Saucony: Saucony has been a leading brand among Cross Country spikes in recent years. Their two major designs, the “Kilkenny” and the “Shay” are extremely similar, and have come to be two of the most popular racing spikes in the sport for both men and women.
The “Kilkenny” is one of the two main Saucony cross country spikes. It features an air mesh upper with synthetic overlays which allows the runner to lock down laces tight so that the foot will not slip through turns. This mesh material is also important for allowing the foot to breath, and also reduces the overall weight of the shoe. The midsole provides a decent amount of cushioning for a racing spike and will shield the athlete from sharp objects on the trail unlike some ultra-light racing spikes. A carbon rubber outsole adds the traction and durability needed to withstand the rugged race trails. Wt. 6.0 oz. Mens and Womens
The “Shay” is extremely similar to the “Kilkenny”. It features the same air mesh upper for breathability and lightweight, and also includes a sock liner connected with the tongue to reduce slipping. At 6.9 oz it is slightly heavier than the Kilkenny, but to really decide between these shoes you will need to try them on.
Nike: Nike has only recently jumped on board with their own models of cross country race spikes. Their vibrant colors and advanced design make them appealing, but slightly more expensive. They offer a variety of different models, with two major designs being the “Victory” and the “Waffle”.
The Nike “Victory” is a lightweight shoe designed to withstand the demand of any course. Featuring Nike’s own “Flywire” mesh upper, the runners foot is locked into place inside the shoe. The midsole is composed of super lightweight compressed foam, while the full length rubber outsole holds into place the six spike plate. Weight: 4.9 oz. Mens and Womens.
The “Waffle” is a slimmed down slightly less expensive shoe in comparison with the Nike “Victory”. Still having a breathable mesh upper, and a lightweight foam midsole, this shoe differs from others by having a 4 spike plate. It is up to the runner to decide which is best for him or her. Men and Women
Asics: Asics have been long known for their variety of training shoes, but have recently developed some popular racing spikes as well. The “Gel-Dirt Dog 2” is very popular out on the race course this season.
The Asics “Gel-Dirt Dog 2” is a very affordable, and very high quality racing spike. Weighing in at 5.9 oz., the “Gel-Dirt Dog 2” puts itself right in between the extremely rugged Sauconys and the extremely lightweight Nikes. Featuring a similar mesh upper, a lightweight midsole, and a 6 spike config it is very similar to other spikes. However, many runners seem to like the “Gel-Dirt Dog 2” because the sole is wider than that of other spikes. Many runners feel more comfortable being able to land on a wider, flatter surface, rather than a narrow one.
All of these shoes are great racing spikes, but every runner is different. You should try on each shoe extensively before making any final decisions. After all, your choice now could result in a victory later.