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Best Shoes for Cross Country & Track Meets Reviewed

last updated May 17, 2019

For those of you who like to move your run off the road, away from the traffic and out into the countryside, you will know that the shoes you wear are your most important piece of running equipment. It is very important to invest in a good quality pair of specialized shoes for your running needs. Cross country running will require your choice of shoes to function well over many miles and across lots of different types of terrain. Shoes that are suitable for this specialized type of running need to provide good traction to ensure grip on even the most slippery surfaces, support, flexibility, durability to withstand heavy use and protection to ensure that the foot is safe on even the most undeveloped terrains.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 106 hrs of research

icon
Salomon Speedcross 4
95.8/100 our score
Breathability
95
Weather Resistance
96
Traction
96
Flexibility
95
Protection
97
Salomon Speedcross 4
Why is it better?

Resists Water

Anti-debris Mesh

QuickLace System

Upper is Breathable

Aggressive Lug Pattern

Dual-density EVA Midsole

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Salomon Speedcross 4
Test Winner: Salomon Speedcross 4
Amazon Link
Researched Sources
22
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
15,100
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
106
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
20
Products Evaluated
Sorting Options
Breathability Weather Resistance Traction Flexibility Protection By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.8
Breathability
95 %
Weather Resistance
96 %
Traction
96 %
Flexibility
95 %
Protection
97 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (24.06.19)
Backcountry Link
$104.97
See Deal
Amazon Link
$129.95
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.4
Breathability
95 %
Weather Resistance
92 %
Traction
96 %
Flexibility
93 %
Protection
91 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (24.06.19)
Amazon Link
$144.65
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92
Breathability
91 %
Weather Resistance
86 %
Traction
94 %
Flexibility
95 %
Protection
94 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (24.06.19)
Amazon Link
$50.05
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.8
Breathability
89 %
Weather Resistance
88 %
Traction
93 %
Flexibility
94 %
Protection
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (24.06.19)
Amazon Link
$129.95
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.6
Breathability
92 %
Weather Resistance
87 %
Traction
94 %
Flexibility
89 %
Protection
91 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (24.06.19)
Amazon Link
$19.99
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.6
Breathability
92 %
Weather Resistance
86 %
Traction
85 %
Flexibility
90 %
Protection
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (24.06.19)
Amazon Link
$100.00
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88
Breathability
87 %
Weather Resistance
86 %
Traction
88 %
Flexibility
89 %
Protection
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (24.06.19)
Amazon Link
$91.61
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.2
Breathability
90 %
Weather Resistance
92 %
Traction
91 %
Flexibility
75 %
Protection
88 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (24.06.19)
Amazon Link
$111.80
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.2
Breathability
84 %
Weather Resistance
86 %
Traction
85 %
Flexibility
88 %
Protection
88 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (24.06.19)
Amazon Link
$89.96
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.4
Breathability
83 %
Weather Resistance
85 %
Traction
93 %
Flexibility
86 %
Protection
80 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (24.06.19)
Amazon Link
$85.00
In Depth Review Top 10
  • Salomon Speedcross 4 Salomon Speedcross 4
  • Brooks Mach 18 Brooks Mach 18
  • Saucony Kilkenny XC7 Spike Saucony Kilkenny XC7 Spike
  • ASICS GEL-Fujitrabuco 7 ASICS GEL-Fujitrabuco 7
  • Saucony Shay XC4 Saucony Shay XC4
  • Saucony Fastwitch 9 Saucony Fastwitch 9
  • New Balance 1400 New Balance 1400
  • New Balance 840 New Balance 840
  • Adidas Supernova Riot Adidas Supernova Riot
  • ASICS Freak 2 ASICS Freak 2
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

Top 10 Shoes for Cross Country

1. Salomon Speedcross 4

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.8
Salomon Speedcross 4
Amazon Link
Breathability
95
Weather Resistance
96
Traction
96
Flexibility
95
Protection
97
best offer for today
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Amazon Link
$129.95
Backcountry Link
$104.97
See Deal
Pros:

Resists Water

Anti-debris Mesh

QuickLace System

Upper is Breathable

Aggressive Lug Pattern

Dual-density EVA Midsole

Cons:

Higher Price Tag

Tight Fitting Toe Box

The Salomon Speedcross 4 heads the top of this list with very good reason, it is definitely one of the best choices for cross country running. Its aggressive lug pattern provides excellent traction over unpredictable terrain. Whilst it also offers great comfort to the wearer, with plush cushioning and a supportive midsole. Ensuring both high performance and a comfortable fit.

