best track spikes

7 Ways To Find The Best Track Spikes For Running

Looking for ways to perform better during track races? If so, why not consider investing in track spikes? Exactly as they’re called, these small, pointy metal bits are inserted into the shoe itself to increase your grip on the track, in order to propel you faster and more efficiently.

However, there are a few things to know before you go ahead and find the best track spikes for racing. In this article, we’re here to provide you the low-down on what to consider when picking out the good ones for your next track event. Without further ado, let’s get started!

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1. Find Spikes Depending On Your Event.

Track spikes aren’t only limited to certain races such as sprinting or field events. In fact, they vary greatly, from quick events like the 100 and 200 meter to longer distances such as the 1600 meter and above. They are even used in cross country and steeplechase events as well.

That being said, different events mean different types of spikes, as well as the structure of the track shoe itself. Some might have heel cushioning (for long distance events) while others don’t.

Other shoes may have permanent spikes built into them while others require you to adjust them manually (as well as change them out). Hence, there are many options to finding track spikes for your particular event, whatever they may be.

For a more in-depth look into the structure of a track spike shoe (especially for sprinting), check out this video here:

2. Look For Versatility.

Especially if you’re an all-around athlete (i.e. one who competes in all sorts of distance running and field events, aka decathlete), looking for track spikes that can be used for all of the events is a plus.

Even if you’re not a decathlete, if you’re a runner who regularly transitions from cross country running in the fall season to track and field during the spring, it might be useful to find a pair of spikes that can double for both occasions, as means of saving you time and money.

For more information on different track spike shoes, check out this video here: 

3. Determine The Type, Size And Required Amount Of Spikes.

Depending on what type of event you’re doing, there are several different categories for track spikes, which we highlight here:

  • Pyramid spikes. These are the most common type of spikes that are usually worn on the shoe. They can be worn for just about any cross country and track events, since they don’t wear down too quickly and also give a good bounce to the runner when pushing off from the ground.
  • Needle spikes. These particular spikes are commonly used for all-weather tracks (i.e. an artificial, rubberized surface in many standard track facilities) and provide solid traction to the user.
  • Compression spikes. Also called “Christmas tree spikes” for their shape, these are a blend of pyramid and needle spikes since they offer both bounce and grip to the surface when running
  • Tartan spikes. A thinner version of pyramid spikes, tartan spikes are designed to be used solely on a rubberized track.
  • Studs. These are blunted spikes that are usually used on surfaces such as asphalt (for cross country) or indoor track sports.

When it comes to size, they range from 1/8 to 5/8 inches in diameter. People typically purchase ¼-inch spikes, since they are considered good for “all-around sports.” Larger spikes such as the ½ inch are good for cross country races and other ones on varied terrain (e.g. grass, dirt, sand), since they’ll provide a better grip on these unstable, sometimes slippery surfaces.

Finally, just how many spikes should there be on your track shoe? For sprinting spikes, there tend to be more spikes built in (up to 8 maximum), as means of increasing grip on the track. For long distance running, fewer spikes of around 5 to 7 are more common.

4. Make Sure That The Track Shoe Is Snugly Fitted.

Unless normal running shoes that you wear for training practices, a track spike shoe should fit nicely, as well as tightly, on your feet; you wouldn’t want it to be too loose and fall off in the middle of the race!

Usually, athletes go for half a shoe size smaller, even a full-size smaller, in order to keep them good and snug. At the same time, make sure that you can actually fit into them, let alone feel comfortable enough to wear for the entire race.

Finally, make sure you break them in before properly racing in them. You wouldn’t want to develop blisters, let alone foot injuries just from wearing new spikes!

5. Figure Out If You Want Socks (Or No Socks).

This is usually subjected to differences in certain events, as well as the personal preference of the athletes themselves. Some prefer to go sockless when running, as means of producing faster turnovers with each step, but the downside to this is that it can produce plenty of discomforts (as well as many blisters) while racing, considering that you produce more friction against your bare feet.

While it might seem like wearing socks is the way to go, racing without socks can be managed as long as you’re careful about it. With a combination of lubricant, powder, and taping, you can minimize the development of blisters while also continuing to race your best in track events.

6. Check The Price.

You don’t necessarily need to purchase the most expensive brand out there to perform your best; while it’s true that some spikes can run up to $100 or more, most athletes can find solid pairs for around half of the price.

It’s best to buy new shoes (and not secondhand ones), but you don’t have to buy the newest model since previous versions are just about the same albeit with some minor differences. Plus, older models tend to be less pricey while just as good as the newer ones, so it’s up to you on what you want to buy!

7. Purchase Extra Spikes.

If you tend to race a lot during the season, then you’ll no doubt come across some moments when the spikes come loose and fall off as you’re running. Sometimes, you’ll even lose them.

That being said, it’s important to make sure you have enough extra spikes as backup in case such a thing were to happen; having them on hand will make it easier for you to place them into the shoe smoothly without having to ask others for extra spikes (which can be a bit embarrassing!).

For ways on how to remove old spikes and replace them with new ones, check out this video for a quick-and-easy fix:

5 Best Running Track Spikes

Below, you'll see more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices, choose the colors and read customer's reviews on Amazon.


With a 7-spike design in Saucony’s track shoe, it will give you the velocity that you need to propel yourself forward during races and other competitive events. It’s breathable and has lightweight properties that also make it convenient to race in.

