Get in Shape the Right Way

Head to Toe Guide: What to Wear for a Spartan Race

What Should I Wear to a Spartan Race?

I’d say the way a large majority of people find this website is searching on Google to find out “What should I wear/bring to a Spartan Race?”  In the spirit of my next coming Spartan Race this Saturday, I want to help answer the questions of:

  • What shorts to wear to the Spartan Race?
  • What shirt to wear to the Spartan Race?
  • What underwear to wear to the Spartan Race?
  • What shoes/socks to wear to the Spartan Race?

what to wear to a spartan race pic

In this post I will go deeper into what to wear than my all time viewer favorite Beginner Guide to a Spartan Race blog post…

Head:

What head gear to wear:

  • I personally did not and will not end up wearing anything on my head (with exception of the bib number headband), but some people prefer to wear a bandanna.
  • Some people like to strap their GoPro HERO3+ video camera on their head during a Spartan Race…
  • Some people may decide to bring sunglasses to the Spartan Race…
  • They will hand out the headbands with your bib numbers on them at registration.  These are used to look up your pictures at a later date…

Pre Spartan Race Image

 

What head gear I wouldn’t wear:

  • Unless you have a super cheap pair of sunglasses that you don’t mind breaking, scratching, losing, and possibly just throwing away, I would not wear sunglasses to the Spartan Race…
  • If you want to wear a bandanna, I’d steer clear of a cotton bandanna…
  • Don’t bring a hat to the Spartan Race…  That’s just dumb and you’ll look weird…
  • Leave the sombrero at home…


Upper Body

What shirt to wear to the Spartan Race?

You have a few options here, but let me just say this…  DO NOT WEAR ANYTHING COTTON TO THE SPARTAN RACE!  Cotton absorbs water and holds on to it for a long time!  If it is cold outside, you will end up remaining cold due to the water retention of cotton.  Cotton also tends to get very heavy once wet.  The last thing you want is more weight around you when you are trying to climb a rope, run a hill, or jump a wall.

Here’s the options for shirts that I would recommend wearing to a Spartan Race:

Men:

  • Dry Fit shirt in a dark color like this Under Armour Short Sleeve T-Shirt
  • Optionally, you can also wear a compression shirt (Under Armour HeatGear® Compression)which would also be made out of the same dry fit material…
    • Compression shirts are nice because there is no loose fabric to get caught on barbed wire, trees, obstacles, etc…
  • If it is cold, you can opt for a Long Sleeve Compression Version of either item above
  • Some of the pros and other folks prefer to wear no shirt at all…
  • Please don’t go naked…

Women:

  • Same as the men’s above, either a normal dry fit shirt/tank top like This One>> Nike Women’s Dri Fit Tank Top, or a compression shirt
  • Again, if it is cold feel free to wear long sleeve versions
  • While you cannot go with no shirt at all, some women prefer to just go with a Nike Pro Sports Bra

The great glove debate!

Some wear gloves, some do not.  It seems like the general consensus is that gloves may tend to be more of a pain in the ass than a real benefit if you talk to fellow Spartan Racers.  However, there are obstacles that gloves may be beneficial on, such as:

  • The Hercules hoist
  • The rope climb

I’d recommend wearing either wide receiver style gloves, or Mechanix Wear Original Glove

Lower Body

What shorts/pants/underwear to wear to the Spartan Race?

Again, you have a few options here, but let me just reiterate…  LEAVE THE COTTON AT HOME!

Here are the options for pants/shorts/underwear I would recommend wearing to a Spartan Race:

Men/Women:

  • Dri Fit shorts or pants with no pockets!
    • Or for a pants version, something like these:Under Armour HeatGear® Sonic Compression Leggings, Black
      • Why no pockets?  Because it really sucks to climb up a muddy hill under barbed wire, while your pockets begin to fill with mud and fall off!
      • Seriously, I learned this the hard way last time…  I pulled clumps of mud out of my pockets frequently.  Plus, it adds extra weight…
    • Ladies, while the flare leg yoga pants may seem like a good idea, you want something that is tight around your ankle like these>>Under Armour Tights  which will help keep mud from caking up your pants…
  • Compression shorts/spandex or poly underwear
  • DRAW STRINGS ARE IMPORTANT!  No one wants to see your bare ass!

Spartan Race Banner

Feet

What socks/shoes to wear to the Spartan Race?