Read more

The patented Sensifit technology provides a snug fit, which adapts to the shape of the foot. This also combines with the QuickLace system to tailor the fit and allow the shoes to slide on and off the foot easily.

The outsole utilizes Contagrip rubber for excellent traction, even if surfaces are slippery or wet. The lug pattern has been optimized on this 4th generation shoe for superior grip across all types of terrain. This is one of the more expensive choices of shoe given in this list. However, it does have a high level of durability, performs exceptionally well and provides fantastic grip across varied terrains. Altogether this shoe is well worth the investment.

2. Brooks Mach 18

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.4
Brooks Mach 18
Amazon Link
Breathability
95
Weather Resistance
92
Traction
96
Flexibility
93
Protection
91
best offer for today
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Amazon Link
$144.65
Pros:

Seamless Mesh Upper

Padded Heel

Pebax RNW Spike Plate

6mm Spikes

EVA Foam Cushioning

Cons:

Runs Narrow

Durability Issues

This model is the only cross country running shoe by Brooks, and it comes in a Spike or Spikeless version, so you can choose according to your needs and preferences. Extremely lightweight, this neutral model is great for those with a normal or high arch, and even despite the limited color options, it looks excellent. It’s one of the fastest feeling shoes of this kind, so it will be appreciated both by high school runners, as well as professionals.

Read more

The bottom of the Mach 18 uses a Pebax RNW spike plate, combining it with an aggressive lug pattern for the best possible traction you can wish for (especially on harder surfaces). In terms of shock absorption, you’ll benefit from an EVA foam midsole that thins towards the toes for a more responsive ride.

The biggest update to this version is the upper which is now made with a seamless construction for the ultimate fit. The mesh used is highly breathable and stretches in key areas (allowing all foot shapes to feel comfy in the shoe), while printed overlays ensure stability and lock in that work even with fast direction changes. The heel even features a bit of padding for a shoe you can easily wear barefoot without sacrificing comfort. In terms of price, this model isn’t exactly cheap, but it ranks around average, so it’s a good investment for most runners looking for something a bit more professional.

3. Saucony Kilkenny XC7 Spike

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92
Saucony Kilkenny XC7 Spike
Amazon Link
Breathability
91
Weather Resistance
86
Traction
94
Flexibility
95
Protection
94
best offer for today
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Amazon Link
$50.05
Pros:

Mesh Upper

Flex Film Overlays

EVA Midsole

Pebax Spike Plate

4 Spikes

Carbon Rubber Outsole

Cons:

Requires Breaking In

No Wide Sizes Available

This entry level spike is perfect for high school runners who want a good amount of cushioning combined with a durable outsole and a comfortable upper. With a price point that’s budget-friendly, especially if you manage to get it on sale, and a few stylish color options that will appeal to a lot of people, this model is definitely a good choice if you’re after great quality and a good fit.

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The upper of the Kilkenny XC7 is very breathable and lightweight, wrapping the foot without putting too much pressure on any part of it. The mesh allows fresh air in and moisture out, and the printed overlays eliminate bulk and weight, but still provide excellent support over the entire foot. A classic lace closure and lightly padded collar maximize the in-shoe experience.

The midsole of the Kilkenny is the best thing about the shoe, being made with EVA foam that wraps around the arch and heel, ensuring ample cushioning. The Pebax spike plate is embedded in the midsole, making this a slightly stiffer shoe than other models by Saucony, it’s still a highly comfortable performer. The carbon rubber used in the outsole ensures not just sticky traction but also great durability, making this a great choice in more than one way.

