Spartan Race famously keeps its gear list for race day minimal, but the fact of the matter is—you must wear something.

We could tell you that all you need is a shirt, socks, shoes, and spirit, but we thought it would be better to ask the experts: our racers.

So, what should you wear for your first Spartan Race?


In terms of clothes — wear tight, synthetic clothes that wick moisture away from your body.

“Essentially tighter fitting clothes so you won’t have extra fabric catching on anything (barb wire.) Great trail running/mud running shoes is the number 1 thing! Gotta have great shoes or you struggle through the race and after.” — Jenn Wayne

“Avoid cotton. (Your wardrobe shouldn’t retain water. Quick-dry stuff.)” — Sharpen The Sword

“Steer clear of cotton. Stick to moisture wicking fabrics.” — Kevin Hoover

“Minimal cotton. Last year my shorts got wet and muddy and I spent the rest of the race trying to keep them up. The water/mud made the fabric heavy. Same with the shirt. Wear something tight fitting – quick/ dry.” — Michael Miller

Many Spartans recommend compression gear.

“I recommend compression leggings, a compression shirt, shirts to wear over your leggings.” — Nate Jenkin

“Dri fit shirt & shorts. Injinji socks (they come in compression high socks). If it’s cold, Nike Hyperwarm (or similar) pants and shirt… or Merino wool shirt.” — Kathleen Jeffredo Gibbons

“Compression everything. Or some type of tech gear. Absolutely NO cotton.” — Tony Matesi

“Quick dry clothing, compression gear.” — Donna Woodside

“As little as possible, as tight and dry-fit as possible. High socks and elbow protection.” — Stephanie Diersing

“Tight clothing, compression pants and socks.” — Dionne Gilhart McNutt


For your feet — use trail-running shoes with good traction. Tony Matesi recommends toe socks and Trail Toes for longer races.

“I didn’t learn about trail running shoes until last year. These kind of shoes are absolutely vital in any form of obstacle race, especially Spartan Races. You will face all kinds of terrain (depending on the location), and it’s just best to take care of your feet when it comes to grip. Do your research, as there’s plenty of brands of trail running shoes available on the market.” — Justin Avoice Coleman

“Personally, a big fan of toe socks. And use Trail Toes Anti-Friction Foot and Body Products to prevent blisters for longer distances.” — Tony Matesi

“A pair of shoes that have good traction on the bottom, for taking on muddy hills and walls.” — Kevin Hoover

“Tall socks (preferably compression) and trail running sneakers (no metal spikes).” — Sharpen The Sword

“Trail running shoes… and don’t forget to lock your laces.” — Geoffrey B. Tweed

“Trail shoes with good drainage.” — Donna Woodside

“Shoes with excellent grip.” — Nils Ripcke

“Shoes that are lightweight but have good traction (Salomons are great).” — Nate Jenkin


Maybe a hydration pack — for races that are longer than two hours (a Beast, or for some, a Super), a hydration pack is a must.

For your knees and elbows — because Spartans typically do a lot of crawling, it is important to protect your skin. Many Spartans recommend compression gear, knee pads, and elbow pads.

“I wore elbow pads and knee pads. Worked wonders when I came out of the barbed wire and everyone was scratched up from the rough dirt/sand but me.” — Michelle Cline

“Compression gear. I’ve learned the hard way that for every race that I don’t protect myself, I EARN another scar (badge).” — Justin T. Manning

“I would definitely add knee and elbow guards of some type. If you need to truly crawl (like me) thru the barb wire crawl, it can really make a difference.” — Philomena Kiernan

“Arm sleeves with elbow pads.” — Vriones L. Vrionides

“Invest in both knee pads and elbow pads, as most races will have you crawl on the ground to some degree. I just learned that last year.” — Justin Avoice Coleman


For your hands — Spartans were on the fence about gloves. Use your judgment.

“GLOVES!!!” — Joe Weber

“Not gloves.” — Damien Olson

“Gloves.” — Justin T. Manning

For the legs — Spartans recommend non-cotton compression socks.

“Compression socks are a must.” — Ciara Vargas Slider

“Compression high socks.” — Vriones L. Vrionides

“Definitely compression socks.” — Tony DiGrezia

“Compression gear, no cotton.” — Alfonso Rex Lozano

“Injinji socks” — Nabor Torres

In summary


Wear synthetic clothing, top and bottom. Many Spartans recommend compression sleeves for protection. Equip your feet with good trail running shoes, and don’t forget to prevent blistersbefore they happen. Spartans couldn’t seem to make up their minds about gloves, so use your judgment there. One Spartan suggested a hydration pack, which we agree is a must for long, hot races.

Once you’ve got the gear, get your butt off the couch and onto the course.