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
Kick-starting our list of the best kid’s cross-country running shoes is Inov8’s Talon 212’s.
These are super flexible and lightweight running shoes that deliver excellent grip over a range of terrains.
Whether your child enjoys soft grounds, dry trails, or off-road running, the Talon 212 ought to be considered when shopping around.
The shoes are constructed with Inov8’s Met-Cradle technology that keeps the feet secure and stable when running.
They are also composed of synthetic mesh which covers the upper section of the shoe to promote a decent flow of air.
This ventilation system actively allows air to permeate the interior for enhanced freshness to the feet that you can rely on.
As for the shoe’s soles, they have Injected EVA Foam which promises resilient cushioning with maximum memory retention. After just a couple of runs, the feet will begin to mould into the shoe.
With that, the foam is attached to 8mm sticky rubber studs that don’t just claw through soft terrain but hold onto the firmer ground to deliver superb grip.
This Inov8 range currently has a 100% 5-star track record with reviewers loving the shoe’s funky design and great durability.
All of these reasons are why we’ve ranked the Talon 212 as #1 on our list of junior cross-country running shoes. Why not see what all the fuss is about for yourself?
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!
#3 - SPEEDCROSS J
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.
#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!
Decathlon’s team of athletes and running enthusiasts has designed a fantastic shoe for cross-country racing that we think your kids will love.
The Kiprun’s feature Decathlon’s Kalensole foam and CS technology provide optimum shock absorption with each step over rocky, hard terrain.
With that, the shoes have several multi-dimensional lugs for enhanced grip, allowing your kids to enjoy a vigorous run regardless of the weather and ground.
Plus, should it be raining or snowy, the upper fabric is designed with water repellent mesh that promises to keep feet cool and dry.
The shoes are designed with a slight insole between the forefoot and the heel.
This ensures that a more natural foot movement is performed when running, thus reducing the risk of injury.
This is something that Decathlon’s dedicated team has adapted from previous ranges to ensure children can foster their natural stride when engaging in their favourite sporting activities.
Priced at just under £30, this is one of the more affordable junior cross-country running shoes on the market that still boasts a range of high-tech features.
Follow the link above to get your hands on these running shoes in time for your child’s next run!
#6 - RUNFALCON SHOES
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!
Finishing up our list of the best kids cross-country running shoes is a product by sports clothing brand, Karrimor.
The Tempo Trail’s are designed with performance and comfort in mind, made with a synthetic mesh upper to promote enhanced breathability when running.
They also feature Karrimor’s +Ride midsoles that promise maximum shock absorption, helping to reduce the strain on kids’ ankles and knees.
The soles of the trainers have Dynagrip spikes which offer superb traction and grip on rocky, uneven terrain, ensuring that your child remains secure and balanced with each step.
The contrasting colours partnered with Karrimor’s signature logo provide a cool, stylish running shoe that we’re sure your kids will love.
Finally, Karrimor has conveniently provided their shoes in half sizes as they recognise the importance of finding the perfect fit. Sizes start from a UK 3 and go to 6.5.
So, if you’re after some kid’s cross-country running shoes, Karrimor is a brand that you can trust and is one we’d recommend when shopping around.
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Men’s Cross-Country Running Shoes
Starting off our section of the best men’s trail running shoes is an option by New Balance.
Their 410’s trail shoes feature a super lightweight mesh upper and lining to keep the feet cool and dry during all of your outdoor endeavours.
They are also crafted with New Balance’s Acteva midsole which provides excellent cushioning and compression and is 12% lighter than standard midsole foam.
The AT Tread makes the shoes suitable for both trail and road running and so will prove particularly beneficial for those wanting a one-stop-shop for all their running gear.
Each pair comes equipped with a lace fastening to allow runners to adjust the tightness to their own preference.
Many avid trail runners enjoy tighter shoes to keep the feet super secure when jumping and bounding over trickier terrain.
The colour scheme on the New Balance 410’s is a sleek, minimalistic black and grey background with contrasting red and blue to give the shoes a sporty edge.
Priced at just under £35, these are high-quality, durable trail running shoes for a very reasonable price and one we’d recommend for those who enjoy exercising outdoors.
Inov8’s Mudclaw 300 are designed to accommodate the muddiest of terrains as they deliver ultimate grip thanks to the incredibly sturdy studs that release mud quickly and efficiently.
The shoe’s Met-Cradle design keeps the foot secure and supported with each step while traversing over rocky ground.
The foot will also fit snugly into springy EVA foam that delivers reliable underfoot shock absorption and greater comfort for miles.
This is especially important over uneven terrain as knees and ankles undergo a lot of stress when leaping and bounding, so alleviating this stress with EVA foam will prove highly beneficial.
