Best Cross Country Spikes [September 2021]

In a Hurry? Our Top 3 Cross Country Spikes!

Best Overall
Value For Money
Budget-Friendly
Saucony Havok XC 3 Spike
Nike Men’s Zoom Rival XC
Nike Zoom Victory Xc 5
Pin
6-pin Pebax
6-pin
6-pin
Weight
5.4 oz
6.3 oz
6.8 oz
Surface
Grass, dirt, or anything
-
Grass, muddy terrain
Best Overall
Saucony Havok XC 3 Spike
Pin
6-pin Pebax
Weight
5.4 oz
Surface
Grass, dirt, or anything
Value For Money
Nike Men’s Zoom Rival XC
Pin
6-pin
Weight
6.3 oz
Surface
-
Budget-Friendly
Nike Zoom Victory Xc 5
Pin
6-pin
Weight
6.8 oz
Surface
Grass, muddy terrain

Cross Country can be wild. It poses plenty of challenges for athletes and their footwear. Knee-deep puddles, muddy areas, obstacles to jump over, steep hills, twisty trails – all in one course. Here comes a pair of cross country spikes handy. It helps you get through the race with a higher chance of having fun.

Your cross country spikes need to be sturdy and lightweight that boasts excellent traction to get you across the finish line as fast as possible. XC spikes are cut very narrow like a track spike as you want them tight like an extension of your foot. Further, you also want less room around your toes than your trainers. Your feet should feel snug but not cramped.

We’ve enlisted the 10 Best Cross Country Spikes to help you choose the one that is perfect for you.


Top 10 Cross Country Spikes

Product NamePin PlacementWeight (oz)
Saucony Havok XC 365.4View on Amazon
Nike Zoom Rival XC66.3View on Amazon
New Balance XC Seven v366.8View on Amazon
Nike Zoom Victory XC 564.4View on Amazon
Saucony Carrera XC464.2View on Amazon
Brooks Mach 1964.5View on Amazon
New Balance Cross Country Seven V266.4View on Amazon
Asics Cross Freak 257View on Amazon
Altra Men’s AL0A362154View on Amazon
Saucony Kilkenny Xc 944.5View on Amazon

Which are the 10 Best Cross Country Spikes In 2021?

1. Saucony Havok XC 3 Spike Men’s

Saucony Havok XC 3 Specifications
Weight5.4 oz
ClosureLaces
SurfaceGrass, dirt, or anything
OutsoleTriFlex
FeaturesBreathable Monomesh, SSL EVA midsole

Saucony’s Havok XC 3 delivers everything required to create chaos and separate yourself from the competition. It has a tight breathable mono mesh upper and aggressive full-length rubber outsole. It will give a runner the confidence needed to tear up the grass, dirt, or anything. The midsole of the shoe offers fast, responsive cushioning. Apart from this, the carbon rubber outsole offers strong traction.

It gives the performance of a top spike at a great value. Best of all, these spikes are perfect for runners who want more performance than a beginner spike. It has a breathable upper in this XC spike that keeps you dry and comfortable on race day. Another amazing feature is its lightweight Flexfilm on the upper that allows for durability and a flexible feel. It doesn’t have Saucony’s ISOFIT lacing like the Carrera, but it will keep your foot locked in and secure. With Stretch bootie construction, it provides a soft, sock-like fit that creates a snug midfoot lockdown.

Reasons To Buy

  • 6-pin Pebax spike for traction.
  • Improved traction.
  • SSL EVA premium midsole.
  • Lightweight, comfortable and durable.
  • Stretch bootie construction.

Reasons To Avoid

  • Little heavier than others.

What’s the bottom line?

This Havok CX is one of the top-selling cross country spikes. It is perfect for varsity runners, all levels of athletes that will appreciate its durability, performance, and reasonable price.

2. Nike Men’s Zoom Rival XC Track Spike Shoes

Nike Zoom Rival Specifications
Weight6.3 oz
ClosureLace-Up
SurfaceAsphalt, Dirt, Wood, Rubber, Grass, All-weather
Outsole
FeaturesBreathable, Removable Spikes

This Rival XC is packed with all the essentials of a cross-country spike at a reasonable price. It indulges novice athletes who are testing the waters. It features sturdy cushioning and a lightweight outsole. Further, it comes with a Pebax plate and a 6-spike design for increased traction. These spikes provide the perfect balance of fit, traction, and comfort. 

