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OCR Shoes 2022 (What 150 OCR Athletes Think)

Updated: Jun 13

Apparently these are the best shoes for obstacle course racing. It's year 4 of the "OCR Shoes" series. This year we had 40 more people contribute their votes for the data than in 2021. Thank you to all 150 who submitted! We really appreciate it, and we've had 3 previous years worth of people telling us these articles are helpful, so thank you for helping provide the information for other athletes in our awesome sport!

To view the most recent results, visit Best Shoes For OCR 2024 (250 Athletes Polled).

If you're looking for GPS Watches that OCR athletes think are good, check out this article: GPS Watches 2022 - What 110 OCR Athletes Think

If you'd like to see how the data has changed over the years, the links to previous editions are below.

We asked the surveyed athletes a few simple questions, and this is what they said...

What are the TOP 3 things you considered when purchasing your race shoes?

It has been the case for many years now that the majority of surveyed athletes care far less about price, and far more about quality. For a sport like OCR, Grip, Comfort, and Durability are very important. It seems that athletes have their priorities in good order!

This is your opportunity to warn people away from a shoe brand with which you had a TERRIBLE experience. Have you ever tried a shoe brand for OCR and hated it? If so, which brand, and why? (We'll include 5-10 answers with the worst experiences).

  • "The Spartan OCR shoes" (there were several comments about Spartan (ie: Craft) shoes similar to this)

  • "Salomon. Once they get wet. They become heavy bricks on your feet, which isn't good for OCR" (There were multiple comments regarding how Salomon's either wore out, had bad drainage, or had narrow toe boxes)

  • "Merrell. They were heavy and didn’t drain well." (There were 5 mentions of Merrell shoes either being uncomfortable, heavy, or not durable)

In the survey I mentioned that we'd list 5-10 of the worst experiences with shoes so that people could avoid them and those shoes would start to disappear; hoping we'd get to have better shoes on the market, but most of those surveyed said, in one way or another, "Nothing negative to say." There were other brands/models listed, but I haven't included those comments because there was only one person with a bad experience and I don't think that's a large enough sample size to publicly put a bad mark against a brand/shoe.

If you HAD to choose a different shoe brand than the one you currently wear, which brand would you choose? (Just brand, not model).

Lots of unsure athletes, as well as athletes who said they wouldn't switch...interesting. I threw them in the "Not sure/None" category. Besides them, it seems VJ Shoes, Inov8, and Salomon are the big three currently as "back-up plans". Altra, Hoka both did pretty well here. Saucony received some decent responses, and Asics and Merrell both have a few eyes looking their way.

What brand do your currently, primarily race in?

SALOMON WINS AGAIN...for the 3rd year in a row! Altra and VJ tied, with VJ Shoes moving up one spot from last year and pushing Inov8 down into 4th place (I don't count ties!). Salming took a big dive this year, most likely due to their move out North America. Saucony has taken their place. I don't know what the "Other" brands are...this list is massive. If you know of other brands people race in, leave the names in the comments to educate me.

The top 5 shoe MODELS in OCR are currently...

  1. Salomon Speed Cross (31 votes)

  2. Altra Lone Peak (12 votes)

  3. VJ MAXx (11 votes)

  4. Inov8 X-Talon (11 votes)

  5. Altra King MT (7 votes)

Because there are so many variations of models, I've combined ACTUAL model groups. I think it's relevant to note that 37 people said that Salomon was their primary race show, and 31 of those 37 are wearing the Speed Cross. That's a high percentage of sales in one shoe; at least based on this survey.

Thanks for reading! I hope this data/information is helpful in your search for a great shoe for OCR! While you're on our website, go back to the "Blog" tab and read more articles about training, gear, and more!


We provide content like this weekly! If you'd like to be notified about new articles, follow THIS LINK and put "Newsletter" in the form's subject field. We are in the business of helping athletes improve their physical capabilities through solid, smart programming. Feel free to take a look at some of our Training Programs if you're someone interested in improving your course times and performance in OCR.

3 Workouts Per Week

The Forge training program provides you with 3 workouts per week designed to improve your overall fitness for Obstacle Course Racing. You're strength, speed, and endurance will all be tested. Each week of programming will help you improve your running and grip strength. It's time to forge yourself into the best OCR athlete you can be!

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