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Track & Cross Country Running Shoes • October 21, 2021

Brooks Draft XC Performance Review

Brooks Draft XC - feature

What You Need To Know

  • Weighs 6.5 oz. (184 g) for a US M9 / US W10.5
  • 6-pin XC-specific spikes
  • BioMoGo midsole crosses over from daily training to weekend meets
  • Give these to an artist in your life and let em go crazy

MERCER: The Brooks Draft XC is the latest cross country spike in the brand’s lineup. It’s a breath of fresh air in the XC spike game, with a very soft underfoot and a comfortable mesh upper that you can draw on. Shoutout to Thomas for going absolutely nuts on these.

RUBY: After getting over the shock of a white cross country spike, I was surprised by how cushioned the Draft XC is. In my experience, spikes normally resemble a few pins screwed into a hard plate with an upper attached. But this one is a different beast, with cushion for days and a drawable upper, Brooks is onto something here.

Brooks Draft XC - side1

The Good

MERCER: Most racing shoes out there are narrow as f$%@, leaving many people to feel a bit cramped like our wonderful reviewer Wide Foot Jarrett. In contrast, the Draft XC features a wide, chunky base which is really helpful when running over rough roots and rocks. Think of the difference between the Clifton to the Clifton Edge.

The mesh upper is borderline sloppy but provides great breathability. If the plastic material wasn’t there, this shoe would look like melting ice cream. 

While the track has evolved with the times to include more cushion underfoot, XC has yet to adapt with a sliver of EVA still the standard. The Draft XC features Brooks’ popular BioMoGo foam for a softer feel than spikes like the Nike Victory XC. The midsole definitely saves your legs when it comes down to that final mile.

The rugged outsole is a huge plus and provides a lot of traction along rougher trails and solid grip on roads.

I’m a big fan of the artistic freedom that Brooks promotes on the Draft XC with the ability to draw on them. Allowing runners to put their own special touch on their shoes elevates cross country as a sport. I can’t wait to see what people do with their spikes. One more shoutout to Thomas for going crazy on my pair, they’re definitely turning heads.

RUBY: These spikes are actually comfortable. The BioMoGo cushioning makes for a soft and responsive ride. 

Usually, distance running in spikes leaves your calves and Achilles feeling beat up and bruised for days after a race. However, my legs felt fresh and spry after a 6K cross country race. For athletes who race in spikes often, like HS and college runners, the Brooks Draft XC can be a game-changer. Speedier recovery means getting back to training faster and performing better at the next race. 

A small feature that shouldn’t be overlooked, the heel webbing makes this shoe easy to put on and take off. That’s a big bonus after races when you’ve got cold, wet, muddy feet and you want to get your spikes off ASAP. 

Unlike most spikes, I really like the fit of the Draft XC. It sports a secure lockdown but is roomy enough for toes to splay, and a single-layer vamp mesh upper offers breathability and good drainage. Brooks perfected the widths of each area of this shoe, increasing stability and grip on uneven XC surfaces.

Shop Draft XC – Unisex Brooks Draft XC - side

The Bad

MERCER: This is a bulky-ass shoe. I wish the rubber was dialed back a bit to get closer to that ideal 6 oz range for an XC spike.

The spike wells in the Draft XC suck. The plastic on the outside is exposed, so running on concrete with blanks in the wells gives less grip and some slippage on the roads. I’ve seen similarly exposed plastic on other spikes bend inward and block the hole entirely, making the shoe worthless.

RUBY: This shoe is white in a sport synonymous with mud and dirt. For what it’s worth, XC shoes are getting dirty and muddy no matter their color, but for some, it’s a big turnoff. Personally, I’m cool with the white design.

Shop Draft XC – Unisex Brooks Draft XC - toe

Brooks Draft XC Conclusion

MERCER: The Brooks Draft XC is what cross country needed this year: a fun shoe that’s available in a wide range of sizes at a fair price. It isn’t the fastest shoe out there, but if someone looks at my spikes and sees zombies, I’m in their head. 

RUBY: The comfort and cushioning of the Brooks Draft XC complements the aggressive 6-pin spike plate for a faster and more responsive feel. Brooks has mastered the balance of not sacrificing speed for the sake of comfort. The Draft XC sizes up well next to the Nike Zoom Victory 5 XC, but the Draft also retails for half the price. That’s easy math.

You can pick up the Brooks Draft XC at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) by using the shop link below.

Shop Draft XC – Unisex Brooks Draft XC - side1


Want to learn more about how our review process works? Check out this guide.


Have something to say? Leave a Comment

  1. Simon Langford says:

    How do these compare with the New Balance XC Seven v3?

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Mercer Alden
College XC/Track Reviewer
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Mercer is a collegiate athlete at the University Of Lynchburg, majoring in being awesome. He’s also extremely talented at folding shirts during GRIT packing at the Believe in the Run HQ.

All-time favorite shoes: Asics Gel-Kayano Lite, Hoka Clifton 6, On Cloudmonster

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Fav. Distance


  • 57:50

    10 Mile
  • 15:55

  • 9:01

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ruby running
Ruby Wyles
Track and XC Reviewer
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Ruby is an NCAA Division 1 student-athlete, running shoe geek and all-around exercise science nerd, originally from the United Kingdom. An aspiring pro runner, Ruby currently competes on all terrains– road, track, and cross country– from the 3000m distance up to the half-marathon. A true mileage junkie, Ruby has plenty of opportunities to test out different shoes and properly put them through their paces.

All-time favorite shoes: Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next%, Hoka One One Clifton 6, Nike Zoom Vomero 14

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Fav. Distance

5K & 10K

  • 16:45

  • 34:56

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