- 1. Salomon Men's Speedcross 4 Cross County Shoes
- 2. Saucony Men's Kilkenny XC5 Spike-M Cross County Shoes
- 3. Saucony Women's Kilkenny XC5 Spike-W Cross County Shoes
- 4. La Sportiva Men's Wildcat
- 5. Pearl iZUMi Women's Peak II Running Shoe
- 6. Adidas Performance Men's Supernova Riot M Trail Runner
- 7. New Balance Men's 900v4 Removable Spike
- 8. New Balance Women's 700V5 Removable Spike Track-Shoes
- 9. Nike Women's Zoom Rival XC Running Shoes
- 10. Adidas Performance Women's Xcs W Cross-Country Shoes
- 11. Saucony Men's Carrera XC 3 Flat Track Shoe
- 12. Adidas Men's XCS Running Shoe
- 13. Brooks Mach 17 Track & Field Women's Shoes
- 14. Brooks Men's Mach 18 Track and Field Shoes
To be a cross country runner, you need to be dedicated, have stamina, and work hard. You also need your cross country shoes to do the same for you, supporting you all the way, and keeping you comfortable over those long, arduous distances. Whether you’re working your way up to becoming a long distance runner or you’re more of a seasoned veteran, there’s a suitable cross country running shoe out there for you. From cross country spikes to cross country flats, it’s important to know the difference and what will work best for you. Remember, your running shoes will support you through (literally) every step of your journey, so it’s important to find the right ones that fit, are comfortable, and complete their purpose. Below, we’ve outlined some of the best cross country shoes on the market right now, as well as a helpful buying guide to give you all the information to make the most informed decision you can. Now all that’s left to do is put your best foot forward and win that race!
Best Cross Country Shoes
Reinforced rubber sole
Cushioning and stability
Simple design with cross over laces
Durable and breathable synthetic material
Lightweight, but can carry you through from mile to mile
At number one on our list, and our best choice for cross country running shoes, is the Salomon Men’s Speedcross 4 Trail Running Shoe, a fantastic all-rounder that comes in at a reasonable price too. From breathability, to durability, to comfort, the Salomon scores highly on all factors, making it one of the best cross country shoes out there. The lacing system allows you to take the shoes off and put them back on incredibly quickly, which is why they make great triathlon shoes. They’re lightweight, but heavier than other shoes on this list, making them a great all-rounder, so you can run long distances, but be safe in the knowledge that the lugs will last.
Reasonable price for an amazing quality of shoe
Great for triathlons and even increased running time
Lacing system makes them incredibly quick to put on
Can be a little snug at first
Some customers complained of seeing the tread reduce, only after around 30 – 40 miles
Perhaps too lightweight, as customers have seen them fall apart
Super lightweight design
Synthetic sole for grip
Spikes at front of shoe
Quirky and bright design
Breathable synthetic upper
Saucony is one of the most reputable brands out there for cross country shoes and these Saucony Men’s Kilkenny XC5 Spike-M are no different. One of the only downsides to these trainers is that they do run quite small, perhaps making them better as women’s cross country spikes. However, they are a high performance shoe and incredibly grippy, with great traction. With cross country specifically in mind with this shoe, it’s no wonder why it features so high up on our list. For more great shoes for the runners, check out our guide to the best trail running shoes for women.
Extremely narrow fitting, which makes them great for cross country
Spikes are great for any kind of terrain
Extremely affordable for a great quality running shoe
Quite tight and narrow in the arch area for some customers
No toe bumper at the front of hose
Not as durable as other shoes on the market
Extremely lightweight and comfortable on the feet
4-spike design for additional traction
Breathable mesh material
Perfect for cross country running
Fit the foot well
Comfortable, with the right amount of cushioning
Affordable and easy on the eye, Saucony’s women’s cross country shoes are a great option for those serious about cross country. Saucony Women’s Kilkenny XC5 Spike-W are lightweight and fit well on the foot, as well as being a reasonable price too. Similar to the men’s, they’re well-known for their incredibly traction, with 4-spike design. Although not the most durable on this list, they do the job at hand and help guide you through those long and intense trails. With a breathable mesh upper and simple lacing system, they’re the perfect women’s cross country shoe. To avoid the pain during running, be sure to pick your favorite pair of the best running shoes for shin splints from our list.
