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21 Best Cross-Country Running Shoes: Juniors, Men & Women (2020)

Looking for the best cross-country running shoes? With the cross-country season in full swing it’s important to be suited and booted in the correct pair for you. 

When it comes to finding the right shoes, we know it’s not always straightforward as picking the wrong shoe can hinder your performance (and leave a heavy dent in your pocket!), and with a big purchase on the line you don’t want to pick the wrong ones. 

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How to pick the best cross-country running shoes

When it comes down to it, there is no universal style. This makes a lot of sense considering everyone is different in terms of foot shape and footfall whilst running, etc. 

People are always worried about whether to go light or how much of a spike depth they should choose for their shoes, so below is some advice on how to choose the best fit for you! 

Light vs Cushioned

First things first when it comes to searching for your ideal pair you have to remember it’s what your feet are most comfortable with, it’s all down to the level of support your feet need. Light shoes are ideal to be competed in as the less material between you and the ground make for a more flexible movement however, a more cushioned shoe can help support with long stretches and supporting your muscles.

So, whatever you do don’t make a hasty transition slowly go from either side to ease your foot into a different style shoe.

Spike vs Rubber soles

Before we get started let us state that spikes are not for everyone, especially in the case for juniors, spikes can be beneficial when it comes to more competitive meets and races, however, when it comes to buying young boys or girls cross-country running shoes they might not be a good fit based on the strain they place on the feet; especially the tendons, and calves.

Whilst they do give a competitive advantage of being a lighter shoe in addition to the main benefit of traction the shoe gives when on grass and muddy terrains, if you race on predominantly hard and rocky surfaces its best to stick with rubber soles.

Below is our compiled review of the best cross-country running shoes in the UK! 

Best Junior Cross-Country Running Shoes

#1 - Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36

Perfect shoes for a young runner, our favourite thing about this Nike shoe is the sole which is designed to be ultra-flexible with an added rubber grip, which will come in handy for the rougher terrains. 

The slick design allows for a lightweight breathable material which is aimed at young runners of all ability, making this a perfect starter shoe for cross-country racing. Whilst being lightweight, it still adds comfort with the Zoom air cushioning to aid in giving you that bouncy feel to help feel fast on your feet.

The shoe comes in three colour designs making the shoe a unisex purchase. 

Price: £54.95


If you’re looking for a multi-use shoe this little spike addition from Adidas is the perfect kids cross-country running shoe, it can be used in both cross-country and track meets. These trainers are made of a lightweight and breathable material for an anti-sweat approach. 

At a price of £49.95 this is definitely a good starter shoe for aspiring running stars. The durable material which even brags an EVA midsole is meant to last across a wide number of events.

This shoe is even marketed as the ideal shoe for track starts in the making!

Price: £49.95


This shoe has been designed with juniors in mind, with the quick lace system it makes it easy for juniors to slip on and off these shoes with ease!

Bragging Contagrip technology, Salamon has developed this super durable sole technology which offers top performance regardless of racing on asphalt, rock or pavement.  The contrast of the wrap of leather outsole, but fitted with an EVA sockliner helps to protect the sides of your feet and keep debris out of the shoe whilst still staying comfortable and lightweight on the inside.  

Salamon prides itself in quality and offers 2&3-year warranties on its products and for a price of £60.00 with a choice of five colours, this a staple item for a cross-country runners’ wardrobe.

Price £60.00 

#4 - PB Elite Junior

If you are looking for a weatherproof cross-country running shoe this is the shoe for you! Based on the original PB design but with a water-resistant material built ultralight for a fast drying waterproof shoe.

This PB trainer boasts the worldwide reputable Walsh registered pyramid grip outsole, which is renowned for its exceptional grip when on muddy and wet rocky terrain, and these shoes are also vegan friendly!

Price £60.00

#5 - Nike Epic React Flyknit 2

Another addition from Nike these shoes for juniors have combined their comfy sock like Flyknit technology with their React sturdy rubber clip heel.

If you’re looking for one of the best combinations of both lightweight breathable material, yet a sturdy base to keep your feet both safe and cushioned this is the shoe for you. Nike React cushioning innovation has one of the most responsive foams in the shoe industry helping to support young feet.

This shoe comes in on the pricier end of shoes for junior cross-country running shoes, however the price is worth it for the investment of two in one of Nike's flagship shoe technologies.

Coming in of a price of £89.85 with two styles this shoe is also a perfect pro unisex staple.

Price - £89.95


If you are looking for a cheap kids cross-country running shoe this is a great shoe for beginners from Adidas.

