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Top Cross Country Shoes of 2021

Posted by: Noah Stevenson

Whether this is your first year trying cross or you are an experienced returner, we wanted to introduce our top picks for your start of the cross country season. We believe that if you want to run your best at the end of the fall, you will benefit from laying down the groundwork and building a base that will last all season. To show our support in your build, we will be offering 15% off the rest of the month to both high school and college students on shoes! You can also use this online with the code ‘BACK2SCHOOL’.

It is important that, before you begin this training, to find out if you are in the right shoe. By this we mean a neutral vs. stability shoe. A stability shoe has some sort of technology where the goal is to help stabilize your foot’s movement to reduce the risk of overpronation. This will reduce that stress and the risk of injury from it. A neutral shoe is a ‘regular’ shoe that typically has the same foam throughout the sole with no posting. We can dive into this deeper with you at the store, so stop on by to see what type of shoe is best for you!

Now let’s move onto the shoes. The aspects that I considered for these shoes were:

  • how versatile they were;
    • so you could do both daily mileage and higher intensity workouts.
  • the value they hold for their price;
    • most beginners and high schoolers don’t need to be dropping 150+ on their running shoes.

That being said, let’s begin.


These shoes will all be neutral but will have various differences that will make different shoes the ideal shoe for different people. Once again the best way to find the best one for you is to come in and try them on at Manhattan Running Company.

Honorable mentions: Brooks Glycerin 19Nike React Infinity Run FK 2Hoka Clifton 8Under Armour Flow VelocitiSaucony Ride 14New Balance 880v11Brooks Launch 8Reebok Floatride Energy SymmetroSaucony Endorphin Speed 2.

#5 Reebok Floatride Energy 3.0 – $100

This shoe is an absolute steal for $100. This shoe is an affordable, lightweight and versatile everyday trainer. It’s extremely light but springy enough to run moderately fast. It is also cushy enough to run long and durable enough to hold up for an entire summer of running. It runs a bit longer than most brands so make sure you get the right size. Compared to a shoe priced at 130$(Reebok Floatride Energy Symmetro) or higher this shoe won’t be quite as cushy or springy but it gets the job done and still holds an insane value for $100 in my opinion.


#4 Diadora Mythos Blueshield Volo – $135

This shoe wins the beauty pageant and holds its own in the performance battle too. There are some eye-popping color schemes that help you get that “look good feel good” mentality. The shoe performs well with some high quality comfort in the Ortholite insole as well as energy return from the Blushield layer. This helps it feel good when you need to pick up the pace while still focusing on everyday comfort. This shoe can run long as well so make sure to come in and get the right size. We can even check out all the cool colors that Diadora has to offer!


#3 Hoka Mach 4 – $130

My favorite Hoka shoe to-date, this model has rightfully received a lot of positive feedback and review. It has a mixture of foam that once again provides some cushy comfort for miles and some firm and supportive foam for faster, snappier paces, It is super lightweight and hugs the heel and foot exceptionally well. The only downside to this shoe in my opinion is it isn’t offered in a wide width. If you know you are someone that typically gets 2E width for men or D width for women make sure to try it out. Another shoe from Hoka that you might look at trying is the new Clifton 8, which will be offered in the wider widths.


#2 Nike Pegasus 38 – $120

This is the shoe I ran in for high school summer conditioning. That was the Pegasus 31, which makes me feel old. The Pegasus has changed quite a bit, and for the better. This version of the 38 is similar to the 37 with a different upper has many dynamic improvements including: a wider toebox upper, the padded tongue, improved heel cup. The cushioning in the Pegasus has been constantly increasing, making it a better option for those longer distance runs. It also features an air zoom pocket in the forefoot that can give you a little pep in your step for faster work. This shoe midsole has worked great for me on fartlek or interval workouts.


