Going on a Spartan Race?
A Tough Mudder?
Or some other popular mud run and are wondering what shoes to wear?
I’ve got one arguably perfect recommendation for you, a recommendation that I have seen used by many contestants in these races with great results and also the same pair I decided to try, which got me through 3 mud runs and counting!
Here it is:
The Salomon Speedcross 3. The best shoes I’ve ever worn to a mud run. And here is the proof of each event I’ve done with these on:
First off, we have the 2 Tough Mudders I did, one which was in 2016 and another in 2017. Here is a picture of me using the Salomon Speedcross 3 on both events (oh and it’s the same pair by the way, these babies are resilient beyond belief and I still have them in 2018, ready to go for the next one):
Describing the experience:
The very first time I used these shoes was in the 2016 Tough Mudder. I did a few races like that one before, but I really miscalculated and wore some completely unreliable sneakers that almost ended up breaking my feet.
These races will absolutely have you slipping no matter how good your balance is and in the wrong area, that slip can easily lead to an injury. In anticipation of the 2016 event, I decided that I couldn’t take these crazy risks no more, did some research, saw that the most popular sneaker used in these events was the Salomon Speedcross 3, invested in a pair and never looked back since.
On the day of the race, I was totally BLOWN away at what a difference wearing these things made. People, I’m telling you, if you’re doing a mud run, you need these shoes, period. Here’s just a small list of the immediate things I noticed:
-Incredible balance no matter where I was standing or running through.
-I barely slipped during the race and keep in mind, I ran through dirt, mud, water, and various other things.
-I have to honestly reiterate at how shocked I was at how little I slipped. I was literally sprinting uphills while people were CRAWLING on them…
And here is another picture:
I was also amazed at how comfortable they were. Even though I was racing for HOURS straight, I never felt discomfort on my feet.
I though for sure that when I finished the race, that I’d have to throw them out because of how dirty they were, but I decided to put them in a bag, take them home and take my chance at washing them. I am SO glad I did, because they were right back to their awesomeness after a few rinses with soap:
And so they were used again, but this time on the Spartan Beast which came nearly a year later…
I was so impressed by the upgraded experience I got from wearing these things, that I ended up taking them on many hikes I did. I will explain some stuff I did while on those hikes in a bit, but the point is, before I did the Spartan Race, I still used these same shoes again and again, and by the time the Spartan Race rolled around, they were ready to go once again, and once more, after finishing the race, they were washed and ready yet again:
Now keep in mind once again that we’re talking about 2 seriously long and difficult mud runs that these shoes went through AND several hikes. And they still keep going and going. I cannot say enough about the resilience of these things. I loved them so much that I even got a second pair, but in all honesty, I haven’t even used it since the first pair is still serving me to this day in 2018. They are showing NO signs of tear and I am still shocked whenever I look at them…
Back to Tough Mudder, a year later!
Despite having a second pair available to me, I still decided to take my original pair with me and I was not disappointed again. Basically the same things I said I experience on the first Tough Mudder, I also experienced here.
Now I will say certain obstacles on both these events have you crossing on narrow pathways and man made props and they are so narrow that you have to tip toe on many of them and in these cases, you really need good balance. No kinds of shoes will save you here, but for the MAJORITY of these races which involves getting into dirty places and having to cross them (like 90% of it), this is where these shoes shine consistently.
Now that I’ve shared my experiences, let me get into details on the Salomon Speedcross 3:
Let me show you what to expect from them, what they look like from different angles and more:
How it looks: I think it looks awesome. In fact, when I did my hikes/mud runs, I did receive a compliments from hikers and fellow runners.
Who these shoes are for: Regardless if you’re a man or woman, these shoes are available for both.
Different colors available! See which colors suite you best.
There are no shoelaces on these kinds of models, only kevlar. I suggest you put the lace behind the tongue of the sneaker when you’re jogging. Tightening and loosening the laces is easy. I honestly found this to be a HUGE perk for mud runs. Regular shoe laces are going to come untied during these events, but the specific lace system in place for the Salomon Speedcross 3 is completely different and convenient.
I was surprised by the immediate comfort. Usually there is some kind of “break in” period to wearing sneakers but I did not have that with the Salomon, I immidetly felt like I had been wearing them for a long time, when I put the on the first time. Putting these sneakers on the first time felt like my feet were stepping on some kind of memory foam mattress in that it felt so natural and comfortable.
The outer sole and mid sole had many bumps on them (I don’t know what the name of this part of the shoe is), but they are made for traction which played an important role later when I began hiking with them.
Besides the Spartan & Tough Mudder Races, see what I put my Salmon sneakers through!
As I said earlier, I did many hikes between the mud runs I completed and here are a few I documented with these shoes on:
The first hike I took with these shoes consisted of 2 stages:
Hiking up a 2,000 foot mountain to reach an outlook. Then driving up to the next hike which was up a large waterfall (over 150 feet high). Total distance of the hike was about 3 miles, but obviously in up and down elevations.
This hike had many traction testing elements such as:
- Wet, slippery grass.
- Gravel in different varieties.
- Dry and wet dirt, sometimes about an inch deep.
- Dry and wet leaves over dirt.
- Steep climbs up branches of trees.
- Hopping in between large rocks.
- Going through wet, slippery rocks.
