Breaking in Your Cross-Country Shoes for Competition

Breaking in Your Cross-Country Shoes for Competition

 

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.

Back to School Bag Guide

Back to School Bag Guide

 

After a long and crazy summer, the new school year seems like a welcome treat, a first step back to the normal grind of everyday life. And as you pick up your supply list and start shopping for the best deals, remember that Eastbay is here for all your sport and style needs.

Whether you’re headed to the field for practice or strutting the halls to class, you need a bag to hold your stuff without clashing with your style. But with so many types of bags online, how do you find the perfect one for you? Easy! First find the type of bag that fits your needs, then shop for the brand and color you like, then personalize it to match your style.

 

 

BACKPACK

Obviously, when it comes to school, the most popular type of bag is the classic backpack, but there are so many varieties within this category from basic to decked out. We’ve listed some common features that you’ll find on many backpacks so that you can identify the technology and know exactly what you’re getting.

 

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POPULAR TECH FEATURES
  • Water Bottle Pocket
    It’s important to stay hydrated throughout the day so that when you get to practice after school, you’re ready to sweat! This pocket keeps your water bottle within arm’s reach while keeping it away from inside items in case of leaks.
  • Small Accessory Pocket
    These keep valuable items (like your phone and wallet) from falling out, but close at hand for easy access.
  • Laptop Sleeve
    Sometimes there will be a separate zipper compartment, other times there will be a divider in the main compartment. Either way, this is important if you have a laptop or table that you want to protect from jostling or scratches. Backpack sizes change depending on style, so make sure you know how large your laptop is to ensure it fits.
  • Support Straps
    If you carry a full bag of books to and from school, you’ll want to make sure there’s extra support straps across the chest, waist, or hips. These adjustable buckles make sure the backpack fits snug on your back.
  • Water Resistant/Repellant Fabric
    Sometimes this will be the entire backpack and other times it’ll just be on the bottom, either way water-resistant fabric can protect your belongings from water damage.
  • Ball Pocket
    Nothing says athlete more than a backpack that can hold your soccer ball or basketball.
  • Shoes/Clothes Storage
    This may not be a feature you even think about, especially if you’re used to carrying both a gym back and a backpack. But if you shop smart, you can have one bag to do it all. Your books and laptop can go in the top and gym shoes or an extra set of clothes can fit in the bottom.
 
MINI BACKPACK

If you want the school aesthetic but a little more stylized, try a mini backpack. These look like regular backpacks, but as the title implies, they’re smaller so you won’t find as many tech features on them and you won’t be able to fit as much inside. So, if you normally carry all your textbooks to and from school, this pry isn’t the one you want.

 

 

GYMSACK

Gymsacks are as simple as bags get. They’re super lightweight and easy to throw on, but they rarely have pockets or any other tech. Usually, it’s just a single pull string compartment to put everything in. If you like minimalist style and carry very few items, this could be an option for you. They’re bigger than a mini backpack, so you could probably fit a small laptop or tablet in it, but, because of the simplicity of design and material, you’ll want to make sure you put your electronics in a padded case before putting it in the bag.

 
TOTE BAG

The most purse-like fashion option is a tote bag. They’re big enough to fit everything you need and feature a few separate sections like a small accessory pocket and laptop sleeve. The biggest difference with this bag is that it’s not quite as hands-free. Since it doesn’t have dual shoulder straps, you can either put it on one shoulder or just carry it in your hand.

 
DUFFEL BAG

A small duffel bag can be a great option for student athletes. Most come with a long strap that you can wear crossbody to keep your hands free. When people picture duffels, they often think of big, bulky bags, but they actually come in many smaller sizes that can be perfect for athletes that don’t want to carry multiple bags. With a duffel, you’ll have enough room to store your school items as well as your gear for practice.

Pro Tip:

If you find yourself hunched over to ease the weight of your bag, consider lightening your load. Kids younger than 13 shouldn’t carry more than 10% of their body weight, while kids 13 and older are okay carrying up to 25% of their body weight.

 

Once you’ve bought the bag that fits your needs, you can personalize it. Whether that’s adding keychains on the zippers, ironing on patches, or pinning on buttons. Or, if you’re really artsy, find some fabric markers at your local craft store and create your own masterpiece. Personalizing your bag is fun, but also can be helpful – when your bag is one of a kind, it’s easier to identify.

 


 

Looking for a fresh pair of kicks to start school off right? Check out our top picks and make this year the best one yet!

Best Long-Distance Running Shoes

Best Long-Distance Running Shoes

   

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)

If you’re not sure what type of shoes to buy, you may want to find out what type of arch you have in order to help you find the perfect fit.

   

Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit

Men's Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit shoe in the True White/Photo Blue/White colorway.
  • Shoe Type: Neutral
  • Arch Type: Medium
  • Weight: 10.2 oz. M / 8.09 oz. W

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

Men's ASICS GEL-Nimbus 22 in the Tuna Blue/Pure Silver colorway.
  • 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.

   

Brooks Ghost 12

Men's Brooks Ghost 12 in the White/Grey/Black colorway.
  • Shoe Type: Neutral
  • Arch Type: Medium or High
  • Weight: 10.4 oz. M / 9.3 oz. W

Run spooky fast and set supernatural times with the Brooks Ghost 12.

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

Men's Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37 in the Black/Ghost Green/Valerian Blue colorway.
  • 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

Women's ASICS GEL Kayano 26 in the Birch/Champagne colorway.
  • 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.

Sports Gear: A Beginner’s Guide

Sports Gear: A Beginner’s Guide

 


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.

 
 


1. ACTIVEWEAR

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!

 

2. HEADBANDS

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!

 

5. SLIDES

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!)

 

7. BAG

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.

 
 


SPORT-SPECIFIC GEAR

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.

 
   Cross Country     Football 
   Soccer     Track & Field 
   Wrestling     
 
More gear guides coming soon…
 

 
You may be new to the sports world, but luckily we’re not. When it comes to sports gear, we’ve got years of experience, and we’re willing to share! Check out some of our top “How To” articles.

How Should My Shoes Fit
How to Find the Best Baseball Glove
How to Find the Best Baseball Bat
How to Choose the Right Pair of Running Shoes

    


     

Summer Essentials

Summer Essentials

Summer is here! It’s time to chill by the pool, hang with friends, and camp under the stars. But first, load up on summer essentials from Eastbay.

TEES AND TANKS

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.

SHORTS

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.

SLIDES AND SANDALS

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.