shoes for crazy offroad races

looking for help on shoes choice for off road races

1 to 20 of 28 messages
03/11/2008 at 21:51

So I've run the Slaughterford 9 couple of times now and I'm wondering what shoes people tend to wear for this or other crazy off road events? I know that my standard running shoes don't cut it in the mud or up the steep hills unless its been a hard frost so what brands and shoes would you recommend? Can I modify an old pair of shoes?

Great event by the way, nothing like getting close to the feeling of death on that last huge climb, just ready for a sprint finish  


04/11/2008 at 00:23
i like my Mizuno Wave Harriers: they'll take most of the claggy stuff in their stride and don't wreck your body if you run a mile or so on roads.

Walsh is the fell runner's shoe of choice but there's little or no cushioning, so it's strictly off road in them. Made in Bolton, Lancs. too

the Inov8 range has a big following but again, some models are not great on hard surfaces.
cougie    pirate
04/11/2008 at 10:22
I used Walshes for the Hell Runner at the weekend - I wouldnt like to do much more fire road in them - but off road - you cant beat them.
04/11/2008 at 10:36

for really muddy conditions you can't beat the Inov-8 Mudclaw 330s...take a look below

04/11/2008 at 11:02

wow guys this is really useful, I appreciate the feedback. The Slaughterford 9 is very off-road at times but also has about a mile on road so the info above is great

The grip on the  Inov-8 Mudclaw 330s looks very aggressive and seems to look like they'd be fine for the amount of road work involved too.

All views welcomed though so if anyone has any experience of the above then I'd love to hear. I don't plan on replacing these ones as often as my road shoes so I need to get it right

 thanks again everyone

04/11/2008 at 11:07
I use my 330s for fell races, mountain marathons and cross country races and having worn many different pairs of trail and fell shoes these have easily the best grip. They also do a mudclaw 270 but that is a racing shoe and has a very light upper whereas the 330 is more durable
04/11/2008 at 11:10
if you don't want anything as aggressive as the Walsh or Inov8 shoes, look for an off road equivalent of your normal road shoe as that way you know the fit and feel will be similar.....

most brands have off road equivalents of their road shoes - the range is naturally more limited but it's a good starting point

I agree that for realy muddy conditions that the Inov8's are superb - but a nightmare on hard stuff due to no support for those of us who need some
Edited: 04/11/2008 at 11:10
04/11/2008 at 11:41

oh that's interesting regarding the support, I'm normally a neutral runner so I may get away with it and I do think I need the aggressive sole of the Inov8 types. I looked at some Adidas Kanadia's but they were the wrong size and also didn't look aggressive enough. The hills are steep and grass so I spend too much energy spinning and the puddles are big. I may be just as prone to injury from slipping as I am from not having support on the road. The road is more predicatable though and so I feel I might be able to cope with this okay with those Inov8s.

The problem is the shops wont lend me a pair of each to go test and then and return them muddy and I also can't afford the money or the time to change them halfway round

The Inov8s look interesting at the moment  

04/11/2008 at 11:57
I'm a neutral foot as well so the Inov8's are fine from that perspective - but they just don't offer enough support on hard stuff over distance. fine for short bits, but painful longer. but for really muddy, soft conditions they are unbeatable.

that's why I have trail shoes as well for those mixed off-road conditions where the Inov8's aren;t needed

04/11/2008 at 13:12

fat Buddah, me too, I only use the Inov-8s for bad conditions or fell races. The 330s aren't designed for prolonged road but are ok on hard stuff, especially technical surfaces. 

 I did the Ben Nevis fell race in them, the first and last mile are both on road and a lot of the middle 8 is on hard rocky stuff and my feet were thighs weren't though but that wasn't down to the shoes!!

04/11/2008 at 13:26
I'd agree about the Inov-8s. I overpronate and they just don't have enough support for me - but they do look fab. I've been running in Saucony Jazz Trail shoes all summer and they have been fine for most of the mud, although haven't coped with the really bad stuff. I think you just have to compromise - I'd rather keep my ankles, achilles and feet in tact and have to walk the odd bit than be able to run full pelt through everything.  One thing to bear in mind is that trail shoes fit a lot tighter than road shoes - when you swap to your road shoes it will feel really strange.
04/11/2008 at 15:47

Ika, this whole overpronating thing is interesting as I also overpronate and wear orthotics in my road and trail shoes. However, when I race in fell shoes I don't use them and am fine.

