Track and field stars, it’s time to start gearing up for the upcoming outdoor season. Eastbay has what you need to succeed, so out with the old and in with the new. This gear guide was created to help you figure out which qualities to look for in competition shoes, based on your event, and provide you with our top recommendations.
If you’re not sure how your spikes should fit, check out this blog post, to learn how to shop track and field shoes.
When choosing a sprint spike, you should focus on two things : light weight and aggressive traction. You’re used to speeding through and relying on instinct when you’re on the track, but when it comes to deciding on sprint spikes, make sure to take your time. Look for a snug fit on the upper and a strategic spike plate to keep your feet stable in the blocks and help you grip the track with every stride.
As you head back to the course this cross country season, not just any shoes will do. You need the best gear possible to help you leave your legacy in the record books. That’s why we’ve created this list of the best cross country shoes of the season. So, whether you compete in spikes or flats or just need a new pair of shoes for practice, eastbay.com has the best gear from top brands. So, get ready for your best season yet!
COMPETITION SPIKES AND FLATS:
When it comes to shoes for race day, you want to make sure they’re light as can be with ultimate traction to grip the surface of the cross country course, whether you’re running on grass, gravel, or dirt.
Take on tough courses with these cross country shoes. Multilayered, translucent mesh provides a lightweight, breathable, and water-resistant upper that stays snug on your foot throughout the race. The spiked version has a carbon fiber plate in the midfoot to enhance stability and support and features rubber heel pods, extra lugs, and six spike pins on the outsole to give you multisurface durability and aggressive traction. The waffle version of these shoes sports a CushIon midsole for lightweight, responsive cushioning and an all-rubber outsole for gripping traction.
These cross country shoes are a great option for varsity runners. Both versions are made with a seamless sock-like upper with FLEXFILM overlays to provide an enhanced fit without adding extra bulk. While both versions feature a full carbon rubber outsole, the spiked version also features a six-pin Pebax® plate to keep you leading the pack on aggressive terrain.
These shoes combine the lightweight cushioning of elite racing shoes with a more traditional fit and extra protection, making them a perfect choice for new racers. An engineered knit upper provides lightweight structure while unique midsole cushioning gives a responsive feel underfoot. Finished off with a lugged rubber outsole and six removable spikes, these shoes provide superior traction on every type of course.
These shoes look as fast as they feel with a multilayered mesh upper featuring striped skin overlays. Both versions are great, affordable options for cross country shoes with lightweight, responsive cushioning in the midsole and an anatomical rounded heel to roll with the ground. The spiked version has strategically placed lugs on the perimeter of the outsole to enhance grip in all conditions, while the spikeless version features a waffle plate with a rubber outsole for traction.
Even the best can get better, and these racing shoes are proof of that. A fully engineered mesh upper features ISOFIT that adapts to the shape and motion of your foot for a secure fit. The midsole is made from a super light, high-abrasion foam to increase durability without weighing you down. The spiked version features a durable rubber outsole with a six-pin Pebax® spike plate that provides unrelenting grip for your fastest race yet.
Built for training, preparing for race day, and beating your PR, these shoes are guaranteed to get you closer to annihilating your goals.
These running shoes are exactly what you need to get your practice miles in throughout the week. They feature a slimmer design than the last Pegasus model with less weight in the tongue and heel collar. The upper is made from engineered mesh, and the midsole features a full-length Zoom Air unit along with CushIon foam to provide responsive cushioning.
These versatile running shoes have an engineered mesh upper with FLEXFILM overlays to provide a seamless sock-like fit. A super light midsole gives rebound while you run, and a carbon rubber outsole provides durable traction so that you can comfortably put in many practice miles before the big race.
Designed for aggressive road runs, these shoes promise speed and support. The upper is made of breathable mesh to keep your feet feeling fresh, and the midsole sports responsive cushioning to keep your steps light and springy.
To build a winning track season, you need the right tools. And that starts with choosing the right shoes. Whether you need explosive sprint spikes or powerful throwing shoes, we’ve got you covered with a breakdown of our top choices for every event.
When your race only lasts a few seconds, you need to make every step count — You need to explode out of the blocks and stay light on your feet. That means you need sprint spikes with two important features: aggressive traction and a snug, barely there fit and feel. Our top picks deliver both.
When it comes to power, Nike’s unique spike plate really delivers. This cutting-edge design combines strategic areas of flex and rigidity so you get maximum acceleration out of every step. Seven spike receptacles in the forefoot dig into the track and help launch you forward. Flyweave construction in the upper snugly wraps and supports your foot, while the shoe’s integrated tongue eliminates seams for a one-to-one fit that lets you focus on the finish.
