The 10 Best Running Shoes for Cross-Country Runners in 2021

Natalie Cecconi
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Running long-distance can be tough on your feet. Some runners experience blisters and sores, while others experience more extreme problems such as ankle sprains and joint pain.

It is very important to have the right running shoes to avoid these.

Even if you are not a long-distance runner, chances are you wear tennis shoes pretty often. And you might be wondering if those same shoes are right for running.

Unfortunately, the answer is no.

It is very important that you have the proper shoes for your running and cross-country needs. The following guide will help you find the best running shoes for your needs.

NameCategoryProduct
Brooks Women's Launch 7Best OverallBrooks Women's Launch 7
New Balance Women's Gobi v2 Fresh Foam Trail Running ShoeBudget PickNew Balance Women's Gobi v2 Fresh Foam Trail Running Shoe
adidas Performance Men's Pureboost Running ShoeUpgrade Pickadidas Performance Men's Pureboost Running Shoe

1. Brooks Women's Launch 7

Our rating: 9 / 10

Brooks Women's Launch 7

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Pros:

  • Loaded with color-combinations to match your personality and running preferences
  • Excellent, well-cushioned feel
  • Excellent cushion over the heel
  • Solid construction
  • Deep, supportive member over the arch area
  • Dual density midsole
  • Generous toe box area
  • Dynamic Arc technology gives you a smooth ride
  • Outstanding cushion over the front of the foot
  • Soft, comfy upper

Cons:

  • May be a little heavy
  • Leather is somewhat stiff compared to synthetics, but will soften after a couple of workouts
  • Tends to make some runners a bit insecure because of the flexible character of the materials, so a break-in period may be necessary
  • May be a little narrow for some

2. Brooks Men's Launch 7

Our rating: 9 / 10

Brooks Men's Launch 7

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Pros:

  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Good for mid-distance runs
  • Decent price

Cons:

  • A little bulky
  • Expensive for what it is

The Brooks Men’s Launch 7 is the first update to the Launch series in eight years, and with that said it’s already gotten some good feedback. This high-performance running shoe features a 3D-shaped Flytefoam midsole, which helps provide excellent transition and a natural ride. A full-length ABZORB sockliner evens out the pressure exerted on the foot for a more even dispersal of force.

The Launch 7 also features the DNA LOFT cushioning system, which refers to the properties of Brooks DNA material. This DNA properties work by dispersing pressure to all parts of your foot for a more even feel throughout.

As far as the upper goes, the Launch 7 features welded overlays that are stitched…not glued or sonic…welded to the midsole. These overlays add a great deal of durability to the shoe. The upper material is also extremely breathable, which helps you keep those feet dry on those hot runs.

3. Brooks Men's Ghost 13

Our rating: 9 / 10

Brooks Men's Ghost 13

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Pros:

  • Hydroflow heel technology
  • Dual density medial post
  • Microfiber mesh
  • Nylon shank
  • Internal heel counter
  • Responsive cushioning
  • Cushioned transition
  • Stability
  • Waterproof
  • Breathable

For the aspiring runner or the veteran runner, the Brooks Ghost 13 is (with just about no competition).

During the first few minutes of using the Brooks Ghost, you will notice that it has a little higher heel than most running shoes. Elevated heels are not just for racing shoes. The midsole had a little ‘tackiness’ to it which was my first indication that the shoe was going to be exceptional.

As I made my way around the block, the cushioning was noticeably softer than most other running shoes. I really liked the flexibility of the sole; it gave me the ability to move freely.

4. Brooks Ravenna 11

Our rating: 9 / 10

Brooks Ravenna 11

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Pros:

  • Comfortable
  • Perfect blend of cushion and support
  • Great value for price

Brooks has a reputation for creating some of the most comfortable running shoes on the market. The Brooks Ravenna 11 running shoe is not an exception to their reputation.

This shoe has a sleek, narrower design, which is a great departure from the traditional bulky designs that most running shoes have. It’s lightweight and balances comfort with support for long distance running and high intensity workouts. Specifically designed for neutral runners, the Ravenna 11 feels like a second skin and delivers excellent midfoot support.

It has an I-Guard technology that provides lightweight rigidity and shock absorption to prevent injuries. The midsole has Brooks Unique BioMoGo DNA that helps lubricate the joints and absorbs torsion during motion.

5. Brooks Women's Ghost 13

Our rating: 9 / 10

Brooks Women's Ghost 13

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Pros:

  • Breathable mesh upper
  • Comfy, cushioned foam footbed
  • Good shock absorption
  • Lightweight
  • Well-made construction
  • Highly responsive, mid-range support
  • Great for toes and wide feet
  • Excellent value for your money

The Brooks Ghost 13 running shoes are the ideal women’s shoes for any sort of trail and cross-country running. They have a mesh construction and their toe area has a narrow, close fitting design; ideal for the demands of running on trails.