#1 New Balance Fuelcell Rebel v2 – $130

Get ready to hear this shoe a lot, because the Fuelcell Rebel v2 is probably one of the frontrunners for top shoe of 2021. This shoe has a super soft and compressive midsole that has great energy return for $130. It has a very smooth ride with a flexible rocker geometry that is the common trend in the shoe game right now. This also helps it fell easy to pick up the pace and get up on your toes. A well-known shoe that the rebel v2 compares to in my mind is the Pegasus Turbo. While I think the shoe is capable of being a high intensity workout shoe I think it just delivers crazy soft comfort for every runs while being one of the lighter shoes. Just all around a crazy amount of value for only $130.



These shoes will focus on reducing overpronation as you step and run. They can do it with several different technologies: medial posting in the midsole, guiderails, heel counters, plastic plates, or stability foams.

Honorable mentions: Saucony Endorphin Shift 2Nike React Infinity Run FK 2Hoka Gaviota 3Mizuno Wave Inspire 17W Mizuno Wave Horizon 5Saucony Hurricane 23On Cloudflyer 3On Cloudstratus 2Brooks Glycerin GTS 19Diadora Mythos Blushield Elite TRX 2,



#5 Fuelcell Prism – $120

The Fuelcell Prism is crazy lightweight while still have some stability. It won’t be the most stable shoe, but I think it is one of the most versatile stability shoes. If you were a fan of the Brooks Ravenna or the Saucony Liberty this shoe might just fit your bill. It has a great mold to the foot and has a flexible rocker sole. It has a modest medial posting of denser foam. If you need heavy support maybe pass on this shoe. But, if you want a lightweight shoe capable of faster running in workouts while still having support this shoe is the one I recommend trying. Also for $120 it is one of the more affordable stability shoes.



#4 Saucony Guide 14 – $130

The Guide 14 is the more stable version of the Saucony Ride 14. It features a TPU medial posting and a sturdy heel counter. The new Pwrrun midsole is soft and responsive and on top of that is the Pwrrun+ foam for even more force absorption. This extra cushion makes it great for longer runs, giving you comfort and cushion for the duration of the run. But, it still is responsive enough to wear it isn’t limiting your pace and training ability. The plush upper and heel counter are a plus, even the laces are nice and soft. I think this model has a way better aesthetic than previous versions as well. Maybe I’m wrong though, come in and prove me wrong and I’ll do 10 pushups.


#3 Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 – $130

The Brooks Adrenaline GTS has been a staple for many people over the years. Brooks’ guiderails Go-To-Support system does a great job as limiting side-to-side motion as your foot goes heel to toe. You can think of it as turning on the bumpers at the bowling alley. Another great thing about this shoe is the round and roomy toe-box. The Adrenaline has plenty of cushion for those summer miles and they hold up really well. It is still pretty lightweight to allow faster turnover too. It is also offered in wide and extra-wide widths as well.



#2 Hoka Arahi 5– $130

The Hoka Arahi 5 has been one of our most popular shoes this year. It features Hoka’s J-Frame stability foam that wraps around the heel and the medial side of the shoe(making a J shape). This shoe also has a lot of foam in the midsole for a cushioned ride on the curved rocker sole. It always surprises me how light Hoka can make their shoes. The light weight with the improved tread can enable this shoe to be used on faster days as well as the everyday mileage. The Arahi comes in wide widths as well. I think Hoka is killing it with the colorways on this shoe model too.


#1 New Balance 860v11 – $130

Topping the list for our stability shoes is the 860v11. This shoe has medial posting that creates a very stable ride. The newer version finally includes a top layer of Fresh Foam X (feature in other shoes like the 880v11 or 1080v10) to give it a softer feel without sacrificing that stability and responsiveness. The ankle collar swoop prevents and friction and irritation to the achilles on those long runs. This is New Balance’s most stable shoe and one of the most stable shoes out there for a good price.



Best recovery shoes:

OOFOS OOahh slide -$49.99

Hoka Ora Recovery slide -$49.99

I wear these sandals almost every day. There is more foam than typical flip flops or slides and they hugs your foot well so it can relax and recover. They are super light and very durable. They are also offered in a flip flop version with the OOFOS OOriginal Sport. Highly recommend giving them a try while the temps are still high!