The best cross-country spikes re­viewed

CROSS COUNTRY LEAGUES GET UN­DER­WAY THIS WEEK­END. PAUL FREARY CHECKS OUT THE FOOTWEAR TO SEE YOU SAFELY THROUGH THE MUD

Athletics Weekly - - nEWS -

adi­das – XCS

Price: £60.00 Stock­ist: adi­das.co.uk Sim­i­lar to pre­vi­ous ver­sions of this spike, this model re­tains a fa­mil­iar fit and feel yet is a lit­tle lighter and a lit­tle more flex­i­ble. The out­sole has the same pat­tern and of­fers the same level of grip in the mud, but the added flex­i­bil­ity makes the shoe feel a lit­tle faster. It’s eas­ier to cover the ground in them as they adapt quickly as it adapts quickly to the un­even sur­face. A one-piece up­per con­struc­tion cre­ates a good fit around the foot and means there are no in­ter­nal seams to the shoe to cause ir­ri­ta­tion. Full-length cush­ion­ing adds to the com­fort mak­ing this a very ca­pa­ble cross-country

per­former.

Brooks – Mach 18

Price: £60.00

Stock­ist: brook­srun­ning.co.uk

Essen­tially a new colour of the shoe launched last sea­son, but then if it’s not bro­ken there’s no need to fix it. The shoe of­fers ex­cel­lent grip thanks to the spikes and a pyra­mid shaped stud­ded out­sole that cov­ers the ma­jor­ity of the shoe. Mid­sole cush­ion­ing runs the full length so com­fort isn’t com­pro­mised and the shoes feel well bal­anced, giv­ing a nice com­bi­na­tion of com­fort and con­trol at any speed. The up­per is a neat, wrap-around seam­less fit to keep the shoes se­curely in place on even the mud­di­est of cour­ses. Our testers praised the light­ness of this shoe, sug­gest­ing it’s well suited to win­ter track ses­sions.

An up­date to the very pop­u­lar Kilkenny shoe, this model is avail­able in both men’s and women’s colour­ways and lives up to the great fit and per­for­mance of its pre­de­ces­sor. The cush­ion­ing runs the length of the shoe to give a com­fort­able feel on even the rough­est ter­rain. The spikes sit into the rugged out­sole, which of­fers ad­di­tional grip in the mud.

A wrap-around up­per of­fers a se­cure fit mak­ing the shoe in­stantly feel part of the foot for an added sense of feel on un­even ground. The shoe is very durable thanks to the six-pin Pe­bax spike plate which is su­perbly rigid and the car­bon rub­ber added to high­wear ar­eas.

Puma – Haraka XCS V4

Price: £69.99

Stock­ist: puma.com

An­other largely cos­metic up­date to a pre­vi­ous ver­sion of a cross country shoe. The mid­sole cush­ion­ing and out­sole and spike con­fig­u­ra­tion re­main un­changed and pro­vide com­fort and grip on any course. The up­per has a new lac­ing de­sign, which main­tains a great, se­cure fit, and there are ex­tra re­in­force­ments to shed off the worst of the mud and en­hance the hard­wear­ing de­sign. With a full-length EVA mid­sole and light, low pro­file de­sign this shoe feels in­stantly fast and com­fort­able. ‘Like a road rac­ing shoe with spikes’ was how one tester de­scribed it and, as such, it’s very easy to run quickly in. The shoe de­liv­ers a smooth ride and good trac­tion thanks to the spikes and rugged out­sole.

The up­per fea­tures a one-piece de­sign with in­ter­nal sup­port strap in­cor­po­rated into the shoe to hold the foot se­curely in place and pro­vide good, sta­ble foot­ing.

It’s light and flex­i­ble, too, mean­ing it’s sure to be an in­stant success this sea­son. While not a spe­cific cross-country spike, many testers tell us they pre­fer to use their ‘long dis­tance’ track spikes on the country. This model of­fers great cush­ion­ing thanks to the full length EVA mid­sole, as well as a good fit in a very light­weight de­sign. For those that pre­fer a lighter, more flex­i­ble and slightly less ‘bulky’ feel in a spike, this dis­tance shoe may be just the

thing.

Sau­cony – Ha­vok XC Price: £60.00

Stock­ist: sau­cony.co.uk

ASICS– Hyper LD 5 Price: £65.00 Stock­ist: asics.co.uk

New Balance – XC700 v5 Price: £60.00

Stock­ist: new­bal­ance.co.uk

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