Riley Jones is a freelance writer from Charlottesville, VA and contributor to Sneaker Report. With an unshakable affinity for basketball and all things ’90s, he can be found on Twitter @rchrstphr.

RELATED: The 10 Best Cross Country Racing Flats Available Today
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The Saucony Kilkenny XC5 is Now Available
Saucony Grid Kilkenny XC4 Spike

No. 10 – Saucony Grid Kilkenny XC4 Spike

Best surface: Grass/dirt
Key tech:
CMEVA midsole

Priced at just $20, the Saucony Grid Kilkenny XC4 Spike is one of the best bargains on the cross country market. Its air mesh upper and synthetic overlay construction offers a breathable, supportive fit, while a CMEVA midsole cushions the ride. Built to last, the Grid Kilkenny XC4 Spike’s XT600 outsole is durable and features 3/8” pyramid spikes.

$20 adidas XCS 3 Spikeless

No. 9 - adidas XCS 3 Spikeless

Best surface: Rocky/hard
Key tech:
Rubber sharkskin outsole

If your cross country schedule is loaded with rocky and bumpy courses, consider the adidas XCS 3 Spikeless. Also available in a spike version, this model is designed to provide comfortable cushioning and lightweight quickness. You’ll have no trouble gripping uneven surfaces thanks to the XCS 3 Spikeless’ rubber sharkskin outsole, and a full-length EVA unit delivers low to the ground cushioning.

$50 New Balance XC 5000

No. 8 – New Balance XC5000

Best surface: Grass/dirt
Key tech:
DynaRide outsole

The New Balance XC5000 was inspired by Team New Balance’s most elite cross country runners. It’s built with a synthetic and mesh upper which snugly wraps the food and provides breathability, and also makes use of a DynaRide outsole for lightweight traction. Weighing in at just 4.5 oz, this speedy spike features a four-pin placement plate and is available in a variety of eye-catching colorways.

$125Mizuno Wave Ronin 5

No. 7 – Mizuno Wave Ronin 5

Best surface: Rocky/hard
Key tech: Mizuno Wave cushioning

Loaded with performance technology for rocky, unpredictable terrains, the Mizuno Wave Ronin 5 is one of the best racing flats available. It makes use of an Air Mesh upper for breathability, while an AP midsole cushioning the ride. The Wave Ronin 5 also provides a snug, secure fit thanks to Dynamotion Fit technology. For cushioning, both Mizuno Wave and SmoothRide engineering deliver long-lasting comfort. Since you’ll be putting in work on rough surfaces, X-10 carbon rubber has been implemented in the outsole for added durability and traction.

$105 adidas XCS 3 Spike

No. 6 – adidas XCS 3 Spike

Best surface: Grass/dirt
Key tech: Rubber sharkskin outsole

Featuring much of the same technology as its spikeless companion, the adidas XCS 3 Spike is suitable for grass and dirt surfaces. Built for speed, its rubber sharkskin outsole and 3/8” pyramid spikes provide traction in both wet and dry conditions, while full-length EVA adds low to the ground cushioning. You’ll have no worries of heel slippage thanks to the XCS 3 Spike’s form-fitting stretch tongue and air mesh upper. A climate-regulating mono-mesh insert has been added to keep the feet warm as temperatures begin to drop, and it also helps the runner stay cool in warmer conditions.

$55 Nike Zoom Rival XC

No. 5 – Nike Zoom Rival XC

Best surface: Gass/dirt
Key tech:
Flashlon midsole

The Nike Zoom Rival XC is a minimalist spike which is designed use from 3k to 10k. It makes use of a hydrophobic mesh upper for water resistance and breathability, ensuring that a little rain won’t get in your way as you tear through the course. A lightweight Flashlon is used for responsive cushioning, and added support is delivered in the form of a molded medial arch. The Zoom Rival XC’s Carbon Waffle outsole and 6 spike receptacles will excel on grass and dirt surfaces.

$65 New Balance 1400

No. 4 – New Balance 1400

Best surface: Rocky/hard
Key tech:
Revlite midsole

This no-frills racing flat is quick and lightweight, with a rubber outsole for hard, uneven courses. The New Balance 1400 is designed with a no-sew upper construction, making use of lightweight mesh and synthetic overlays for support. A Revlite midsole cushions the blow of tough surfaces, while a durable performance rubber outsole will help with traction.

$80 Saucony Shay XC 3 Flat

No. 3 – Saucony Shay XC 3 Flat

Best surface: Rocky/hard
Key tech:
Lightweight ripstop mesh upper

Rocky trails will be no match for you in the Saucony Shay XC 3 Flat, which features a durable yet lightweight ripstop mesh upper for abrasion resistance. Meanwhile, Flex Film overlays are added for a supportive fit. A Saucony Super Lite EVA midsole handles cushioning duties without adding bulk, while XT-600 carbon rubber is used on the outsole for traction and heavy duty durability.

$55 Nike Zoom Victory Waffle 2

No. 2 – Nike Zoom Victory Waffle 2

Best surface: Rocky/hard
Key tech:
Flywire

Built for serious cross country rubbers, the Nike Zoom Victory Waffle 2 features supportive Flywire cables for a secure, snug fit. A Flashlon foam midsole is enhanced with Zoom Air for a responsive, cushioned ride that keeps you moving forward. Further support is added thanks to a carbon fiber midfoot shank, which is both stable and durable. The outsole of the Zoom Victory Waffle 2 uses a forefoot Pebax plate and Waffle lugs for traction on rocky surfaces.

$90 Brooks Mach 15 Spike

No. 1 – Brooks Running Mach 15

Best surface: Grass/dirt
Key tech:
Contact rubber outsole

If you’re faced with mostly grass and dirt courses, consider the Brooks Mach 15. Best for 3k to 10k distances, the Brooks Mach 15 is the latest update to the brand’s long running cross country line. It’s constructed with a breathable air mesh upper and features both microfiber and synthetic overlays for a comfortable, snug fit. The Mach 15’s strobel last uses a layer of foam for cushioning, while the contact rubber outsole features a thin layer of rubber and a grippy traction pattern. This 5.4 oz runner uses a 5 spike configuration.

$75

Riley Jones is a freelance writer from Charlottesville, VA and contributor to Sneaker Report. With an unshakable affinity for basketball and all things ’90s, he can be found on Twitter @rchrstphr.

RELATED: The 10 Best Cross Country Racing Flats Available Today
RELATED:
The Saucony Kilkenny XC5 is Now Available