The Nike Zoom Rival shoes have a beautifully designed outsole, using Nike’s waffle pattern design and flex grooves to provide great traction. Also, they have six spike receptacles per shoe. It comes with pyramid spikes and a wrench that is useful when required. Not only this, these shoes provide amazing comfort and breathability. Furthermore, they come with Flywire technology and a dynamic arch band that will make sure your feet are secure and safe, so no need to worry about feet slipping and sliding. 

These shoes have super breathable mesh material. They allow for excellent ventilation, so your feet will stay nice. Not only are the spikes well ventilated, but well constructed with quality material for water-resistant and quick drying.

Reasons To Buy

  • Perfect for runner new runners.
  • Wide forefoot for comfort.
  • Flywire technology to customize the fit.
  • Upper mesh for breathability.
  • Featherlight design.
  • Perfect for various terrain, including hilly and wet courses.

What’s the bottom line?

The Zoom Rival XC is an all-around great cross country shoe. Whether you are just starting out or have been running cross country for long years, these shoes are great for you. They offer superior comfort, amazing breathability, a sticky grip, and good durability.

3. New Balance Men’s XC Seven v3 Track Spikes

New Balance XC Seven v3 Specifications
Weight6.8 oz
MidsoleREVlite
SurfaceGrass, muddy terrain
Pin Placement6 pin
Featuresrubber outsole, standard collar and tongue

This cross-country spike helps athletes prepare to tackle the next meet in great style. The traditional design with a standard collar and tongue offers a secure fit. It comes with a 6-spike rubber outsole that allows for enhanced traction in even the worst terrain conditions. Apart from this, the exposed rubber lugs give an extra level of traction on a variety of terrain. 

Its re-engineered upper contains a hidden internal support cage. This design offers a tight fit and beginning runners the edge they want. Best of all, the shoes have a REVlite midsole that gives a responsive feel. 

These spikes are best for new XC athletes and are available at a budget price. The cushioned midsole and comfortable fit bridge the gap between top-level spikes and trainers. These New Balance shoes come in flat and spike versions.  

Reasons To Buy

  • Exposed rubber lugs for more grip.
  • Snug fit with flexibility for performance.
  • Internal support cage.
  • Breathable and lightweight design.

Reasons To Avoid

  • May not fit as snug like other shoes.

What’s the bottom line?

These New Balance XC Seven v3 are one of the best spikes for beginners at an affordable price. Its 6-pin spike configuration for better grip on mud, grass, or anything to keep you focused on performance.

4. Nike Zoom Victory Xc 5 Track Spike

$119.89
View on Amazon

Nike Xc 5 Specifications
Weight4.4 oz
ClosureLaces
SurfaceDirt, Wood, Rubber, Grass, all-weather
OutsoleAnti-clog
FeaturesWater-repellent, Breathable, Removable spikes

If you want premium quality XC spikes on the market and are ready to take your performance to the next level, then these Zoom Victory XC 5 are for you. These spikes are durable, lightweight, and have great traction. They provide the right amount of cushioning and responsiveness. Like Zoom Rival, its 6-pin spikes can dig into any type of surface. 

 Furthermore, its carbon midsole creates extra support and stiffness when tackling less than smooth types of ground. The upper part features a thin mesh that locks your feet in spikes. Also, some added overlays prevent the spike from blowing out the sides. 

Even in muddy or wet races, it didn’t feel heavy or sluggish with its typical mesh uppers and Vaporweave upper. Its Vaporweave woven upper is snug, narrow, and has a race-type fit. The XC 5 gives a stable feel with a full-length cushion foam in the midsole and a horseshoe shaped carbon fiber plate in the form of the forefoot. The shoes have Anti-Clog traction, and no mud or dirt stuck on the lugs even after brutal races. 

Reasons To Buy

  • True to size.
  • Anti-clog outsole.
  • Superb traction.
  • Lightweight and breathable.
  • Great value for money
  • Flexible and durable.

Reasons To Avoid

  • A bit narrow.

What’s the bottom line?

This Nike XC 5 are featherlight, fast, and grippy shoes. All in all, they are durable and will go through challenging terrain with ease.

