Whether you’re new to the sport of cross country or just have new shoes to break in, this blog post can help you prepare for your best season yet.
When it comes to cross-country shoes, the first thing to understand is that not everyone in the sport wears spikes. Many assume that spikes are always the better choice since they provide greater traction on tough courses and allow you to dig into the terrain. But choosing between spikes and flats (sometimes called spikeless or waffle) isn’t as simple as you think. If you’re not sure which is best for you, check out our flow chart.
When you start counting how many miles you run while training for cross country, you can be looking at 30 to 40 miles a week! Most of these miles will be done in your long-distance running shoes, but when it gets closer to race time, you’ll want to make sure you’re not a stranger to your competition shoes. If you don’t allow your body time to adjust from cushioned training shoes to thin, lightweight spikes or flats, you could be at risk of injury.
Buying your spikes or flats 5 weeks before your first competition allows you to properly break them in so that come race day, you and your shoes are a well-oiled machine.
5 Week Plan to Break in Your XC Shoes
Week 1-2: For the first two weeks, insert blank pins into your spikes (if you’re wearing flats, you don’t have to worry about this). Week one, perform your regular training routine in your running shoes, but put on your spikes or flats for the last 10% of the workout (the final mile or two). During week two, you’ll repeat week one but add another mile to the final run in your new cross-country shoes. Anytime you put on your spikes or flats, make sure you run on a soft, grass surface. This provides an extra element of cushioning to protect your feet during the transition.
Week 3-4: Now that you’ve built up muscle, you can start incorporating your new shoes into your speed training. (If you have spikes, switch out the blank pins for 3/8” pyramid spike pins.) Twice a week after your regular training, put on your new spikes or flats and do some strides on a soft grass surface. Strides are a good way to start adjusting to higher speed in your new shoes. If you’ve never done strides before, they’re basically repeated 100m accelerations. Each stride should only take about 30 seconds.
Stride Right: Step 1: start jogging Step 2: increase to 95% max speed for 2-3 seconds Step 3: decrease to jog Step 4: stand or walk for a minute REPEAT 5x
Week 5: After adjusting to your new cross-country shoes over the last month, it’s now time for a full workout. Now, don’t go crazy wearing them every day, but try one or two interval or fartlek workouts during the week. One option is the 43 workout below.
Continuous 4³ Workout RUN HARD: 4 minutes JOG: 4 minutes REPEAT 4x without stopping
Now that you’ve got the process, you’re ready to break in your new cross-country shoes. If you don’t have a pair yet, check out our list of top picks or shop our full selection of spikes and flats online, so you can get ahead of the pack and start training for your best season yet!
DID YOU KNOW? You can confidently order new track spikes with our Test Run Program. It allows you to buy the shoes, break them in, and see how they perform ahead of race day. Then, if they don’t run like you thought they would, you can return them within 30 days and get fully refunded.
Whether you’re gearing up to run your first 5K or you’re an experienced marathoner, it’s important to keep on top of the shoe trends of the year. That way when you start noticing signs of wear, or you reach the recommended 300-mile replacement mark, you’ll know exactly what the best long-distance running shoes are and where you can find them. (Hint: it’s eastbay.com)
No doubt you’ve heard the hype around these shoes, and trust us, it’s real. The Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit shoes are designed (and proven) to reduce the chance of injury. As soon as you lace up these shoes and hit the road, you’ll feel the potential.
The upper is created with the newest version of Flyknit technology. It’s made with three distinct layers of Flyknit material, so it maintains the lightweight flexibility but is even more durable than previous versions. The midsole features React foam stacked both high and wide to provide extra cushion with each step without compromising stability. And finally, the increased rubber on the outsole provides ultimate traction.
With a pair of these on, you can confidently hit the road and run forever.
ASICS GEL-Nimbus 22
Shoe Type: Neutral
Arch Type: Medium or High
Weight: 10.9 oz. M / 9 oz. W
Storm past the competition in the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 22 designed to enhance your natural stride and provide responsive cushioning.
The upper is made from engineered jacquard mesh to increase breathability while still providing a supportive fit. Then there’s the midsole decked out with three unique features. First is lightweight FLYTEFOAM® cushioning that delivers an energetic bounce to your stride. Second, there’s GEL® cushioning in both the rear and forefoot to provide shock absorption during impact and toe-off. Third, concealed under the arch of the shoe is the Trusstic System® which provides stability without adding a lot of bulk. And to finish off these shoes, the outsole features sections of high-abrasion rubber to provide extra durable traction.
If you’re a high-mileage runner looking for lasting comfort, the sky’s the limit with these shoes.