4. ASICS GEL-Fujitrabuco 7

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.8
ASICS GEL-Fujitrabuco 7
Amazon Link
Breathability
89
Weather Resistance
88
Traction
93
Flexibility
94
Protection
95
best offer for today
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Amazon Link
$129.95
Pros:

GEL Cushioning

FlyteFoam Lyte Midsole

AsicsGrip Outsole

Moisture Wicking Sockliner

DuoMax Support System

Cons:

Limited Colors

Upper Durability

Released in late 2018, the GEL-Fujitrabuco 7 is a neutral trail runner, great for those who can’t, or prefer not to use spikes. This model is appreciated by most trail runners, and uses all of the brand’s best technology to give you a comfortable, cushioned ride on rough terrain. It’s a model that’s ideal for longer runs and training sessions, and the biggest updates in the seventh edition include a more supportive sole, as well as a grippier, more durable outsole.

Read more

In true ASICS fashion, the GEL-Fujitrabuco 7 includes a rearfoot GEL cushioning system that absorbs shock (especially for heel landers) protecting muscles and joints from the force generated on impact. A FlyteFoam Lyte midsole provides comfort and energy return without packing weight, and a DuoMax support system supports the arch, correcting mild over and underpronation.

The outsole uses AsicsGrip technology which is a highly grippy rubber outsole with multi-directional lugs for great performance on multiple surfaces. The upper uses synthetic overlays for stability, and a Lace Garage pocket for safely storing your laces while running. As for price, this model ranks slightly above average compared to the other models listed, and is best chosen by those who need a great outsole for varied surfaces.

5. Saucony Shay XC4

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.6
Saucony Shay XC4
Amazon Link
Breathability
92
Weather Resistance
87
Traction
94
Flexibility
89
Protection
91
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$19.99
Pros:

Lower Price Tag

Unique Designs

Great Working Traction

Lightweight Construction

Comfy, Durable EVA Midsole

Cons:

Narrow Fit

Weak Arch Support

The Saucony Shay XC4 Flat offers an aggressive outsole, which has been highly improved from previous models, to ensure good traction from a flat cross country shoe, ie. one with no spikes. The shoe is both lightweight and breathable, qualities which are important for a cross country shoe. They are also available in many funky designs, which are sure to stand out.

Read more

The midsole is made up of compression-molded EVA. This provides the wearer with fantastic cushioning to ensure a comfortable experience. The EVA makes the midsole fairly firm, which is preferred by some runners as it provides a more supportive feel underfoot.

The outsole of the Shay XC4 has been transformed from previous models of the shoe to create better traction during runs. The use of XT-600 rubber, a rubber with outstanding abrasion, optimizes traction, whilst ensuring the outsole remains lightweight and durable. The Shay XC4 sports a very reasonable price tag. Considering the desirable features that the shoe offers to the wearer, including the clever use of materials to keep it very lightweight, this represents good value for money.

6. Saucony Fastwitch 9

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.6
Saucony Fastwitch 9
Amazon Link
Breathability
92
Weather Resistance
86
Traction
85
Flexibility
90
Protection
90
best offer for today
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Amazon Link
$100.00
Pros:

Engineered Mesh Upper

Stability Shoe

PWRTRAC Outsole

SSL EVA Midsole

Weight: 183g

Cons:

Road Running Shoe

The latest edition of the Saucony Fastwitch provides a stable ride with even lower weight, and is ideal for those who need additional support without the bulk that usually comes with it. A 4mm heel to toe drop allows for a more natural ride than most shoes, and is a fast feeling shoe ideal for competition running. Although the outsole on this model is not made with spikes, or even for dirt, mud or grass conditions, it’s still a solid choice for anyone with pronation issues.

Read more

The best part about the Fastwitch 9 is the upper with is made with engineered mesh to combine breathability with the support provided by the printed overlays. The collar is generously padded for maximum comfort, especially at the back of the heel, while an SSL EVA midsole protects the foot from shock, offering a ride that’s both responsive and cushioned.

