Physical Therapists Using Clinical Analysis To Discuss The Art And Science Behind Running and The Stuff We Put On Our Feet

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In recent years, SKECHERS has been elevating its game and becoming a serious contender in the racing arena for footwear.  The XCR and XCS are no different.  These incredibly light cross country racers are ready to attack and want to push the pace as fast as possible no matter the terrain.  Skechers has bridged the void between track spike and XC flat with the XCR and XCS.

Weight: 4.3 oz (XCR), 3.8 oz (XCS)
Drop: 2 mm
Classification: Cross Country/Track Racer


First off, this shoe is insanely light and for the speed demons of the world.  The Ultra Flight foam gives the shoe the minimum cushion necessary to carry your legs over 8k/10k without being excessively firm (which is really nice).  My favorite part about these shoes is that it feels like a track spike that has carried itself over to the grass, dirt, and concrete without fear of slipping around! Even at 4:30 mile pace (track) and 4:50 mile pace (grass) these shoes want more.


The Skechers XCR and XCS both feature the same snug breathable upper.  The upper can come off as being really tight initially but molds to your foot within the first couple strides in them.  The upper hugs the foot incredibly well and does fit true to size.  If there are concerns about the shoe being small, ordering a half size up should work as well and will give you a more traditional flat feel.  The TPU mono mesh breaths incredibly well and does a good job of wicking moisture that may come off of the grass when running through it.  The dynamic heel lock system that Skechers has is second to none.  The shoe locks the foot in and I have never once experienced heel slippage or foot movement when turning.


David: The XCR and XCS have an aggressive track spike style ride with just a skosh more cushioning.  The 2 mm drop contributes to the ride in positive way if you are trying to run fast, for it promotes that forefoot striking pattern.  The shoe is designed for those who are running with a midfoot/forefoot gait pattern and are light on their feet trying to push the pace. The outsole has a small portion of durable rubber dedicated to the lateral heel for those who do heel strike or are fatiguing from forefoot and are beginning to land more posteriorly.  This shoe features great traction in all conditions and I would not hesitate to pull it out for grass courses as well.  Both the XCR and XCS shine in grass and dirt conditions.  The XCS has a spike plate that can be felt pretty prominently over concrete surfaces, but if the concrete is only in transitions of a course, you should be ok.


David: The XCR and XCS are about as stable as most other minimal weight spikes out there.  The shoe itself does not provide a lot of stability, but if someone is light on their feet and landing efficiently they won't really need any added stability on a racing shoe.  The XCS is more stable than the XCR in that the hard plastic spike plate makes the outsole and bottom of the shoe a little more rigid and less likely to have its shape change when on uneven terrain.  The XCR's outsole does have a little give to it from torsional forces but I have never had any problems with rolling ankles or feeling unstable.  The traction of the shoe may also be a component in assisting with that.


David: As I stated earlier in the review, this shoe is a speed demon.  It is light, aggressive, holds traction, and wants to keep pushing.  This is a racer in every aspect of the word.  I wouldn't hesitate to even carry these shoes over to the track for steeple, 5k, and 10k either.  For being a cross country shoe, this shoe knocks the speed game out of the park.


David: You don't need to be concerned about durability with this shoe.  Over grass, over dirt, over track, doesn't matter; this shoe can take a hit.  I have taken out on several hard efforts over all of the above and the outsole doesn't show any sign of wear.  I have roughly 25 miles on the pair right now and have raced 8k and 6k with no concern. The monomesh upper is also surprisingly durable.  I have never seen a shoe with this type of upper and I am so impressed with it.  It has more structure to it then most knit or mesh uppers, but breathes just as well.  The Ultra Flight foam does show some cracks after multiple efforts, but it still rides just like it did when took them out of the box.  The foam, outsole, and upper are holding up very well. I'd be curious to see how it holds over a whole season, but I think it will be ok.


David: As a physical therapist and former collegiate XCTF athlete I think Skechers did a good job with this shoe.  With that said, it is for a very specific population that this shoe will feel great for.  Those who run aggressive and are light on their feet will fall in love immediately.  The shoe is not the most stable, but it does not intend to be.  It features no aspects of pronation control or added stability, so the runner will have to have the fibular musculature, tibialis posterior, and calves ready to go because this shoe will put a great amount of work on them.  For those ready for that, it is a great option to run fast.  The heel lock on the shoe makes the shoe hug the foot incredibly well, preventing any option of foot slippage when running (good thing).
The XCR may be slightly too flexible in the forefoot, requiring a lot more work from the runner to propel themselves forward.  The shoe should allow for some flexibility (to allow for an increase in potential energy and allow for foot and great toe to get some dorsiflexion) but should also have some rigidity to help propel forward, especially in racing scenarios. The shoe is insanely light, and that alone really helps with the flexibility issue.  With a little modification in that, this shoe can go a long way!


I don't have many recommendations for this shoe, as I did really enjoy it for its purposes.  The forefoot is incredibly flexible, but could use just a little more rigidity to keep it from folding on itself.  This could probably be accomplished by making more of a full contact forefoot outsole, making the outsole a little harder, or potentially shifting to a more rigid midsole in the forefoot and keeping the Ultra Flight foam in the heel and midfoot.  The XCS spike plate could also be accompanied by a little more outsole/rubber since the forefoot is nearly all hard plastic to help with dirt and concrete transitions. The XCS is perfect for grass races, but may be a little too track like for races with a lot of packed dirt or concrete.


David: The Skechers XCR and XCS is a cross country racing flat/spike that is not for the faint of heart.  It is light, aggressive, and wants to run fast.  If someone is an efficient, aggressive, forefoot striker trying to knock down PR's this is a great option. If someone likes how track spikes feel and wants it to carry over to the XC setting without worrying about slipping in the concrete, these are great options.

Matt (coming soon!)
Fit                     /10
Ride                  /10
Stability            /10
Speed                /10
Durability         /10

Fit                     9.5/10 (high marks heel lock, snug and breathable fit, but may be tight for some)
Ride                  9.5/10 (fast, aggressive, and light.  May be a little unstable for some if not ready)
Stability            8.75/10 XCS plate adds stability, XCR foam gives to torsional or compression forces
Speed                10/10 (Light and incredibly fast. For an XC shoe this is as fast as shoes come).
Durability         9.5/10 Outsole durable and shouldn't give problems. Foam may have give over season

Total Score: % (M: /10  D: 9.45/10)

Thanks for reading!

Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles or Inland Empire area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

David Salas PT DPT CSCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists
***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the  people at SKECHERS for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We put at least 35-50 miles on trainers and 10-25 miles on racing flats prior to reviewing them. Currently we have *** miles (Matt) and 25 miles (David) on our pairs. Our views are based on my extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

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