  • Dri Fit/moisture-wicking compression socks
    • I’m wearing these: MudGear Compression Socks
      • Calf pumps/cramps really suck (I struggled with them during my first race) and compression socks can help mitigate that
  • Shoes can vary…
    • During my first Spartan Race I just wore some old Nike running shoes which you can see in the picture below.

wall-scale

 

    • These shoes were fine, but lacked a lot of grip.  Mud caked in each crevice and pretty much made for quite a slick surface…

Inov-8 X-Talon Shoes

Reebok All Terrain Series Sprint Shoes

  • Recently Reebok has released their All Terrain Series shoes which are geared directly towards the Spartan Race.
    • For my upcoming Spartan Race I went out and purchased the Reebok Men’s All Terrain Sprint Running Shoe which are pictured below.
      • These shoes appear very promising.  They are extremely light weight, have water drain holes at the sole, and superior obstacle/mud grip on the sole.
      • One concern I have is on any hard/dry pavement or dirt.  I feel like it will be similar to running with cleats on pavement.
        • I will put up a post race review of how the shoes performed after my race on April 26th, so keep checking the site!

Best shoes for the spartan race spartan race shoes by reebok reebok all terrain series sprint sole

 

Final Spartan Race “What to Bring” Tips

  • Don’t forget to bring an extra change of clothes and a garbage bag for your dirty clothes.
  • There are showers (lines of garden hoses and VO5) to clean off with.
  • There are heated tents to change in for men and separate for women.
  • Bring your license!  You need picture ID to register.  (We were also able to show our Facebook profile on a smart phone)
  • To save a little money, shop for any of the above items at a discount store such as T.J. Maxx.  You can get great deals in their clearance section for top notch names!
  • Bring some waterproof sun tan lotion to help reduce the risk of a gnarly sun burn!
  • You can check out all of Reebok’s new Spartan gear here

What are you Waiting For?  Sign Up For a Spartan Race now!

Click any of the links below and I will save you some cash!  Once you follow the link below, enter one of the promo codes and save either $10 or 10% on your next race when clicking on one of my affiliate links below!

Get $10 off a Reebok Spartan Race! Use Code: SPEAR10, Sign Up Today!

Get 10% off a Reebok Spartan Race! Use Code: FINISH10. Sign Up Today!


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  • That is really good info! I made the mistake of wearing Nike Frees to my first race and I was slipping all over the place. I am thinking about the reeboks so I will be checking for your review!

    • Tanner, my wife made the mistake of wearing Nike Frees to our race this past weekend (despite my guidance) and slipped and slid all over… I will put up my review soon, the Reebok All Terrain Sprint’s performed awesome, I was impressed. There were a few drawbacks though, which I will describe in detail.

  • Evelyn

    Thank you for posting all of your helpful tips, I feel much better about running my first spartan race near chicago. I want to buy the reebok all terrain and would love to hear more about what you thought of them after running 2nd race? I have Nike frees and know they won’t be a good choice because they have no traction to begin with; add mud and oh boy!! thanks again, Your blog is great!

    • Hey Evelyn! Thanks for the kind words and for stopping by the blog!

      You will love the race! Believe me, it won’t be the last one you are going to run. It becomes addicting…

      Make sure you do not wear Nike Frees! My wife wore them to our race and had no traction at all! I loved the all terrains and by the way I think they have a $25 off sale at reebok going on right now for back to school. The traction was amazing and I didn’t slip around at all. The hill climbing was much easier with the increased traction also. The only complaint I have on them was that I kept getting small rocks in my left shoe which was irritating my foot. My old nike cross trainers filled up with mud and rocks during my first race, so I know it is inevitable and the all terrains probably let in less small rocks.

      I’d highly recommend them to anyone looking to run any obstacle race.

  • Maleia M. Matt

    The Reebok Spartan All Terrains are awsome and do not feel like cleats on dry ground. I wore them hiking the incline and running down the Barr Train in Manitou Springs, CO and the traction was amazing!! Great article by the way and running my first Spartan Beast this coming weekend!!! AROO!!

    • Thanks Maleia! I agree, the All Terrains are just flat out awesome for any type of hilly/wet terrain! I loved mine in my last race. They are well worth the money once you use them in a race!

      Good luck on your race! AROO!!

  • Bryce Thomas

    Thanks this was really helpful. I’m doing my first Spartan race in Salt Lake this Saturday and I’m getting kind of anxious/nervous.

  • Francisco Leal

    This is helpful information for a first timer like me. I bought some of the items you recommend. what camera would you recommend for the Spartan race? I’m running this alone and want to capture the experience to show it back home to the wife and kids. Idk what to choose from the GoPro with the chest harness or the Panasonic HX-A500E with the headset.

  • Mel

    I’ve run other obstacle races before, but I’m running my first Spartan Super (my longest race to date) in Atlanta in December. I don’t handle cold very well and I’m concerned about what to wear since I will likely get wet at some point in the race. Suggestions specific to this weather?

  • Avi Arturovi

    How / Where do you carry your fuel / energy packs? In Camelbak? in pockets? etc. What if you have to go through a water obstacle?

    • Nichole

      Did you ever figure out the answer to your question? I’m also curious.