The midsole includes a breathable heel with layers of cushioning. It also has stability pods to provide mid-range support and more comfort. The outsole is also fully cushioned.

Besides that, they have a few other interesting features. These include a dynamic toe box to supply a flexible fit and a heel that’s shaped to provide a good heel fit.

6. Saucony Men's Ride 13

Our rating: 8 / 10

Saucony Men's Ride 13

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Pros:

  • A comfortable running shoe
  • The entire upper is made from well-made mesh
  • Water-resistant material helps during rainy days
  • Good traction for trails
  • Average weight and size
  • Excellent price
  • Plenty of cushioning and good arch support
  • Great rear and forefoot stability
  • Good breathability

Cons:

  • The running shoes are not very flexible
  • The cushioning is stiff
  • Sometimes the lace connection is not very durable

Saucony is a sports brand founded in 1898 that is recognized as a world leader in the development and production of shoes to suit a runner’s individual needs.

The Saucony Ride 13 running shoes have a very comfortable fit and provides an exceptionally smooth ride and a soft heel-to-toe transition.

The shoes are equipped with a rubber outsole and the flex grooves offer more flexibility to the foot. The Ride 13’s upper is made from mesh materials for optimum comfort and breathability.

7. Brooks Women's Ravenna 11

Our rating: 8 / 10

Brooks Women's Ravenna 11

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Pros:

  • Great fit and support
  • Available in a wide range of stylish colors
  • Has extra cushioning for long-distance runs
  • Breathable and lightweight
  • The wide design provides room for bunions
  • Lightweight
  • Great arch support
  • Durable upper

Cons:

  • The midsole may wear faster compared to other materials
  • Some may not like the style
  • The midsole may be too thin for some users

For our tenth best running shoe, we have the Brooks Women’s Ravenna 11. The Ravenna 11 is designed for lightweight comfort and running support. It also offers a breathable mesh upper and has extra cushioning for long distance runs.

This running shoe provides great arch support and has a wide design, which is great for users with bunions. The Ravenna 11 also has an ergonomic design with a mesh upper and a BioMoGo DNA midsole. This midsole offers a stable cushioning for efficient running, and it also uses organic biomatter that further supports the foot’s natural biomechanics. These characteristics of this Brooks running shoe give it a unique contouring fit and an airflow mesh upper.

8. Mizuno Men's Wave Rider 24 Running Shoe

Our rating: 8 / 10

Mizuno Men's Wave Rider 24 Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Great traction
  • Great fit and comfort
  • Lightweight, but sturdy
  • Good for low-impact running
  • Suitable for almost any surface
  • Great for cross-training
  • Has a good price

Cons:

  • The laces tend to come undone
  • No exceptional build-quality
  • Not suitable for long distance running

The Mizuno Wave Rider 24 is a lightweight shoe that’s designed from the ground up for everyday use. It features excellent build quality, comfort, and attractive looks.

It inspires confidence in whoever wears it and causes you to run confidently in it. This running shoe is versatile and can be used by almost any type of runner for any terrain. It’s available in a variety of color combinations to suit the taste of almost any runner out there.

The Wave Rider 24 is capable of taking your running to the next level. It does this by following your natural foot movements to minimize impact and maintain the natural rolling movement of the foot.

9. Saucony Women's Jogging Trail Running Shoe

Our rating: 8 / 10

Saucony Women's Jogging Trail Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Comfortable
  • Breathable
  • Well-crafted

Are you interested in running but don’t have the right gear? Or, perhaps you need a new pair of running shoes. If so, then you’re in luck because we’ve come up with a list of the best running shoes you could ever have.

Our top pick is the Saucony Women’s Jogging Trail Running Shoe, which offers an exceptional blend of comfort, style, and functionality.

This trail running shoe is a lightweight, low profile, and flexible jogging shoe. It is based on Saucony’s Fresh Foam midsole technology using a flexible and durable carbon rubber compound.

10. New Balance Men's GOBIV2 Running Shoe

Our rating: 8 / 10

New Balance Men's GOBIV2 Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Great traction and cushioning
  • Well-cushioned and supportive
  • The responsive ride is outstanding
  • Plenty of room in the toe box, which is crucial for long-distance runners
  • Great fit
  • The neutral feel for a wide range of runners

The new New Balance men’s GoBiv2 Running Shoe is a well-cushioned and supportive shoe that can give you a responsive ride. It has a stable and responsive ride, a wide toe box for long courses, and a durable upper, so you can keep going longer.

