Thursday, 23 October 2008

Shoe Review: Saucony Shay XC

Let me declare a prejudice at the outset of this review. I'm no fan of specialist cross country spikes. Whenever i've tried them in the past they have been heavy and stiff. In fact they have felt like a pair of trainers with nails in the sole. I've always pressed into service last season's track spikes as this seasons cross country shoes and even on the muddiest of British courses have been fine.

So the prospect of getting the new Saucony Shay XC didn't exactly set me on fire until I tried them on. And boy are these shoes good. They are by a mile the most comfortable spike I have worn and much of that has to be down to a similar inner shoe design as Saucony use in the A2. The forefoot is nicely gripped and the heel sits snuggly as well. The heel tab, while looking fairly high, is deceptively positioned and also actually quite soft so caused me no problems. And at 195 grams these are proper lightweight shoes unlike some previous specialist XC spikes.

Wearing them on a grass circuit this week felt great, almost like running barefoot. Like most XC shoes the spikes are recessed a bit so in effect are about 3mm shorter than their nominal length. The supplied 9mm spikes should be fine on american golf course type cross country but I was beginning to struggle for grip on the corners by the end of the workout so will be shopping for some 12 and 15mm spikes in time for my first cross country of the season next weekend.

A note on sizing. I mentioned in the Fastwitch 3 review that the Saucony racers were a slightly closer fit than the trainers of the same size. With spikes I dont wear socks, even thin racing socks I have gone down a half size in the Shay XC compared to my other Saucony shoes. The Shay XC is available in the UK exclusively at Sweatshop.

What is your experience of the Shay XC ? Post a comment ...