The best mud running shoes 2024: stay grounded with this grippy fell stars

Collage of the best mud running shoes
(Image credit: Future)

When you step out on the trails in the worst conditions you need the best mud running shoes to avoid losing your footing.

Whether you're a mud lark who lives for racing through gloop, a seasoned fell runner tackling steep terrain, or you've entered your first obstacle course, getting your footwear right can save you a world of pain. Because no one wants to fall over and hurt themselves miles from home.

Choosing the right design for you is essential, as some shoes are more suited to longer steady runs, some to racing, and some will handle mud better than others.

There's a lot of choice in terms of design features: tread pattern, heel-to-forefoot drop, cushioning, type of material, lacing system, weight, waterproofing – and that’s all before you consider the price.

For us, the best mud running shoes all round are the Inov-8 X-Talon G 235 thanks to their aggressive tread that gives great grip, and doesn't wear out thanks to the graphene-reinforced rubber material. If you're on a budget, the La Sportiva Mutant also come highly recommended thanks to their integrated gaiter to keep out dirt, and comfortable cushioned midsole.

Our testing ground for the best mud running shoes was the wild, wet and magnificently muddy landscape of the Peak District in northern England, where we put each pair through its paces on long runs, short runs, fast runs, slow runs – across fells and along routes that all had one thing in common: muck.

Meet the expert

You can trust Advnture Our expert reviewers spend days testing and comparing gear so you know how it will perform out in the real world. Find out more about how we test and compare products.

Dave Taylor
Dave Taylor

An experienced, competitive, fell runner and UK Athletics coach, Dave specialises in fell and mountain running. His personal achievements include winning the 2015 English Fell Running Championships (V50 category) and completing the Bob Graham, Paddy Buckley and Charlie Ramsay Rounds. He has contributed reviews and training articles to magazines including Trail RunningOutdoor Fitness and the Fellrunner magazine. His most embarrassing moment was having a running shoe fall apart completely while high in the Lake District fells.

The quick list

The best all rounder

Best women’s trail running shoes

Lightweight and flexible, with aggressive tread and a graphene-enhanced outsole (Image credit: INOV-8)

1. Inov-8 X-Talon G 235

Best all rounder

Specifications

Weight (per shoe): 235g / 8.25oz
Drop: 6mm
Tread depth: 8mm
Upper material: Hard-wearing ballistic nylon
Colors: Orange and black
Compatibility: Fast running in very muddy conditions

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight
+
Fantastic grip
+
Durable tread

Reasons to avoid

-
Reduced cushioning

If you want to race through wet mud then the Inov-8 X-Talon G 235 are a great choice. The aggressive outsole is covered in 8mm lugs that bite into the deepest mud and offer great grip even whilst running fast. A heel to forefoot drop of 6mm brings you close to the ground whilst a narrow fit ensures that your feet stay locked into position within the shoe. The revolutionary graphene-enhanced rubber means that the tread will resist wear for longer giving you great grip well into the life of the shoe. There isn’t a great deal of cushioning, however, although a rockplate in the midsole offers protection on harder surfaces. Well suited to racing, the X-Talons are a popular choice with cross country runners and obstacle course racers.

The best for wet conditions

Salomon Supercross Blast GTX mud running shoe

A waterproof upper, quick lacing and an aggressive tread pattern (Image credit: Salomon)
Best for wet conditions

Specifications

Weight (per shoe): 340g / 12oz
Drop: 10mm
Tread depth: 6mm
Upper material: Ripstop nylon with Gore-Tex lining
Colors: Ebony black / Balsam green / Lunar rock
Compatibility: Good grip, ideal for wet conditions

Reasons to buy

+
Waterproof upper
+
Well cushioned
+
Quick lacing

Reasons to avoid

-
Relatively heavy at 340g

The standout feature on the Salomon Supercross Blast GTX is the Gore-Tex membrane upper designed to keep your feet dry in wet conditions whilst still allowing them to breathe. The Quicklace system means no more struggling to undo muddy laces; a quick pull on the tab and they come loose and adjusting tightness mid run is quick and easy too. Chevron lugs cut into mud to give multi directional grip and a wide, well cushioned sole provides plenty of comfort. A sturdy toe bumper offers protection at the front of the shoe. This is not the lightest of shoes, and having more heel-to-forefoot drop than some others we feel the Supercross Blast are more suited to steady paced runs rather than fast racing.