The upper mesh part of the shoe, although not weather resistant, allows for a breathable anti sweat run combined with the EVA midsole giving this shoe a sock-like feel. The rubber sole provides a sturdy base support for the foot while the synthetic heel cap allows for a more lightweight run.

At £29.95 this shoe is a steal and it comes in 3 different colours!

Price- £29.95

#7 - Kinvara 11 Sneaker

This shoe from Kinvara is built with flexifilm technology to give the shoe long durability. Another special thing about this shoe is the FORM-2U memory foam which moulds around your footbed allowing for the utmost comfort and support, whether your foot be wide or arched!

The thick rubber sole with an indent rubber toe and heel helps protect against any rocks or jagged surfaces, whilst the TRI-Flex rubber lugs help provide extra traction for wet terrains.

This product comes in two colours with the inclusive option of picking size with width of foot in mind, so we think this shoe is fantastic for the price of £45.00.

Price - £45.00

Men’s Cross-Country Running shoes


Another great professional edition from Salamon. Like any Salomon shoe this model offers all the usual benefits, such as contra grip midsole sole, anti-debris mesh, and moulded ortherlite. This shoe offers up an amazing EnergyCell sole which is an insanely comfortable sole which enhances the energy return from the sole when running.

The shoe has a quick lace up and tighten feature making it even quicker for you to be able to run out the door!

All in all, this shoe is one of the best in the market for cross-country especially over long distances and wild terrain.  And at the price of £120.00 it's definitely on the more expensive end of the spectrum.

Price - £120.00

#2 - New Balance Mens MT590 V4 Trail Running Shoe

This new balance shoe is a perfect addition for those who split their time on both natural terrain and pavements/ track runs. With their feature AT tread, this shoe has been made in mind to have maximum traction for both on and off road.

The added cushioned tongue and ankle work in harmony with the breathable mesh uphold to give runners a better fit and performance. The REVlite midsole aids in maximum comfort for competing.

We think this is a really good buy as this pair is a relatively cheaper shoe priced at £59.99 for all the features it encompasses, in comparison to the other competition.

Price £59.99


These Gel additions from Asics are a great trail pair for whatever the weather. The trainers are designed specifically for versatile running conditions. They have a Flytefoam sole which brings you a lightweight feel when running, but still giving you more prep in your step. 

This shoe boasts several features such as shock absorption, weather resistantancy, reflectivity, and added traction making this a staple addition to any wardrobe.

At 115.00 this is a reasonably priced shoe for the features you get for this product and is vegan friendly!

Price- £115.00


Any cross-country runner knows that it's crucial to find a shoe which works well both on road and off road. Well here is this most versatile shoe on the market, another addition from Salomon this S LAB is a hybrid shoe, which is designed to have maximum performance both in and out of water, making this a fast quick drying and super-efficient shoe. 

The material in this shoe is designed to still be lightweight even when soaked and is able to dry extremely quickly once it has been submerged in water.

As this is a Salomon shoe it features the previously mentioned; Contagrip, EnergyCell and Skinguard.

We know it’s a steep price but it’s even more of justifiable purchase as this shoe has a warranty to last you up to 3 years.  

Price - £160.00

#5 - LONE PEAK 4

If you are looking for a men’s xc running shoe this one from Altra is a first-class addition.

Altra are renowned for their trail running shoes as they originally founded the brand with a desire to design a better shoe for road and trail running and this shoe is definitely aimed at the more passionate and professional who compete in cross-country.

Price - £140.00


Another one of our favourites is the Kinabalu Power. It’s a well-founded trail running shoe that is a classic within the cross-country runner community. 

The beautiful vibrant show will help you stand out with the design alone! However, this pair is more than just a colour statement it has a combination of exceptional features; traction outsoles built with water grips, rock protection plates and a sole which minimizes impact for a smoother stride.

However, with this shoe is predominantly aimed at rocky and rough terrains which means if you run a lot on smooth and muddy ground this isn’t the shoe for you.

For the price of £140.00 this is a steeply priced shoe worth it if you mainly operate on hard terrains and they can also be used as a light hiking shoe!

Price - £140.00


This shoe called SPEEDGOAT 4 is not just your standard trainer this is their line of HOKA ONE ONE which literally translates to fly over the earth. To emphasise the focus on comfort of the line, this is an award-winning shoe so it’s no surprise customer have described them as ‘like walking on a cloud’

This shoe offers a wide foot area at the front of the shoe, making this shoe more accommodating to people with wider feet and giving more toe room. This newest in the line design have strategic cut-outs combined with new mesh on the upper sole enhancing breathability

It provides the runner with the superior quality of the Vibram sole which was created specifically to have excellent traction on a wide range of surfaces.  

