The kit you wear is an integral part of your Tough Mudder experience. It is the one element you can guarantee will be comfortable, amidst the turmoil of the obstacles. To stop you racking your brains, thinking of what you need for the big day, we’ve put together a list of the footwear and kit you need to get you through.
Probably the most important bit of kit you’ll need to conquer the Tough Mudder challenge is the shoe. Get this choice wrong and you’ll suffer twice as much as the course intended. The key factors for the perfect Mudder shoe are breathability, flexibility and a lot of traction. Add lightweight materials into the mix and you can rest easy knowing your feet are looked after. Just remember to break them in a few weeks before the challenge - new shoes might look badass but they are not your friend. Football/Rugby studs are not allowed - we don’t want you hurting your fellow mudders. Also remember to bring a roll of tape to secure your shoes snug to your feet - you really don’t want to be shoeless at any point of the Tough Mudder course.
You might be wondering; what’s the point in wasting money on high quality socks that are going to get soaked and filthy? The answer - you must! You can spend all the money in the world on the perfect shoes, but when that muddy water penetrates those shoes, it won’t amount to a hill of beans if you’re wearing the wrong socks. When choosing the sock for you remember, it needs to keep your feet warm in the extreme cold of the mud pits, while supporting your arches. A sock with a blend of Marino wool, nylon and spandex should give you the optimum mix of warmth, comfort and stability.
For the male mudder in particular there are a lot of opportunities to catch yourself in your more prized parts. To help you avoid that scenario, don’t just reach for that last pair of pants in the underwear drawer on race day, come prepared by investing in a tight but comfortable fitting pair. Your best bet are boxer briefs made of polyester and spandex, look for pairs with flat seams to help avoid chaffing.
For the ladies it’s just as important that you feel safe and secure while clambering over obstacle after obstacle. Cue the sports bra. This bit of kit will keep things where they should be even on the most extreme obstacles. Like the boxer briefs, go for a bra made from polyester and spandex that provides comfortable and stable support.
The key thing to remember here is, avoid cotton. Cotton shorts are likely to shrink once they’re put through the wringer so to speak. Go for more synthetic options - polyester is your best option thanks to its quick drying properties and lightweight but durable composition. If you’re not sure about all the different technical types of synthetic options on the market, you can’t go wrong with a pair of rugby shorts.
Think you might get cold along the way? Or are shorts not your thing? Leggings can solve both problems. True, you might have some fun trying to maneuver yourself into a pair of these bad boys, but they could be the saviour of your run. They act as a second skin thanks to their lightweight tight fit, helping to push the filthy water away from your skin - keeping you warmer after a quick dip in a sludge pit. The compression aspect is also great for your muscles, increasing blood flow and muscular power.
This is Tough Mudder, you will get wet, you will get muddy and your body won’t know what hit it, for that reason you will need a base layer. The constant switch from hot to cold and back to hot again after each obstacle can send your body into temperature shock. A base layer will keep your core ventilated and body temp regular leaving you free to focus on that next muddy slope.
Keep this layer lightweight and comfortable. Try to go for something that leaves you mobile enough to run the race but practical enough to keep you warm when you’re battling through the rope swings, mud pits and fire rings. You know what works for you.
Not an obvious choice for some mudders but a very important bit of kit nonetheless. Not to be worn during the race (you’ll definitely overheat) this bit of kit is meant to keep your temperature regular in the warm up, and give you the warm hug you’ll need after your battle.
Your five pound watch from down at the market won’t last the first muddy struggle. If you plan on timing yourself during the challenge, then make sure you go for a watch that can take a serious amount of trauma. Remember you’re asking your wristwear to take every scrape, every plunge into muddy sess pools and still work on the other side. Water resistance is an obvious property you’ll need and make sure it’s shockproof too.
Some veteran mudders swear by them, some can’t stand them, but gloves can play a vital role in your Tough Mudder run. Scrambling up and down muddy hills, up and over wooden walls can leave you with blisters, splinters and all sorts of nasties. Gloves give you the perfect protection, but remember to go for a tight fitting style with rubber traction grips, otherwise they can be more of a hinderance than a help.
There are vital items, and then there are really vital items. Remember you are going into battle, so don’t forget your black face paint, and lucha libre masks. But if you are looking at scaring the obstacles into submission you could bring along your tutus and spider man masks - basically anything you think will help you is welcome, just leave the footy boots at home.