The best for traditional looks

Walsh PB Elite mud running shoe

Packed with traditional design features that have stood the test of time (Image credit: Walsh)

3. Walsh PB Elite

Best for traditional design

Specifications

Weight (per shoe): 280g / 9.88oz
Drop: 8mm
Tread depth: 8mm
Upper material: Light-weight fast-drying water-resistant synthetics
Colors: Blue and yellow
Compatibility: Muddy conditions

Reasons to buy

+
Inexpensive
+
Fantastic grip
+
Tried and tested design

Reasons to avoid

-
Rigid sole
-
Old-fashioned looks

If something isn’t broke don’t try to fix it! The PB Elite looks pretty much the same as it did 15 years ago, with Walsh sticking to a tried, tested and trusted design. The distinctive sole pattern with aggressive pyramid studs gives superb grip in muddy conditions, even at a fast pace. The heel to forefoot drop is 8mm but the overall ride height is low, giving the shoe a stable feel. The sole is rigid rather than flexible, which can take some getting used to. Fast drying and lightweight materials, and a traditional lacing system make up the upper. One thing that Walsh have changed in line with modern ethics is avoiding animal products in their shoes and this is a vegan design. There are no frills with this shoe, it doesn’t look the most fashionable and while that might not suit everyone, you can’t argue against its performance. The Walsh PB Elite simply still does what it was designed to do years ago.

The best for obstacle courses

Icebug Acceleritas 8 mud running shoe

Minimalist, flexible and fast draining with a great grip (Image credit: Icebug)

4. Icebug Acceleritas 8

Best for obstacle courses

Specifications

Weight (per shoe): 250g / 8.82oz
Drop: 4mm
Tread depth: 8mm
Upper material: 100% recycled PET polyester
Colors: Light blue and orange
Compatibility: Muddy runs and obstacle course racing

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight with fantastic grip
+
Fast draining
+
Excellent eco credentials

Reasons to avoid

-
Little cushioning

If you’re looking for a lightweight, minimalist shoe for wet and muddy conditions then the agile Icebug Acceleritas 8 are exactly that. They are lightweight, close fitting and extremely flexible and with a 4mm heel-to-forefoot drop it almost feels like the shoes are part of your feet. The sticky rubber RB9X outsole gives superb traction in mud thanks to the deep, multi directional lugs whilst the fast draining uppers mean that you can run through the deepest puddles without fear of the shoes becoming waterlogged and heavy. These low profile shoes would be a good for anyone wanting to run fast in wet and muddy conditions and would be ideal for obstacle course racers. They’ve also got good environmental creds, with a fully recycled upper and lining, and partially recycled rubber outsoles – all Bluesign approved.

The best for mixed terrain

Scott Supertrac RC 2 mud running shoe

Well cushioned, with a water repellent upper and a low drop, these shoes can deal with distance and deep mud (Image credit: Scott)
Best for mixed terrain

Specifications

Weight (per shoe): 270g / 9.52oz
Drop: 5mm
Tread depth: 5mm
Upper material: Mesh and thermoplastic polyurethanes
Colors: Black and midnight blue / Black and yellow
Compatibility: Longer runs across mixed terrain

Reasons to buy

+
Water repellent upper
+
Well cushioned

Reasons to avoid

-
Quite rigid

While it might not be the best shoe for tackling full-on deep mud, the Scott Supertrac RC2 can still handle some fairly soggy conditions. The uppers are quick drying thanks to the 3XDRY coating, which repels water from the outside and draws moisture and sweat away from the inside. There is a sturdy rand protecting the toes and a fairly stiff sole provides underfoot protection on firmer ground although we did feel that this compromised the precise feel on uneven terrain that some shoes offer. The sole unit offers enough cushioning to deal with longer distances and firmer surfaces as well as muddy conditions. The low heel-to-forefoot drop of 5mm gives the Supertracs a stable feel, and the radial pattern of the lugs give multi directional grip. With a mix of cushioning and grip, we think the RC2s are best suited to conditions that combine both mud and firmer ground.

The best for comfort