5. Saucony Men’s Carrera Xc4 Spike Running Shoe

Carrera Xc4 Specifications
Weight4.2 oz
Spike Plate6-pin Pebax
SurfaceGrass, Trail, Gravel
OutsoleISOfit lace system
FeaturesBreathable, ISOFIT upper, light padded foam footbed

Saucony’s Carrera spikes are lightweight and give a comfortable feel. The upper is a thin film supported around the midfoot by an internal locking wrap. It provides extra speed and support for your fastest race yet. Further, it features a 6-pin spike plate and delivers superior traction while maintaining its super lightweight design. 

With ISOFIT technology in the upper layer, it creates a dynamic fit that wraps around the foot. It is designed to adapt to the runner’s unique fit. Further, the designed mesh helps to reduce overall weight while keeping your feet cool and comfortable. 

There is a stiff spike plate in XC4 that gives excellent toe-off power on various terrains. It is combined with 6-pin spikes that you will power around corners and up steep hills. All in all, this ultra-lightweight shoe delivers superior performance. It creates an amazing running experience in different types of racing terrain.

Reasons To Buy

  • 6-pin Pebax spike plate.
  • Featherlight design.
  • ISOFIT dynamic fit system.
  • Excellent spikes for grass, dirt, and trails.

Reasons To Avoid

  • Bit pricey.

What’s the bottom line?

Saucony uses advanced technologies such as the first sole-based stability and cushioning system that provides an advantage to athletes of all types. It has breathable textile lining for runner comfort.

6. Brooks Mach 19

$149.99
View on Amazon

Brooks Mach 19 Specifications
Weight4.5 oz
ClosureLaces
SurfaceTrack, Cross Country
Pin Placement5
FeaturesBreathable, Aggressive lugs, spike plate

This Brooks Mach 19 combines a molded upper with an aggressive spike plate for a super-fast XC shoe. Its compression-molded EVA midsole offers amazing cushioning. The breathable mesh upper features improved microfiber for better internal support and a snug fit. Apart from this, it comes with a new and improved sock-like design that provides a comfortable and secure fit. 

Best of all, its aggressive lug pattern combined with 6-plate spike pins delivers a greater traction experience and grip. And the plastic outsole gives great traction on dirt, grass, and composite tracks.  

Reasons To Buy

  • Aggressive lug pattern.
  • Better traction on dirt and grass.
  • Fast spike plate.
  • Ultra-light and super sturdy.

Reasons To Avoid

  • Don’t perform on the hard surface due to plastic spike plate.

What’s the bottom line?

The Brooks Mach 19 makes fast, short runs on the trails better than ever. It is perfect for you if you are searching for exceptional comfort while going fast on the trail.

7. New Balance Women’s Cross Country Seven V2 Spike

New Balance Seven V2 Specifications
Weight 6.4 oz
Closure Laces
Surface Grass, dirt, or mud
Outsole Thermoplastic polymer
Features 3D print overlay, lugged rubber

This New Balance XC 7 is for the seven runners on a varsity cross country squad. It has a wide, perfect fit and higher cushioned REVlite midsole that provides comfort. Its outsole offers six spikes and a layer of lugged rubber for better traction. 

The XC 7’s REVlite midsole gives a more cushioned feel than other cross country spikes. New Balance uses unique padding technology that makes the foam durable and 30% lighter than similar foams. It has a thermoplastic polymer outsole that makes the shoe impact-resistant for durability and longevity. 

Its upper is made of a closed mesh, with a 3D print overlay that provides a bold look. Plus, this overlay has the benefit of reinforcing the mesh upper. These spikes fit wider in the heels and throughout the shoes. The higher cushion heel keeps it comfortable and gives a racing flat feel. 

Reasons To Buy

  • Revlite midsole.
  • Traditional tongue and collar construction.
  • Sleek, secure, and reliable fit.
  • Unique arrow-shaped lugs.
  • Great spike for beginner and experienced racers alike.

Reasons To Avoid

  • Extremely narrow.

What’s the bottom line?

This XC 7 is an excellent choice of cross country spikes for runners with wide or medium feet who want to race without feeling cramped. Also, its shape and cushion are great for racers who want spikes that feel similar to their training shoe.

