Sunday, 9 August, 2020

Clothing tips for obstacle course races

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This topic contains 24 replies, has 14 voices, and was last updated by  Damon 6 years, 10 months ago.

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    This weekend was the first obstacle race of the year where there were less worries about staying warm.

    It was nice to not have to worry about what kind of layers I’d be wearing but I had a real reminder of down-sides of wearing less clothes – my knees and elbows are cut to bits. As I’ll be doing events most weekends over the summer I’d like to get the perfect summer gear sorted as soon as possible.

    I’ve tried stretchy bandage style knee supports before, but they don’t stay on very well. I know Haemish has talked about neoprene knee supports, which apparently are good for protection, but I haven’t managed to find any of them yet. Does anyone have any other ideas?

    Also, I just got a new pair of 1.5mm neoprene gloves (as I’ve found my 3mm pair to be awesome through the winter. These were made by Animal:

    Animal gloves

    I had high hopes for them, but they weren’t quite as grippy as I expected. I’m going to give them another try but there might be better options out there.



    I’ve seen the knee supports for six quid each in Tesco – are these the same ones do you know?



    You can usually find knee supports in pound shops. Make sure they fit and try running in them before hand. Mine stayed in place pretty well during Tough Guy and Tough Nuts but you will almost certainly have to adjust them during the run.



    For grip & protection for your hands I got a cheap pair of fingerless cycling gloves. They protected your palms and the usual places you get blisters on your fingers, plus they’re easy to wash.

    I wouldve though the neoprene gloves would get a bit sweaty for the summer runs. Shame about the grip though, was that when they were wet?

    I agree about the knee supports, the organisers seem to love you grinding your knees on stones & mud. Never thought to look in tesco/pound shop although theres a good sports shop (Decathlon) near my work which might do the neoprene supports you mentioned. I’ll have a look and let you know!


    I have tried cycling gloves at a few races last year. They were good for protection, but seemed to lose grip once they got wet and then spent most of the races in my pockets.

    For knee supports try Sports Direct. They have a few, ranging from £1 to £10.

    In fact I tend to try Sports Direct for most mud running stuff to keep it cheap and disposable.



    Yeh, neoprene does get sweaty. I’m thinking I might try taking the fingers off the ones I’ve just bought to see how that goes. I really thought they’d have a better grip – my thicker winter ones stick like glue! Maybe another brand might have a better grip. I haven’t seen many 1.5mm options though.

    I wore weightlifting gloves for most of last summer, which were good but the leather got way to hard and crusty between uses (they were okay once they got wet again though).

    I’m going to have to experiment with different supports. Sports Direct is a great shout! I had some stretchy towling style ones, but they didn’t stay up for 2 minutes. What kind of suports have your tried tooclose? The type that velcros around or just regular tubing?




    I got a pair of these :



    Nice when they arent wet, but when they’re wet and muddy. Very little use 🙁



    Sports Direct was a great tip. I just picked up some neoprene elbow and knee supports for £4 each. I thought it was an amazing deal until I realised there was only one support in each packet, so I’ve got to go back and buy another one of each! Still a good deal… just not great!

    They look like they’ll do the trick though with adjustable straps. I’ll try them out at Tough Mudder this weekend and let y’all know if they fit the bill!

    knee and elbow support



    So bit of an update on the elbow and knee supports after running Tough Mudder in them yesterday. They were quite good but the only downside was that the Velcro came undone a few times when they’d got filled with mud. It would be better finding something without velco I think.

    On the plus side, I picked up some “Grippy Gloves” from sports direct for 99p and they were ace!


    Darren Hogwood

    As you have seen, I am more than happy to talk about Mud running until the cows come home but *this* this is one of my favourite subjects. This is something that if you prepare right will pay massive dividends in helping you give your best during the event and recover quickly. So get yourself a coffee and settle in because Ol’ grey ‘ead knows his shit. (but he does go on a bit!)

    Upper Body
    Tech T Shirt – Doesnt get weighed down with water, mud brushes off, wicks away sweat, dries quickly doesnt rub. You probably have a decent collection by now but I have a favourite one, in a dark colour and use it for every event. Get it fitted but able to have a….
    Base Layer – underneath If cold. Doesnt need to be expensive, the best ones I have in terms of comfort, wear and fit are from Lidl, yeah you heard me, LIDL!
    Hands – Previously Nothing but recently Cycling gloves and as per a BRILLIANT tip from one of the lads on here, the 99p Sports Direct jobbies with the fingers cut off. Fitted, Grippy, Cheap. Perfect.

