The Simple Answer: NO 

Since the beginning of obstacle racing and mud runs people have flocked to the duct tape sections of their local home improvement shop prior to their first event. Somewhere along the way, someone came up with the idea that Duct Tape would be a good tool to helping keep shoes on during a mud run. While most seasoned obstacle racers and mud runners know this will not help keep shoes on many newbies still show up on the day of the event with duct tape on their shoes.

In Theory

It is hard to pinpoint where this phenomenon came from. The reasoning behind it makes some sense, tape around your ankles and your shoes so they don't come off in deep mud. Also, the tape on your ankles gives you more stability so the myth goes. Anyone who has duct taped a shoe for an obstacle race or mud run will tell you in theory it works, in practice it is a whole other outcome.

In Reality

Anyone who has duct taped their shoes on before can tell you, in reality, the duct tape does nothing but get in your way.

  1. By putting slick shiny tape on the bottom of your shoe, you actually decrease your traction on obstacles and natural terrain. Traction is one of the most important things you want in an obstacle racing or mud run shoe so anything to decrease that traction should be avoided.
  2. Duct Tape doesn't do well when it gets really wet. Often people who have duct taped their shoes find during the race that secure tape job is all of a sudden sliding around on the shoe. Which can again decrease traction.
  3. It rips. No matter how many layers of duct tape are put on prior to the mud run starting, during the mud run the tape can snag on a sharp root, rock, or obstacle and rip. This leaves tape hanging from your ankle and can become a tripping hazard.

Many times people start with duct tape on their shoes and ankles only to stop halfway through the course and rip it completely off, littering the course along the way. Overall, the duct tape doesn't hold up during the race and by the end, you will have wished you left it at home.  Instead of reaching for duct tape before your next event try these few tips to keep your shoes on and intact before and after your next mud run or obstacle race.

  1. Wear shoes that fit properly, and are made for outdoor running. If you have a pair you want to donate after the event, bring those along and donate them before running in them.
  2. Check your laces before running and double knot them.
  3. Tuck your hanging laces back into the laces on top of your shoe. If you have hanging laces they are more likely to come untied.
  4. For ankle stability look to products like Rock Tape or KT Tape. These are waterproof and add stability to weak ankles. If your ankles are really weak consider a brace for race day.

Overall, ditch the duct tape. It will make your race day much more fun!

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