The 10 Best Running Shoes for Cross-Country Runners in 2018
It’s the weekend, and you’re gearing up for a cross-country run. You’ve planned your route, filled your water bottle, warmed and stretched your muscles, and fueled up with a light snack. Are you ready to run? Maybe, but what about proper shoes? Whether an experienced cross-country runner or someone new to the sport, this is an important question to ask yourself before hitting your route.
Cross-country runners will experience terrains ranging from sidewalks to rocky trails; proper shoes are essential in helping to prevent unnecessary injuries and to help them meet their goals. The list of shoes below showcases the ten best running shoes for cross-country runners. So, whether you’re looking to replace an old pair with something new and more supportive or looking to purchase your first pair, you’re sure to find what you need to get you out and running.
Top 3 Best and Favorites
Best Stability Shoe
Brooks Adrenaline ASR 14
Brooks Ghost 10
The Ghost 10 is a cushion style shoe. Adapting to your stride, the BioMoGo DNA midsole cushioning allows you to run mile after mile with the same spring in your step as when you first hit the road.
For runners who require a more flexible shoe, you’ll enjoy the optimized flexibility of the Ghost 10’s Forefront by Omega Flex Grooves. This flexibility is complemented by a breathable mesh upper, offering wearer’s both stretch and support.
The Brooks Ghost 10 offers runners a smooth ride. Designed to adapt with each strike of the road, you’ll see the segmented crash pad utilizes a caterpillar shape. The independent yet fully integrated shock absorbers to work together to provide maximum efficiency of every foot-fall.
The smooth ride, plush cushioning, and flexible fit make the Brooks Ghost 10 an optimal entry-level shoe for runners. It’s no surprise that the Ghost 10 was awarded the “International Editor’s Choice” by Runner’s World.
Price ranges from $99 to $120, the Brooks Ghost 10 is available in a variety of sizes and colors.
- Flexible design
- Ample cushioning
- Wide widths are not available
- Lacking in reflective security features
Brooks Launch 5
The Launch 5 is a neutral style shoe with a medium to high arch. Like the Ghost 10, it boasts BioMoGo DNA midsole cushioning. The Brooks Launch 5 also features rebounding rubber and, when combined, these two features will surely put a spring in your step.
The heel-to-toe transition is made smoother with a midfoot transition zone constructed of flex grooves. The Launch 5’s flexible midfoot transition zone allows the shoe to bend and move as your foot naturally would.
Designed to be lightweight and breathable, the Launch 5 has a just right type of feel as it offers runners a one-piece mesh upper and internal bootie. Adding to the comfortable feel of the Launch 5 is the cushioned collar and tongue.
Priced at around $100, the Brooks Launch 5 is available in a variety of sizes colors.
- Narrow midfoot platform
- Wide widths are not available
Brooks Ravenna 9
Like the Launch 5, the Ravenna 9 is an energizing style shoe. An energize style shoe is one designed to be responsive, springy, and to add lift to your stride. Like many in the Brooks line-up, the Ravenna 9 is equipped with BioMoGo DNA midsole cushioning.
Boasted as a light and stable running shoe, the Ravenna 9 has added stability delivered via a diagonal rollbar (DR). The DR combined with the midfoot transition zone allows for a smoother transition from heel to toe. The added stability and smooth transition are beneficial to those who have issues with pronation.
The lightweight mesh upper of the Ravenna 9 allows for plenty of breathing room on those long-distance runs. The design also offers reflective saddle wraps which are nice safety-feature for those nighttime and early morning runs.
Priced at around $110, the Brooks Ravenna 9 is available in a variety of sizes and widths, but in limited colors.
- Excellent choice for runners with mild overpronation
- Soft and responsive ride
- Narrow toe box
- Lack of cushion in the forefoot
- Wide widths are not available
Saucony Ride ISO
The Saucony Ride ISO is a neutral style running shoe designed to perform with a perfect balance of cushioning and responsiveness. The utilization of ISOFIT and FORMFIT technologies creates a dynamic fit system which provides runners with a more personalized fit.
ISOFIT technology is Saucony’s way of generally describing the features that make a shoe comfortable to wear. These features such as a tongue that is attached on both sides, which results in reduced pressure from the lacing system.
A woven heel piece and PWRFOAM midsole provide wearers of the Ride ISO structure and support while also absorbing impact and energy return, making for a smooth ride. The heel of the Saucony Ride ISO is a platform style which offers runners increased balance.
Priced at around $120, the Saucony Ride ISO is available in a variety of sizes and widths, but in limited colors.
- Optimal support
- Comfortable sock-like feel
- Wide width available
- New heel design may not be a good fit for heel strike runners
- Creates hot spots in the inner arch
New Balance Zante v4
The New Balance Zante v4 is a neutral running shoe that provides cushion and response. It is versatile enough that it can be worn for cross-country as well as marathon running. It is part of New Balance’s Fresh Foam line of shoes which incorporates a specialized foam design into the midsole for a more supportive ride.
Designed to offer its wearer’s a comfortable feel and quick pace, the Zante v4 has a HypoSkin upper which allows for foot flexibility and natural movement, breathable mesh for increased airflow, and a padded tongue.
The outsole is a solid piece of blown rubber featuring hexagonally shaped lugs. While lightweight, the outsole of the Zante v4 was a bit stiff.
Priced at around $100, the New Balance Zante v4 is available in a variety of size, width, and color combinations.
