The Best Cross Country Spikes in 2021

Natalie Cecconi
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It is a fact that spikes are one of the main essentials for a runner when it comes to cross country. Every runner can recall that competitive spirit they use when doing track and field. It was their one chance to go out there and be the best that they could be for many people.

I remember when I was in middle school and hoped to race to see who would win the biggest medal. For me, that dream never came true. I would always get good medals for my age bracket, but never at the top. However, I did run in college, and I will never forget my feeling when I was given my cross country spikes.

I was part of a large group of people running miles around a grass field. Running used to sound like a chore to me, until that day, I was only fifteen years old. My team was together, and it was our time to shine.

We were waiting for our turn for the 5k race. I remember having a sparkle in my eyes as I was getting my bearings on the field. I could feel my legs warming up as my spikes were getting accustomed to the little cleats in them. It hit me that this was finally my stretch and boost of confidence that I was looking for.

NameCategoryProduct
Saucony Men's Kilkenny Xc 8 Track ShoeBest OverallSaucony Men's Kilkenny Xc 8 Track Shoe
Saucony Women's Kilkenny Xc8 Track ShoeBudget PickSaucony Women's Kilkenny Xc8 Track Shoe
New Balance Men's Cross Country Seven V2 Spikeless Running ShoeUpgrade PickNew Balance Men's Cross Country Seven V2 Spikeless Running Shoe

1. Saucony Men's Kilkenny Xc 8 Track Shoe

Our rating: 9 / 10

Saucony Men's Kilkenny Xc 8 Track Shoe

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Pros:

  • Affordable price
  • Great traction
  • Plenty of cushioning and support
  • Plenty of padding
  • Comfortable with rubber sole and lace-up closure
  • 3D printed overlays provide lightweight support
  • EVA for lightweight cushion and durability
  • Carbon Rubber outsole for flexibility and traction with and without spikes
  • Spikes are removable
  • 360-degree breathable mesh upper for lightweight performance
  • Wide availability of sizes, 5 -14 size

Cons:

  • The lacing system feels cheap
  • Not the most durable design
  • Small sizing

The Saucony Men’s Kilkenny Xc 8 Track Shoe is a lightweight spike designed to be used in dry conditions on steep terrain. These spikes are super lightweight and fit great so that you can wear them comfortably for several hours without any annoying rubbing or blisters.

These spikes are designed with embedded nodes, which make gripping the track surface easy. They have a wide upper that allows for plenty of flexibility and room. But it still keeps your foot in place well.

2. Saucony Men's Havok XC2 Track Shoe

Our rating: 9 / 10

Saucony Men's Havok XC2 Track Shoe

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Pros:

  • Flexfilm provides a strong, lightweight material
  • Breathable mesh upper
  • Seamless sock layer
  • XT-600 rubber outsole for durability
  • 6-pin Pebax Spike Plate

Cons:

  • Need a shoehorn to put the shoe on as the tongue is sewn in

One of the best track spikes around is from Saucony. It's the Saucony Men's Havok XC2 Track Shoe. It comes in four different colors, so there should be a color that suits you.

This spike has a zero-drop; meaning that the heel and forefoot are at the same height. This helps you to improve your natural form and cuts down on unnecessary muscle fatigue.

It also has a wide forefoot so your foot isn't restricted at all as you run and jump.

3. Saucony Men's Carrera Xc4 Spike Running Shoe

Our rating: 8 / 10

Saucony Men's Carrera Xc4 Spike Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Great value for the price
  • ISOfit lace system that morphs to the foot for a custom feel
  • Very lightweight, 3.8oz
  • Rubber sole
  • Durable, sturdy design
  • Great ankle support
  • Explosive power transfer

Cons:

  • Tend to get hot and uncomfortable
  • Sizes are generally on the larger side
  • Doesn't have enough arch support

The best just got better, just like this XC spike and flat. This racing shoe’s fully-engineered mesh upper and 6-pin spike plate provides extra rigidity for your fastest race yet.

