Wearing Vibrams For Mud Running Obstacle Courses

Vibram FiveFingers Running Courses

Mud running obstacle courses such as Tough Mudder, Spartan Race and Total Warrior are a new and fun way for fitness enthusiasts to test themselves and are becoming increasingly popular. An event such as Tough Mudder, which is a worldwide competition, has already had more than 2 million participants. Most mud running obstacle courses are around 10km - the majority of events will offer two courses Spartan Race for instance has a 5km and 20km course at all event,  and offer a great way to gauge your strength and endurance whilst having fun. Participating in these “mudnificent” events have an added bonus, that of helping others in the community because most events require entry fees, with a portion of the proceeds going to worthwhile charities. Tough Mudder has already raised over 1 million pound for Help for Heros, who they are an official partner of. Plus many competitors raise money themselves for charity. The courses are set on muddy terrain and have various obstacles that you must scale over, under and through, putting all your hard work and training to the ultimate test of endurance. So have you got what it takes to tackle these “mudstacles?”

Choosing the correct footwear for your next or even first mud run race will play a huge part in how well you ultimately perform on the big day. Many people think that the best option is to go for the old beaten up trainers that have not had an airing in quite a while, as they will most likely end up ruined anyway. But have you considered Vibram FiveFingers? Many competitors already do so, if you have the time sit and watch the promotional video for Total Warriors and it’s very noticeable that a large number of people have them on and for good reason.

Vibram FiveFingers are ergonomically designed minimalist shoes that have been created to mimic the sensation and benefits of going barefoot, whilst still providing a layer of protection from the natural elements. Whether it’s the long grass in the Lake District at  a Total Warrior event or water tunnels in London for Tough Mudder  you will have nothing to fear.

Vibram FiveFinger shoes are becoming increasingly popular due to the long list of benefits they provide the wearer. The main areas of physical improvement are: stronger and more toned muscles, ligaments and tendons in the lower legs and feet, which makes it’s way up the body to the core for improved conditioning. Vibram also gives wearers the ability to flex their toes in the way nature intended with each one moving independently - much like fingers. Add to this, improved balance, all of which has been proven after rigorous scientific testing.

Not only can Vibrams aid the wearer’s overall health and body, but also there are many added benefits of wearing Vibram FiveFingers during a mud obstacle course event. Many of the “veteran” obstacle course racers are opting to wear Vibram Five Fingers because they give both the feet and toes much more manoeuvrability and agility. This becomes a huge asset when trying to tackle a lot of the obstacles whilst going around the course, especially on obstacles that require climbing walls. With the “Walk of Death”, a four metre drop from a slippery plank into freezing water at a Tough Mudder or the 45-degree Giant Slippery Wall in Spartan Races this extra peace of mind is invaluable.

Not only this, but Vibrams are also incredibly lightweight. The Vibram FiveFinger KSO EVO, which is arguably the most suitable shoe across the whole range, weighs in at approximately 142g for the female version and approximately 190g for the male versions. This varies slightly depending on size. If you compare this to the average very lightweight running trainer, which weighs in at around 400g, there is a noticeable difference in weight. With the Vibram FiveFinger KSO EVO you will ultimately be less weighed down. Not only will your feet have less weight on them but also the way in which Vibram FiveFingers are designed ensures that they will not slip off in the mud whilst you’re making your way around the with courses on all the most popular events like Tough Mudder, Total Warrior and Spartan Races all having elements of both mud and water the lighter shoes will become a blessing at the end of 10miles.

The specially designed soles allow for ample lateral movement, which means quick changes of direction are effortless whilst giving wearers the best traction possible in both mud and water, allowing for better grip on the obstacles.

From an aesthetic perspective there are huge advantages. The lightweight and breathable material used in making them does not attract mud nor does it become excessively heavy after being submerged in water. This means that whilst completing the course there will be minimal changes in your shoes from start to finish. At the end of the race you will not be left with a ruined pair of trainers since Vibrams are extremely easy to clean and will not have to be tossed out.

To summarise; Vibram FiveFingers are the best choice of footwear for an outdoor obstacle course because:

  1. They fit the feet like a glove so are incredibly comfortable and are highly unlikely to fall off
  2. The lightweight material means that the shoes don’t hang onto to water once wet
  3. The sole is designed for maximal traction and grip especially in challenging terrain
  4. Vibram shoes are very hardwearing and provide great protection for your feet – without being too heavy
  5. Vibram shoes can be rinsed off and then thrown straight in the washing machine – so no hassle on a big clean-up operation after the race either (for your shoes anyway!)

*If you’ve not worn Vibrams before; please ensure that you take enough time to correctly transition properly into the shoes before race day. This can be achieved by following the instructions on our Transition to Vibram page. Doing this will allow the tendons, ligaments, and muscles in your feet, as well as those in your ankles and calves time to adjust and become stronger before you start running in them full time.

Enjoy! And good luck!

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