What Shoes to Wear for Cross Country Running

If you're getting ready for the cross country season, here are some tips on what you should be wearing to keep you upright on race day.

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What Shoes to Wear for Cross Country Running

robert short

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Course Conditions

When it comes to running cross country you’ll have to bear in mind what the course surface is like and also take into account our ever changing weather. You may find a course is completely dry one week but then the next it may full of energy sapping mud or completely frozen. My experiences in the cross country leagues of Greater Manchester has led to me discovering exactly that.

So here are some tips on what you can wear.

Cross Country Shoes

If you’re running on mainly a softer surface then a pair of spikes will suit, with spikes you also get the option to interchange spike length. The length of the metal spikes that you will need to use will depend on the condition of the course. It’s always a good idea to have a selection of spike lengths (9mm, 12mm, 15mm) to hand and then you can decide which are most suitable once you’ve seen the terrain. Our Kalenji Cross Country running shoes (pictured above) come with a 12mm spike.

You could also use all round track spikes (which are also available in a kids sizes and come with a 6mm spike), that are fine for cross country and great as a first pair of spikes. All you have to do is insert longer length spikes. When you want to use them for track training, just make sure you change back to a 6mm spike.

Fell/Trail Running Shoes

Fell/Trail running studs are also popular for those courses where there may be sections of harder trail to negotiate, or as a more versatile option that can double up as a shoe you can use on the hills and trails too. 

Decathlon offer trail running shoes that have 5mm lugs on the bottom (like the XT7 pictured below) that will offer enough grip on the drier courses.

Replacement Spikes & Spike Key

Spikes and keys are provided with our shoes, but the spikes may not be suitable for all race conditions. Generally you'll want 9mm for firm/dry ground, 12mm is the norm, and 15mm for mud bath conditions. 

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