If you are training for a mud run or obstacle race, you will probably have questions about the best gear to wear. Most online sources agree on the basics like wicking fabrics and shoes with good tread, but there are many conflicting opinions about gloves. We reviewed all the online advice we could find and filtered through endless threads in social media sites debating the subject to come up with these findings.
• Prevents rope burn, and generally improves grip on rope obstacles
• Provides protection from splinters, bruising and other injury
• Protection from rough obstacle components like chain, wood, cinder block
• Helps when crawling over rocky surfaces or doing burpees in the dirt
• Can keep hands warmer in cold races
• May be useless for grip when muddy and wet
• Some types are insanely slippery when wet
• Notoriously bad on monkey bars
• Can hold and carry water
• May deaden your sense of feel (Esp. with Spear throw)
We found several credible athletes who reported their experiences having run major races with and without gloves. They claimed that the race itself made a difference citing the mud-heavy Tough Mudder as less likely to need gloves compared to the rope-heavy Spartan Race where they proved more useful.
The weather is another factor that could influence your decision to use gloves in a mud run. In rainy conditions, all obstacles will tend to be covered in mud making most gloves to slippery to use. However, for cold weather races (or those where there are still snow on the ground) do wear gloves. Because frankly, frozen hands are absolutely useless on most obstacles.
When it comes to using mud run gloves, you can also let your own hands be the judge. If you have tough hands from outdoor work or training, you’ll be fine without. If you don’t work with your hands or have many callouses from weekend lumberjacking, maybe you should.
Perhaps the best answer is to have them if and when you need them. You don't have to wear them if you can figure out a way to take them with you. Put them in a pocket or waste-band or stow them in a small pack if you are carrying water. There are options for a simple and economical pair of gloves that could save your hands or help you conquer an obstacle. If you lose them, it's at most a $15 loss, but if you need them, they are invaluable.
- Minimal water retention
- Great grip
- Palm cushioning
With these features in mind, we highly recommend the MadGrips Pro Palm Obstacle Race Gloves. While there is no such thing as a miracle glove that will enable you to stick to monkey bars coated in wet mud, we find these to be considerably better than others they've tried. They are perhaps the best gloves available for ropes, even when wet or muddy.
Bottom line, these tough mud run gloves are cheap enough to wear without worrying about ruining them in the muck, and they will take abuse and last a long time through many tough training workouts and races.
We hope this summary will help you decide if you will wear or carry gloves with you on your next obstacle race. Either way, good luck!