a 0.18-inch offset, it offers you an even platform as you navigate the trails. 

These shoes come in sizes 5 to 11 and in regular and wide widths. The color and styles offered are very trendy, appealing to diehard Spartan runners and beginners alike. They come in many standout colors, including Majolica Blue/Heather, Outerspace/Hot Coral, and Provincial Blue/Luminary Green.

Best Style: Salming Men's OT Comp Trail Competition Trainers

Mens OT Comp Trail
Pros
  • Reliable adherence on slippery surfaces


  • Rear foot stability

Cons
  • Limited colors

If you're looking for a shoe that looks as top-notch as it performs, the Salming Men's OT Comp is the pair to snag. They come in two striking color combos and are sure to make a statement out on the course. But this pair is so much more than just looks: Salming teamed up with Michelin to create powerful, durable soles to help you excel on whatever terrain the race throws your way.

The lugs are designed for maximum traction to keep you from sliding on slippery surfaces. At the arch of the shoe, the tread design helps boost your stability on even the toughest obstacles. An added bonus: The mesh in this self-cleaning shoe allows for your feet to air out while you're on the move.

Available in sizes 5.5 to 10, the shoes come in Deep Teal/Aruba Blue and Poseidon Blue/Yellow colors.

Best for Wet Conditions: Topo Athletic MTN Racer Trail-Running Shoes - Men's

 Athletic MTN Racer Trail-Running Shoes - Men's
Pros
  • Roomy toe box

  • Solid traction

  • Lightweight

Cons
  • Midsole too firm 

  • Limited colors

It’s not a Spartan race without a water obstacle. When undergoing muddy challenges, we want to know our shoes won't slip on wet surfaces. These anti-slip shoes also feature technology that allows for unwanted water to drain out of the shoes.

The Topo Athletic MTN racer is lightweight, with ripstop mesh uppers offering a secure fit. Wet conditions make slipping easier, but the Vibram Megagrip outsole won't slip on wet surfaces. With drainage ports that accelerate dry times, you can attack the muddy puddle, confidently knowing the features will speed up dry time.

They come in sizes 8 to 15, with a stylish red/orange design. While Topo Athletics shoes are typically more expensive than other picks, they are performance-tuned for racing and offer firmer cushioning than other brands. 

Best Lightweight: Brooks Men's Cascadia 15 Trail-Running Shoes

Trail-Running Shoes
Pros
  • Rubber outsoles stabilize grip

  • Lightweight

Cons
  • Tends to run small

  • Open weave of upper lets in dirt

When it comes to running shoes, Brooks has a loyal customer base. If you’re considering buying a pair, chances are you’ve worn one of their shoes in the past. If you’re new to the brand, check out the Brooks' lightweight and airy Cascadia 15 Men's Trail-Running Shoes.

Runners appreciate the Lightweight BioMoGo DNA cushioning, which provides a responsive feel in every step. The four-point pivot system equips runners with all-terrain stability, helping them navigate different terrains.  

These shoes come in sizes 7 to 15 and are available in many stylish colors.

Final Verdict

With its tailored, women-specific technology mimicking the shape of your foot and providing zero-drop cushioning, the ALTRA Women's Lone Peak 5 Trail Running Shoe is a top-notch choice. It's equipped with features for durability and comfort, making your stride feel more natural.

For men, look no further than the Salomon Men's Speedcross 5 Trail Running Shoe. The precise grip and foothold provide unmatched traction. And its deep, sharp lugs offer an enhanced fit and smooth stability throughout your run. 

Why Trust Verywell Fit?

Mallory Creveling has been covering the fitness industry for more than a decade, often writing about workout equipment. She’s also a personal trainer who’s tried tons of at-home equipment. She knows what moves work best with added weight, and what to look for to get the most out of your gear.

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