Shop These Nike Running Shoes for Cross Country

Buying Guide

From weekly miles to hilly courses, these cross-country shoes are designed to support runners all season long.

Last updated: November 7, 2022
5 min read
The Best Nike Running Shoes for Cross Country

For cross-country season, athletes tend to need two types of running shoes: a durable, supportive pair for everyday training and a lightweight, speedy pair for racing.

As many cross-country runners know, courses can be muddy and hilly, so it’s important to have footwear that can stand up to hard-core weather conditions and support runners mile after mile.

Here’s everything to know about the best Nike running shoes for cross country.

(Related: The Best Nike Running Shirts to Shop Now)

Best Nike Cross-Country Running Shoes for Training on the Roads

For training sessions, consider where your cross-country team practices. If you often run on the roads, it’s best to suit up in a pair of comfortable, high-performance road-running shoes. Here are the top road-shoe picks from Nike:

  1. Nike Air Zoom Pegasus: The Pegasus has been a top Nike running shoe for decades because of its soft, responsive cushioning and lightweight construction. The latest versions of the shoe feature extra padding at the tongue and collar for added comfort, plus engineered mesh throughout the upper for breathability. The Air Zoom unit in the forefoot and the heel of the shoe gives a little extra bounce to every step.
  2. Nike Air Zoom Structure: This shoe is made with a durable rubber sole that’s built to withstand the mileage of a cross-country season. The grooves in the forefoot of the sole help create flexibility, while vertical grooves down the side add stability. The crash pad underneath the heel was designed to provide extra cushioning in heel-to-toe transitions, supporting runners who tend to overpronate.

    (Related: What Is Pronation — And What Are the Best Nike Running Shoes for Flat Feet?)
  3. Nike Air Zoom Vomero: The Vomero is a lightweight training shoe with foam cushioning and plenty of ventilation in the upper. It features an adjustable midfoot band, so runners can personalize how snug and secure the foot feels in the shoe. The clip at the heel supports a more stable ride, too. On the outsole, high-abrasion rubber with lugs helps provide grippy traction.
  4. Nike React Infinity Run: Equipped with Nike React foam technology, this shoe provides a smooth and plush sensation while running. Shaped like a rocker, Nike React foam provides support for three phases of a runner's stride: It offers flexibility when the foot rises off the ground, a lightweight and smooth feel when the foot is moving forward and cushioning at ground contact. Plus, the upper of this shoe features Nike Flyknit technology, which feels like a sock on the foot, offering breathability, flexibility and containment.

Best Nike Cross-Country Running Shoes for Training on the Trails

For cross-country teams who practice on trails, it can pay off to invest in a pair of trail-running shoes. Nike trail shoes feature durable traction underfoot to help grip onto different types of terrain like slick, muddy paths on the cross-country course. Here are the top trail-shoe picks from Nike:

  1. Nike Pegasus Trail: Runners who love the Pegasus on the roads will love this version of the shoe on the trails. The rubber outsole on the Nike React Pegasus Trail 4, for example, has a generative traction pattern on the sole that was created using data from runners. This feature provides foot grip in key areas and helps runners stay upright and stable over rocky trails.
  2. Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger: This shoe features a rock plate to help shield feet on rough terrain. There are also multi-directional traction lugs made of high-abrasion rubber in the heel to provide enhanced grip, especially on hilly courses. The durable material at the toe helps provide abrasion resistance, too.
  3. Nike Wildhorse: With a comfortable gaiter around the ankle of the shoe, the Nike Wildhorse hugs the foot and keeps out mud, dirt and other debris, so the feet stay dry during runs. Like other shoes in the Nike trail-running collection, these feature multi-directional traction lugs, a breathable upper and and a rock plate to protect the feet.

Best Nike Cross-Country Running Shoes for Racing

On race day, cross-country runners need a pair of distance racing spikes engineered for high performance, traction and speed. That means firm outsoles to improve push-off, spikes to grip the ground and an ultra-lightweight design that won’t weigh an athlete down en route to the finish line. Here are the top cross-country racing shoes from Nike:

  1. Nike Zoom Victory XC: This shoe features a translucent woven upper, rubber heel pods and extra lugs for aggressive traction.
  2. Nike Zoom Victory Waffle: With a sock-like fit and three-layer upper to shield against rain, mud and possibly even snow, this racing flat is built to get runners through wet, soggy and chilly races.
  3. Nike Zoom Rival XC: Featuring soft mesh that hugs the foot, lugs around the outsole, responsive foam and a cross-country logo on the back, this shoe is designed to excel on the cross-country course.

Words by Julia Sullivan

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