Best OCR Shorts for Spartan, Tough Mudder, and Mud Runs

Obstacle Course Races (OCR) like Spartan and Tough Mudder are fun, challenging, exhausting, and messy. You need gear that will help you succeed and not hold you back. In fact, here are some areas to consider when choosing the right shorts for obstacle course racing:

  • DURABILITY. Can these shorts endure mud, water, harsh terrain, and obstacles without tearing?
  • MOISTURE. Will moisture from sweat and water from obstacles vent and/or wick away, or will I have to carry it with me... slowing down my race? 
  • MOVEMENT. Do these shorts move with my body enhancing my performance or against me hindering my mobility?
  • FIT. Can I trust the shorts to stay on and comfortable throughout the race, or will I have to keep adjusting them? 
  • COMFORT. Is the overall feel of these shorts enjoyable or a distraction?
  • LOOK. Do I like how the shorts look on me? Do they make me look like the bad*#s that I know I am?  

Of course, there are other considerations including price and practical design (pockets) that help certain shorts rise to the top. 


Our three favorite men's shorts for obstacle course racing include a comfortable loose fit, a bold compression short, and a hybrid of the two.

Best Men's Shorts for Obstacle Course Racing

MudGear Men's Freestyle ShortsMudGear Men’s Freestyle Shorts

Built strong to handle your toughest outdoor training and racing, MudGear Men’s Freestyle Shorts allow men to keep private matters… private. It’s unhindered performance without the revealing restriction of compression race shorts. Freestyle sports a 7” inseam and a strong drawstring closure to keep your shorts in place. The quick dry fabric is smooth and sturdy while maintaining 4-way stretch for mobility. The breathable mesh liner provides comfortable but firm support, or cut it out if preferred. Side pockets are netted so not to hold water and the zipper back pocket securely stores essentials.

2XU Men’s MCS Run Compression Shorts2XU Men’s MCS Run Compression Shorts

Among the toughest compression shorts to ever hit the muddy obstacle course, 2XU Men’s MCS Run Compression Shorts were designed for athletes who enjoy high-intensity training and competition. MCS (Muscle-Containment-Stamping) applies targeted compression to sport-specific muscle groups to increase stability and reduce muscle fatigue. The form-fitting tights provide an impressive combination of powerful compression, lightweight feel, and maximum flexibility. Other highlights include convenient pockets, moisture-wicking technology to keep you dry, and flatlock seams for chafe-prevention.

Spartan By Craft Essential Men's 2-in-1 ShortSpartan by Craft Essential Men's 2-in-1 Short

These shorts offer a stylish solution for men who enjoy the feel and performance of compression shorts but demand a little more modesty. Spartan by Craft Essential Men's 2-in-1 Shorts consist of a tight underlayer for protection covered by a lightweight, soft woven fabric outer layer with mechanical stretch. The tights don’t offer quite as much compression as the 2XU, but still sport an ergonomic fit for optimal freedom of movement while keeping everything in place. Neither layer holds much water by themselves; but both layers together will carry a little water weight. Overall, the shorts feel good and deliver a solid performance.  


From style to durability, women look for the same essentials in their OCR shorts as men do. Once again, our recommendations include a compression short, one non-compression, and a hybrid of the two.

 Best Women's Shorts for Obstacle Course Racing

MudGear Women’s Flex-Fit Race Shorts

MudGear Women’s Flex-Fit Race Shorts

Melding strength, style, comfort, and functionality, MudGear Women’s Flex-Fit Race Shorts take a complementary approach to form-fitting apparel with carefully placed lines and added compression in all the right places. FLEX-FIT comfortably hugs your curves without constricting movement or functionality. They feel uniquely secure with felt compression backed by a “just in-case” drawstring. MudGear engineered FLEX-FIT to be highly durable but lightweight with good drainage and wicking ability. The body’s power-stretch nylon protects well and isn’t remotely see-through; yet, it’s light enough to only carry limited moisture. Special considerations include flatlock stitches, quick drain pockets, and a convenient third zipper pocket on the back. 

Lululemon Hotty HOT LR ShortsLululemon Hotty HOT LR Short 4" Lined - TRNV (True Navy)

Ready to lighten your load? Lululemon Hotty HOT LR Shorts use exceptionally lightweight material so not to slow you down. The 4-way stretch fabric is less confining than compression shorts, but they are anything but loose or baggy (drawstring closure just in case). The attractive design is subtle but stylish with reflective details and a secret stash pocket. The 4” inseam is long enough to keep you covered while negotiating challenging obstacles, but still short enough to run free and feel Hotty HOT. One more essential consideration when it comes to racing apparel is how well it wicks water. Lululemon shorts pass the moisture test with flying colors.   

Spartan Race by Craft 2-in-1 Shorts for WomenSpartan Race by Craft Women's Pro Series 2-in-1 Short

Designed with the everyday obstacle course racer in mind, Spartan Race by Craft Women's Pro Series 2-in-1 Short stands up to the challenges of any obstacle. The outer shorts are made of a soft, comfortable stretch fabric while the mesh inner short provides optimal ventilation and an eye-catching print.  Race with your nutrition, phone, key, or other essentials secured in the zippered back pocket. Spartan Race by Craft Pro Series 2-in-1 Shorts for Women are tough, and they stay up with a drawstring and wide waistband for comfort and support.  

Are you preparing for a Spartan, Tough Mudder, or other obstacle course race? Choose gear that helps you deliver on all of your hard work. Learn more about MudGear Men's Freestyle Shorts (Amazon), MudGear Women's Flex-Fit Race Shorts (Amazon), and MudGear Women's Flex-Fit Capri Pants (Amazon).


Affiliate Disclosure - receives compensation from affiliate partners for placing links to their products on our website. This sometimes influences our decision on what products we recommend and to which products we link.


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.