BestTough Mudder Shoes Ever!

Soft Star Dash and the Tough Mudder

I’m sure most of you that found this page are looking for a tough, gnarly shoe for the tough mudder, spartan race, or even death race.  What you are probably expecting to see is something like this.

I’m here to say that an unlikely shoe actually makes it to the top.  I was focused purely on performance and function and talked to many people about their shoes.  Read my conclusions below.

Back in September I decided that a custom pair of Soft Star Dash would be the best option for the Tough Mudder.  After running the race I can say that the Dash outperformed every other shoe out there.  They had no weakness and performed flawlessly.  If you are looking for the perfect pair of shoes for the tough mudder, the perforated Soft Star Dash is it.  Here is why.

The race forces you to get wet many, many times.  It also requires about 12 miles of running over a variety of terrain and a little bit of swimming.  Lastly, the course forces you through tons of sticky mud.  Regular shoes are the worst option due the the weight when wet and the amount of mud that gets into them.  Not to mention I saw several people loose their shoes in the mud and were forced to finish the race in socks.  Five fingers would be a great option and anyone that already has these should use them.  The downfall of the five fingers is the mud.  I didn’t see anyone loose theirs but I saw many people complain that they had their feet abraded away once gunk got in.

The advantage of the perforated leather is that the mud gets in but then goes right back out.  I routinely had gravel under my foot just bounce out.  After the muddy spots, tons of people had to stop and empty their shoes out.  Not me, I was able to keep running.

The GA event was also really cold.  My feet were cold when submerged in water but actually dried out very quickly and became comfortable again.  The people in VFF’s had numb feet and were complaining about not being able to feel the ground or their toes.

I wore drymax trail socks and couldn’t have been happier.  These socks don’t hold water, dry quickly and most importantly, keep out all dirt.  After the race, my feet were clean, although my socks and shoes were caked in mud.

Note: Drymax trail socks run way big.  Order one to two sizes down.  (they stretch).  I wear size 13 shoes and the Large fit perfect.

The Dash provided the right amount of traction and protection.  My feet came out happy without any issues.  The dash was great to run in regardless of the conditions.  They were also great to swim in and the enhanced ground feel really helped with the obstacles (especially the balance beam).  Anyone looking for the ultimate or perfect shoe for the Tough Mudder should consider the perforated Dash.

One added plus is that the race didn’t trash my shoes.  They took a beating but a quick rinse brought them back to normal (almost).  The leather needs to get a quick coat of dye to restore the color.  Take a look.

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Filed under Custom Shoe, Dash, Long term test, Review, Running, Soft Star

4 responses to “BestTough Mudder Shoes Ever!

  1. Mats

    Hi, how does the dash lite compare to the original runamoc in wet conditions?
    I’ve found that when my runamoc lite get soaking wet from a stream crossing or similar, the performance is significantly reduced.
    My feet starts sliding around, and the shoes feel like slippery elastic leather bags.
    That led me to the conclusion that all leather shoes were probably unsuited for this kind of task, but you review seem to say the opposite.

    Is it just a matter of taste or does the snugger fit and lacing system of the Dash enable it to stay securely in place when wet?

    • First my Dash are custom made for the Tough Mudder, but I’ll get to that. In general the dash lite is a completely different shoe. If my originals (smooth) get wet they are almost unwearable especially without socks.

      Three things make a big difference.
      1. The dash is narrower though midfoot and heel which keep everything secure laterally
      2. The laces hold your heel from moving forward as do my custom arch cutout
      3. Drymax socks. I’m not into brands but go get the Drymax Trail socks (not the trail lite)

      The Drymax socks are actually fairly thick and rough feeling. They are not a comfortable sock for casual wear but for extreme conditions I haven’t found anything that compares. They keep the dirt out, have never caused blisters, and don’t slide around on my foot or shoe.

      Overall, your foot is locked into the shoe and regardless of condition nothing affects them. Thick mud, water, rocks, nothing. Again, the socks are key. Softstar really should sell them as a package since it is one of those rare cases where the sum of the pieces are greater than the individual pieces.

  2. skipp

    These are some good selections. The only thing I don’t like about the INOVs is that they dont clean very well after because of the material they chose, but this guy wrote some funny, but insightful things about these other two selections though. Check em out for a chuckle.

  3. Todd

    I wore the Dash Smooths for the Hagg Lake Mud Run last February and though I did slip around a lot on the trails for that my feet came out clean and pristine. It was kind of shocking considering my feet went completely under several times and my legs above the shoe line were completely mud caked. I love those shoes and would run in them again with a more aggressive tread. BTW, the smooth leather cleans up with just a bit of water and looks great afterward.

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