Men's Track & Field Spikes

Run, jump or throw your way to your next PR in the best Track and Field spikes.

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Track & Field Spike Basics

Buying track spikes for the first time can be daunting. Make sure you understand how your spikes affect your performance so you can choose the best track spikes for you.

A good rule of thumb: the longer the distance, the fewer spikes in the spike plate.

Long distance track spikes typically have four or five spikes, while sprinting and mid-distance spikes can range from six to ten spikes, which provides the extra grip needed to reach top speeds.

Depending on the surface you race on, you’ll want to choose the appropriate spike length so you don’t find yourself sliding around an indoor track.

Quarter (¼) inch spikes are usually a safe go-to for outdoor track races and field events. If you are racing on an indoor track, there can be regulations on the length of spike you are allowed to wear in order to keep the track intact as it’s used; on average, one-eighth (⅛) inch spikes are the standard for indoor track.

As you gain experience and fine tune the feel you prefer in your spikes, you can toy around with a variety of spike shapes from pyramid to needle spikes on the track, but always be sure to check the meet rules before changing out your spikes.

Spikes for Track Events

Your body moves differently and requires different support as your race shorter or longer distances. Long distance runners often run with more of a heel-toe gait while sprinters are on the balls of their feet during their races. To deliver the best possible performance, track spikes are engineered to accommodate these differences by using different foams, spike configurations and plate materials.

Long Distance Track Spikes (Best for 800m-5K): These are the most flexible and have the most midsole and heel cushioning while still keeping a slender profile and light weight. The spike plate is often made of the same outsole material as the rest of the shoe, or it is a more flexible material like PEBAX. The spike count can range from 4-6 spikes to give you grip and traction without disturbing your natural cadence.

Mid-Distance Track Spikes (Best for 400m - 1500m): These shoes are much more of a specialist shoe than long distance or sprinting spikes, and include features from both. Mid-distance spikes will retain the midsole and heel cushioning found in long distance spikes, but will often have a harder spike plate and less flexibility to deliver a responsive ride. The spike count tends to find a happy medium between 5-7 spikes to deliver more propulsion as you sprint through the 400m.

Sprinting Track Spikes (Best for 55m - 400m): Typically the lightest track spikes you can find, sprinting spikes have design features like carbon-fiber plates that keep them stiff and snappy to help you gain speed. These shoes have little to no heel cushioning and are designed to hold your foot in a lightly flexed position, keeping you on the balls of your feet as you run. Sprinting spikes tend to have anywhere from 6-8 spikes to help you push off the blocks and dig for speed with each step.

Spikes for Field Events

Throwing Spikes: Spikes for javelin, shot put or discus focus on supporting your ankle as the rest of your body twists to generate momentum. Unlike running spikes, throwing spikes are smoother on the bottom to allow for smooth motion transitions. Some discus or shot put spikes even have a special disk in the outsole that lets you place your weight on one foot and spin while you throw, helping to stabilize your body and allow fluidity in motion.

Jumping Spikes and Pole Vault Spikes: The spikes for these events are relatively similar, they focus on helping you gain speed before you jump or vault. Jumping or vaulting spikes are similar to sprinting spikes in that they are lightweight and feature more spikes in the spike plate to help you grip the track. High Jump spikes feature additional spikes in their heal because they are the only event where they need to run on a steep curve and require extra traction, especially at takeoff. Long jump and Triple jump spikes are the most like sprinting spikes because you need to generate speed in your approach, but the plate is positioned slightly differently to help you takeoff correctly. Pole Vaulting spikes are usually stiffer than sprinting spikes and have a solid base to ensure traction at takeoff like triple jump spikes.


Do you run faster with spikes?

Track and field spikes are designed to give you the traction you need to run, jump or throw effectively on a track surface. Spikes for track events are designed to promote a faster running form by placing greater emphasis on the balls of your foot; however, this does not guarantee that you will run faster.

What kind of spikes should I get for track?

Based on the events you participate in, the best spikes for you will vary. Ultimately, you want to find spikes that feel comfortable and suit the events you participate in.

Are spikes necessary for track?

Simply put, no. But they are a big help. Unlike the running shoes you train in that are designed to be used on the roads or a trail, track spikes are designed to give you traction on a track surface. Running on a track in road shoes won't slow you down, but you may not have the secure grip needed to perform well on the track surface.