4. Saucony Women's Havok XC2 Flat Cross Country Running Shoe

Our rating: 8 / 10

Saucony Women's Havok XC2 Flat Cross Country Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Outstanding performance on hard-packed surfaces
  • Very comfortable with the anatomical sock liner
  • Flexfilm provides a strong breathable mesh upper
  • Seamless sock layer
  • XT-600 rubber outsole for durability
  • 4.4 Oz weight
  • The heel feels snug

Cons:

  • A little heavy
  • The arch support is not as comprehensive as other options
  • Sizing is way off, narrow and small
  • Have to buy spikes separately

The Saucony Women’s Havok XC2 is an exceptional cross-country spike suitable for intermediate and advanced athletes. Featuring a 9mm heel-to-toe drop for a natural footstrike, the shoe has been designed with an anatomical sock liner that is super comfortable and ensures excellent pronation support. The shoe also has an external heel counter that provides a great fit and increases durability.

The Havok XC2 is designed with a lightweight, breathable mesh upper that provides comfort and excellent air circulation. The XC spike has a moderately firm EVA midsole with responsive shock absorption and a slightly firm heel.

5. New Balance Men's Cross Country 5k V5 Running Shoe

Our rating: 7 / 10

New Balance Men's Cross Country 5k V5 Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Great breathability and comfort
  • Responsive REVlite midsole
  • 5-spike configuration for an agile ride
  • Well-made and durable
  • New burrito construction
  • Single-layer mesh
  • Incredibly lightweight
  • Good cushioning
  • Great traction

Cons:

  • Not an everyday runner
  • Shoelace loop breaks easily
  • Order at least one size bigger

New Balance's men’s cross-country spike shoe is designed for the dedicated distance runner who needs a shoe with great traction and durability.

The Cross-Country 5K V5 boasts a lightweight cushioning system that seamlessly transitions into a powerful traction outsole.

This shoe is probably the best choice for the person looking to do some trail running, muddy roads, grass, and woods. The outsole gives you great flexibility and a great fit and it fits perfectly.

6. New Balance Men's Cross Country 900 V4 Spike Running Shoe

Our rating: 7 / 10

New Balance Men's Cross Country 900 V4 Spike Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Good traction on muddy surfaces
  • Supportive and highly flexible
  • Range of sizes, 4 to 15
  • Available in 4 beautiful colors
  • Breathable Air Mesh
  • Burrito Construction
  • Removable Spikes

Cons:

  • The shoe doesn’t have the best support, which may hamper some runners
  • The spikes rub on the outer sole

The cross country version of the popular running shoe, the New Balance 900 V4,
is a lightweight and breathable racing flat. It provides excellent traction on mud and firm ground.

What’s great about the New Balance V4 is that it features a breathable mesh upper that is stretchable and gives runners a secure and comfortable fit.

Additionally, the inner heel of the shoes have an extra cushiony feel for when you’re making quick turns. And it is ideal for short-distance races.

7. Saucony Women's Carrera Xc4 Track and Field Shoe

Our rating: 7 / 10

Saucony Women's Carrera Xc4 Track and Field Shoe

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Pros:

  • Super Lite EVA midsole for lightweight performance
  • 360-degree breathable mesh upper
  • ISOFIT upper construction
  • Carbon Rubber outsole for flexibility and traction
  • Makes for a great everyday trainer for runners

Cons:

  • The narrow profile can be tight on wider feet
  • Durability might not be that great

One of our top picks is the Saucony Women’s Carrera XC4 Track and Field Shoe. This shoe is an optimal choice for a beginner or low-mileage runners. It features a breathable mesh upper. The upper is a synthetic material, which is lighter weight and better suited to long-distance, running.