Via Amazon.com

Pros

  • These particular track spike shoes come in brightly-patterned colors, thereby giving you style along with the convenience of running in them.
  • These are solid racing shoes for mid-to-long distance events, from the 800-meter to the 5000-meter races.
  • They are half of the price compared to the same product found in specialized sports stores, thereby making it worth your money.

Cons

  • Especially for runners with naturally wide feet, these track spike shoes might be too narrow to fit into.
  • The hard material on the soles might not be preferred for runners who tend to race longer distances, as it may get uncomfortable.
  • It might not be as durable as other track spike shoes, therefore requiring them to be replaced sooner than later.

Opinion

Although Saucony’s track spike shoes are good for middle to long-distance running, there are not as versatile when it comes to shorter events like sprints. The durability of the material might wear out quicker than others, which might not be ideal for those who often race.

This particular product from ASICS offers both a lightweight nylon spike plate and rubber soles as means of not only durability but also comfort as you are racing your very best during track events.

Via Amazon.com

Pros

  • These track spike shoes offer a solid grip on the track while also being lightweight for quick transitions with each stride.
  • With a total of 5 spikes, these track shoes are best for shorter distances such as the 100 and 200 meters, as well as up to 400 meters. They can also be used for hurdling events.
  • These spikes are good for beginners, as the soles provide more cushion and support when running.

Cons

  • This particular product requires you to purchase at least one full size larger than your standard shoe size, as it tends to be tight at the toe box and the heel areas.
  • The product might not come with the spikes, thereby requiring you to go out and purchase your own for the initial race.
  • These shoes are limited only to sprinting and short-distance events; they could be more versatile for other distance events, in that respect

Opinion

Although rather a tight fit for some foot sizes, ASICS’ track spike shoe is good for beginning sprinters to practice and race in since it offers some padding on the sole in case heel striking occurs.

With a synthetic sole and a lace-up feature for adjusting the shoe’s tightness, New Balance’s running spikes are a good candidate for your middle distance runs, whether from the 800 meter to the 3200 meter.

Via Amazon.com

Pros

  • These are one of the cheaper models on this list, thus making them easily affordable for any racer out there.
  • There’s a good amount of toe box room, so they are not uncomfortable and also allow the feet to breathe better.
  • They are durable, as the sides of the shoes do not wear out as quickly as other possible products.

Cons

  • The spikes that come along with the track shoes appear to be made of aluminum, which tends to wear out fast after a couple of races; hence, you will need to go and buy extra spikes made of stainless steel for longer durability.
  • These shoes might run smaller than usual, so it’s necessary to order them one to two full sizes larger than your regular shoe size.
  • They can be a bit cramped not only from the shoe size but also the length of the foot. They might not fit well for those with wide feet.

Opinion

Although this particular track shoe brand is roomy and durable, it requires figuring out the right size to buy, or else you might end up with a too-small and too-tight shoe, thereby making it uncomfortable to race in.

Saucony Men’s Vendetta track spikes offer a track shoe that fits every curve of your foot like a glove, without any gaps in between for a more efficient racing experience.

Pros

  • This product contains a carbon rubber outsole for the ultimate comfort when racing.
  • It consists of a Pebax plate for where to put the 6 spikes in, therefore good for sprinting and other short-distance events.
  • This track spike shoe is also handy for other sporting events beside running, including hurdles.

Cons

  • These spike shoes tend to run slightly smaller, so it’s necessary to purchase them at least half-a-size larger than your typical foot size.
  • Some of the models, depending on the shoe size and design, can get quite pricey.

Opinion

While certain models of this brand might not be as inexpensive as other ones out there, it’s a very reliable shoe that fits well and is comfortable to wear for your short-distance events, whether in the 100, 200, 400-meter, or hurdles.

At only 7 ounces, these track spikes from Puma are extremely lightweight, as well as offers a snug fit for achieving your best racing time. Its brightly-colored design also makes for an attractive feature to have on the race track.

Via Amazon.com

Pros

  • With 8 spikes built into the track shoe, it might seem like it’s best for long-distance running, but it’s also versatile to use for other events, such as sprinting, the long jump, triple jump, and hurdles.
  • The design is wider in width, therefore good to wear for people with wider feet.
  • Puma offers quick shipping, which saves time in having to wait for them to arrive; as a result, you can break them in faster to prepare for your upcoming race.

Cons

  • For certain distances such as the 400 meter, the shoe’s spike plate might feel less stable and in danger of getting loose
  • Support for the feet could be improved on since there’s no heel cushion which requires you to rely on the ball of your foot more.
  • The spikes might have the tendency to unscrew and come out easily, even after screwing them in tightly.

Opinion

Puma’s track spikes are versatile for just about any track and field event so that you don’t need to constantly buy new spike shoes for different competitions. However, they work better in certain events than others, and the spikes could come with more support for more-impacted races.

Winner of the Roundup

While all of these track spikes listed in this article all have their pros and cons, the best one out of all of them would have to go to the Saucony Men's Vendetta Track Spike Racing Shoe (#4).

True, some of its models were on the pricier end of the cost range, but it offered the most benefits in terms of racing and comfort. Its 6-spike design was good for both short and long distance events and was lightweight for quick transitions per stride. You’ll get the most of our money from this brand, in order to do your best in the upcoming race!

Take-Away Message (Conclusion)

Buying your first pair of track spikes can be daunting at first, especially if you don’t know much about which type and size you need to get. However, by considering aspects such as your particular event, shoe size, and preference for wearing (or not wearing) socks as you race, you’ll be able to find the best track spikes to race your hardest in.

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