Great for younger runners who are just starting out
Brilliant colours and design
Lightweight and breathable material
Not as durable as other shoes on this list
No toe protector, which could cause problems on your run
Some complaints of limited support
Incredibly durable making them great for longer distances and colder climates
Great traction, perfect for different surfaces
Waterproof Gore-Tex membrane, which also allows your feet to breathe
Thick outer sole prevents debris from getting into the shoe
Clean and straightforward design
La Sportiva Men’s Wildcat is our premium pick of cross country shoe. Although it does come with some downsides, the La Sportiva is one of the most durable cross country shoes on the market – and comes with a price tag to match. However, you can’t question the quality of this shoe and it’s ideal for those cooler climes, as the thick sole keeps your feet warm, and the Gore-Tex waterproof outer ensures your feet stay dry. For the runners that have wider feet, we have prepared our top picks of the best running shoes for the wide feet, so check them out.
Thick and durable, great for those rougher terrains
Gore-Tex technology means the shoes are waterproof
Great for those long distances because of increased durability
Quite a bit more expensive than others on this list
Not ideal for warmer runs, as the shoe is so thick
Sole is quite stiff, which means some terrains are difficult to manoeuvre
Lightweight and flexible
Minimal and simple design
Carbon sole helps with durability and traction
Breathable material so feet don’t overheat
Ideal if you’re looking to increase your speed
Gives the feeling of running barefoot
This is probably our most regular looking trainer on our list. The Pearl iZUMi Women’s Peak II Running Shoe is ideal for those looking for something they can slip on and off with ease, but not ideal if you feel you need something a bit more supportive and durable. The Pearl comes in a few bright colours, which are appealing and the durable synthetic upper means your feet are both protected and can breathe. For hot summer days, make sure you pick some of the best and comfortable running sandals from our list.
Great starter cross country shoe
Very comfortable and flexible when it comes to different terrains
The fit is generally true to size
Perhaps a little too expensive for what the shoe is
Not as durable as others
Reviews are not that positive across the board
Ankle support provided, which is unique for a cross country shoe
Reinforced rubber soles provide grip and traction
Unique and cool design
Great for lots of different types of terrain
Adidas are well known for creating some of the best sporting equipment and clothing out there, and it’s no different when it comes to cross country shoes. Adidas Performance Men’s Supernova Riot M Trail Runner are very different to your average xc shoe, but are ideal for the fashion-conscious out there. Aside from the great design, they actually perform incredibly well, with high scoring on breathability, protection, and traction. They’re certainly not the cheapest out there, but definitely worth the investment. Make sure you also check out our guide to the best running shoes for flat feet for more great footwear like this.
Although a high price point, they are worth the investment
Great design that helps you stand out against other cross country runners
Fit tends to be true to size
High-top design may not be for everyone
Not many cons with these, but some customers complained of rubber tread being too soft for some terrains
Reinforced rubber sole for great traction, even without spikes
Affordable price point
Thin tongue, but padded collar for comfort
Lightweight and flexible
Breathable mesh so feet don’t overheat
These are a great all-rounder and our best value pick for cross country shoes. New Balance Men’s 900v4 Removable Spike come with removal spikes, which makes them ideal for both road running and trail running too. New Balance are a top brand too when it comes to trainers, and their cross country shoes are no different. This pair is durable and flexible, making them ideal for any kind of terrain. For more great sports shoes like this, check out our guide to the best cross training shoes.
Perfect for high school or college
Inexpensive, yet great quality
Durable and great for different races
Probably not ideal for adult runners on more intense trails
Some complaints that the shoes are too snug
Cushioned collar too soft for some
Breathable mesh upper
Removable spikes for different terrains
Great, bright design
Hidden upper support cage
Great fit and comfortable cushioning
We adore New Balance Women’s 700V5 Removable Spike Track-Shoes, not just for the colour and style, but because they’re created by one of the best brands out there for cross country shoes, and they also come with removable spikes. They’re ideal for those long trail races that have some change in terrain throughout. With an affordable price point, these are a great choice. Although they’re not the most durable cross country sneaker in the world, they get the job done and support your feet along the way.