8. Saucony Women's Kilkenny Xc8 Track Shoe

Our rating: 7 / 10

Saucony Women's Kilkenny Xc8 Track Shoe

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Pros:

  • Flexfilm provides a strong, lightweight material
  • More relaxed fit
  • Compression- EVA
  • ET-600 rubber outsole
  • 4-pin Pebax spike plate to increase traction

Cons:

  • They are not meant to be long-distance running shoes
  • Narrow and flimsy

If you’re an endurance runner looking for high-performance cross-country spikes, then the Saucony Kilkenny XP 8 is a shoe you’ll want to consider. It’s designed to deliver a responsive ride while maintaining a lightweight design.

The upper is lightweight, yet supportive. And the heel features a rubberized overlay. This allows for a smoother heel strike and prevents excess abrasion.

9. New Balance Men's Cross Country 900 V4 Spike Running Shoe

Our rating: 7 / 10

New Balance Men's Cross Country 900 V4 Spike Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Good traction on muddy surfaces
  • Supportive and highly flexible
  • Great overall value

Cons:

  • The shoe doesn’t have the best support which may hamper some runners
  • The spikes rub on the outer sole

The cross country version of the popular running shoe, the New Balance 900 V4 is a lightweight and breathable racing flat. It comes with a 6mm spike plate that provides great traction on mud and firm ground.

What’s great about the New Balance V4 is that it features a breathable mesh upper which is stretchable and gives runners a secure and comfortable fit. Additionally, the inner heel of the shoe is made from Phylon which gives you an extra cushiony feel for when you’re making quick turns. And it comes with a stack height of 15-17mm which makes it ideal for short distance races.

It’s also worth noting that New Balance is a brand known for making shoes with great stability. This is especially true of the 900 V4. It has an injected insole which gives you fantastic support and protection from your foot to your joints.

10. Altra Men's AL0A3621 Golden Spike Running Shoe

Our rating: 7 / 10

Altra Men's AL0A3621 Golden Spike Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • A zero drop platform
  • Great stability
  • Very lightweight
  • High traction outsoles
  • Provides great support and stability
  • Ideal for cross country training & racing, off-road racing
  • 3 mm die-cut footbed
  • EVA blend
  • 8 Rubber outsole, removable 5 mm steel spike, and forefoot 5-pin spike plate
  • Foot-shaped toe box accommodates toe easily

Cons:

  • The sole isn’t suitable for heavy use
  • Sizing is bad
  • Flimsy
  • Good for only light dirt and gravel type trails

The ALtra Men’s AL0A3621 shoe is a good choice for long-distance runners. It provides amazing grip on dirt trails, and it delivers great stability and flexibility.

In addition, it is very lightweight, which makes it perfect for trail running. It provides optimum cushioning from the very beginning. It comes with a specially designed flex point designed by Altra with a unique flex groove. This reduces the wear of the toe area.

Another great thing about this shoe is that it’s very flexible. The sole of the shoe is not particularly high-performing, but it’ll be fine on moderately rough terrains. It’s a synthetic rubber material that offers outstanding durability and traction.

11. New Balance Men's Cross Country Seven V2 Spikeless Running Shoe

Our rating: 5 / 10

New Balance Men's Cross Country Seven V2 Spikeless Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Soft upper material for a comfortable fit
  • Good quality spike plate
  • Value for money
  • Excellent traction and stability
  • Can be used in multiple surface areas

Cons:

  • Poor grip on wet surface areas
  • Not suitable for wide feet

Our top choice in cross-training shoes is the New Balance Men’s Cross Country Seven v2 spikeless running shoes. These shoes can be worn for cross-training and as everyday shoes – the materials are so good that even when you walk on regular streets, your feet won’t hurt.

The reason we rave about these shoes so much is that they are darn near perfect! They’re practically indestructible – you can literally run thousands of miles and they won’t fall apart.

The only real con is that the outside is not made of rubber. However, this is a necessary design consideration that allows them to be used on multiple surfaces – that’s why we didn’t penalize them too much for that.