Perhaps the most appealing thing about this running shoe is its responsiveness. The sole provides just the right balance of bounce and cushioning, and the result is a ride that’s smooth throughout your run. The support is also significant. The shoe has a stable base due to the wide platform and there’s plenty of room in the toe box, which is crucial for long-distance runners.

11. Mizuno Women's Wave Rider 24 Running Shoe

Our rating: 8 / 10

Mizuno Women's Wave Rider 24 Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Great style
  • Very supportive
  • Breathable
  • Highly durable
  • Slip-resistant
  • Wide in the toe box

Cons:

  • Limited color choices
  • They come up small

White/Blue, 9.5

If you look for a shoe that is lightweight, supportive, wide in the toe box, and performs well on a variety of surfaces, then the Mizuno Women’s Wave Rider 24 is for you.

This good-looking shoe has wide overlays to allow you to easily slip into the shoe without pinching your foot. The shoe is lightweight, allowing for you to move without excessive pressure or restriction.

12. ASICS Men's GT-2000 6 Trail Running Shoes

Our rating: 8 / 10

ASICS Men's GT-2000 6 Trail Running Shoes

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Pros:

  • Lightweight yet comfortable
  • Durable yet water-resistant
  • Ideal for trail running
  • Good arch support
  • Affordable price tag

Our top choice for men’s running shoes in 2020 is the GT-2000 6. It has unique design features and comes with a durable construction that can withstand rugged trail running.

The GT-2000 6 is the third generation of the ASICS 2000 trail running shoe. It has a number of unique features, including a TPU heel counter for improved lockdown and stability, a water drain system for wet weather, and an upper construction with two power bands. The shoe provides improved comfort, support, and stability, which is good news for runners who put a lot of mileage on them. The shoe is lightweight yet it is durable and have a water drain system that improves comfort in wet conditions. The price tag is also affordable for people who are on a tight budget.

The ASICS GT-2000 6 may not be the best option for racing. But it is an ideal running shoe for trail running. It has a decently low profile for agile traction and suitable cushioning for long-distance runs and technical terrain. Plus, it’s great for cross country running.

13. ASICS Women's GT-2000 6 Trail Running Shoes

Our rating: 7 / 10

ASICS Women's GT-2000 6 Trail Running Shoes

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Pros:

  • A comprehensive stability system
  • A lightweight mesh and synthetic upper
  • A variety of color options
  • Great breathability
  • Puncture resistant properties

Cons:

  • Not ideal for long term durability
  • Needs to be broken in
  • Not very effective on gravel

Those who have to go over trails often look for a lightweight shoe like the ASICS Women’s GT-2000 6 Trail Running Shoe. These shoes are made especially for rough terrains and are quite sturdy. They provide you a reliable fit and incredible traction.

This shoe is lightweight and has a padded collar which allows for a snug fit. It also has rubber heel grooves which provide you with a solid grip.

The GT-2000 has great durability due to the fact that it’s constructed with a mesh upper and nylon overlays. It also has textile and synthetic overlays which help in adding to its breathability.

14. adidas Men's Pureboost ATR Running Shoe

Our rating: 7 / 10

adidas Men's Pureboost ATR Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • The stretchy Primeknit upper provides comfort and ventilation
  • Cushioned EVA midsole
  • Incredible grip and traction
  • Wrap-around support
  • Highly breathable mesh in key areas
  • Solid performance on uneven terrain
  • Good flexibility and responsiveness
  • Durable sole construction
  • This running shoe is best for high-mileage runners who want the comfort of a skate-type feel
  • Ideal for narrow footed runners

The latest in the Pureboost line, the Men’s Pureboost ATR is an explosive performance shoe that’s ready to take on even the most demanding of training runs.

The ATR looks much like its predecessor, but it’s now lighter without sacrificing durability.

It features a reduced profile, dynamic midsole geometry and full-length boost technology.

15. Brooks Adrenaline ASR 14 Black/Ebony/Pickled Beet 8

Our rating: 7 / 10

Brooks Adrenaline ASR 14 Black/Ebony/Pickled Beet 8

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Pros:

  • Good balance of support and flexibility
  • Eases your foot to the ground
  • Nearly zero slippage
  • Breathable
  • Open-air mesh uppers
  • Durable outsole
  • Weight is good for running

Cons:

  • Poor to average support
  • Might be too lightweight for jogging
  • Low to average arch support
  • Might be too heavy for running

The Brooks Adrenaline ASR 14– new and improved— version of one of our favorite trail running shoes, the Adrenaline GTS 16. The ASR 14 has better traction, better cushioning, and better fit. And it still has great stability on rock-solid New Balance NBWAASUGD2K Original Shoe Men’s Trail Running Boot Grey … trail surfaces.