- Inserts do not stay in place
- Not recommended for wet or rainy weather conditions
- Narrow through arch
Asics GT-2000 6 Trail
The Asics GT-2000 6 Trail is a hybrid shoe for neutral to overpronators designed to quickly go where they want to go whether it be on or off-road. Asics GT-2000 line of shoes is known for its high-mileage durability, and the GT-2000 6 Trail is no exception.
Technology abounds in the midsole of the GT-2000 6 Trail. Incorporated into the midsole are FLYTEFOAM, FLUIDRIDE, DUOMAX, and GUIDANCE LINE. These features are what help give the Asics GT-2000 6 Trail its responsiveness, gait efficiency, stability, durability, and flexibility.
Sporting REARFOOT and FOREFOOT GEL cushioning the GT-2000 6 Trail disperses shock during both impact and toe-off phases. This design allows for movement natural movement of the foot through the gait cycle.
Priced at around $120, the Asics GT-2000 6 Trail is available in a variety of sizes and widths, but in limited colors.
- Limited color options
- Shallow toe box
- The tongue doesn’t stay in place
Mizuno Wave Rider 21
The Mizuno Wave Rider 21 is part of the Mizuno neutral line of running shoes. It offers many Mizuno’s signature technologies such as DYNAMOTION FIT and X10 Outsole. The DYNAMOTION FIT allows the upper to move seamlessly with your foot and the X10 Outsole is designed for more extended wear as it is constructed of a durable carbon.
The Wave Rider 21 boasts a U4ic and U4icX Midsole. This combination provides runners with shock reduction, durability, and a smooth cushioned ride. The addition of the U4icx Strobel Lasting Board ensures that wearers will have a superior underfoot feel.
A stable shoe, the Mizuno Wave Rider 21 comes in at about $120 retail. They offer a firm and quick ride, great for short to moderate distances. Mainly constructed of a breathable mesh outer, the Wave Rider 21 is well suited for running in warmer temperatures.
Priced at around $120, the Mizuno Wave Rider 21 is available in a variety of sizes colors.
- Solid cushion
- Breathable for warmer temperatures
- Light and flexible
- Good for those with struggle with pronation
- Too breathable for colder temperatures
- Better for shorter distance runs
The Adidas Pureboost is a natural style city running shoe. Comfortable and fast the Pureboost is designed with the optimal workout experience in mind.
Designed to mold to the foot, the outsole of the Pureboost is composed of EVA rubber. The outsole utilizes STRETCHWEB which provides more flexibility, in turn allowing greater energy throughout the run.
Runners will experience an almost cloud-like experience from the cushion used to create the Adidas Pureboost midsole. The cushioning utilizes Adidas’ Boost technology which provides for the optimal amount of energy return and responsiveness.
Optimal movement of the Achilles is supported by the Fitcounter molded heel. The Pureboost offers a more natural fit which enhances comfort and a smooth, energized ride.
Sporting a one-piece knit upper, the Pureboost is designed to feel like a sock, snug but not too tight. This comfortable design also boasts a double-folded tongue and plenty of breathability.
Price ranges from $120 to $170, the Adidas Pureboost is available in a variety of sizes.
- Above average price
- Tongue design takes time to get used to
New Balance Fresh Foam Gobi Trail v2
The New Balance Fresh Foam Gobi Trail v2 is designed to go seamlessly from road to off-road. Its AT TREAD outsole combines designs for both trail and running lugs to easily allow for the transition between road and trail.
The plush and natural ride of the Gobi Trail v2 is provided by the FRESH FOAM midsole. Created of a single foam piece, this innovative technology is just one-way New Balance helps to ensure runners have a smooth ride.
Keeping in mind that wearers would be taking full advantage of the versatility of the Fresh Foam Gobi Trail v2, New Balance incorporated in several additional features they believed would be of benefit. These features include a sewn-in gusseted tongue for midfoot protection and to keep out debris, breathable upper mesh, and a reinforced toe tip.
Priced at around $100, the New Balance Fresh Foam Gobi Trail v2 is available in a variety of size and width combinations.
- Durable construction
- Reasonable price
- Built for long distance runs
- Stiff midsole
- Lacks grip on wet surfaces
Brooks Adrenaline ASR 14
The Brooks Adrenaline ASR 14 is a solid everyday trail runner. Lightweight, durable and flexible, the Adrenaline ASR 14 was designed to help runners conquer even the most challenging of trails.
The outsole of the Adrenaline ASR 14 is composed of three materials, HPR Plus, blown rubber, and Flextra. HPR Plus is flexible, durable, and provides grip on most trail surfaces. The blown rubber is durable and provides extra cushion in the forefoot area. Flextra offers flexible, customized support based on your weight and gender.
As with many in the Brooks lineup, the Adrenaline ASR 14 is equipped with a BioMoGo DNA midsole. This adaptive cushioning is springy and eco-friendly. The midsole also contains Brooks’ Progressive Diagonal Rollbar. This feature allows for a smooth transition and pronation correction.
The upper of the Adrenaline ASR 14 is constructed of breathable mesh and treated with Durable Water Repellant. The mid-foot saddle adjusts from both the heel and arch section which ensure a more secure and comfortable fit. The interior lining is soft with a plush tongue and collar.
Price ranges from $100 to $130, the Brooks Adrenaline ASR 14 is available in a variety of sizes.
- Comfortable midsole
- Flexible outsole
- Secure fit
- Water repellent upper
- Lack of color options
- Narrow toe box