The Fastwitch 9 is more flexible than its predecessors, mainly thanks to a triangular midfoot post, but also the flex grooves in the PWRTRAC outsole which is one of the grippiest compounds you will find. As for cost, this is another averagely priced model that works well for those in need of a higher level of stability.

7. New Balance 1400

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88
New Balance 1400
Amazon Link
Breathability
87
Weather Resistance
86
Traction
88
Flexibility
89
Protection
90
best offer for today
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$91.61
Pros:

REVlite Midsole

Sew-free Overlay

Extra Cushioned Heel

Generous Arch Support

Multiple Support Features

Cons:

Narrow Toe Box

Limited Width Sizes

The New Balance 1400 is a neutral racing shoe which is very lightweight and durable, helping to increase your speed without jeopardizing its longevity. It has a high level of cushioning to provide extra support to those runners who need it. These shoes are also designed to provide optimal protection to the wearer, with a particularly supportive midsole.

Read more

The high level of cushioning provided by the New Balance 1400 comes in the form of the REVlite midsole. This is a very lightweight midsole, which in addition to fantastic cushioning, also provides great responsivity to increase performance.

The New Balance 1400 has been designed to fit like a sock in order to give optimal comfort to the wearer. The overlay is made to be seamless, to ensure that there is no discomfort from rubbing. The cost of the shoe is about average for a shoe of this standard. The enhanced comfort and support offered by the shoe means that it is worth spending the money to ensure a comfortable running experience.

8. New Balance 840

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.2
New Balance 840
Amazon Link
Breathability
90
Weather Resistance
92
Traction
91
Flexibility
75
Protection
88
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$111.80
Pros:

Accurate Snug Fit

Raised Grip Traction

Durable Rubber Outsole

Unpredictable Terrain Protection

Generous Underfoot Cushioning

Cons:

No Flexibility

No Water Resistance

Despite having enough support and durability to perform well off-road, the New Balance 840 boasts superior comfort, with a highly cushioned midsole. The latest version of the 840 is more flexible than ever, with improved flex grooves in the sole of the shoe. The outsole of the shoe incorporates non-aggressive treads, which provide the runner with fantastic traction.

Read more

The midsole of the New Balance 840 is built to provide all-day comfort to the runner. As well as providing cushioning underfoot, this EVA material also makes the midsole both lightweight and durable.

Despite being a flat shoe, without spikes, the New Balance 840 has a blown rubber outsole which provides excellent traction, making the shoe suitable for cross-country running.

The New Balance 840 is a fairly high priced running shoe. However, it provides a great deal of additional support and comfort to those who need it. For this reason, if you have any foot or knee problems that require extra support, it is well worth the money.

9. Adidas Supernova Riot

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.2
Adidas Supernova Riot
Amazon Link
Breathability
84
Weather Resistance
86
Traction
85
Flexibility
88
Protection
88
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$89.96
Pros:

Superb Traction Grip

Highly Durable Outsole

High-top Ankle Support

Excellent Energy Return

Puncture Resistant Outsole

Cons:

Lacks Breathability

Not Aesthetically Pleasing

The Adidas Supernova Riot M is one of the top choices for off-road running shoes currently available on the market. It incorporates many great trail-ready features and also has an attractive and appealing design. It is a very durable shoe, with superior traction and comfort to rival many of its competitors.

Read more

The outsole of the Adidas Supernova Riot M is highly rated by its reviewers. It is constructed using a Continental rubber which provides superior grip on off-road trails. The outsole also contains deep lugs to further enhance grip. This tough rubber outsole also ensures that the shoe is highly durable.

This technology is used within the midsole of the shoe. This innovative Boost foam compound ensures excellent energy return with every stride taken. This feature definitely helps to boost the performance of the shoe. This shoe is moderately priced for this category, but given the extra features that it provides, it is well worth the investment.