From top to bottom, this is the shoe you need. The engineered mesh upper features 3D Fit Print technology to ensure a soft and secure fit with extra stretch and structure where you need it most. The midsole features two types of cushioning to provide a balanced softness underfoot without losing energy or durability. And finally, the outsole features a segmented crash pad. No matter how your foot lands, these integrated shock absorbers will cushion each step and provide a smooth heel-to-toe transition.
It’s just you, the road, and the ghost of your PR – today’s the day to beat your previous best.
Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37
Shoe Type: Neutral
Arch Type: High
Weight: 9 oz. M / 8.28 oz. W
Meet your everyday workhorse. As you pound out the miles, you’ll want a pair of shoes you can count on, and the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37 is exactly that. The Pegasus is one of the most popular and dependable running shoe models, and even after 37 versions, it’s still being upgraded with the latest technologies.
This version features a translucent upper that screams speed and is complemented by mesh details that enhance ventilation. But the most important tech is underfoot. The React foam in the midsole adds a spring in your step, and the doubled size of the Air Zoom unit in the forefoot provides maximum comfort and responsiveness.
With these shoes on, you’ll be flying to the finish line!
ASICS GEL-Kayano 26
Shoe Type: Stability
Arch Type: Flat or Medium
Weight: 10.8 oz. M / 9.3 oz. W
Twenty-six miles? No problem! The ASICS GEL-KAYANO® 26 is designed to go the distance providing you with support and comfort the whole way.
The upper is made of a jacquard mesh for a light and airy fit to keep your feet cool, but that’s not what makes these shoes really stand out. It starts with a dual density midsole which features a firmer foam on the inside and a softer foam on the outside to minimize overpronation while still returning energy. Next, there’s GEL® cushioning in the front and back to reduce shock during impact, and under the arch, the Trusstic System® helps controls torsion. To finish off the shoe, high-abrasion rubber is strategically placed along the outsole to provide durability and traction for the road.
Whether you naturally overpronate or you just prefer the extra stability for long distance runs, these shoes provide support for your joints and comfort for your feet!
HOKA ONE ONE Clifton Edge
Shoe Type: Neutral
Arch Type: Medium or High
Weight: 8.9 oz. M / 7.25 oz. W
If you’re looking for shoes to help you take charge of the road and own your race, these are the cushioned shoes you need. The new Clifton Edge pushes the boundaries and drives innovation forward with new technology in the midsole and outsole.
First up is the midsole made of a brand-new foam that provides resilient cushioning. Next up, the unique extended heel creates a soft landing and smoother transition to make you feel like you’re gliding down the road. The final new feature is the rubberized EVA outsole which overlaps the midsole to cradle your foot and provide lightweight, wrap-around support.
So go ahead, take a stride towards the future and learn to love running on the edge.
Whether you’re a kid who’s just decided to try out for your school’s sports team or you’re a parent of a new athlete – welcome to the world of competitive sports! Eastbay is the go-to site for high school athletes looking for elite sports gear. But when you start looking to buy your gear, it can be a bit overwhelming seeing all the options. So, we’ll walk you through seven base essentials below, then provide links to all our sports gear guides with specific product recommendations.
This may be obvious, but it’s worth stating: For a comfortable and productive workout you should wear activewear. We’ve all seen the odd guy in the gym who wears jeans on the treadmill, but that’s definitely not the norm and for good reason! Your clothes can have a major effect on your training. So no matter which brand you shop, keep in mind these two key terms: compression and moisture wicking.
The term “moisture wicking” just means that the material the clothes are made from keeps your body dry and cool during your workout by pulling sweat away from your skin. And the term “compression” refers to the fit. Compression gear fits like a second skin to provide muscle support and promote healthy circulation.
Eastbay makes it easy for you – much of our training apparel online has both compression and moisture wicking properties. So the only struggle you’ll face is deciding which colors and styles you want to buy!
If you’ve got longer hair, headbands are a must! No matter how you choose to style your hair for practice or game day, we recommend wearing a headband to keep loose hair out of your eyes. There’s nothing worse than trying make an amazing play and failing because your hair was in your face!
3. WATER BOTTLE
Don’t forget a water bottle! It’s one of the most important things to add to your bag. Even if you’re not planning to sweat up a storm or work out in the direct sun, hydration is super important for injury prevention and recovery.
Tip: If you prefer to drink sports drinks during or after your workout, consider buying two water bottles so you can fill one with sports drink and the other with water.
4. RUNNING SHOES
Every athlete, regardless of their sport, should have a reliable pair of running shoes. They’re versatile enough for cardio workouts with the team or solo runs around your neighborhood.
