Everything you need for your first Swimrun

We’re big fans of Swimrun here at Vivobarefoot. It’s the perfect way to reconnect with nature and is the ultimate team adventure. Based on passion, teamwork and closeness to nature, Swimrun is unparalleled in its ability to take you into wild and breathtakingly beautiful locations and allow you to feel in synergy with the great outdoors.

Vivobarefoot are the official shoe sponsor of the ÖTILLÖ Swimrun World Series, and we will be taking part in (and working at) a selection of Swimrun races over the season. 

If you’re new to the sport, it can be a bit daunting at first. Even the idea of swimming in your shoes and running in a wetsuit can seem strange. There are also plenty of kit choices for you to make before embarking on a Swimrun adventure, and ultimately, the kit you wear needs to work well in the water and on the trails. But to make it easier, we’ve compiled a list of all the gear you’ll need to compete when it comes to the big day.

Kit essentials:

Swimming hat

This will be given to you at the race and is compulsory to wear during the swimming legs of the Swimrun. The hat is intended to make you more visible to the marshals throughout the course.

Don’t worry though, you’re free take it off while you’re running!


Get yourself a pair that will be comfortable for long periods of time and work well in open water. You’ll need a good fit and range of vision for when you’re navigating the course and to keep eyes on your race partner.


This piece of kit is particularly important in chilly waters, which are common at European races. You can get a Swimrun specific wetsuit, which means the zip is at the front for easy access if you want to open it up when you’re running to regulate your temperature. They also cut off at the knee. However, a typical wetsuit can also be used. Comfort is key, so be sure to give it a try before purchasing. It needs to be roomy enough to run in and for the cold swims or runs, you can wear thermal underlayers to stay warm.


As you will be swimming in your trail shoes, a pair that drains well and can handle lots of soaking and drying is essential! You’ll also be running on some rocky terrain, so a shoe that will protect your feet AND provide grip on slippery surfaces is a must.

Our Swimrun collection was developed in collaboration with ÖtillÖ, founders of the Swimrun World Championship. Try our Primus Trail Swimrun for non-stop transition between wet and dry. The shoe streamlines the foot as you cut through the water and keeps debris out of the shoe for long-distance comfort, all whilst maintaining full ankle mobility. Designed to take you from full submersion to off-road running without weighing you down, it’s cleverly constructed with quick-drain zones that help to pump out excess water with every step.

Tow rope

This refers to the mechanism by which you’ll be tied to your partner! Of course, you can now enter many Swimrun races solo, but if you’re doing it the traditional way, a tow rope will keep you the required distance (10 meters) from your partner. It really comes into its own during the swim, where the stronger swimmer can take the lead (or you can both take turns) and the less strong swimmer can be ‘pulled along’.

Float/Pull buoy

A simple float between your legs with elastic around it gives your legs a rest when you’re swimming. Just move them to the side for runs and you’re good to go.

Hand paddles

These are completely optional and are used on your hands to help you fly through the water quicker. It’s worth using these during training to see if they work for you.

Safety Kit

For safety reasons you need to also carry some specific kit. ÖTILLÖ stipulates you must carry a first aid bandage in waterproof packaging, a compass and a whistle during races.


Tempted by the challenge of a Swimrun? Shop our Swimrun collection and find out more about the upcoming events in 2019.


Receive exclusive updates on promotions, news and product launches



Receive exclusive updates on promotions, news and product launches