Below the sole, the Mudclaw features 8mm deep lugs for maximum traction and grip, again, keeping runners stable and secure at all times.
Now, when shopping around for men’s XC running shoes, reviews can often help you to make a decision.
If the Mudclaw’s are of interest to you, you’ll be pleased to know that they have an average of 4.9/5-star rating, awarded by over 45 satisfied customers.
Many note that these shoes are fantastic for wet and muddy trails as well as being one of the comfiest trainers on the market.
So, while a little more expensive compared with other men’s running shoes, they’re certainly worth the extra investment and can truly enhance your cross-country running.
#3 - GEL-FUJITRABUCO 7
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!
#4 - S/LAB XA AMPHIB 2
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
These lightweight Adidas running shoes are suitable for a range of terrains, such as:
If you’re someone who frequently engages in a range of outdoor sporting activities, these Adidas trainers are a great go-to as they’re far more versatile than other shoes on the market.
They are made with a featherlight textile upper to create a sock-like feel that still provides ultimate support and durability.
The midsole is made with cushioned EVA foam that has moulding technology to fit around the feet to make your running experience all the more comfortable and efficient.
These men’s trail running shoes have adjustable laces so that wearers can tighten the fit to their own preference, enhancing the feeling of security with each step.
Adidias’ trainers come in half sizes to ensure that runners get a fit that suits them to a T, something which is super important with cross-country running trainers.
This is why we think Adidas’ trainers are some of the best on the market and could be a viable option for your next run.
#7 - SPEEDGOAT 4
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
First on our list of the best cross-country running shoes for women is the New Balance XC Sevel v2.
These cross-country spike trainers provide premium performance to your runs all year round.
They’re constructed with New Balance’s REVlite technology at the midsoles which are accompanied by a highly durable lugged rubber outsole.
In terms of the outer part of the shoes, they’re constructed with breathable knit to keep the feet cool and dry even in the most challenging of weather conditions.
The shoes weigh a mere 164g which is one of the lightest cross-country running shoes for women on the market.
Plus, they come in a super sporty turquoise and white design with New Balance’s signature logo across the front.
With a price of £60, we firmly believe that you’ll struggle to find a pair of XC trainers with this level of quality for the same price.
New Balance, after all, is an incredibly reputable brand that crafts state-of-the-art sports equipment which is why we’ve ranked the XC Sevel’s in no.1 for women.
These are perfect if you're a female fitness professional who is looking to become a running coach who needs 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
Decathlon’s team of cross-country running enthusiasts have come together to design one of the best shoes for women starting their XC journeys.
Their women’s trail shoe is perfect for supporting tough training sessions and up to 40km on easy terrain.
They have a highly durable rubber sole to enhance the grip between the foot and the ground. This is accompanied by 4mm lugs for effective traction on slippery ground.
The inside of the shoe is made from Decathlon’s CS heel cushioning technology to optimise comfort when engaging in your outdoor activities.
The shoe is also super flexible compared with other women’s trail shoes thanks to the FLEX-H bevelled heel technology.
As for the outer design of the shoe, Decathlon’s team has opted for a grey with contrasting coral colours with a bold blue lace.
The design combines vibrant colours with a minimalistic backdrop, helping to keep your running gear super chic.
As ever, when scouring the internet for the best cross-country running shoes for women, reviews are likely to help you to make a decision.
Decathlon’s range has an average of 4.5/5 stars, awarded by over 750 happy runners around the world.
As a result of these incredible, high-tech features and reviews, we think these shoes can truly enhance your workout.
We mentioned the men’s version of Adidas’ AdiZero shoe and thought it fitting to also include their women’s range.
Adidas promises that you can tackle all cross country runs with utmost confidence and speed thanks to their state-of-the-art women’s XC shoes.
The trainers are crafted with a breathable mesh upper which provides exceptional moisture management while the EVA foam interior offers supreme cushioning.
The ADIWEAR outer sole promotes high-wear durability by being one of the most stable and resilient XC trainers on the market, allowing you to wear the shoes again and again without much wear.
Adizero’s trainers have 6 forefront spikes made from grippy rubber to further enhance stability when running on a range of terrains.
The purple and pink complement one another beautifully while offering a truly sporty aesthetic that will turn heads on your run.
It is noteworthy, however, that reviewers of the Adidas AdiZero note that the shoes can feel quite tight and so we suggest to half-size up for optimal comfort.
Priced at just under £54, these are very reasonably priced considering the high-tech features and are well worth checking out for that very reason.
#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
#6 - LONE PEAK 4 LOW RSM
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 £140.00 reflects its high quality as this shoe even includes graphene grip.
Price - £140.00
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.
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