Best Gloves for an Obstacle Course Race

Running Spartan Races, Tough Mudders, and other Obstacle course races can be tough business for the hands. You might train for hours a day in a gym or at The Box but nothing can simulate crawling through rough muddy rocks under barbed wire or doing a hundred plus burpees on terrain ranging from mud to pavement. I workout a few hours a day, I feel tough, and my hands feel tough but after some races without gloves I realized my hands were not that tough. Here’s my top 3 suggestions for the best glove to get you through a Spartan Race or any other obstacle race for that matter.

4. Mad Grip Pro Palm Glove ($14.99)

best-gloves-obstacle-course-race-4These made the list mainly due to the low cost and simplicity of them.  The plus side of these compared to the ones in hardware stores is that they’ve managed to mold in some more aggressive grip.  They are also cheap enough that when they become saturated in mud and debris you can discard them or relegate them to garden gloves.  Unfortunately, they are very low performing because when they get wet the gloves will hold all that water in the cotton backs of the gloves.  They also don’t cinch with any type of wrist strapping so they could possible fall off.

 

3. Mechanix Wear M-Pact Gloves ($25.00)

best-gloves-obstacle-course-race-3Mechanix is a glove brand you will see all over all Spartan Races, Tough Mudder, and so on.  They are durable and made out of synthetic materials that don’t absorb water too much. Another benefit to Mechanix type gloves is that there is so many versions to fit your personal preference.  This version is basically the most bad ass type of them.  They have rubberized palms, protected knuckles, wrist strap tighten-able, and they are made of a breathable material.  I’ve thrown away other versions of the lighter kinds in the past but these are some of my favorite for the colder weather. When it’s warmer they also have the fingerless version listed below.  When in doubt of your specific needs buy these gloves in your size and favorite color.

Fingerless Version: Mechanix Wear M-Pact Fingerless Gloves

 

2. Under Armour Men’s CTR Trainer HF Gloves ($29.99)

best-gloves-obstacle-course-race-1Under Armour always manages to come through with the best performance gear and these are no exceptions.  If you see me racing there is a very good chance I have these on.  They are super thin all around so even when the quick drying material gets soaked there isn’t much to absorb it with all the mesh panels.  On the fingers and palms they also have little strips of this sticky type material that is comparable to the stuff on football players gloves to help them catch footballs.  But they didn’t stop there with all the features you might need, they added a soft place on the back of the thumb so that you can wipe your nose or brow without scratching it too bad. The only possible rub against these gloves is that the wrist is just a tight elastic material and doesn’t have the ability to cinch.  I’ve never had a problem due to this but it’s worth noting.  If you want a performance based glove that makes it feel like you have almost nothing but a second skin on your hands you should get these.

UPDATE – 3/1/2016 

The Under Armour CTR Training gloves are no longer being made by Under Armour and are being replaced by the Flux glove. Buy the CTR while you can but be aware that the prices are rising rapidly as the stock disappears.
1. Under Armour Men’s Flux Half-Finger Training Gloves ($22.99)

under-armour-flux-glove

These are still conceptually the same glove as the CTR with a few slight differences. Most notably they grip pattern on the palms has changed to a more spread out pattern instead of stripes.

Another change is that the palm is not the same mesh but instead just a perforated section which seems like a nice improvement since it means less seams.

The final change is the wrist enclosure is a little longer and more elastic based than previously. This has the added benefit of the glove staying on your hand even better. I suggest you buy the old gloves (CTR) while you can and these to test out which work best for you. I prefer the updated version and like that Under Armour didn’t just scrap the entire concept of these gloves since they are uniquely fit for obstacle course racing.

 

Honorable Mention:

Under Armour Men’s UA Nitro Football Gloves – These gloves have great grip and are lightweight but they don’t deal with mud and water as well as the gloves mentioned above. They are also less breathable and more expensive.

Gloves to stay away from:

Mechanix Wear 0.5 Original Style Glove– Held water like you wouldn’t believe and provided almost no grip when wet.  I would even go as far to say they felt quite a bit more slippery than bare hands.
True Grip Suede Cowhide Glove with Mesh Back – These are gardening gloves, not obstacle course racing gloves. Unless you plan on planting tomatoes by the nearest wall jump please avoid these. I have seen people wearing all types of gardening gloves at the beginning of races but never at the end of races; this is not a coincidence.

Got a glove you like, or hate? Comment below!

If you enjoyed this article you may also like our article on Best Shoes For An Obstacle Course Race.

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Dario

Dario is a long time distance runner and OCR athlete. When not on the roads and trails logging miles he can be found drinking coffee while reading bad science fiction books.
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Comments

  1. Mad grips are great till they get wet…
    experience speaking

  2. Creasy Bear says:

    Have made good experiences with Darkfin Black O.P.S Gloves. Have chopped away the fingertips. These gloves are very catchy. Have bought them in M (normally I wear L). Not easy to get in (just with wet hands or silicone spray), but even on muddy ropes they don´t slip. Would recommend them for all summer races.

  3. Romain Faure says:

    Thank you for all these very interesting articles Dario, I am planning to run the 24h World Toughest Mudder in November so I am getting my gear ready. I have hear a lot of positive comments for the Drymax Maximum Protection Run Mini Crew Socks, do you recommend to run with long compression socks or short socks with calf compression? Thanks 🙂

    • When it comes to socks I’m a short sock kind of guy but that’s really a personal decision. There are studies that go both ways for benefits or lack of benefits with compression socks and pants. I tried long socks a few times but felt like I was just too warm and restricted.

  4. Whichdocktore says:

    The Ironclad box handler gloves are the best I’ve tried. ( Mudder, Savage, IronWarrior) Super sticky silicon palms and made of mostly nylon type fabric that drains very well. Only area that holds mud is the fleece area on back of thumbs for wiping your nose or face. I would compare these to the Mechanix wear gloves mentioned above.

  5. i have some under armour with silicone strips but i have difficulty doing the monkey bars, they have a great grip,to good, but i cant advance. any recommendations??

  6. Rich Kratz says:

    Has anyone had positive/negative experience with Mechanix Original Grips? Ordered a size smaller than normal a wore them mtn biking (wet) and worked out in them. They seem pretty good… Getting ready for my first Savage.

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