10. ASICS Freak 2

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.4
ASICS Freak 2
Amazon Link
Breathability
83
Weather Resistance
85
Traction
93
Flexibility
86
Protection
80
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$85.00
Pros:

Trail Running

For Championships

Narrow Feet Support

Destruction Foolproof

Support and Stabilization

Cons:

No Carry Bag

Sizing Runs Small

This shoe is not for the faint of heart. Constructed for aggressive running and racing for all kinds of terrains, the spiked rubber outsole is combined with the Trusstic System Plate for traction and stabilization. The EVA midsole is compression molded for cushioning that is responsive on hard surfaces and the mesh upper is breathable, flexible, and lightweight. Your foot will be nicely wrapped by the thin TPU overlays to help keep your foot platform grounded.

Read more

You want a cross-country shoe that is lightweight but doesn’t lack in strength. The trusstic system is a specialized system that reduces the sole unit weight but keeps the structural integrity. No surprised movements that can reduce your performance or even possibly hurt your feet as the stability remains strongly in place.

Spikes are paramount in cross-country as they provide much better grip in all the different kinds of terrains. Having a five spike system gives you control that is sure-footed in terrains such as hills, tight corners, and hills. It will also leave your run balanced and strong. Higher priced but they are targeted for hardcore cross-country. If you are serious about championship running and need a pair that will take you to the winning finish line, these are the ones to choose.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Breathability

As with any type of running shoe, choosing a cross-country runner which allows plenty of airflow is paramount. When running the feet are particularly prone to sweat a lot. This can be a bigger problem for some, particularly sweaty runners, however, all runners will experience sweaty feet. If this sweating is excessive, the moisture present in your shoes can lead to a build-up of bacteria. These bacteria are the major cause of bad foot odor and also conditions, such as athletes foot or even blisters.

Opting for a running shoe which has a thin mesh upper, helps to ensure that the foot is adequately ventilated during your run. This means that the foot will stay drier and therefore will prevent the build-up of bacteria in the shoe. Having a well-ventilated shoe will also keep you more comfortable during your run, by allowing your feet to keep cool.

  • Airflow is needed due to excessive heat and sweat generated during running. That gives you moisture build-up and can result in bacteria causing foot conditions such as odor or athlete’s foot.
  • Choose a running shoe with a mesh upper. Mesh uppers give breathability to help provide ventilation during your run. Your feet will be drier and the risks of bacteria build-up will be reduced. You’ll also have a run that is comfortable.
  • Weather Resistance

    Whilst having a shoe with good ventilation is very important for cross country running, it is also important to choose a shoe which will provide adequate water resistance. Unfortunately, many of the thin mesh materials used for good breathability easily allow water into the shoe.

    When cross country running, it is common to encounter very wet trails or bad weather. So having shoes which have a level of water resistance or are fully waterproof helps to prevent the occurrence of wet feet which can lead to an uncomfortable running experience and even to the formation of blisters.

  • It is common in cross-country running to encounter wet conditions. Your shoes need to have adequate water resistance or be waterproof.
  • Running shoes for cross-country have breathable mesh material but mesh allows for water and other liquids to enter your shoes.
  • There are plenty of cross-country shoes that have both breathability and water resistance or are waterproof. Make sure the water protection is listed and what it is before you purchase.
  • Traction

    As cross-country running tracks consist of very unpredictable terrains, that may be uneven, rocky and often very wet, it is very important to choose a shoe which provides you with a strong grip. This helps to prevent slips and falls which can lead to injuries. As well as preventing slips and subsequent injuries, having good traction can also increase your performance by improving your run times.

    The vast majority of specialised cross country running shoes have spikes present on the outsole. These are usually made of metal and provide the best grip on grass and dirt surfaces. If you run predominately on harder, flat or rocky surfaces, these would not be very suitable as they would wear down too quickly. Instead, you would be better off opting for a shoe with a rubber waffle outsole. This will provide less traction but would be much more suitable for use on these types of surfaces. Often, companies produce both a spiked and a spikeless version of the same shoe, allowing you to choose which one is most appropriate for you.