Usually true to size
Comfortable for those long distances
Great quality and unique design
Not as durable as other cross country shoes on the market
Some customers complained that their normal size is too small
Rubber sole not as reinforced
Bright design and colourful and eye-catching
Durable and flexible making them a great all-rounder
Flywire technology ensures your foot stays locked down on the terrain
Lightweight and responsive cushioning
Heel is built so that it rolls with the ground on each step
Easy to get on and off
This is the first time Nike have featured on our list and it’s for a pair of women’s cross country shoes. Because they’re Nike, the design is faultless and unique compared to some of the more drab and serious looking shoes on this list. With bright colours and a unique design, you would think this might take away from the quality of the shoes, but it certainly doesn’t. Nike Women’s Zoom Rival XC Running Shoes are durable, as well as being inexpensive for Nike. Perfect as a start cross country shoe, or just something bright and interesting to add to your collection. You may also like some of the best zero drop running shoes from our list, so be sure to check them out.
Perfect for making a statement
Affordable price point for a top brand
Great for high school and college
Some complaints that the shoes run narrow and rub
Not advised to wear them without socks
Not as durable as others on this list
Breathable upper mesh material
Unique and cool design
Ideal for more competitive runners
Rubberized print protects the shoes from debris
Lightweight and comfortable
These are some of the most expensive cross country shoes on our list, but they’re on here for good reason. With incredible quality and great traction, the Adidas Performance Women’s Xcs W Cross-Country Shoes are ideal for those of you looking to take your cross country running to the next level. They’re unique in design, keeping it minimal and cool, with subtle features that help you stand out. They’re also durable and breathable, ideal for those long runs in hot weather.
Top brand and great quality
Ideal for competitive races in high school or college – and beyond
Durable and long lasting for those tricky trails
Not a lot of cons to say about these
Sometimes can come up slightly small and tight
Higher price point means they are a costly investment
Fully engineered mesh upper
Durable sole for those arduous runs
Affordable price point
Great for experienced trail runners
It’s not surprise that Saucony features once again on our cross country shoe list. This is a brand that is highly recognised for creating some of the best cross country shoes out there and these Saucony Men’s Carrera XC 3 Flat Track Shoe are no exception. They’re unique in design and brightly coloured, but also affordable and durable too. With a breathable mesh upper and easy to take on and off, it’s no wonder that they’re such a hit with triathlon runners. We think they’re a great all-rounder and idea for the more experience cross country runner. In case you are facing an issue called underpronation, be sure to check out our reviews of the best running shoes for underpronation that will help you find your perfect pair.
Great for both track and trail
Versatile shoe that comes in a great design
Easy to take on and off for quick changes
Not a spiked shoe, which could be an issue for some
Customers tend to order one or even two sizes up
Extremely lightweight, which can mean they struggle on tougher terrain
Lightweight, weighing just 7 ounces
Air mesh for breathability
Rubberized print, which stops shoe from being damaged by debris
Durable sole for maximum traction on rough terrains
Lacing system helps keep foot in place
Simple and minimal design
Adidas feature often on our cross country running shoe list and it’s clear to see why. They’re creating some of the best shoes on the market and although the price point tends to be higher than most, the quality is amazing and they’re built to last, created for the more serious cross country runner. Adidas Men’s XCS Running Shoe is probably some of the most lightweight, durable cross country shoes you’ll come across, which is why we’ve featured them on our list. Although expensive, they’re worth the investment.
Lightweight, but durable
True to size
Ideal for more experienced runners
Expensive, so won’t be suitable for everyone’s pockets
Not the most exciting design on the market
Comfortable and form fitting
Versatile, so created for both track and field
Spiked running shoes
Reinforced rubber sole
Brooks Mach 17 Track & Field Women’s Shoes are a versatile pair of both track and field shoes, ideal for those who need something to do more. They’re unique in design and spiked too, so great for the more experienced runner. They’re also extremely affordable which means you can get more than one pair! If you are new to running, you will sure like some of the best running shoes for beginners from our list.
Great all rounder
Well-known brand in the cross country world
Can be tight on feet sometimes
Lightweight, which takes away from the durability
Cheaper price point, which does seem to reflect quality
Spiked running shoes
Lightweight and easy to run in
Bright colours allow you to stand out
Advanced tread system for grip
Last, but by no means least, are the Brooks Men’s Mach 18 Track and Field Shoes. They’re incredibly versatile as can be used for both track and field, as well as coming in bright colours too. They’re great for the more experience runner, as they’re both lightweight, durable, and spiked. Perfect.
