Spiked shoes are the usual weapon of choice for the ultimate performance feel, but sometimes studded Fell Running shoes can be more appropriate. They grip almost as well as a spike in the soft and muddy sections, but will cope better on those courses having tarmac paths to cross, or even prolonged sections of hard‐packed trails like those at Leigh Sports Village and Astley Park in Chorley have. Spikes will get trashed on these surfaces for which they weren't designed. Plus, they are not built with cushioning in mind (designed essentially for grass) and so after 10k+ of racing these mixed surfaces, the legs can feel quite battered the next day vs running it with a more forgiving and versatile Fell shoe.
- adidas XCS ‐ Well cushioned flexible spike. This season's version has a neoprene liner which will certainly add some comfort and warmth through those harsh Jan and Feb Fixtures. Plus the upper has a more 'cleanable' finish to it. Those adi fans who don't take to the new neoprene liner should grab prior versions of XCS while stocks last.
- Saucony Havok XC ‐ A true cushioned and flexi xc spike like the adi option, but with a super contoured fit that hugs the foot like no other. Best choice if you like a race shoe that neatly follows the shape of the foot
- Brooks Mach ‐ Great point of difference to the others. Has a more aggressive track‐like feel to it that is a little more propulsive and puts you more on to your toes.
- Inov8 X-Talon ‐ Industry leader in the mudlark category. Shoe of choice for many UK Fell racers, obstacle course racers as well as being popular on the feet of many xc racers. Best choice anywhere where it's essentially a bit of a pigsty but that demands the versatility that a spiked shoe can't provide. Plus a great training shoe option for those who do Sat morn xc training sessions when not racing, as most of us don't tend to train in our spikes but save em for race day.
Additionally, I have always found it vital to have a good trail shoe that is more water resistant (ideally waterproof) and that has decent grip to ensure I make it to the start line warm and dry. Not good prep for a race by being wet and cold. If you're more comfortable you'll perform better. Plus better grip than your road shoes means you're less likely to end up on your arse on the warm‐up jog!