8. Asics Men’s Cross Freak 2 Cross Country Spike

Asics Cross Freak 2 Specifications
Weight7 oz
ClosureLaces
SurfaceGrass, dirt, or anything
OutsoleRubber
FeaturesTrusstic System

Asics Cross Freak features the high, sculpted arch and multilayer sole, making it a more supportive spike option. These spikes run narrow but are suitable for athletes who prefer a tight fit or have narrow feet. 

Asics combines a Trusstic system plate and lugged rubber outsole for better traction and stability. Further, it boasts a compression-molded EVA midsole that gives responsive cushioning for harder surfaces. And the 5 spike plate gives sure-footed control. Apart from this, the upper layer features flexible mesh with thin TPU overlays that wrap the foot while keeping it on the platform. 

Weighing at 7 ounces, they are not the lighter spike, but all the extra weight goes to the support and stability. Also, the 5-spike rubber outsole with deeps offers great mobility.  

Reasons To Buy

  • Includes 9mm pyramid spikes and wrench.
  • Trusstic system reduces the weight.
  • Delivers great comfort.
  • Suitable for muddy terrain, corner, and hills.

Reasons To Avoid

  • Narrow.

What’s the bottom line?

This fairly priced spike features a high, sculpted arch and multilayer sole set, making it a more supportive option. Overall, it is an aggressively designed shoe for aggressive racing dynamics. It offers high-performance features with looks.

9. Altra Men’s AL0A3621 Golden Spike

Altra AL0A3621 Specifications
Weight4 oz
Insole3mm diecut footbed
SurfaceLight dirt/gravel type trails
OutsoleRubber, removable 5mm steel spikes
FeaturesSock-like fit, A-Bound cushioning, Footshape comfort

The Altra Golden comes with a 5-pin spike plate that lets you experience optimal grip on the course. It has a convenient sockless design and hydrophobic mesh that allow air to flow and keep moisture low. With Footshape comfort technology, it gives your feet more space to sit naturally. Also, it is designed to address biological differences in women’s and men’s feet. 

Furthermore, its Balanced cushioning platform positions the runner’s heel and forefoot at an equal distance from the ground. This encourages better alignment, foam, and a low-impact landing. Besides this, it provides flexibility and movement with InnerFlex grid-like grooves. Delivering amazing performance, the A-Bound cushioning is super lightweight and protects the feet at impact and low impact running form throughout your run. 

Reasons To Buy

  • FootShape toe box with padded zero-drop platform.
  • Natural, low impact running form.
  • Provides great comfort, speed, and stability.
  • Suitable for cross country training, racing, and off-road racing.

Reasons To Avoid

  • Not built for challenging trails.

What’s the bottom line?

It fits snuggly on a variety of foot types for superior performance. Overall, this shoe provides a great deal of traction, grip, and comfort at a budget-friendly price.

10. Saucony Men’s Kilkenny Xc 9 Flat Cross Country

Saucony Kilkenny Xc 9 Specifications
Weight4.5 oz
ClosureLaces
SurfaceDirt, Grass,
Outsole
FeaturesBreathable mesh upper, EVA

This is another latest model, XC Spikes from Saucony. It features a lightweight upper and a molded midsole for a comfortable fit. It is like a racing flat with spikes that allow for a more comfortable transition from trainer to spike for new XC runners. The Kilkenny XC9 shoes come with an aggressive rubber outsole. It has a 4-pin spike design for improved traction on grass and dirt. 

Further, the outsole has an aggressive tread for a better grip with or without the removable spikes. Like XC4, it also has a soft mesh upper that offers added style and much-needed breathability. Besides, the seamless fit of the upper hugs the foot that allows for a secure fit. The Kilkenny XC is an excellent option for new XC athletes as its midsole is more cushioned than high-end spikes.

Reasons To Buy

  • Featherlight, seamless upper.
  • Comfortable fit.
  • Available in spikeless and spiked.
  • EVA for lightweight cushion and durability.
  • Carbon rubber outsole for flexibility.

Reasons To Avoid

  • Heavier and bulkier than more advanced models.

What’s the bottom line?

The Saucony Kilkenny XC9 is designed for beginner runners looking for their first pair of spikes or spikeless racing shoes. These shoes are comfortable and half the price of some rivals.


How To Choose Cross Country Spikes?​

Some athletes run 800m races in long-distance spikes, and some run 5k in middle-distance spikes. The key is to choose what works for you and what you feel most comfortable with. It is recommended not to run a long-distance race in sprint spikes.

