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  • Photo: Inga Hendrickson

    Obstacle Racing Essentials

    Whether you’re looking to do a 5K mud run or ramping up for a Spartan Race, the right OCR gear can make all the difference.

    —Erin Beresini

  • Photo: Inga Hendrickson

    Reebok All-Terrain Series Shoes

    Say goodbye to bruised heels and soppy trainers. With aggressive midfoot teeth for rope-climbing traction, drains for shedding water, and a grippy, protective outsole, these sneaks ($120) are the ultimate OCR weapon. Bonus: the futuristic paint job and retro styling make a slick fashion statement, on the course and off.

  • Photo: Inga Hendrickson

    CW-X Ventilator compression Socks

    OCR wreaks havoc on ankles. These lightweight knee-highs ($55) help stabilize joints, reduce fatigue, and guard against cuts and scrapes—without heating up or retaining moisture.

  • Photo: Inga Hendrickson

    Ironskull Fitness Kettlebell

    Need to get into race shape quickly? Nothing creates core and upper-body strength faster than a furious kettlebell workout (from $85). Choose from eight sizes and dozens of colors, or go custom and order up one of the most freakishly unique pieces of gym equipment you'll ever own.

  • Photo: Inga Hendrickson

    Under Armour HeatGear Dynasty Vented Compression Shirt

    Because it fits like a second skin, the Dynasty ($35) eliminates chaffing and won't snag on grabby obstacles. Also nice: the full-mesh back drains and dries fast.

  • Photo: Inga Hendrickson

    Mechanix Original Grip Gloves

    These lightweight work gloves ($28) protect palms and impart a gecko-like grip that's advantageous for everything from climbing ropes to swinging across monkey bars. The formfitting upper stays snug and dries quickly.

  • Photo: Inga Hendrickson

    Reebok Running Essentials Short Tights

    Fitted and stretchy, these shorts ($40) will stay in place through mud, fire, and barbed wire, and they dry fast, so you won't feel like you're running in a diaper.

  • Photo: Inga Hendrickson

    Nathan Sports VaporCloud Pack

    Most longer races have aid stations, but you might want to BYO. Stay fueled with the body-hugging VaporCloud ($200), which has a two-liter hydration bladder and six zippered pockets. The well-designed bungee system keeps your water and fuel close without bouncing around.

  • Photo: Inga Hendrickson

    Next Up:2014 Hot Weather Running Essentials

    The North Face Apex Bionic Jacket

    Beat the après-OCR chills with this windproof, water-resistant soft shell ($149). Its fuzzy fleece interior will keep you as warm as the dude stoking the fire jump while you enjoy a hard-earned brew.