  • Cross-country involves coming in contact with terrains that are unpredictable. Such unpredictably can result in falls, slips, and even injuries if the traction is not correct.
  • Spikes are very common in such shoes and are on the outsole. They provide a strong grip in terrains that have grass or dirt and are most likely to be constructed of metal. Flatter, harder, smoother, and rockier surfaces need a waffle-designed outsole instead.
  • You can usually find a spike and spikeless version for the same pair of cross-country shoes.
  • Flexibility

    Having the correct level of flexibility in a running shoe, helps to ensure that the foot is able to move in a natural way. Often the midsoles of a shoe can be quite stiff, which can prevent the natural bending of the foot during running. This may lead to discomfort and possible injury. When choosing a shoe, it is important to check that the flexibility is right for you. In order to do this, you should make sure that the shoe bends where your foot naturally bends, i.e. at the forefoot. When you bend the shoe, it should not really bend in the middle, as your foot does not naturally bend at this point. You should not feel as if your natural movement is being constricted in any way.

  • Flexibility helps your feet to move in a natural way. That gives you a gait that is painless and reduces possible foot injuries.
  • Cross-country shoes have the tendency to be less flexible due to their protective padding but the forefoot is usually wider and since you bend your feet at the forefoot, there should be some flexibility to help you.
  • The movement should feel natural and pain-free with every step you take.
  • Protection

    As cross country trails can be rocky and uneven they can present opportunities for injuries to the sole of the foot. Therefore, it is very important that specialized cross country running shoes have adequate protection in both the outsole and midsole in order to protect the foot. By having enough protection underfoot, the runner should not feel any discomfort both during and after the run. A more heavily padded midsole will ensure comfort across even the rockiest of terrains.

  • There needs to be protection for the underfoot in the outsole and midsole. Cross-country terrains can be very uneven and therefore, harder on your feet.
  • The more padded the midsole is, the better the underfoot protection will be. It will also help reduce any discomfort but the downside is a less flexible shoe.
  • Cross country terrains can be very hard on the shoes that run over them. Rocky, uneven surfaces can create damage to both the upper and the outsole of a running shoe. Given that most running shoes come with a fairly high price tag, it is important to ensure that they last as long as possible and provide you with many hours of running pleasure.

  • This is the reason why it is usually worthwhile investing a little bit more money in your running shoes, in order to ensure that they are constructed using the highest quality materials.
  • Cross-country running is much harder on shoes and the terrain of such running can cause wear, tear, and damage.
  • The durability needs to be very strong and long-lasting and giving you plenty of running miles and hours. These kinds of shoes will have a higher price tag due to their high-quality materials.
  • Expert Interviews & Opinions

    Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
    Sort criterias acording to:
    Experts Opinion Editors Opinion Users Opinion By Default
    Click on a to rate the most important criteria:
    #1
    ico Breathability
    Rate This Criteria as Most Important
    #2
    ico Weather Resistance
    Rate This Criteria as Most Important
    #3
    ico Traction
    Rate This Criteria as Most Important
    #4
    ico Flexibility
    Rate This Criteria as Most Important
    #5
    ico Protection
    Rate This Criteria as Most Important
    expert tips icon
    Go Off Road

    If you've been running for a while, perhaps pounding the pavement, or hitting the treadmill has you feeling less than enthusiastic about getting in that workout.
    Mix it up, and go off road with a new pair of cross-country sneakers. Explore trails and gravel paths, get in tune more with the world around you, and come back from your run feeling motivated and refreshed!

    Traction Soles

    Many cross-country style sneakers tend to have a bit more of a rugged sole, simply to help grip the uneven terrain you may encounter. Pavement is quite smooth, and road sneakers usually don't require to much of a heavy duty tread pattern.
    If you're planning on upgrading from cross-country sneakers to something you can take regularly on the trail, search around for trail sneakers, which can have an even more sturdy build and tread to them.

