When it comes to running or hiking on muddy trails, choosing the right pair of shoes is of utmost importance. Muddy trail shoes are specifically designed to provide the necessary traction and stability that regular running shoes lack. Here’s why selecting the right trail shoes for mud running is crucial.

If you are looking for a mud slayer to help you make easier work of muddy conditions, below are our top picks of muddy trail shoes.

Updated 02/04/24

In this article, we discuss:

  • The features of a good mud trail shoe 
  • Reasons to choose trail shoes for mud
  • Our top muddy trail shoe picks
  • Tips for running in the mud

If you are still reading, and haven’t decided that muddy trail running is not for you, then that’s a good start. If you’re more than a fair-weather trail runner and like to hit the trails all year round then you are going to want to invest in a pair of trail shoes that are designed to cope with muddy conditions. Before you scroll down to get to the good stuff, let’s take a quick look at what you are going to need from such a pair of shoes.

Features of  a good mud trail shoe

Deep, wide lugs 

Trail shoes have lugs on the outsole (bottom of the shoe) that are designed to grip the trails. For light trails that are hard and compact, shallow lugs that are close together are fine. However, for mud, you need to look for deeper lugs that are more widely spaced. As a rule of thumb, you are looking at lugs that are 5mm deep.

This is so that the shoe can provide grip and also evacuate the mud when you lift your foot out. 

NOTE – we have run in very muddy conditions every rainy season for the past 7 or 8 years so we have tried many shoes! 

mud trail shoes

Durable uppers

Your trail shoes have to contend with all sorts of terrain when on the trails and will face abrasions, mud, trenches, and more. They will also get wet – a lot. This means you need a durable shoe that isn’t going to fall apart after getting continually wet. 

Consider waterproof trail shoes 

Where there is mud there is usually water so you may want to consider a pair of waterproof trail running shoes for the muddy season. While they are very good at keeping the water out, they do make your feet hot as they are less breathable. A welcome feature in winter when even a mild morning dew can make your feet wet before you have even got going. 

Tough laces

Stopping to do up your laces when they are covered in mud is not pleasant. If you are going out for a run you will need tough laces that don’t have a habit of coming loose. You are also wise to double knot and tuck the laces away so that they get less muddy – nothing worse than having to stop and tie wet, muddy laces mid-run. 

Less cushioning 

Running on mud offers a natural cushioned surface so you won’t have to worry so much about choosing a cushioned pair of trail shoes when running muddy trails. 

Why Choose Trail Shoes for Mud

Firstly, muddy trails pose unique challenges that can lead to slips and falls. Without a proper grip, you risk injuring yourself or losing your footing. Muddy trail shoes have aggressive lug patterns on the outsoles, providing excellent traction on slippery surfaces. This feature allows you to confidently navigate through the muddiest terrains without worrying about losing your balance.

Secondly, mud can quickly accumulate in the shoe’s outsole and upper, making them heavy and uncomfortable to wear. Muddy trail shoes are equipped with specialized drainage systems that help to shed excess water and mud, keeping your feet light and comfortable throughout your run or hike. This not only enhances your performance but also prevents blisters and foot fatigue.

Lastly, muddy trail shoes are built to withstand the harsh conditions of muddy terrains. They are often made from durable and water-resistant materials, protecting your feet from getting wet or damaged. This durability ensures that your shoes can withstand the challenging demands of mud running, providing you with long-lasting performance.

 

Our Top Muddy Trail Shoe Picks

Salomon Supercross 

Made from recycled material, the Salomon Supercross offers deep lugs and grooves for effective mud evacuation. Mud Contagrip® outsole provides maximum grip on unpaved, rough, and muddy surfaces. 

Its tire-like outsole works with the toughened, waterproof upper and Sensifit construction for superior hold, fit and undeniable comfort.

Also available in a waterproof Gore-Tex. 

salmon supercross

 

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X-TALON ULTRA 260 V2

With 4-8 mm high spikes on the sole, the Inov8 X-Talon maintains reliable contact and stability even in muddy terrain. It’s durable upper is resistant to abrasion, and trenches, and prevents the ingress of dirt.

It’s one of a range of X-Talon shoes from Inov-8 with the Ultra 260 being best for long-distance soft and muddy trail runs, while it’s counterparts, the G 210 is a super-lightweight shoe for shorter, faster races and the 255 is a lightweight shoe for soft and muddy trails. 

X-TALON ULTRA 260 V2

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Salomon Speedcross 6

This latest version of Salomon’s popular trail running shoe is specifically designed to tackle muddy terrain with ease. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out on the trails, the Salomon Speedcross 6 will unleash your inner runner and have you conquering even the muddiest of paths. Keep reading to find out more about this must-have shoe from Salomon.

The Salomon Speedcross 6 is specifically engineered to handle muddy terrains like a champ. With its unique design features, this trail running shoe is built to keep you steady and secure on slippery surfaces. The aggressive lug pattern on the outsole provides exceptional grip, while the water-resistant upper keeps your feet dry and comfortable. Additionally, the Quicklace system ensures a secure fit and easy on/off. The Speedcross 6 also features a protective toe cap and a cushioned midsole for added stability and support. These design elements make the Speedcross 6 a reliable companion for any trail runner looking to tackle muddy conditions.

SALOMON SPEEDCROSS 6

 

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Saucony Peregrine 12 ST

The Saucony Peregrine 12 ST is a comfortable trail and mountain running shoe with lugs deep enough to grip mud and dispense with it.

It stands out from many other mud specifIc shoes because it has the ability to perform on all types of terrain making it a great all rounder.

With  6.5-mm lugs, it performs nearly well in terms of grip and mud-shedding, while being able to move quickly down the harder, dry tracks. Saucony’s PWRRUN cushioning is somewhat firm, but being 24 mm thick, it provides more comfort than many other mud shoes.

saucony peregrine 12 trail mud shoes

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Tips for running in mud

  • Shorten your stride – this helps you increase stability and engage the shoe tread
  • Get the right trail shoes for mud – discover our top picks 
  • Wear the appropriate clothes – a waterproof jacket and clothes to keep you warm and dry
  • Build up your calf muscles – it’s hard work running through mud, and strengthening your calves will help
  • Embrace it – if you try and go around it, invariably you will end up in it or worse, falling overrun through it and keep your flow
  • Take a change of clothes and shoes – you don’t want to mess up your car!
  • Safety first – beware of dangerous muddy tracks
  • White socks and shoes? Forget it – it’s just upsetting

We recently entered a local cross-country event – we were told to wear spikes. I didn’t have any so I borrowed a pair from a friend. I was so nervous as spikes don’t look like much. I shouldn’t have worried – they were sturdy, and comfortable and the grip and traction I got was phenomenal. Highly recommend spikes if you ever run cross-country. More on that in this article: 

DISCOVER MORE ABOUT SPIKES

Don’t let the mud put you off. Embrace it and discover just how much fun running in less favourable conditions can be.