Most folks are familiar with wearing lightweight, spiked shoes to optimize speed and traction on the track, but spikes are not exclusive to the oval.
Cross country spikes are lightweight racing shoes designed to meet the demands of off-road racing. As with track spikes, cross country spikes offer receptacles for screw-in spikes, but also feature a studded rubber outsole. The addition of rubber to the bottom of the shoe increases its traction level (for those precarious muddy and sloppy courses), and also protects the foot from rocks and roots that the cross country runner will likely encounter on race day. Many cross country spikes also include a layer of foam cushioning beneath the foot; again for added protection.
Many cross country spikes are also available in a “spikeless” version (sometimes called “flats”) that are better suited for courses that involve a good deal of concrete or other hard surfaces.
WHY SPIKES INSTEAD OF REGULAR RUNNING SHOES?
Spikes will allow you to race faster than a traditional running shoe for a number of reasons. Most cross country racing shoes weigh less than half of a regular running shoe, so less energy is exerted each time the foot leaves the ground. Also, the enhanced traction features ensure that the foot will not lose any footing on slick or uneven surfaces. Because spikes use much less material between your foot and the ground, the foot is able to plant more sturdily, and more energy from push-off goes directly into the ground instead of into the shoe and then into the ground. Overall efficiency is greater when using spikes compared to using running shoes.
ARE SPIKES RIGHT FOR YOU?
Each runner should check with his or her coach to see if spikes are recommended before investing in them. Some runners may wish to see if cross country is something they wish to stick with before making the purchase. If you have any questions about cross country racing footwear, give us a call at Front Runner or come by the store. We carry a large selection of cross country racing models, both with and without spikes. Try on a pair today and revolutionize your racing!
Chattanooga Running Store