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Track & Cross Country Running Shoes • May 25, 2021

New Balance XC5KV5 Performance Review


What You Need To Know

  • Weighs 5 oz. (142 g) for a US M9 / US W10.5
  • RevLite RC midsole provides a lot of cushion for a high-end spike
  • Removable spikes for road running
  • Socks are required unless you want to visit Blister City

MERCER: The New Balance XC5KV5 is an update on the beloved XC5KV4 bringing in a fresh and light new upper while sticking to the same midsole and outsole design.

Many companies have tiers when it comes to running shoes and the same goes for spikes. New Balance’s standard cross country spike is the XC7, while this is the upgraded model for runners looking for major PRs.


The Good

MERCER: I didn’t think I’d like the embedded plastic plate as much as I did. It gives huge pop when running on flat surfaces, and sends you flying on downhills when activated.

On the outsole, we have some blown rubber that’s sticky and provides great traction on any surface. There’s some exposed foam in the arch but it’s not too noticeable. I also have no reservations about durability despite the exposed foam, these will last.

I’m a really big fan of the asymmetrical lacing system. Unlike the Nike Next%, the lacing goes in. The XC5KV5 also uses a technology similar to flywire to give you that nice lockdown over foot.

When going up into better models for track and XC, you usually lose a bit of foam in favor of a more aggressive ride. What I love about this spike is that the RevLite foam provides the same amount of cushion as the cheaper models, while still giving an aggressive pop that more competitive athletes want.

Shop XC5KV5 new-balance-xc5kv5-side

The Bad

MERCER: I’m not a big fan of the XC5KV5 because of one change that New Balance made.

This spike is tight. Not just narrow, but it runs short both horizontally and vertically. My foot felt like it was being vacuum sealed. For the #WideFootFam who might be reading this, this one is definitely not for you.

The upper is great in mild weather courses, but as soon as there’s any kind of moisture it faulters. Liquids penetrate the upper easily and mud gets caked into it, making this spike heavy and wet in some cases. If you live somewhere with true “cross-country” course conditions, it may set you back.

Also, you’re going to need some mid-length socks for that heel counter. It moves up on your foot and becomes Blister City if there’s no barrier between skin and shoe.

Shop XC5KV5 new-balance-xc5kv5-outsole

New Balance XC5KV5 Conclusion

MERCER: All New Balance has to do is fix the upper on the XC5KV5 to make this one of the best cross country spikes on the market. This is a spike for runners who are drawn to the responsiveness of the plate and the versatility of crossing over to track in this shoe. I’d compare this to the Nike Victory XC 3.

You can pick up the New Balance XC5KV5 at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) by using the shop link below.

Shop XC5KV5

Have something to say? Leave a Comment

  1. Patrick Smit says:

    narrower than expected and maybe size up 1/2 a size compared to normal New Balance shoes, When walking you really notice the “tighness” of the shoe, but there is some relieve when speeding away like its being designed for the foot in running mode.

    The heel can be protected by a strip of kinesio tape so socks are not required.

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