Lightweight and locked down. That’s what you get in the Nike Zoom Superfly Elite. This shoe’s breathable Flymesh upper delivers zoned areas of ventilation, while Dynamic Fit technology wraps the foot and locks you firmly in place over the footbed. That footbed is built on a stiff plate with 8 receptacles that have recently been updated from permanent to removable spikes. The biggest difference between the Zoom 400 and Superfly Elite can be found in Nike’s generative plate design. Each is made with areas of stiffness and flex that are unique to the distances they were built for. So, choose wisely. Your race may depend on it.
Grit: Mid Distance
Mid-distance spikes need to deliver a performance triple threat: speed, cushion, and support around the curve. When it’s time to make your move and break away from the pack, you need a spike that’s going to work as hard as you do.
When you’re running anywhere from 800-1,500m, your feet are going to take a beating. To stay fresh and fast, you need Boost cushioning. It not only protects your feet from the pounding they’ll take, but it also stores the energy you create at impact and returns it to your stride. And more energy = less fatigue and faster times. Five spike receptacles in the forefoot make the most of this energy return by gripping the track and adding power to every toe-off. Most importantly, these spikes feature an asymmetrical plate design that helps provide balance and support as you race through the turn.
In it for the long haul? Then you need an ultra-breathable shoe and a stride that packs a punch. That punch comes from a strong, stable platform and traction you can depend on mile after mile.
The Nike Zoom Victory 3 is built to win, with a cool, lightweight mesh upper that uses an anatomical heel design to securely wrap your foot and deliver comfort through your 5K. Increased space in the toebox allows for natural toe splay, leading to stronger takeoffs and faster times. Finally, the Victory features Nike’s generative plate design paired with six spike receptacles for dependable traction and response.
Whether you’re a jumper or a thrower, you need shoes that deliver power. And that power is built from the ground up. To go higher and farther this season, you need shoes that deliver secure lockdown and strategic traction.
Locked and loaded. That’s how you’ll feel when you lace up in the adidas AdiZero Discus/Hammer. The shoe’s synthetic cage upper construction wraps around your foot, and a large hook-and-loop strap crosses over the top, locking you securely in place and creating a strong, stable platform for your throw. On the outsole, a smooth spin patch under the ball of the foot helps you flawlessly execute every time you compete.
Jumping shoes need to combine the stability of throwing shoes and the lightweight speed of racing spikes. The adidas AdiZero TJ/PV does just that, thanks to a hook-and-loop strap that locks your foot in place over the footbed, eliminating wiggle room so you can focus on your approach. Lightweight EVA foam in the midsole delivers just enough cushioning and impact protection — perfect for the triple jump — and a seven-spike outsole plate with Sharkskin traction pattern grips the track and encourages unrivaled acceleration.
Block starts can be a sprinter’s best friend or worst enemy. The first steps of your race are the most important, and having a great start can be the edge you need to win. If you’re looking to improve your race times this year, here are three tips for faster, more powerful block starts:
1. Explosive Exercises
Plyometrics and weightlifting can give you the leg strength you need for an explosive 30 meters out of the blocks. The power you generate at the start will help propel you through your race and keep you one step ahead of the competition. Great exercises for increasing power include single- and double-leg bounds, sled pulls, and speed squats.
2. Consistent Routine
A consistent, easy to repeat routine is especially important in the moments before you step into the blocks. This includes using the same block setting and pre-race movements. Make sure your dominant leg is in the front block. Repeating the same motions in practice and before each race will improve muscle memory.
Executing a successful block start is 90% mental and 10% physical. That’s why it’s important to visualize the perfect start and finish to your race. Imagine yourself reacting fast on the gun start and leading the pack from your very first step. Practice this mental routine so that on race day, when the gun goes off, you won’t need to think. You can simply react, run, and win!
Training for power, honing your muscle memory, and focusing on your race plan are all greats ways to prepare yourself for a successful track season. And you can reach an even higher level if you choose the right gear. So, with that in mind, we broke down the three products you need to win:
To guarantee a win on race day, you have to put in the work behind the scenes. That means embracing the grind and choosing the right pair of running shoes for your gait and your training routine. Need a lot of support? No problem. Looking to up your mileage? We’ve got you covered there, too. You can find our favorites at eastbay.com.
Our top recommendation is a shoe that can do it all – the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 34. Delivering a secure, locked-down fit, with fast, comfortable cushioning, and stable, firm support, the Pegasus is a great all-around option for runners at every age, speed, and mileage.
For Race Day
To run fast times, you need fast shoes, and everything about our selection of track spikes is built with speed in mind. From their breathable, lightweight uppers to stiff spike plates, these shoes are ready to win over any distance. You can check out our race-ready lineup here.
