>Gears and Wears>XC spikes - quantity, length, and placement
Overweight per CDC BMI
Can any former XC runners help me out? I am looking for XC spikes for my 9yo son racing the 1-mile distance. There are not many options for a size 3 foot so I may be limited anyway. His course is on grass mowed to about 3 inches with no creeks or mud pits and a small area of bare, hard dirt.
What number of spikes on each shoe would become excessive? I have seen shoes with as little as 4 holes/spikes all the way up to 10. The higher numbers seem like they would get better traction but I would have to think at some point the quantity will get excessive to get mud and grass stuck in them.
The longer the spike, the more traction but would there be a major difference in 1/4" and 3/8" for his level/size? Running at the elementary level, I would have to think long spikes present a safety issue. The course could get some rain to make the grass wet but certainly not muddy enough for 1/2" spikes, even at the high school level.
Is there an ideal spacing and placement for the spikes? I saw one pair which had 4 spikes in the toe area spaced out and another 4 in a line at the ball of the foot. Would that provide any benefit beyond just having 4-5 spikes spaced out towards the front of the shoe? Also, any reason why no XC shoes have any options to put spikes in the middle of the foot or under the heel? I get why it would be unnecessary for track sprinters but why wouldn't the extra traction help when the foot lands as opposed to just when pushing off the front of the foot?
Memphis / 37 male
5k - 20:39 / 10k - 43:48 / Half - 1:36:58 / Full - 3:38:10
I think proportionally, as well as amount of force exerted, 1/4" would be good. Longer spikes might trip him.
A horsehoe pattern of either 4 or 6 spikes would be good. Having spikes right under the ball of the foot can be destabilizing.
There are no spikes on the heel because it is a race shoe, and the runner will be on their mid and forefoot, never really putting much force on the heel area. And the more spikes there are the less they sink in. Imagine a shoe covered entirely with spikes, like 100, as an example. The engineers and test runners spent years finding the optimum spike number and layout, and all the "good" ones have a horseshoe pattern.
I like the Asics Hyper XC2 as an overall XC spike, or the Hoka Crescendo. The specs are great, and the outsoles look grippy.
60-64 age group - University of Oregon alumni - Irreverent and Annoying
Honestly for a 9 y.o. I'd probably go with a spikelyess XC shoe like the Hoka Cresceno XC Spikeless. He probably won't notice any difference in terms of traction and it's more versitile. A lot of xc coures (at least around here) include sections of gravel, road crossings etc. where spikes just increase the chances of tripping or wiping out.
Yeah, all the normal running brands have the 4-6 spike horseshoe arrangement. Since I am looking for a size 3, I am having to scrounge for options and the one I saw with spikes lined up behind the ball of the foot was some mystery brand on Amazon. He is going from trail shoes to spikes so I'm sure the 1/4" will be plenty to make a difference. Our course is 95% mowed grass with a small wooden bridge and a ~20m section of hard dirt so the 3/8" may overdo it unless there was a bunch of rain the day before a race.
I'm sure you've checked out the "kids" xc spikes available at Running Warehouse, and women's sizes.
EZ solution for the extra spikes crossing the ball of the foot: take them out. If you're considering using those placements again, you can buy dummy spikes that are just flat. Or make your own by using a grinder to take them down (leave the little ledge that the spike wrench uses).
I'm also of the mind that a XC flat would be just fine, and have more utility. Nearly all the courses I ran in Jr and Sr high had sections of pavement or gravel road, that's why I wore Waffle Racers. But I also know that even by track season your kid will have grown out of these, and they are a one-season shoe.
we've come a long way since 1980
Andy, what did you end up getting? At the time, the Dragonfly XC was not yet available.
I had my son try on an older teammate's used Saucony XC spikes (not sure which style) and he didn't like the feel compared to a normal running shoe. He asked me why he couldn't just wear the New Balance trail shoes he has had for a year and it gave me a thought. I took those old trail shoes, drilled 5 very shallow holes in the horseshoe pattern, and superglued 1/4" spikes into the bottom. He tried them one day at the XC course and swears he could tell a huge difference. I doubt it but whatever makes him happy. He only lost one spike running about 3 miles at that practice so worst case scenario, several of them fall out and I just glue them back in before the next race.
Obviously the DIY spikes are not sustainable as he gets older but once he gets into adult sizes, it will be easier to find more options and deals. I remember Running Wearhouse had a big clearance sale on XC spikes last November so I am going to put a reminder on my calendar to check then. There are also many runners from our Middle School team looking to sell their used spikes.
Love the DIY stuff!
I've been thinking about getting a pair of $5 spikes at Goodwill and cannibalizing the spikeplate from them to put on/in a pair of low profile racing flats. Or, Ross Dress For Less around me seem to have a lot of Nike Dragonfly and Zoom Victory spikes for under $20, but only in size 13+. I could cut those up and make a Frankenspike.
The DIY spikes worked out well in his first race yesterday. He broke the 7:00 barrier for the first time (6:59.7) and only lost one spike, which I can easily superglue back in. The only problem is getting him to not be so scatterbrained because he went to the start line wearing worn out velcro shoes he was using for warm-ups. I saw his XC shoes sitting in the tent and we had an emergency shoe change in the crowd of his 25 teammates.