Check out this blog post to view our top picks for the best running shoes of the year!
After a long, strenuous day of training or competing, there’s no greater feeling than taking off your shoes and slipping into a comfortable pair of slides. For that reason, we believe slides are a must-have for all athletes!
6. RECOVERY EQUIPMENT
Recovery equipment may not be in everyone’s bag, but we think it’s important to keep close by. Being overprepared is never a bad thing, right? So, consider tossing an ice pack or an ankle brace in your bag. (Fingers crossed you never have to use it!)
Now that we’ve listed all the important items you should keep with you for practice and game days, you’re probably wondering how to tote it all around. Sure, you could use a big bag you have at home or try to stuff everything in your backpack, but it’s best to get a duffel bag that you can just dedicate to your sport. With one bag, you can keep all the basics together so you don’t forget anything next time you rush out the door.
The list above contains high-level gear for athletes in any sport, but depending on what you play, there are some specific items we didn’t list. For example, if you’re going to be playing soccer, you’ll need to buy shin guards, and if you’re looking to run track, you’ll want a pair of spikes. Below you’ll find all our links for sport-specific gear guides. We keep them up-to-date with our top product recommendations based on the year’s best items.
Find your sport and bookmark the link, so next time you’re shopping for sports gear, you’ll know right where to look.
Nothing says summertime like bright T-shirts and tank tops. Graphic, patterned, mesh – you name it, we’ve got it. When you wake up and don’t want to spend time figuring out what to wear, it’s best to have a pile of go-to tees and tanks to throw-on and get out the door.
Whether humid or dry, the summer heat is unavoidable, and when the A/C just isn’t enough, you’ll be wishing you had more pairs of shorts so you’re not stuck sweating in your jeans. A light and breathable material is key for ultimate summer comfort.
Now, some may argue that footwear has no place in a summer essentials blog since being barefoot is the ultimate summertime mood. However, some places require you to wear shoes, and when that’s the case, your best choice is a pair of slides or sandals. They’re a comfortable addition to your already-casual outfit and easy to throw on right before you head out the door.
Over the years Nike has continued creating innovative technology to help athletes perform at their best. One of the best examples is the ever-evolving line of Nike Zoom running shoes. But with so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to spot the differences between them. So we’ve created a chart showing which tech features each shoe has along with descriptions of those tech features, so you can figure out which Zoom running shoe is best for you. No matter which pair you end up buying, you’re sure to stand out from the pack with Nike Zoom running shoes.
Nike Zoom Running Shoes Pictured Above (from left to right)
* Shoes feature a full-length Zoom Air unit. ** Shoes are designed for off-road trail running.
Technology of Nike Zoom Running Shoes
Engineered mesh is more flexible and more durable compared to regular mesh. It’s often used as the upper for many of Nike’s performance running shoes to provide breathability while remaining snug on your feet.
This unique upper first debuted on Nike’s ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT%. It’s super strong and lightweight, but more importantly it’s water resistant. So even in the worst rainy weather, the shoes won’t soak up water.
The exposed Flywire cables on some of the Zoom shoes provide a secure feel by allowing for a tight, but flexible fit. These cables stretch all the way to the sole, though you only see a bit on the top. So even though they may look insignificant, they provide substantial support without adding much extra weight.
Encased in the React cushioning, this full-length plate adds a layer of firmness to the shoes, adding a snappy response that propels you forward during your run.
Originally designed to assist runners trying to break the two-hour marathon time, ZoomX Foam is the lightest, softest, and most responsive midsole cushioning from Nike. It gives you comfortable cushion without adding weight and bulk to your shoe.
Originally, this foam cushioning debuted in Nike’s basketball shoes in 2017. Less than a year later, Nike figured out how to best incorporate it into running shoes. With this new technology, runners no longer need to decide between either a soft cushion to absorb energy or a firm cushion to provide energy return. They can have it all. React cushioning is lightweight and has significant energy return and durability to last long distances.
This foam midsole is softer and more responsive than traditional Phylon. Cushlon absorbs impact and feels soft underfoot to provide cushioned comfort.
Zoom Air debuted with Nike more than 20 years ago. Nike Zoom Air units come in different sizes, but in running shoes, the Zoom Air units are most commonly seen as either a full-length unit that goes along the entirety of the sole or two smaller units placed beneath the heel and beneath the toes. These units are filled with air and stretched fibers that contract when pressure is applied and bounce back when pressure is removed. So with every stride you take, you experience dynamic energy return.
To shop all Nike running gear, head on over to eastbay.com.