With the changing of the seasons comes rain. With rain comes mud. It’s a fact of life that we must live with, but as runners we aren’t about to let a little slop slow us down. Running in muddy conditions can be fun, but it requires some extra consideration when it comes to your shoes, as your choice in footwear can be the difference between actually going on a run and a several mile slip n’ slide.
Before we get into the best running shoes for mud, it’s important to note that running on muddy trails may actually be harmful to the trail, and that more sensitive trails may suffer lasting damage with use in wet conditions. Be sure to know your local trail conditions and when in doubt, stick to the roads during and after any rainy weather.
The main feature to consider when choosing your muddy run kicks is the outsole. Deep outsole lugs (look for 4-6mm or more) will sink into the mud, anchoring your foot and reducing the likelihood of slipping backwards upon toe-off. Equally important is the spacing of the lugs; lugs positioned farther apart from each other will allow mud to shed off the bottom of the shoe, preventing mud from accumulating on the shoe and weighing you down.
Though less critical, the material of the upper is worth paying attention to. A closed mesh upper, though less breathable than a traditional open mesh, will help keep mud and other debris out of your shoes for a more enjoyable running experience. Also, look for a shoe with a low profile platform (outsole lugs not included), which will bring your foot closer to the ground and offer increased stability over uneven and soft ground.
A Few Mud Masters