Foot orienteering is an endurance sport which involves a huge mental element. There is no marked route – the orienteer must navigate with map and compass while running.

The map gives detailed information on the terrain such as hills, ground surface, obstacles etc. To be successful in foot orienteering, the athlete needs excellent map reading skills, absolute concentration and the ability to make quick decisions on the best route while running at high speed.

Orienteers run over rough ground, completely unprepared forest terrain or rough open hills – cross country in the true sense of the word. Therefore, considerable body strength and agility is needed. Fitness similar to that of a 3000m steeplechase or marathon runner is required.

There is a wide variety of orienteering events: individual competitions and relays, ultra-short park races and mountain marathon events. Night orienteering with the aid of a head lamp is also a popular form of orienteering.

Every year, the best foot orienteers in the world fight for the World Champion titles and the World Cup victory.

Foot orienteering became a recognised Olympic sport in 1977.


RACING SUIT: A lightweight, stretchy suit protects from undergrowth whilst allowing maximum freedom of movement even if it gets soaking wet.

SHOES: Light, strong shoes with non-slip soles allow sure grip on all types of ground – including mud and bare rock.

MAP: The map provided by the organiser shows the course with the control points which must be visited. The map is designed to give detailed information on the terrain – hills, ground surface, and features such as boulders or cliffs.

COMPASS: There is a wide variety of sophisticated compasses to choose from. Basically they can be divided into two main categories: base plate and thumb compasses.

CONTROL CARD: To prove that they have visited all control points in the right order, the orienteers have to punch their control card at each control using an electronic device.

15th IOF High Level Event Seminar to be held in Italy 2023

The High Level Event Seminar was an online event for the last 2 years, but as restrictions have eased, we are happy to announce that the HLES in 2023 will once again be organised as a physical event! The seminar will be ...


IOF Council approves new World Ranking scoring system and updates nationality rules

During its meeting on November 11, IOF Council decided to update the scoring system for the World Ranking. From January 1st, 2023 the raw World Ranking points in FootO, MTBO and SkiO will be enhanced by different percent...

WOC Clinic 2023 open to applicants

Participants at the WOC Clinic 2021 in Czechia. Concurrently with the World Orienteering Championships 2023 in Switzerland, IOF and the WOC-organisers arrange the 12th WOC Clinic in history from July 8 -17 2023. The clin...