Partners - Saucony

Shay XC 3 Vs Kilkenny XC4

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With most of the regional cross countries taking place this weekend and the McCain cross country challenge kicking off next weekend it looks like the winter season is here. Saucony have two cross country spikes which are slightly different so we thought we would compare the two to help you choose the best spikes for your needs. 

Shay XC3


Shay XC3

The Shay is updated with flexfilm technology, secure fit, while the 6-pin spike placement allows for optimal traction underfoot. The upper has very lightweight breathable mesh and includes the FlexFilm overlays. With spikes the Shay XC3 is just 176gm and the fit it gives you ultimate control and responsiveness during your cross country racing.


Kilkenny XC4

The Kilkenny is a little more forgiving than the Shay XC but in turn will lose some aspects of the shoe i.e the 6-pin spike placement. The Kilkenny is a lightweight cross country racing spike and flat with an excellent fit and ride that will help be slightly more forgiving and bit more cushioning in the heel. The upper is a lightweight air mesh with the midsole using a compression molded EVA. The weight comes in at 189gm.


We also caught up with Tony Brancaleone in Boston, USA who is the man for everything Saucony racing to ask him a few quick questions on the new models...

What has improved this year on the new Shay XC3 and Kilkenny XC4?

This year the Shay went to an a flex film upper helping take much of the weight out of the shoe.  The kilkenny is only a colour update so it is the same as last year which was very popular and from the good feedback we recieved we decided not to change it for this season..

What are the main difference's between the two models?

The main difference is the fit and the spike plate. The Kilkenny has 4 pins and a more forgiving upper which is great if you have never run in spikes before or prefer a little extra cushioning.  The Shay has 6 pins, so it's a much more aggressive shoe and a tighter fitting upper.

Is the Shay the only Saucony shoe to be named after an athlete and why was it felt right to do it for the XC spike?

Yes, that is correct. It is named after Saucony athlete Ryan Shay who sadly passed away in tragic circumstances during a race. 

What are the main things that you look to do when designing a XC spike?

Number one is the fit.  The lightest spike in the world is no good to an athlete if it doesn't fit nicely.  Number two is the spike placement.  Number three is the support. Another brand once made a spike that if you took a turn you nearly rolled off the midsole, so it was nice and light but did not perform at all.

Has there been any feedback from athletes so far or is it too early?

All of our global athletes test the models the year before we release it. We have a new spike coming out next year for elites and the global team is all in them now to help us gain valuable feedback.  The current styles are doing very well as a result of the team's early feedback.

Is there a reason that along with flats that spikes generally seem to be a smaller fit?

It is all performance based.  Length is generally similar shoe to shoe but we can not risk people's feet moving in their spikes so the fit is more narrow, it is too much of an injury risk otherwise.


RunnersLife Team






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