One of our top contenders is the innovative Nike Zoom Superfly Elite. This spike’s seamless upper features zoned areas of stretch and support that eliminate discomfort and distraction so you can focus on the finish. Permanent spike placement cuts down on weight, and a generative plate design perfectly combines stiffness and flexibility so you get the most energy out of every step.
Looking fast is almost as important as running fast. Whether you prefer to layer up tanks, tees, and tights, or stick to shorts and singlets, we have a range of options that look as good as they perform. With seamless construction, reflective elements, and sweat-wicking material, these are comfortable, breathable pieces that you can mix and match to suit any workout.
Want a piece that can easily transition from your workout to everyday wear? The Nike Dri-FIT Element Half-Zip is the perfect choice. This lightweight layer is tough enough to get you through practice and stylish enough for class, thanks to slim lines and an athletic fit.
On April 18, 30,000 runners will line up on Main Street in Hopkinton, Mass. and begin one of the world’s most difficult races — the Boston Marathon. They’ll have to fight for every step of the 26.2-mile journey that stands between them and Copley Square in the heart of Boston, but those who make it will have achieved one of the greatest honors in running.
Established in 1897, the Boston Marathon is the oldest annual marathon in the world. It’s also one of the most beloved. Inspired by the race and those who run it, some of your favorite brands are creating Boston Marathon versions of their top running shoes to help you celebrate this incredible event.
The Fresh Foam Zante v2 is designed with one thing in mind: speed. The shoe’s breathable, bootie-fit upper eliminates bulky overlays that add weight and slow you down, while aggressive toe spring propels you forward for one fleet-footed ride.
The Fresh Foam Zante v2 Boston uses this fast platform to honor the city, incorporating details that celebrate its history and love of running. Varsity colors represent the many colleges and universities in the Boston area, paying homage to the great minds who have called the city home. Gold accents on the heel and laces bring to mind the excitement of finishing a race victorious.
The outsole and insole both feature a bold chevron pattern to remind runners to keep looking forward — a mantra many runners will need to keep in mind as they battle through the difficult hills of the Boston Marathon course. The insole also sports the outline of Massachusetts, with a heart marking Boston’s location.
A long-time staple for Brooks Running, the Adrenaline GTS 16 brings cushioning and support to runners who pronate or suffer from weak or flat arches. This is done through the BioMoGo DNA midsole, which adapts to each runner’s unique weight, gait, and chosen running surface for personalized comfort.
The Adrenaline GTS 16 Nantucket showcases a more lighthearted side of east coast culture, with a bright plaid pattern decorating the upper, tongue, and insole. The heel sports a sailboat and whale, a lobster perches on the shoelace lock, and an anchor on the insole sets a strong foundation for your run.
Varsity colors come back into play in Nike’s Boston Marathon shoes. These Patriots’ Day styles of the Free RN Distance and Zoom Streak LT 3 are decked out in red, white, and blue and feature yellow Boston shoutouts on the tongue, heel, insole, and laces to give them a unique look and feel.
The Free RN Distance combines two of Nike’s best technologies to provide a natural ride that can withstand longer distances. We have all the details here, but basically, the Free RN Distance has the extreme flexibility you love about the Nike Free line and soft Lunar cushioning to protect your foot and help you run farther.
The Zoom Streak LT 3 is a race-ready option designed for a fast, responsive ride. This unisex racing flat is only available in men’s sizes, so women will have to size down to achieve the snug fit needed for successful road racing.
Making a departure from the blue and red hues of the other Boston Marathon shoes, Saucony takes its inspiration from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, specifically the MBTA’s oldest subway — the Green Line, which originated in 1897, the same year as the first Boston Marathon. Bostonians love to hate the Green Line for its slow pace and frequent delays, but it remains a classic piece of the city’s culture. And, while they may be inspired by the Green Line, these Saucony shoes will keep you moving at a faster pace.
Both the Boston Kinvara 7 and the Boston Triumph ISO 2 turn heads with their bold green color, but it’s the details others can’t see that set these shoes apart. Both feature printed insoles that match the seats of Boston’s public transportation system, and the tongues are emblazoned with “Inbound”, a welcoming message for those entering Boston or crossing the finish.
The Kinvara 7 delivers a firm, fast ride on the track, treadmill, or road. This sleek runner uses FLEXFILM overlays, originally part of Saucony’s racing line, as a supportive, lightweight exoskeleton for the foot.
For a plush ride, look to the continuous cushioning of the Triumph ISO 2. EVERUN midsole construction places a layer of cushioning closer to the foot than ever before, allowing for better response and ground feel. The highly durable material fights breakdown, so the Triumph ISO 2 can carry you through all 26.2 miles without ever missing a step.