Cross country spikes for children

My 9 year old daughter is regularly doing cross country running and racing for school and I have been advised by her PE teacher to get her some spikes.  However, we went to Up and Running today and they don't stock them in her size because they say that spikes aren't suitable for children to wear.  They suggested I got her some Walsh fell shoes instead because they have some cushioning (she already has some Adidas Kanadia trail shoes).  We then went to JJB (because I didn't know where else to try!) and they tried to sell me some that were a size too big because they didn't have her size, but to get some gel inserts to put in them instead.  I came away with nothing in the end.

So, does anyone know whether spikes are suitable for children?  Lots of her friends use them and they are what her teacher has said she needs.  If so, where can I get hold of some?  Does anyone put gel inserts in their spikes?  I am really confused now and just want to make sure that she can run safely in the mud.

Thank you.


  • hi i was't as young as your daughter but i did a lot of crosscountry running when i went to senior school and was a member of Bristol Athletic culb and we all used spiked shoes mind that was ----- years ago try contacting a locale running club with a junior section they may be able to offer you more advice hope this helps
  • Hmm - our local junior schools' XC league does not allow spikes because they are seen as an unfair advantage, when so many kids don't have them.   This is a rule that I support (for the after school XC club that I coach), because I want to encourage as many kids as possible to participate and many parents aren't able/willing to invest much money in specialist kit.    Might be worth checking out rules with league organiser before buying them?

  • Dippycat wrote (see)

    However, we went to Up and Running today and they don't stock them in her size because they say that spikes aren't suitable for children to wear.

    What a load of bullshit!  The reason they said that to you was probably because they would have had fell running shoes in her size and wanted to make any sort of sale.

    Get your daughter a pair of spikes, they won't do her any harm at all.  In every kids XC race I see, all the runners wear spikes, even some as young as 5 years old, and they're all in running clubs so I wouldn't worry about it.  I'd say your daughter would be in more danger by running in normal shoes as you can bet your bottom dollar she'll slip and fall in the mud and possibly break something. 

  • Club races = spikes, school races = different thing altogether, hence why I suggested checking rules.   Obviously, spikes are the ideal but school races at this age tend to be a little less formal than club races.  
  • Thanks for the advice folks.  Spikes are allowed at the school races because lots of the other children wear them, so that's not an issue.  After doing my first cross country race today, I can see why they are useful so will try and get hold of some for her.

    Thanks again image

  • I would definately recommend to any children running cross country in my school to wear spikes.  They are not allowed to play football without studded boots on and they should wear spikes wherever possible for cross country.  Apart from the advantage it gives them, it is also a safety concern.  The schools league that the children I teach run in runs in any weather.  The fields are often very wet and boggy in places and children without spikes are liable to slip and slide meaning injuring their ankles.  A bad ankle injury at a young age could hinder them through their life or could put them off running.

  • Go-KLGo-KL ✭✭✭
    Back when I was at school, for the vast majority of my cross country running years, I actually used to run in football boots. Might be slightly heavier and not perfect on harder ground, but in the bogs we used to run in they did the job fine and were considerably cheaper and easier to get hold of than spikes (And easier to clean - which never happened!)
  • If you can not find XC spikes then buy middle distance ones instead and change the spikes over. My kids (as well as all the others at the club) do this and saves you buying track and XC spikes.

    The club also has a selection of second hand ones that people donate and they sell on for £10.

  • Boing!! 

    My son (11) has started doing cross country races for his school and several of his friends have spikes.  I was considering getting him some, but can't find any small enough for him (he's size 3) can anyone suggest any brands/retailers who sell these things?  I know they must be out there.  I'm based in Warrington. 

  • I would prefer not to have young children in spikes for XC as the potential for damages with 11 mm spikes is quite high. Proportionally a 11 mm spike goes further into a kid than on a grown adult. Good job they tend to heal quicker. 9mm spikes often is not enough on the gloopiest of courses. I can't see an issue with using fell shoes over spikes, apart from an small increase in weight and a very minor reduction in grip is some circumstances. I just don't know where the dividing line should be. Gut feel 5 is too young, and 11 is fine, but not sure about the in betweens...

    Its also quite easy to break the spike plates of some with longer spikes, so you need them to be very responsible and not go over tarmac etc  in them.

    If you do get spikes and use middle distance ones (and to be honest they work almost as well! Most XC spikes hae pathetic rear heel grip anyway and the only other difference is the colour), then you should clean them scrupulously (the shoes) and put on VERY SHORT spikes before they go back on the track!

  • Got to disagree, in my experience the grip from fell shoes is nowhere near the same as grip from spikes.

    Go with what others say & use track spikes if can't get hold of XC ones.

  • Hmmm. I am coming up against the very same issue that you all talk about here. My nearly 8 year old did her first XC club race this weekend, and the course was already pretty boggy. The next one is through woods and fields, and it said to be much worse. All the parents were saying that we should get spikes, but when I asked in Sportsdirect, they start at size 2 adult - I need a size 12 child.

    She has football boots - perhaps she'd be better in these than slopping around in trainers? I have looked online, but am struggling to find anything with spikes in a size 12... Any ideas?

  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    I only ever used footie boots for XC at school.  Although that was 30 years ago.  imageimage

  • I think I will send her in those... Surely mud and woods, and even running, hasn't changed much in that time?! Thanks for letting me know.


  • Why not ask the other parents where they managed to get small sizes from? image

    My first pair, when aged 12, were from Decathlon, but I think my feet were the same size then as they are now so not that helpful. These were track spikes. It is not worth getting separate pairs whilst she is still growing - just get a pair of spikes with removable spikes, and you can put long spikes in for XC and shorter ones if she wants to run on the track, or try some other events like long jump, high jump, sprints etc..., which she should be encouraged to do.

    Try start fitness, I think they do kids spikes.

  • Is there only one standard fitting for spikes?  Will 9mm spike XC shoes from "Manufacturer A"  accept 6mm track spikes from "Manufacturer B"?

  • Spikes aren't usually made by the brand. All spike shoes should accept all spikes. However, there are different shapes of spike (pin, cone, pyramid), and sometimes, particularly I have found with xc spikes that have a deep hole down to the screw, some might not, or may be very awkward to fit.

    You also need different shapes of spike spanner (the ones that come with the shoes are usually rubbish, with the exception of the old adidas ones which were awesome but they don't have them any more). It's worth paying £2.50 for a decent spanner. And make sure you vaseline the thread of the spike before insertion, especially for xc spikes, and for xc take them out between raises or getting them out again at the end of the season can be fun.

  • Hey there - Thanks for the tip on Start Fitness- They have some there in a size J13, which I think is close enough.

    (All the other parents I have spoken too have the same issue - or children with bigger feet!) 

  • what length spikes for muddy conditions, my kids all have xc spiked running shoes but only with quite short pyramid style spikes, they did their first major race at the weekend and some kids had huge spikes! theirs were pretty much all clogged up by the end of the race, so i was thinking about getting longer ones, but not sure how big to go!

  • depends how muddy. For cross-country I'll use anything between a 9mm and a 15mm. For a park course, 9mm is fine. For moderate mud, 12mm is fine. 15mm to be reserved for absolute bogs (Parliament Hills), and usually for me I only put them in the front. I would say 12mm is max for younger kids until they have control over where the extremities of their limbs are! But short 6mm spikes will do absolutely nothing for cross-country unless it's a us-style golf course!

  • thankyou for that, very useful info! off to buy some longer spikes!

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