In the Adrenaline ASR 14, our favorite cushioned neutral shoe, Brooks, fixed the annoying lace clip problem, thankfully. So there are no issues with the front of the shoe flapping around when you don’t tighten them down, which is good for stability. If you’ve never had problems with this, then you probably won’t care about this update.

16. adidas Performance Women's Pureboost X Atr Running Shoe

Our rating: 6 / 10

adidas Performance Women's Pureboost X Atr Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Provides great support with its 3 stabilizing bands
  • Breathable upper
  • The cushioning is very light, yet responsive
  • Great for any type of runner
  • The look is very attractive

Cons:

  • It is a bit on the expensive side
  • The top of the shoe rides up a bit

The Adidas Performance Women's Pureboost X Atr Running Shoe is a great option if you are a runner looking for a high-performance shoe. It is great for mixed surface terrain and for cross-country runners.

This running shoe has a very stylish look that is sure to turn heads. It has a breathable mesh upper that will keep your feet nice and cool while you are on the go. It has a sock like fit that will keep your feet dry and comfy.

The entire upper is made from synthetic materials, but the three center bands that run up the sock are made from a supportive synthetic material. These stabilizing bands ensure that this shoe provides great support no matter what you are doing.

17. adidas Performance Men's Pureboost Running Shoe

Our rating: 6 / 10

adidas Performance Men's Pureboost Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Breathable mesh upper
  • Lightweight design
  • Greater foot flexibility and stability
  • Thin Heel

The adidas Performance Men’s Pureboost Running Shoe is a light shoe that is made from a mesh upper. Some of the shoes are part of the Ultra Boost line, so they can also be used for running and training.

They are one of the most ergonomically designed running shoes. The Pure Boost is specifically created to provide better comfort and flexibility when running. This has been made possible because it has a midsole comprised of patented Boost technology. This midsole contains Torsion system technology.

The Boost technology is created in a way that it forces energy back into the ground and not into the air. This brings about faster running, faster recovery, and more comfort.

18. New Balance Men's Fresh Foam Zante V4 Running Shoe

Our rating: 5 / 10

New Balance Men's Fresh Foam Zante V4 Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • New Fresh Foam midsole technology
  • Breathable mesh
  • Well-cushioned
  • Great for Forefoot Striking
  • Great for Low, Medium and High-arched feet
  • Well made, durable, great quality materials

Cons:

  • Weight: 10.6oz
  • Overpronation: Moderate over pronator

The New Balance Men's Fresh Foam Zante V4 Running Shoe is the ideal shoe for anyone who is serious about long distance running. It comes with a fresh foam midsole that provides outstanding cushioning without compromising foot support.

New Balance knows how hard it is to train for long distances. That's why this shoe comes with their Fresh Foam Zante V4 midsole technology with ABZORB crash pads and an ENCAP Lateral Post. The midsole delivers a plush feel, so your legs will be fresh.

The breathable mesh upper and Tek-Fit closure system provide sufficient support while ensuring extra comfort. The quality of materials is immediately noticeable: this shoe is nice, it has a really unique and attractive finish.

19. New Balance Women's Gobi v2 Fresh Foam Trail Running Shoe

Our rating: 5 / 10

New Balance Women's Gobi v2 Fresh Foam Trail Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Very affordable
  • Great fit
  • Provides superb support with the thick high-quality foam; the midsole foam has a thick density and is an advanced foam that features good traction
  • Great for both short distance running and long distance running
  • Also suitable for trail running
  • Reinforced textile threading on upper
  • Comes in various colors suited for different weather conditions
  • The insole is comfortable; fitting perfectly and is breathable
  • The outsole is made up of rubber which is strong, non-clogging, and is able to provide traction in most weather conditions

Cons:

  • Some runners said the material is a bit stiff
  • Sizing may be smaller than other brands of shoes; it may be wise to run in a store to try them out

There are some factors we consider when selecting our top pick. So first off we start off with the fact that they are very affordable pair of shoes, which when combined with its superior quality, makes this a great pair of running shoes. We also consider a long-distance runner’s demands and expectations.

The Gobi v2 provides both short and long distance runners with the support and comfort they need. The insole provides a comfortable and fitting experience while the outsole is suitable for almost any weather condition. The unique suspension system also provides more cushioning and flexibility.