    Other Factors to Consider

    Fit

    We all know how hard it can be sometimes to find the perfect pair of shoes that we not only love, but that also fit snugly and comfortably. With so many styles, brands, colors and models, how can one compare hundreds of supposed “size 10s”?

    To assess for trueness-to-size, we considered the opinions of thousands of wearers from across the globe to find out the answer to the ultimate question: do these 10s fit like a 10? While some things can give you a hint as to whether they will fit true, small or large; like brand name, shoe type and year of make; we believe that the opinion of buyers cannot be wrong. If they say the shoe doesn’t fit the way it’s supposed to, then you won’t find it in our 10-best list.

    You will find that a pair of shoes or boots or sandals that score high on this metric tend to experience a trueness-to-size that was verified by our large community of sampled buyers. Just don’t forget to take into account the factors above to also make sure your favorite pair will fit you perfectly.

    Bottom Line

    Given the huge choice of specialized cross country running shoes currently available on the market, it can be difficult for you to decide which are best for your specific needs. That is why we have chosen some of the best shoes available and provided you with reasons why each one excels in this category. We have given choices for both spiked and flat shoes to allow for personal preference.

    One of the distinguishing features of a specialized cross country running shoes is the presence of spikes on the sole. These help to give maximum grip on the unpredictable terrains encountered during cross country running. However, some runners prefer shoes without spikes, this is mainly down to personal choice.

    Obviously, choosing your preferred cross country running shoe is a very important decision as your choice is bound to affect both your comfort and your performance. There are many different features which are important when it comes to cross-country running, however, it is personal preference as to which of these is more important to you.Some runners may prefer the grip that a spiked shoe provides, while others prefer flats. Cushioning or extra support may be particularly important to those with extra requirements, such as high arches. If you will be running in particularly wet or unpredictable conditions, then you will also need to think about the level of water protection that the shoe provides.

    Therefore, it is very important to think carefully about these features before committing to a purchase. The list above provides a variety of choices for each option, whether you are choosing based on spiked vs. spikeless, comfort vs. style or low vs. high budget, there will be a great choice for you here.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    q: Why do I need specialised running trainers for cross country?

    a:

    The main difference with specialized cross country shoes is that they are highly durable and have enhanced traction. This is needed because cross-country trails are unpredictable and can quickly wear down standard running trainers. The trails can also be very slippery and uneven, meaning that good traction is an essential feature of any shoe used for this purpose. This is why the majority of cross country running shoes have spikes on the outsole in order to further increase their traction.

    q: Do I need spiked or spikeless shoes?

    a:

    Not all cross country running shoes have spikes and it is definitely a personal choice as to whether you prefer to run with them or not. Spikes do increase the traction of a shoe, particularly if you run a lot on grassy or muddy trails. A lot of shoes have the option to remove the spikes so that they can still be used on flat, hard terrains.
    The downside of having spikes is that they wear down fairly easily and must be replaced quite frequently. This can become expensive and inconvenient.

    q: Can I buy replacement spikes?

    a:

    As mentioned above, spikes are often removable and can be replaced when they become worn down. Replacement spikes can be purchased from most specialized running stores or online from companies such as Amazon. However, replacement spikes are often quite expensive, especially metal ones, and they may need to be replaced frequently if the shoes are used regularly.

    q: Can I use these as daily wear shoes as well?

    a:

    If you have purchased spikeless shoes, then these are fine to use for daily wear. Spiked shoes usually have the option of removing the spikes, if so then these will also be suitable for daily wear. One thing to bear in mind though is that using these shoes for daily wear will cause them to wear down much quicker than saving them for running only. As specialized running shoes can be quite expensive, it may be worthwhile investing in a different pair of shoes for daily wear and keeping these for running only.

    q: Where could I buy cross-country running shoes from?

    a:

    You should be able to buy cross country running shoes from any specialty running shoe stores. They are also available to buy from online retailers, for example, Amazon. It is worthwhile shopping around to get the best price as prices can vary greatly between stores and are often much cheaper when buying online.