    Lower Body
    Cycle Shorts/compression shorts – Non padded obviously buy carefully some are a bit thick, these are just to replace your boxers, hold in your valuables and stop chafing so no need to spend a fortune.

    Leggings – Yeah I know, not everyones cup of tea BUT I did Spartan Beast last year and after seeing many of the front runners legs after running through that thorny hedgerow (think Hellraiser) for 1/2 a mile (think Hellraiser) I vowed that, regardless of time of year and piss taking from friends, I would wear leggings for every event. Has served me well so far, still get bruises but no scrapes and scratches.

    Feet – If you are doing one or two events or even a one off a pair of old trainers, just about ready for the bin is fine. If you are doing it regularly look for a pair of Trail Trainers (available more and more even for over Pronators and Supinators) from Asics, Adidas and most of the decent running brands) like conventional Trainers but soles designed for grip and body more able to cope with water. If you are slowly turning into a weekend mud warrior Inov8 or Salomons might be worth the investment.
    Socks – I wear Asics Trail socks, they are black and mid calf so look a bit weird with shorts BUT they offer good grip within the trainer. they are under my leggings anyway so who cares. If I am doing 10 miles Plus I will also wear thin Nike anti Blister socks underneath them to avoid rubbing but also because after a lifetime of abuse and clumsiness my ankles are held together with silly string. (They also help hold the KT tape in place to support said wibbly wobbly ankle ligaments for as long as possible, even after the water wins and the glue loosens.

    So there you have it, more thought goes into my Obstacle racing attire than my dress wear at a formal dinner. But if I feel comfortable, I feel confident, if I feel confident its less to worry about and lets me focus.

    Hope that has been of some use, or at very least my OCD has amused you 🙂

    Happy Mudding!
    The Grey Wolf



    Nice tips! I’m enjoying wearing less now that the summer is finally here. Those Sports Direct gloves are such a find. They’re perfect for the summer!

    At the moment I’m mostly wearing a vest and shorts and compression shorts under them. Those neoprene elbow and knee pads are providing just enough protection and are pretty comfortable to run around in. The velcro comes undone every now and then, but not enough to make them annoying.

    I’m just trying to make the transition to minimal shoes and am managing about half of my time in them at the moment. I feel so much more grippy and secure when I am in them though. Can’t wait to feel completely adjusted!




    Just in case you missed it in the news stream. I’ve just got some Skins calf compression tights and they’re pretty darn amazing: Skins compression calf tights review

    Perfect for OCRs, as they won’t wear on the knees or the toes and help to keep your calves in shape for all the hills.

    Compression calves & Neoprene knees all the way!!!


    My general clothing philosophy is cheap and disposable for the outer layers, as they get ruined pretty quickly, with better quality base layers to keep warm (if required).

    As you mentioned the large towel – my single best bit of kit is a Booicore. Its is a giant wearable towel-poncho thing you can dry yourself and get changed in. Much better than the awkward hold towel and shuffle out of the undercrackers routine.

    Have you tried the Sport Direct gloves at a race yet – do they grip when wet. I have some serious unfinished business with Funkey Monkey.

    Like the idea of the calf guards. I am very partial to compression socks for running, but reluctant to use good pairs at races.



    Oh wow! Booicore looks awesome 😀 Great idea!

    Yes, the Sports Direct gloves are great in a race. They do grip pretty well when wet. To be honest I haven’t got through a Funky Monkey at TM yet – but I am rubbish at monkey bars, gloves or no gloves – the added difficulty of sloping it and having thick bars I struggle with.

    That being said, I did get through two sets of monkey bars in one weekend (JCB and Mud Runner) a couple of weekends ago and I was wearing the Sports Direct gloves then.



    Any advise on what type of leggings? I would imagine again cheap is best, because odds on the leggings will get ripped ? But would like to know if anyone has any recommendations.

    My knees and shins got pretty shredded at nuts this year 😛 All good though….I think…

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