Best Cross Country Spikes

Types of Track Spikes

Different track spikes are built for various running distances. There are different types of track spikes made for jumping and throwing events.

Sprinting Spikes: This type of spike has a stiff spike plate that runs from toes where it is the stiffest to heel. They are designed for 100 and 200 meters as 400 meters. Sprinting spike keeps runners on their toes and offers the maximum amount of traction down the track. Usually, sprinting spikes feature 8 or more holes for the spike implements. Further, they have a contoured upper that securely locks the foot to prevent it from moving around.

Mid Distance Spike: This mid-distance spike is the most versatile of all the types of track spikes. They have stiff and aggressive spike plates and offer good flexibility to run both long and short distances. These spikes have 6-8 spike holes and provide enough stiffness to keep you on your toes. The mid-distance spike has a soft upper that keeps the foot in place. Apart from this, these spikes are suitable for 800, 1500, 1600, and mile distances.

Long Distance Spikes: The long-distance spike has more cushioning on the heel, and the shoe’s sole is flexible. It allows the foot to move in a natural way. These spikes offer good support to prevent injury when racing. Further, provide comfort so that the runner can run up 25 laps without any feet related distractions.

Cross Country Spikes: These spikes are built like a lightweight racing flat. It has good cushioning around the heel, fore-foot, and midfoot. The firm back supports on the spike allow runners to compete in cross country races from 3k up to 10 miles. Apart from this, it has a rubber spike plate on the bottom that will enable you to screw in your cross pins. This helps you easily run through six inches of snow, mud, and anything found in the traditional countryside.

Size 

To get the full benefit from spikes, it is essential to get the proper fitting size. Choose spikes that should feel secure without cramping. Note that your toes should be close to the front of the spike without actually touching. If you like more room, it is recommended no more than a thumbnail of space in front of the big toe. 

Spike Plate

Pin Placement

Generally, two variations are used in a pin placement and the number of pins in a spike. One is a classic six-pinned spike, and another is a less common four-pinned spike. In four-pin spikes, the pins are positioned more towards the center on the spike plate. This 4-pin placement can be good for runners who supinate. And the six pinned spikes are on the outside of the spike plate. However, it can cause blisters due to excessive rolling caused by supination.  

Pin Length

At cross country races, it is allowed from 9mm up to 18mm. The 9mm pins will serve well for the cold, crisp mornings where the ground has frozen overnight and makes the surface feel more like a road race. While on the track, it is illegal for pins to be longer than 6mm. Apart from this, the 18mm pin length comes in handy for traditional wet and wintry British days, where the ground has been roily so much. 

  • 6mm – Best for track and field events and permitted on most athletics tracks
  • 9mm – Good for cross country running. It gives a good grip in muddy and wet conditions
  • 12-15mm – Perfect for muddy conditions in cross country races.

Frequently Asked Questions ​​

1. Can you use cross-country spikes for the track?

In most cases, you can use cross-country spikes. Cross country spikes have more cushioning than track spikes. Further lacks the stiffness and aggressive spike plate found in mid-distance and sprint spikes. These spikes work well for long-distance events.

2. How much cushioning is required in cross country shoes?

A thin, low-profile midsole or minimal cushioning is enough for cross-country race distance. It provides a better ground feel and control. It also forces the athlete to land on the forefoot that is more optimal for speed.

3. What is the difference between Spikes and flats?

SpikesFlats
better grip for muddy, sloppy, slippery conditions, grass, loose dirt, steep hills.Better for courses that include harder surfaces such as hard-packed trails, pavement
Extra traction helps to maintain speed during turns.Rubber nubs for traction and allowed everywhere.
uncomfortable on hard surfaces.Does not have much grip as in spikes

4. How To Remove Cross Country Spikes?

They can be removed with the included spike wrench. The wrench helps to screw in and out like a threaded screwed. If a spike gets bent or stuck, then you need a pair of pliers and elbow grease to remove the stubborn spike.

5. How To Clean the XC Spikes?

The best way to do is clean off all the mud and dirt with a brush. A brush works well for tight areas in the spike threads. If spikes are dirty, let them soak in warm water and clean them off further.

Points To Remember

  • Don’t put them in a washing machine
  • Don’t put them in a dryer.


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