 2 reasons maybe, firstly in fell races you get lots of different foot plants due to the uneven terrain so orthotics aren't really needed unlike on the roads where every foot plant is vitually identical. secondly when racing you are up on your toes most of the time (unless its a long race) so orthotics are useless as you don't really land on your heel ?

05/11/2008 at 13:34

Hi Nigel,

That's interesting. I guess I've only ever tried fell shoes on in the shop and thought ' Oh, they feel odd ' and haven't thought about how they would actually operate in action as opposed to trail shoes. Also haven't got the cash to risk buying them and then find out I can't run in them. So maybe they would be fine. Having said that, I've had so many probs over the years with my feet and ankles, I think I would bottle it downhill even if I had the grippest shoes possible on ! ( Currently laid up with sprained ankle - and that was acquired on the flat. ).

05/11/2008 at 13:42

Ika, I was/am very similar. I broke my ankle in a cross country race when 16 and have had a weak ankle since. However, since taking up fell running 5 years ago my ankles have strengthened considerably. Also I bought a wobble board to do exercise on which helped, as well as doing all the standing on one foot type of stuff.

 If you don't already do those kind of exercises you should don't even have to put aside much time. For instance try standing on one foot in the shower whilst you wash the other one for as long as possible....result stronger ankles and cleaner feet!!

09/11/2008 at 19:52

thanks so much to everyone for your feedback.

I can say that I have now bought a pair of trainers and given them a good testing so what did I buy after reading Nigel's response

Nigel Sanderson 2 wrote (see)

for really muddy conditions you can't beat the InovInovMudclawMudclawelow

I took a serious look at the 330s seeing as they seemed to match the brief exactly after looking came the buying

After the crazy rain last-night it gave me the perfect chance to test them this morning on the SluaghterfordSluaghterford have to say that I love them!!!! The  first and the last stint is road and they seemed fine, almost too gripy, I feltgripy I was going to stick to the spot , then once I hit the proper off road stuff they were perfect!. Every foot plant felt so secure and all the slipping I had been having with my normal shoes had gone.

I must say that the blister that I got on the outing was not welcomed   once I work out how to get rid off of that then I'll be loving these even more.

I can certainly recommend these to anyone that's doing an off road race. 

thanks again to everyone for your help

09/11/2008 at 21:28

if you go to:

then scroll right and you will come to the New Balance RX144AT. They are also probably the best looking shoes around too. Thet make Inov8's look out of date!

The higher part is a neoprene sock line that stops dirt and shinle entering into your shoe. great blister stoppers! 

09/11/2008 at 22:05

OMG they are crazy looking beasts!!

I must  say that designing something that looks better than the Inov8s is not that hard in my opinion. equally I'm not sure that I'm ready for the RX144AT. 

I think that the grip looks like it'll be aggressive and I love the idea of the sock as the Slaughterford run has so many instances where your foot  is shall we say submerged in goo and muck and stuff  

anything that stops blisters will be considered worthy!!!


09/11/2008 at 22:20

Sorry for being too keen on that one...

They do a less agressive one the New Balance 874. they have great grip and a good gap between the studs to allow much to fall off the sole plate.

Hope you find something! 


10/11/2008 at 07:21


now I like the look of those. The New Balanace 874s look much more aesthetically pleasing and more like a trainer than my Mudclaws. They also look to have a good level of grip. However, I've now already bought my Mudclaws and taken them for a run that won't allow them to be returned but I'd love to try these. It'd be interesting to see if the grip level is enough for what I'm doing. I certainly can't afford to buy another pair of trainers so I guess I just need New Balance or some shop to loan me them for review
 I guess these are a pair that are a compromise between the two that is mentioned already. After my Mudclaws outing on Sunday, I'm not sure that any compromise would be enough.


10/11/2008 at 08:54

I seriously worry about anyone who is more concerned about how their offroad shoes look than perform

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