Nike originated the cross-country specific shoe with their introduction of the original Waffle. In the current line it is the good, of a good, better, best option. The upper is a close-fitting closed mesh, with securing straps across the forefoot providing a visual and structural support to the foot.
The 700 has been New Balance entry level cross country offering, now known as the XC 7, and the gap between top and bottom has narrowed. The upper is a closed mesh with an all-over fused support pattern for structure and durability. The snug fit conforms well to most feet because of its curved shape.
Hoka was founded on a principle that traditional thinking is less effective than disruptive thinking. The Evo Jawz is a hybrid cross between a track spike and a trail racer, making it perfect for the gnarliest cross country mud fest. The upper is lightweight closed mesh with welded overlays, somewhat formulaically routine, but effective in its execution.