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Pros and Cons of Wearing Gloves for Spartan Race or Tough Mudder

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Cyclingfitness climbing the slippery wall at Spartan Race, Ripon 2013

Cyclingfitness climbing the slippery wall at Spartan Race, Ripon 2013

Spartan Race and Tough Mudder Gear: Gloves or No Gloves?

After those hours of training, making the right choices for race day for your mud run can be a complicated task. For many, one of the most difficult questions regards whether or not gloves should be worn and if yes, what type of gloves?

This article focuses on the positive and negative aspects of choosing to wear gloves for the Spartan race and how it might relate to some of the obstacles you can face on race day.

Gloves for Tough Mudder or Spartan Race is NOT Cheating

To some people, obstacle races should involve just you and your body against the challenges but in reality, those challenges are exceptionally hard work for many of us. Some Mudders just don't get what gloves might bring in addition to your race and once they've actually raced in gloves they may never go back.

Obstacle Course Racing is Tough on Your Hands

Wading through cold muddy water, trying to maintain your hold on some dirty monkey bars and hauling on a rough rope attached to a heavy eight are all going to take their toll on your hands. The author of this piece ran his first Spartan Race barehanded and suffered from rough, dry and aching hands for over a week post-event as a result despite copious amounts of expensive hand cream (yes, men can wear hand cream, just not the rose smelling stuff).

Wet ropes sliding through your hands can really roughen up your skin and at obstacle racing events there's potential for a lot of rope work and hauling yourself over wooden obstacles can also lead to splinters getting lodged into your skin.

What to Look for in Gloves

When considering gloves for Tough Mudder or Spartan Race you need to think about the following things

  • Are your gloves flexible enough to give you the mobility to grasp your hands around a metal bar or heavy rope?
  • Do they have a tacky, grippy surface that will help adhere to wet metal and wooden surfaces?
  • Will they help to offer some thermal properties during a cold race?
  • Will they be tough enough to not be penetrated by splinters as you bound up wooden obstacles?

Gloves for Tough Mudder: Mad Grip Gloves

Gloves for Spartan Race: Mad Grip Pro Palm Gloves

If you're considering wearing gloves for your next obstacle race the Mad Grip Pro Palm glove could be the best option for racing. Featuring a tacky pliable tread which features a series of tread-like grooves to help disperse water and mud from your hands these gardening gloves could actually be the stuff of Spartan legends.

They're reasonably priced and offer excellent grip over obstacles. And you can prune your roses with them when you're not training for your next event.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2013 Liam Hallam


john on November 06, 2017:

I just finished the full mudder in SoCal and although I trained with gloves early on, I didn't like the gloves because they seemed to bunch up after a few monkey bars and added another level of difficulty to the already tough task of griping and swinging. I found myself without them many times during the last 10 days of training - It hurt in the beginning but quickly developed calluses. On race day I decided not to use them and it was the right choice for me. I completed all the hand-heavy obstacles without difficulty and am sure it would have been more challenging with the gloves.

Liam Hallam (author) from Nottingham UK on October 11, 2013:

Thanks abetterwaytolive, I was grappling with muddy ropes which bare handed hand now grip at all but certain things don't really need them or they can be a hindrence. It's personal choice but it'd be gloves for me every time.

Casey Johnson from Sanger, Texas on October 11, 2013:

I ran the tough mudder in Austin a couple years ago and chose to wear gloves. I don't think it is necessary if you have rough hands, but there are plenty of reasons you would want to. The log lift being one of them. Great hub!