The wet weather trail and cross-country runs can sometimes be challenging, even in grippy trail running shoes. To combat this, you need the best XC running spikes – they’ll come in handy. XC spikes are slightly different from your traditional track and field spikes. We’ll discuss the differences later in the guide.

Cross-country running spikes with a slightly more flexible outsole plate than you’ll find on a track version.

Thanks to new fabrics, today’s cross-country spikes are lighter, more flexible than ever, and better fitting. They are perfect for wet weather training sessions on the grassy and earthy ground—an absolute must-have for XC races.

XC Running Spikes: Table of Contents

Saucony Women's Havok XC3 Spikes

Adidas Men's Adizero XC Spikes

Adidas Adizero XC Women's Spikes

Under Armour Brigade XC Spike

Saucony Men's Kilkenny XC 8 Spikes

Saucony Women's Kilkenny XC 8 Spikes

ASICS Men's Cross Freak 2 Cross Country Spike

More Mile Mud Warrior 2 Unisex XC Spikes

New Balance XC Seven Spikes

ASICS Men's Cross Freak 2 Cross Country Spike

Well, those are our pick for the best XC running spikes.  In compiling the list, we take into account user feedback, independent reviews and value for money. The data is then aggregated to selection in the list. You might also want to read someof our other guides, such as Compression running socks for plantar fasciitis and running shoes for peroneal tendonitis. Stay on this page for more information on cross-country running spikes.

Cross Country Spikes Guide

This section will generally discuss cross-country running spikes and how they differ from track spikes. We’ll cover the benefits of using them, maintenance advice and other valuable tips to help you on your cross-country running journey.

Are XC Spikes The Same As Track Spikes?

No, they are not – even though stylistically, they look similar. There are some vital differences between track spikes and cross-country spikes. Track spikes will be made with a plastic-bottom outsole. In contrast, XC running points mostly has a rubber outsole and added cushioning.

Track Spikes Have A Plastic Rigid Outsole Compared To XC Running Spikes

Another difference is the weights. While cross-country spikes are lightweight compared to regular running shoes, they are nowhere near as light as track spikes. Cross-country spikes will be heavier because they need to be more robust to handle the terrain’s rigours. Track spikes can afford to shred weight because the synthetic track will not give them a beat down. They wouldn’t last very long if you took your track spikes on a cross-country run.

Best XC Running Spikes - Rubber Outsoles

You’ll also find different versions of track and field spikes depending on the event, and they are a lot more specialised. You can get spikes for sprinting, middle distances, and spikes for longer running events like the 5/10K. Sprinting spikes have an aggressive spike plate and are rigid. Middle distance spikes are a tad less rigid with a little more cushioning. Long-distance spikes are light but have minimal cushioning and a thin upper. So, if you are a track runner and need a new pair of spikes, make sure you get the one suitable for your event.

With a cross-country spike, you get one basic style – which can make shopping easier. These spikes will have a more cushioned outsole with superior rubber traction for grip on mud and dirt. The upper is more substantial and hard-wearing than a track spike. Which allows the shoe to withstand mud, rocks, holes, roots, and other objects you’ll come across on your XC adventure.

Will Cross Country Spikes Really Help My Running?

Yes, they will, and quite a bit, to be honest – I can’t promise you’ll win the World Cross Country Championships, though. Firstly, the added traction from the individual spikes will make a heck of a difference. Combine the spikes with the rubber traction in the shoes; you will notice how easier it is to power through turns on grass and dirt. This extra traction is also a massive help when running up steep grass and hills.

Secondly, compared to regular trail running shoes, the XC spikes’ lighter weight give a boost when you run. This might be a mind trick, but it works for many. I often feel like I’m running much faster with a lighter shoe on in training runs.

What Should A XC Running Shoe Fit Like

The shoes should fit snug but not be painful to wear. They should feel like they are a part of your foot of your feet. If you have never worn running spikes before, they may feel narrow to start with. This is because they need to wrap securely around your feet. If they are not securely tight, then when you’re running through boggy mud, you might find you’ve lost a shoe in the mud.

When fitting spikes, wear them tight around the foot. Your feet shouldn’t feel cramped at your toes, though. But there shouldn’t be too much space between the toes and the end of the toe box. Half size smaller than your trainers. Please don’t quote me on that, though; you know your shoe size far better than I do.

How Long Will My XC Running Shoes Last Me?

You should get a few seasons out of your spikes before they start to wear out. You probably won’t be wearing them as often as your regular trail running shoes and not as much as you would wear road-running shoes. As long as you look after them, they should last a reasonable amount of time. We’ll cover maintenance later in the article.

Looking After Your XC Running Spikes

Clean off all the loose mud and dirt with a brush. If the upper of your spikes are dirty, soak them in warm, soapy water – then use a soft brush to clean them further. Let them air dry outside in the garden if possible. If not, stuff them with old newspaper, so they dry quicker.

Two things you should NEVER do:

  1. Please never put your spikes in a washing machine.
  2. Please don’t put the spikes in a tumble dryer.

Using a washing machine to clean your spikes can cause the shoes to shrink. It can also damage the spike threads.

How Do I Remove Cross-Country Shoe Spikes?

You can remove the spikes on the outsole using the spike wrench that comes with the shoe. They screw in and out like a regular screws.

If a spike gets damaged and stuck in the shoe, use a pair of pliers to remove the stubborn spike. If they are rusty, spray them with WD-40 before removing them. However, if you maintain and look after your spikes properly, they should not rust.

Try not to walk on concrete or hard surfaces in your spikes, as this can wear them down very quickly – making them hard to remove. If you have done this, don’t despair – there is a fantastic video showing you how to remove them.

Can My XC Running Spikes Be Use On Track?

Yes, they can, but you probably won’t perform to your best potential. But XC spikes function better for long-distance off-track events than shorter track events. The most significant difference between a track spike and an XC spike is the weight. Track spikes are insanely light with minimal cushioning. XC spikes are more robust and weigh more. If you like to compete both on and off track, you would be better off having a specialised pair for each.

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