Bright in colour and eye-catching design
Great traction on wet surfaces
Ideal for long distances and different running conditions
Not ideal for certain surfaces because of spikes
Can come up tight on feet in size
Some comments on lack of ankle support
Cross Country Shoes Buying Guide & FAQ
If you’re new to the world of cross country shoes, then it can be quite daunting to find a pair that will suit your needs. And if you’re more experienced, you could be missing out on some of the key benefits and additional features of the best cross country shoe, improving your race, and creating that personal best. Below, we’ve outlined how we selected this range of cross country sneakers, as well as the most important features to look out for, and frequently asked questions by our readers.
How We Chose Our Selection Оf Cross Country Shoes
Shoes and trainers are a vital element when it comes to cross country as a sport, particularly because the terrain can be tough and rugged, leaving your feet sore, as well as the rest of your body. We chose our selection of cross country running shoes to ensure you have a great mix of styles and types to choose from. We collated this list by taking into consideration three things; reviews, brands, and price point. Customer reviews are important as they can give you a honest perception of the shoe and how it performs under pressure. Remember though, not all customer reviews are created equal i.e. they could be fake or written by biased reviewers. Brand is another key point to look at. We all have our favourites when it comes to sporting gear, but ensure you do your research and focus on brands that have developed and created cross country shoes with cross country runners in mind. Lastly, price will be a factor when purchasing your sneakers, but remember that a high price point doesn’t always mean the best quality.
Features To Look For In Cross Country Shoes
Grip – good traction and grip is one of the most important elements when it comes to purchasing a good cross country shoe. Without this, you’ll find yourself slipping all over the place and putting yourself at risk when it comes to manoeuvring those tricky sections. A great all-rounder will have brilliant rubber soles, that although you to grip firmly on both pavements and grass or mud.
Spikes - one key point when purchasing cross country shoes is whether or not you require xc spikes. Some cross country runners prefer a spike over a high grip rubber sole, as you get more traction into the ground, and are less likely to slip on wet surfaces, which can be important during trail runs. However, spikes also mean that you can’t go on asphalt surfaces, such as pavements, which could be a hinderance during some tracks. It’s not a necessity that you have spiked running shoes, but just down to personal preference and running style.
Material – trail runs can be wet and muddy, but your feet also need to breathe. Although cross country trainers need to be durable, the upper should be constructed of mesh material or something similar, so that although your feet might get wet from running through a puddle, they will be able to dry out and breathe, reducing your risk of athlete’s foot.
Lacing System – the lacing system of your cross country shoe needs to be flexible, but also keep your sneaker firmly on your foot. Ensure you find something that isn’t over-complicated or a lacing system that is rigid against the shoe, as this can be detrimental to your overall running performance. Your laces also need to be durable, to last against the elements.
Comfort - cross country running generally means long, arduous distances in rough terrain. If your feet aren’t comfortable, then you’ll have a miserable run and your feet won’t thank you for it at the end of the day. Ensure your cross country shoes are comfortable, with a great fit, so that your toes aren’t screaming in pain and your midsole is thick enough to support your foot, but not so thick that you can make a decent impact on the ground. Think about size too – most runners like to go a size up on trainers, so try them on for size and see what you think.
Durability – spending a little more money than you planned might be worth it in the long run (geddit?) when it comes to cross country shoes. Durability is a massive factor when it comes to running those hard and long races, so investing in something that has higher quality materials is important.
Cross Country Shoes FAQ
Below are some frequently asked questions to guide you on your way to buying your next pair of cross country running shoes.
Q: Do you need special shoes for cross country?
A: Yes. Without reinforced grip and traction on your sneakers, you’ll find cross country running incredibly difficult and strenuous on your entire body. Ensure you have the right style and preference for you, whether that’s metal spikes or rubber spikes, or no spikes at all – however you choose your cross country trainers, ensure that they have been created for that purpose.
Q: Can track shoes be used for cross country?
A: You can certainly use track shoes for cross country, but it isn’t advised. Specialised shoes work much better for this type of running, simply because the traction is increased, giving you that grip you require for those wet or muddy surfaces. You might find if you’ve been running with track shoes initially for cross country, that your performance will increase dramatically, once you invest in some proper cross country shoes.
Q: Should you wear socks with cross country running shoes?
A: Yes, but you can get specialist technical thin socks, so that your feet can still breathe and your shoes won’t be too tight. Cross country shoes by nature, tend to sit close to the foot, so that they’re lightweight and easier to run in. This means a thicker sock will make your foot sweat, but going completely sockless has the potential to cause horrendous blisters. Again, like spikes, it’s runner’s preference.