20. Brooks Adrenaline ASR 14 Shoe

Our rating: 5 / 10

Brooks Adrenaline ASR 14 Shoe

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Pros:

  • Great fit and feel
  • Amazing traction
  • Can handle any terrain
  • Anti-shock inserts
  • Highly flexible
  • Ideal for various kinds of sports
  • Attention to detail

Cons:

  • The arch is not suited for high-intensity workouts
  • The hefty price tag
  • The tread may wear out
  • The tongue may slip off

7.5 D US

The Adrenaline 14 is perfect for runners that are dealing with old injuries, and is also a great option for amateur runners looking for a shoe that is ideal for running on diverse surfaces.

Most runners agree that it works well on trails, roads, and dirt-packed trails. This is one of the few running shoes that come standard with an impressive selection of features that are designed to enhance the user experience, and in addition to the already talked about rock plate, you’ll also find the following:

Cons:

21. New Balance Women's Fresh Foam Zante V4 Running Shoe

Our rating: 4 / 10

New Balance Women's Fresh Foam Zante V4 Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Great support and think cushioning
  • Soft flexible upper material
  • Adjustable fit
  • Vented upper; takes away from hot feeling

Cons:

  • High price tag
  • Not made for long-distance running

Tired of running in generic big box store sneakers? Try the New Balance Women's Fresh Foam Zante V4 Running Shoe and you'll never look back.

This running shoe features a combination of performance-driven, multi-layer cushioning systems and just the right amount of flexibility. This provides the runner with an optimized road feel and a responsive, smooth ride – giving you more miles on a single pair of shoes.

Plus, these shoes are fitted with Fresh Foam, a breathable material which keeps your feet cool and dry. Unlike other running shoes that have a plastic coating on top of the foot bed, the Fresh Foam design allows sweat to evaporate more effectively. There's no need to hit the button on a shoe fan just to keep your feet cool.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are the best running shoes for cross country?

Wearing the wrong shoes can jeopardize your performance. When you step on the xc course, you need to be fully confident in your running shoes. That means they have to be lightweight, stable, durable, and have a snug fit. In this list, we’ll introduce you to various cross-country-specific shoes that can help you be a better runner.

What is the best running shoe for a heavy runner?

The best running shoes for heavy runners will be different from those made for a lightweight runner. When you purchase shoes for running, remember that your body weight will most likely affect your running style.

The weight of your body will affect your posture. In response to your body weight, your running posture will tense or loosen. The best running shoes for heavy runners can help correct your posture.

That is to say, when you adapt to heavy shoes, you will learn how to change the posture in order to prevent the extra stress on the joints.

While heavy weights will usually affect a runner’s posture, so will excess muscles. If you already have excess muscles, the last thing you need is a shoe that will focus more on your muscles.

Comfortable shoes tend to have thick soles, and it is better for heavy runners to wear thin soled shoes instead. This is because heavy runners usually have a posture problem.

What do cross country runners wear?

A good pair of cross-country running shoes can make a world of difference for a runner.

Cross-country, or XC, is an acronym for cross-country running, a sport where athletes compete in running relay races, scrambling over natural obstacles and trails. Many XC athletes may participate in related areas of racing, including marathon running, long-distance track racing, cyclo-cross, mountain running, and trail running.

Cross-country running is one of the most popular types of high school sport in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. However, there is no stringent rule against it, since it is a very broad term. It is one of the most daring and dangerous sports in the world.

What are the best running shoes 2021?

New Balance shoes are the cream of the crop in running shoes and these are no exception. New Balance is often looked at as being a great shoe for casual running. However, they are an excellent pair of shoes for actual running. This style is a simple yet perfect design for runners looking to get amazing traction on any terrain. In addition to the practical qualities of the style, it is also very stretchy and will assure that your feet and legs are comfortable the entire length of your run. The shoes are extremely high quality and will fit snugly and comfortably, regardless of your size. These are one of the best running shoes in 2021 that you can buy for the price. Although it may take ages to save up for New Balance shoes, it is worth the wait. A definite must-have for your next run.

Conclusion

In our recommendations for the best cross-country running shoes, we’ve selected shoes that come in a variety of price ranges so you can find a pair that fits your budget. Of the eight pairs listed here, you’ll find the best solar powered LED light for your home.

We’ve also included a few ideas for accessories that can be added to your home to make it a more comfortable place in which to live and welcome the summer months.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Brooks Women's Launch 7Best OverallBrooks Women's Launch 7
New Balance Women's Gobi v2 Fresh Foam Trail Running ShoeBudget PickNew Balance Women's Gobi v2 Fresh Foam Trail Running Shoe
adidas Performance Men's Pureboost Running ShoeUpgrade Pickadidas Performance Men's Pureboost Running Shoe