Updated: Oct 2, 2019
Firstly, we'd like to thank all of those awesome OCR athletes who took the time to fill out the survey. Your feedback was essential for this article, and will be, we hope, a huge help to other OCR athletes in the future who are looking for a shoe that's best for them.
Secondly, in one of the responses on the survey, someone asked, "is this a survey or a commercial?" We thought that was a pretty funny question. So to answer the question, it was a survey. We aren't pushing any single brand at all with the data we're providing from the survey. We're simply reporting the data and giving some of our thoughts, and welcome everyone else's thoughts, on the data that was provided.
Let's get to the numbers! As the title states, the results are based on 100 responses. We did receive a bit more than 100, but chose to stick with the first 100.
When asked: "What shoe brand do you race in? If you race in more than one brand, select all that apply." OCR athletes provided the following results.
Obviously, Inov8 was the most popular shoe selected. Salomon came in a very strong second. After that though, "Other" pulled in 3rd. To give you all some insight into what brands "Other" includes, here are a few of them:
Icebug, Brooks, Hoka, Nike, Asics
When Asked: "What MODEL shoe do you primarily race in?" the survey participants provided the following information.
To clear any confusion for those statisticians out there, there may be points where it seems that data doesn't quite add up from one chart to the other, but that is due to the fact that in the first question, athletes were to select ALL brands they race in, while this question was regarding the PRIMARY MODEL of shoe they race in.
It's not at all surprising that Inov8 has two models in the top 3 since they were the most popular brand by far. We did find it interesting that 17 people reported racing in Altras and only 14 in VJ Shoes. However, Altra had just 1 model that 6 people listed as their PRIMARY race shoe, whereas VJ Shoes had 2 models, and 11 people choosing it primarily for their racing.
Here are some quotes from people who race primarily in the most popular models:
"X-talon 225 Inov8. It is such a comfortable shoe with an ideal fit - it drains super good and on the same time it has a super grip. Both on obstacles & on trails. I have ran more than 20 races in this shoe, only updating if there came a newer version of the same shoe 😁" (Instagram - @idamathildeOCR)
"My Experience has been great Running in my Salomon Speedcross 4s. Initially I had a few issues getting my size dialed in and paid a very steep price (Blisters and losing all my toenails) but once I found the proper fit then they were amazing. I have worn through 7 pairs and even had a couple free pairs as their warranties are great for any defects. They grip amazing, have great drainage, and seem to last the longest throughout the punishment I give them." (Instagram - @mikeaichholz)
"Switched to Altra MT King because it's one of the few "barefoot" zero drop shoes with grip." (Instagram - @thomasvmarino)
"VJ Sport Irock3 have the best grip on the planet, just like their hashtag says. It also fit my foot perfectly." (Instagram - @tomaskvapil)
"The Reebok All Terrain Thrill has been the most comfortable, easiest to drain, and has great grip." (Instagram - @younggreezyy)
"My Salming OT comp has been amazing from race 1. Great grip, good room for toes and stable." (Instagram - @binaulv)
Now we come down to the REASONS why people chose the shoes that they did.
When Asked: "What were the THREE BIGGEST factors in choosing the shoe you race in?" the athletes said:
Quality, Utility/Functionality, and Comfort. If any shoe companies read this, those are the things (at least from the segment we surveyed) that people are most looking for in their OCR shoe. Obviously those 3 reasons make all the sense in the world. OCR athletes want something that will hold up through the tough terrain and stresses of a race, that work well for the race, and don't hurt their feet.
Number 4 on the list is, "Thought it would have the best grip of any shoes they'd seen." No doubt shoes that have really "aggressive" looking tread will catch the eye of an OCR athlete.
We were a little surprised to see how low "Price" is on the list. Having come from a background where money was always tight, we thought price would be higher on the list. It's pretty nice to see it as low as it is though. People are willing to pay more for something that will give them the results they're looking for - that's smart by our estimates.
We also found it VERY interesting that not 1 single person said that seeing a great ad (ignore the typo in the graph) was in their top 3 reasons for buying a shoe. However, 20 people said that they chose a shoe because someone recommended it, or because it was worn by someone they admire. Are companies wasting money on ads that they could be putting toward more brand representatives/ambassadors? Who knows! It's interesting data, even if it is from a small segment.
The top 3 brands our surveyed athletes use are: Inov8, Salomon, and Altra.
The top 3 MODELS of shoes that they primarily race in are the Inov8 X Talon, Salomon Speedcross, and the Inov8 Mud Claw.
The top 3 reasons they purchased the shoes they own are: Quality, Utility/Functionality, and Comfort.
We hope this information is helpful in your search for an OCR shoe that's right for you! There are some really solid brands and shoes out there, so you have no excuse for running your next race in tennis shoes ;).
Luke and I hopped on a conference call to go over the different brands and models we've tried for OCR competitions. You can watch the full video below. We'd also love if you'd subscribe to our Youtube channel for more videos like this, obstacle clips from races, race previews/recaps, and more!
We'd love to hear any thoughts or feedback you have regarding OCR shoes, so comment down below for discussion.
Also, feel free to share this article with any and all who might benefit from the information in it.
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Joel Hayes (Article Author)