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.

Top Kids’ Track Spikes

Top Kids’ Track Spikes

Spring is practically here, which means outdoor track season. It’s almost time to get out there and set some new PRs, but first check your gear. Last year’s spikes probably don’t fit anymore, so check out our top three recommendations below and then hit the track to begin training.

Whether you’re shopping for yourself or you’re shopping for a kid, the first thing you need to know is the basics of track spikes and how they should fit. If you’re already familiar with buying spikes, you can keep scrolling, but if you’re new to the sport, take a quick look at our fit guide before you start shopping.

Nike Zoom Rival S 9

A Nike Zoom Rival S 9 track spike in the laser crimson/white/black/university red colorway lying on the track.

First up is the Nike Zoom Rival S 9, designed for events from the 60m to 400m, including hurdles and long jump. With an aggressive traction pattern on the outsole and an updated eight-spike plate that digs into the track, these sprint spikes will propel you to victory.

adidas Sprintstar

An adidas Sprintstar track spike in the glory blue/signal green/core black colorway lying on the track.

Explode out of the blocks with the adidas Sprintstar, designed for technical athletes racing in events up to 400m. The upper features Celermesh, a super thin mesh with an inner grid for a lightweight lockdown feel. A Pebax® plate in the outsole provides optimal energy return to launch you across the finish line.

New Balance MD500 V7

A New Balance MD500 V7 track spike in the white/black colorway lying on the track.

A new season means another chance to set records, and with the New Balance MD500 V7 those chances just got a little better. The lightweight mesh upper keeps your feet dry and fresh, and the six removable spikes lets you customize your run for the course.


Now that you’re set with new spikes, what about the rest of your track gear? Eastbay.com offers elite apparel and equipment from the best brands, so you can have your fastest season yet!

And did you know Eastbay has a Test Run Program? You can try out your new spikes to make sure they work for you. And if they don’t perform as you’d hoped, return them free of charge within 30 days of purchase. For more details, click this link.

Track and Field Gear Guide

Track and Field Gear Guide

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.

Jump To: Sprint Spikes, Mid-Distance & Distance Spikes, Throwing Shoes, Jumping Shoes

Woman sprinting in tank top with trees in the background.

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.

Best Cross Country Shoes for Practice and Competition

Best Cross Country Shoes for Practice and Competition

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.

1. Nike Zoom Victory XC 5

Colors: Black, Metallic Silver, Black

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.

2. Saucony Havok XC2

Colors: Black and Green

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.

3. New Balance XC Seven V2

Colors: Black and White

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.

4. Nike Zoom Rival XC

Colors: White, Black and Atmosphere Grey

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.

5. Saucony Carrera XC4

Colors: Black and Slime

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.

PRACTICE FLATS:

Built for training, preparing for race day, and beating your PR, these shoes are guaranteed to get you closer to annihilating your goals.

1. Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36

Colors: Phantom, Riderock, Electric Green and Moon Particle

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.

2. Saucony Type A8

Colors: White, Black and Citron

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.

3. New Balance 1500 V5

Colors: White and Neon Emerald

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.

Best Track and Field Shoes: A 2019 Guide

Best Track and Field Shoes: A 2019 Guide

Track and field stars, it’s that time of year again to find out what shoes you need for the upcoming season. Eastbay has what you need to succeed, so out with the old and in with the new. This Gear Guide was created to let you know which qualities to look for in competition shoes, based on your event.

Sprint

Nike Zoom Rival S 9

On the track you’re used to going fast and relying on instinct, but make sure to take your time deciding on a sprint spike. You’re going to want a shoe that increases your power and delivers explosive traction to enhance your speed. Look for a snug fit and strategic spike plate to prevent slipping and help grip the track with every stride.

The Nike Zoom Rival S 9 can help you finish faster. The traction pattern on the outsole and updated spike plate give you ultimate grip as you fly out of the blocks, and the ¾ length bootie keeps your foot secure during your run.

Mid Distance

New Balance MD800 V6

Finding the right mid distance spike can be a little tricky. You want the speed of a sprinter with the endurance of a distance runner, and that takes a special type of shoe. You’ll want to find something that melds the rigidness of a sprint spike and the comfort of a distance spike.

A pair of New Balance md800 V6 is a great choice. They’re lightweight, offer a full-length spike plate to enhance speed, and have a bootie fit for added comfort.

Distance

Saucony Endorphin 2

It’s time to invest in a shoe to change your racing game. Since you’ll be running many consecutive miles, you’ll want a spike to give comfort and support while remaining lightweight so that even if your legs feel like lead weights your shoes don’t.

A good example is the Saucony Endorphin 2. It’s the lightest spike Saucony makes and features foam in the midsole for added cushioning, so that you can run confident and comfortable.

Pole Vaulting and Triple Jump

adidas adizero TJ/PV

To run and jump with ease you need a hybrid shoe, something to give you the best of both worlds. Look for a shoe that fits securely on your foot, offers grip to gain speed on your approach, and features comfortable padding to protect your foot from impact when you land.

The adidas adiZero TJ/PV is the right shoe for the job and is created with a sharkskin pattern on the outsole to increase traction, a forefoot strap to keep your foot secure, and cushion in the midsole for comfort where it counts.

High Jump

adidas adizero HJ

If I say, “Jump.” And you ask, “How high?” I’d ask what shoes you’re wearing, because footwear does matter. The perfect pair of high jump shoes will be lightweight and flexible to aid with speed during the approach, and they’ll also provide traction to give stability during takeoff.

Choose the adidas adiZero HJ. It’s lightweight with flexible midsole cushioning and a Sharkskin traction pattern on the sole.

Long Jump

Nike Zoom LJ 4

As you sprint down the stretch, hit the board full force, and take off through the air, what’s going through your mind? Hopefully you’re not worrying about your shoes — but if you are, that’s a sure sign you need a new pair. When purchasing long jump shoes, look for a light weight to assist with speed. You’ll also want the sole to have traction to grip the board before take-off. Lastly, ensure there’s cushion to protect your feet when you land.

I’d recommend checking out the Nike Zoom LJ 4. It has durable cushioning, a 3/4-length spike plate to give powerful traction, and a zippered shroud to keep the shoe securely on your foot.

Throwing

Saucony Unleash SD 2

Whether you wield a hammer or a discus or a shot, you’ll want a shoe that can give you an extra boost of power and has good grip to keep you planted during follow-through.

The durable Saucony Unleash SD 2 is a good choice. It has a rubber outsole for grip, a lockdown strap for support, and a padded tongue and collar for comfort.

Javelin

Nike Zoom Javelin Elite 2

Javelin throwing is hardcore, but just because your weaponry is medieval doesn’t mean your footwear should be. There’s a reason you don’t wear sandals to competition. The best shoes will have a secure fit and strategic spikes spread through the sole. This will give you extra grip and control during your throw and release.

What you need is something like the Nike Zoom Javelin Elite 2. It has 11 spikes, feels light with responsive midsole cushioning, and gives extra support with a midfoot strap.

Racing Flats

New Balance 1400 V6

Whether you’re running road races or just doing a high impact training session, it’s a good idea to have a solid pair of racing flats. They can be used for practice, so you don’t wear out your new spikes so quickly. You’ll want to find a pair that is comfortable for long hours of training, but light enough not to affect your performance.

A pair like the New Balance 1400 V6 will suit you well. This versatile shoe is made with specially engineered mesh and foam cushioning for a lightweight feel.

Did you know that Eastbay also sells clothing, replacement spikes, and training equipment? You can find it all at eastbay.com. Good luck this season and have fun breaking records.