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Cross-Country Footwear

In the UK the runner's Autumn/winter season is often focused on cross country racing especially if you are a club member. Top athletes such as Mo Farah, Paula Radcliffe and Stephanie Twell wax lyrical on the benefits of cross country training and racing.

We have basically 4 choices, Specialist cross country Spikes, Track spikes, studs or trail shoes.


This article focuses on the best footwear to use for training or racing on the country. We have basically 4 choices, Specialist cross country Spikes, Track spikes, studs or trail shoes. The choice will depend on the paricular course and its condition but also the athletes preference. Lets go through the choices in detail:


Cross Country Spikes

Cross country spikes are unsuprisingly the most popular choice. They have a moderate amount of support, minimal cushioning, removeable metal spikes and some sole grip. The length of the spikes can be tuned to the surface from 6mm for dry or grassy courses up to 18mm for complete quagmires! Most UK courses will suit 9-12mm. The minimal amount of support can cause some problems in injury prone runners and definitely best saved for racing only.

Track Spikes

Track spikes are similar to the above but tend to be lighter with a smooth footplate, the only grip being provided by the removable metal spikes. Not as hard wearing as the above, they are perfect for faster running on dry courses where the athlete copes well with little support and has no achillies injury concerns. It is often said they are really only of benefit for runners quicker than 6 minute miling but i don't necessarly agree as surely any runner would benefit from lighter shoes, assuming of course injury does not result.

Studs/Fell shoes

Studs (or Fell shoes) have fallen out of fashion in recent years as trail shoes have grown in popularity but are a very good option for cross country. They feature minimal support but large rubber lugs on the sole providing a very good grip in the mud but also slippery grass and rock. They are the shoe of choice for Fell running for this reason, but also useful for courses which feature a bit of road or tarmac path.

Trail Shoes

Trail shoes are generally road shoes with a grippier sole, although you can get lightweight versions which are better for racing. These are specially developed, of course, for trail running but are fine for less muddy cross country, especially where the runner requires more support than the above shoes give. Their increased popularity in recent years means there is a huge choice availaible with all levels of support and grip.

Saturdays were made for cross country so give it a go!

so, summing up, check out your course beforehand either in person, by asking around or on the web and choose the right shoe for you and the course. Saturdays were made for cross country so give it a go!

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