Skip to Content

What to Wear to a Mud Run

When going for a mud run, you can expect to be exposed to a lot of mud. You’ll also be exposed to heat or cold depending on the weather, and to possible injuries. Exposure to any of the conditions we’ve mentioned above would not be ideal for you as a runner. So, what do you do to avoid or reduce exposure to them? You dress for the mud run.

But how do you dress for a mud run? What do you wear?

1. Top

man proudly finished mud run

Of course, you have to wear a top if you are going for a mud run. For both men and women, the top could be a T-shirt, a long sleeve, or a sleeveless shirt.

Women may choose to wear a tank top, especially if it is hot outside. For women, you may also want to wear a rash guard bra beneath your top.

There’s no telling the type of rash one can get from the bacteria or fungi that may be present in the mud.

Most female runners recommend wearing a sports bra. This type of bra is breathable and comfortable, plus it keeps most of the mud out. No matter the type of top you choose to wear, try avoiding those made with cotton.

Cotton absorbs water better than other types of materials, and this means it will get heavier as it absorbs mud and water.

Choose tops made from materials such as nylon and polyester. These 2 materials are lightweight and non-absorbent. So, they won’t get heavier as you get mud on yourself.

Non-absorbent, lightweight fabrics are not limited to those 2 options; there are other types you can go for besides these two.

Swimsuits won’t do in a mud run. You need to wear a tight-fitted top. Loose-fitted tops won’t give you the support you need, and they may also be droopy when wet.

2. Footwear

crop photo lower part of an athlete running on mud

A mud run is a foot race, so of course the footwear you go with is essential. The muddy terrain can be slippery, wet, and rough. So, you’ll need something that you can depend on as you go.

Some people wear sneakers, sketchers, or even basketball shoes. But things can go south with them. You could slip and stumble while running with these types of shoes.

In a mud run, you need a pair of shoes that has the following properties:

  • Lightweight
  • Responsive soles
  • Great tread
  • Great traction
  • Durable
  • Cushion and support

You could try out one of the following shoes:

  • Inov-8 Mudclaw
  • Inov-8 Terraclaw 250
  • Adidas Kanadia
  • Under Armour Spine Vice
  • Salomon Speedcross 3
  • Salomon Speedcross 4
  • Merrell All Out Peak
  • New Balance Minimus Trail Running Shoe

3. A Pair of Socks

runner legs in compression socks while running

Socks may help with your endurance while running. By applying some pressure to your blood vessels while you run, oxygen may be delivered to your muscles more quickly, and this helps you go farther. Compression socks are particularly great for this.

Besides helping your muscles, the pair of socks will also protect your legs from cold, dirt, insect bites, and the damp mud.

Ankle socks and crew socks may not be ideal if you are wearing shorts. But if you wear compression pants beneath your shorts, then these types of socks are great.

If you are wearing only shorts, you will do better with the knee-high type. The drawback of wearing knee-high socks is that they can get heavy when wet and muddy. Avoid cotton socks for the same reason we mentioned earlier. Polyester socks or socks made from lightweight, non-absorbent materials will serve you better.

4. Elbow and Knee Pads

woman runner with knee pads

You have to protect your knees and elbows from possible injuries. This is where elbow and knee pads come into play.

While crawling through the mud, your elbows can get bruised. But with elbow pads, you are protected. Prioritize getting soft ones because they offer comfort as well as protection.

You’ll also need knee pads for the same reason you need elbow pads. They protect your knees from bruises and injuries that may occur while running or crawling.

If you have knee issues, you will benefit a lot from wearing knee pads. You don’t want your knees all swollen or sore after the run, and knee pads can help ease the pressure on your knees.

5. Pants or Shorts

male runner runs on marathon and other runner on the back

As with the top, get a lightweight, non-absorbent pair of pants. Nylon, spandex, or polyester pants will suffice. Even if they get wet, they won’t get heavy and weigh you down.

You may get compressions shorts, runner shorts, or compression pants. You could also wear compression pants underneath your runner shorts.

Sometimes men may choose to wear runner shorts instead of compression shorts or pants. But compression shorts/pants allow for better movement.

For a woman who does not like or have compression shorts or pants, a pair of sports leggings are a great alternative.

6. Gloves

woman running around muddy road with gloves

You may also need gloves for when you have to grip things during the race. Sometimes, mud runs include pole climbing or rope challenges, and gloves make these activities easier on your palms.

Get yourself nylon, polyester, or any other synthetic-fabric glove.

Now, if you’ll be using gloves in a mud run, try as much as you can to avoid getting them wet and muddy before you get to use them.

But if they do get wet, you can wipe them on dry grass before you use them.

7. Cap or Beanie

Trail running in forest

It could be very sunny or very cold outside, and either of these conditions can be uncomfortable for you. But you can do something about it.

If it’s sunny or hot outdoors, wear a face cap. On the other hand, if it’s cold outside, wear a beanie. Beanies will keep your head and your ears warm in the cold.

8. Hair Accessories

two female doing mud race

Running with your loose long hair will definitely not be comfortable. You’ll get mud in your hair, and your hair will most likely whip your face and back during the race. So, you have to bring something to tie up your hair.

This applies mostly to women since they usually have longer hair.

You could come with enough elastic hair bands to hold your hair in place. Alternatively, you could weave your hair into a braid.

But even if you make your hair into a braid, bring along some elastic hair bands – they may just come in handy. You could also go with a shower cap or swim cap to protect your hair from the mud.

9. Costume

Mud run adventure man on the ground

One of the aims of mud runs is to enjoy yourself. You run around in the mud; you have fun doing something outside your comfort zone.

You may also decide to poke some fun with what you wear. Besides the necessary mud run clothes, you could wear a costume or any other funny outfit.

A superhero costume would be great, or anything else you feel comfortable in. But do not forget that you must finish the race with every part of your costume – you cannot leave any part of it on the course.

In some cases, your costume might be team uniforms. If you are going for the run with a team, you and your teammates may decide to wear one for easy recognition.

If you do decide to wear a costume or team uniforms, make informed choices. Get something durable and breathable. Also, opt for a color that will not become unattractive immediately when some mud gets on it.

10. Glasses

If you have prescription glasses, you may want to wear them. However, they can be a distraction if you wear them.

They will keep sliding down your face as you run, and they may ultimately get lost or broken. Instead, you could wear contact lenses.

Contact lenses could get lost too, but that is less likely than your glasses.

If you really have to wear your glasses, employ extra measures to keep them in place while running. You could use a neoprene strap to hold them tightly to your face.

In case you’re considering wearing ski goggles, they may not be the best for you. They can become uncomfortable very early in the race.

legs of runner athlete wearing compression socks

11. Compression Sleeve

Compression sleeves promote blood flow, just like compression pants and socks do to the legs. They aid endurance in the muscles of your arms and also serve as a rash guard.

What Else Matters?

While getting what to wear, you should pay attention to the color. You wouldn’t want to wear black or dark-colored clothes when it’s hot. They absorb heat and can make you feel hot faster. They could be great in cold weather, however.

When it’s hot, wear bright-colored clothes: white, green, orange, or yellow will do. But if you’re wearing white, know that it could be unsalvageable after the run.

Also, you don’t have to get the most expensive gear. Most of the items you wear will get dirty or damaged, and you wouldn’t want to spend so much on something you’ll use just once.

However, do buy the best footwear, even if it is expensive. With low-quality footwear, you could get injured while running.