Price - £125.00

Women’s Cross-Country Running shoes

#1 - Peregrine 10 GTX

If you are looking for the best cross-country running shoes for women, this versatile shoe this is your fit. As this is a Gore-Tex product it’s going to keep you dry because the material is hydro allergic but still gives you the breathability feeling.

This shoe is super weatherproof and yet also a protective shoe with harder outsoles which face all uphill and off roading tracks. This shoe includes a 4mm heel to toe offset which aims to give the user a natural stride, which gives a kind of barefoot run with less reliance on the bounce of the shoe.

Another quality of this product is the bedding of this shoe moulds and fits around the sole of your foot ensuring maximum comfort and bounce.

Price £135.00


These are perfect if you are looking for women’s cross-country running shoes with spikes. These grippy additions from Adidas are perfect for those who race on track and in wet muddy downhills terrains. These shoes also offer an easy lace up system. The sock like system gives the feeling of being locked in, almost as being one with the trainer for faster sprints.

However, this shoe will not perform well on pavement and soft ground and is best utilised in the shorter stretches in cross-country as it aims on speed and grip rather than longevity

At a price of £109.95 this shoe is great for those who use and are interested in a spiked pair of trainers, however as the spikes themselves are curved it would be helpful to note that these should be classed as beginner spiked cross-country running shoes.

Price - £109.95


The Terrex shoes have their purpose in the name!  This shoe model is for those who want a fast, lightweight shoe which is also flexible over terrains. Like most trail shoes

These have a formidable material for wet and dry uneven surfaces.  This shoe has been made with women in mind to adapt to female foot anatomy.

We think these are great for running at any time of the day with the reflective details in the design as well as the comforting feeling of a sock like shoe.

Price - £119.95 

#4 - Nike Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail GORE-TEX

We talked about a similar shoe in the junior section from Nike. This cross-country version is a little more advanced than its younger counterpart, this shoe incorporated the Gore-Tex anti water resistance material keeping your feet dry, this model also boasts the zoom cushioning giving the utmost and lightweight comfort

The slick design allows for a lightweight breathable material. Whilst being lightweight it still adds comfort with the Zoom air cushioning to aid in giving you that bouncy feel to help feel fast on your feet.

Price- £129.95

#5 - Summit Unknown GTX

This New Balance number is one for those looking for a heavy protected shoe whilst still keeping its lightweight nature for a quicker run, it even has a rock stop plate in the forefront of the shoe! Like the Nike Pegasus this shows is also made with Gore-Tex allowing for multi weather and terrain use.

This shoe offers a unique no sew application to give that more of a sock feeling than an uncomfortable shoe with the REVlite foam.  And even if you did end up diving in a puddle the mesh of shoe is effective in super drainage.

Price - £110.00


Another addition from ALTRA, this incorporates ALTRAS FIT4HER line which is customised on the female foot to give optimum comfort and performance power, the lone peak model is multi weatherproof designed rain snow and mud.  And is 100% waterproof. This product has a reinforced toe cap to help protect from any falls or collision with other materials, good for those who find themselves in harsh terrain and have the occasional fall!

A star feature of this shoe is the GaiterTrap helps protect against a build-up of debris beneath the shoe, giving the user less time to clean up and has the unique MaxTRAC grip which you can see in the image above. Helping the wearer tackle anything on their run!

Price - £150.00

#7 - X-TALON G 210

These are an outstanding women's cross-country shoe developed by Inov8. They are an all round  trainer which have been created to excel ability to the max for fast paced performance over both soft and extreme terrain.  These shoes show how multi-faceted they are as they even accommodate for the highly coveted cross-country swim run. These shoes aim at users who want to run fast and run light.

As this is a top tier product the price of £130.00 reflects its high quality as this shoe even includes graphene grip.

Price - £130.00

Before you go!

We hope you found the ideal product for you from our cross-country running shoes review list! 

There's nothing better than finding the right pair for you, especially when you have a big event coming up or you're starting an intensive training routine.

Interested in kick-starting your career in fitness? If so, go check out our Level 4 Personal Training courses here, or download our latest prospectus to find out more about what you could be learning! 

Written by Natasha Barnes

Fitness Content Executive, OriGym

Join Natasha on Facebook at the OriGym Facebook Group

Natasha holds an Msc Digital Marketing degree in addition to a BA in Business Management & Marketing from Liverpool John Moores University. Combining both her passion for fitness and content creation, she enjoys producing in-depth exercise guides and reviews on the market's best fitness gear. Since joining OriGym, she has become a qualified Personal Trainer, with a keen interest in weight training.  After work, if not found in a local powerlifting class, you can usually find her taking her dog on scenic nature trails.

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