All of those challenges are in a mud run too and on them, some people choose to time themselves so throughout this hike, I was also timing myself to see how fast and comfortably I could jog through many of the obstacles the hike had.
- I was jogging up and down the slippery leaves.
- I was jogging through the grass, no matter if was dry or wet.
- I was jogging through the dirt areas and gravel.
- Many times the ground was mixed in these things and had large rocks which required me to hop on and over.
- I had times where I would hop of a rock to reach another to make it look like a wall jump obstacle.
Basically, after seeing what these sneakers did for me on Tough Mudder, I didn’t hesitate to put these sneakers to the test.
More tests: I hiked with these shoes on during the fall/winter seasons (when it’s extra slippery):
Recently I did another hike on the same trail but only in the fall season. Lucky for us (I went with a friend), there was also snow, but in the above picture what I did was dash through a slippery trail, DOWNHILL.
The picture above is a little blurry in areas because I was literally running down that hill (And by the way, I do not recommend you do this unless you have good balance) WHILE holding onto 2 GoPro cameras! Yes, I was really passionate about testing the traction and comfort of these shoes and let me tell you, they passed with flying colors (yet again).
Though my shoes did get dirty, they washed easily and I don’t recall having any slips. You just CANNOT do this with regular sneakers/trail running shoes and I know, because the same friend I hiked with was totally slipping on the same course I was running through as he was wearing regular sneakers.
Another important pro: There’s something different about the energy when you wear these shoes:
What I also noticed was that because I didn’t have tiny, yet dangerous problems like slipping which used to constantly force me to exert energy to readjust and balance myself or the dis-balance from stepping in mixed level ground, I actually ended up having much more stamina left over throughout the hikes and mud runs I did and I really felt like I was dashing, not really jogging through most of the areas.
Any complaints about the shoes?
If there is one thing I found that could have been improved upon, it’s that the Salomon Speedcross 3 is not well suited to crossing wet, large rocks, which for hikes is something you rarely come across unless you’re aiming to cross any area with water.
On obstacle races, it almost never happens (unless it rains and you’re climbing on rocks) and typically courses are designed to avoid that scenario because of the danger of how slippery wet rocks can be.
Now small rocks like gravel, whether they are underwater or wet from rain, those aren’t dangerous, but large ones, that’s when it’s going to get slippery.
The problem with large wet rocks, besides the slipperiness is the fact that because there is no area for the traction to set in, it becomes very difficult to cross these places.
I have honestly never heard of any types of sneakers that can conquer large wet rocks, but the Salomon is a bit better at helping you keep your balance vs all those other shoes.
The ONLY kind of footwear I’ve found that helps with large wet rocks is a regular water shoe, but with regards to hiking and doing mud runs with them, forget it, you’re asking to have a horrible experience. I did look for trail sneakers which had the same outersole material as the water shoes, but there are none available. Maybe it’s because they aren’t intended to be used for those kinds of obstacles and tear quickly?
Anyway, should you encounter wet large rocks, your best option is to avoid them. If you have no choice, proceed very slowly through these rocks and ensure you are using your hands for additional balance.
Other than this issue, I found no problems with the Salamon Speedcross 3.
There are just a PLETHORA of good things to say about them. And I’m not the only one:
Now I do want to say one thing about the reviews you read:
While a overly major amount of people LOVE them like I do, the only common issue I found was that people said that everything is great except the sole wore of quickly.
However, I noticed many of these people were kind of contradicted in their own testimonials because they admitted to using this shoe on things it wasn’t made for, namely…concrete.
People, why would you want to wear a shoe like this on concrete when the soles are clearly designed for nature? Do not do it!
Finalizing the pros and cons of the salomon speedcross 3:
- The Salamon Speedcross 3 is just about perfect for any kind of hike.
- Where it’s dirt, mud or other things, it conquers pretty much any obstacle nature will have.
- Extremely comfortable to wear.
- The traction is crazy good.
- Greatly increases safety all outdoor activities because there’s less slips and more balance.
- This shoe helps preserve your energy.
- It is rated as the top shoes to wear for Spartan Races and Tough Mudders (I see them worn by a lot of people).
- There are greater odds you’ll finish your mud run/hike when wearing this.
- Don’t use it for jogging on concrete unless you want your shoe to have a short life span. That literally is the kryptonite of the Salomon SpeedCross 3…
- Try to avoid large rocks that are slippery or underwater with this or any kind of shoes other than water shoes.
Some final recommendations & other things you can do with these shoes:
If you do outdoor adventures, the Salomon Speedcross 3 will create a completely better & safer experience:
As I said before, I didn’t realize how different wearing a good quality shoe like this one can help my improve my hikes/mud runs until I wore them. So many things changed that I was completed oblivious to before and I am sure if you haven’t worn a pair of shoes like these, for these specific events, you will experience the same thing I did.
These shoes are definitely coming with me on my next hike/mud run and I recommend you take them on yours too!
The conclusion on the Salomon Speed Cross 3:
These shoes proved to match their reputation easily and more. I honestly did not think they would perform this well on the race/s and be in such a great condition afterwards.
I am curious to see how many races I can keep taking them on. At this point, we’re at 3 mud runs, numerous hikes and counting and like I said, there’s no sign they are slowing down on the quality, it’s still top notch.
I absolutely love these shoes and with all the varieties (including MANY versions/colors for women), I strongly recommend getting them for any outdoor plans you may have.