12. New Balance Women's Cross Country Seven V2 Spike Running Shoe

Our rating: 4 / 10

New Balance Women's Cross Country Seven V2 Spike Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Very competitively priced
  • Excellent comfort and traction
  • Lightweight
  • Ideal for cross country running
  • Provide great shock absorption
  • The sporty contemporary design is breathable and attractive
  • Easy to clean
  • Perfect for most weather conditions

Cons:

  • Not ideal for rocky and loose terrains
  • The lacing system could be stronger
  • Overall weight could be improved

The New Balance Women’s Cross Country Seven V2 Spike Running Shoe is our favorite cross-country spike shoe model. The shoe is lightweight and has a breathable upper for cooling comfort. It also has excellent traction and support for long-distance running.

This shoe has a Ndurance spike plate system that offers a durable rubber material that you can use in virtually any terrain. It is lightweight, sturdy, and provides excellent shock absorption for long-distance runs.

The cushioning is of medium density, and it excels in providing shock absorption to the user, which helps protect their joints from the most extreme impact. This shoe is great for both steep uphill and downhill runs, thanks to its excellent traction system.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the best cross country spikes?

You want your spikes to be comfortable. The last thing you need to worry about when you are running is discomfort. Some of the best spikes are manufactured by Nike, Adidas, New Balance, Saucony, Asics, and other leading brands. The materials used are rubber, nylon, and fabric.

When purchasing your new spikes, you should look at the width and the heel-to-toe drop. You want your spikes to be at least 5 millimeters in width. This will give you a lot of power and traction.

You will also need spikes that have a heel-to-toe drop from 4 to 8 millimeters. This will help with forwarding propulsion and withstanding impacts.

Your spikes should feel natural to your feet. You want spikes that are flexible and allow your feet to move freely. The material used to make the spikes will determine how comfortable they are on your feet.

What is the best size spikes for cross country?

The standard size of cross country spikes is 20 millimeters with 20 pins. It is best to have tall spikes because the raised heel helps to make the legs a bit shorter. It also gives the thigh muscles a better workout since they don’t get used to carrying the body weight. It also allows for greater haptic.

What are the best spikes for long distance?

Choosing the best cross-country spikes is an absolute must if you plan on doing long-distance running. Everyone loves long-distance running, and the feeling of running in a field is simply unbeatable.

But no matter what the sport, winning is everything. And this also applies to cross-country. Your spikes will be the difference between you being the victor or remaining a lap behind.

Your spikes will help to reduce friction and will impact during running.
These are designed to provide you with the best traction possible along with help to propel your feet. The spike thickness can be a concern, but many cross country spikes provide a medium thickness so that you can absorb impact and have enough protection and grip to stop the movement of your feet during a run.

Is there a difference between cross country spikes and track spikes?

Cross country spikes and track spikes are very similar, and the main difference is size. When spikes first came out, they were first designed and worn by track athletes. Track athletes would have to jump over barriers and take turns on the infield at a wide range of different speeds. This required distinctive speed spikes. These initial spikes were slightly larger than those of distance runners.

Distance runners then moved away from track spikes. These spikes were simply too large to work on cross-country terrain. But even so, they were too small to be effective in a track environment. As a result, distance runners also created spikes. The main difference is size. Distance runners’ spikes are larger than those of sprinters but smaller than the track spikes.

Conclusion

If you are looking for the best spikes for sprinting, you might want to search for one that has both quickness and durability because these two things are the most important things when it comes to this kind of sport. The weight of the spikes is also important. Weight can affect your sprint ability, and you might need to have spikes that are lighter compared to the other models available.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Saucony Men's Kilkenny Xc 8 Track ShoeBest OverallSaucony Men's Kilkenny Xc 8 Track Shoe
Saucony Women's Kilkenny Xc8 Track ShoeBudget PickSaucony Women's Kilkenny Xc8 Track Shoe
New Balance Men's Cross Country Seven V2 Spikeless Running ShoeUpgrade PickNew Balance Men's Cross Country Seven V2 Spikeless Running Shoe