Spikes For Track Shoes
In this article, we will discuss what spikes for track shoes are, the different types of track shoe spikes, which ones you should buy, and why. Also, we will cover some commonly asked questions related to spike pins which go in your track shoes.
What Are Track Shoe Spikes?
Spikes for track shoes are small metal or plastic pieces which screw into the bottom of the shoe. Spikes are typically sharp and pointy, which allows them to stick into the track as you run. Track shoe spikes are designed to provide better traction and grip on the track surface, especially during sprinting or jumping events.
The spikes come in various shapes and sizes, ranging from 3/16 inch to 1/4 inch in length. They can be made of materials such as stainless steel, ceramic, or plastic, and are typically placed strategically on the sole of the shoe to provide the best traction for the particular event. For example, an entry level pair of track spikes for distance events will have 4-6 spikes per shoe, whereas sprinting spikes usually contain 5-7 spike pins per shoe.
The use of spikes can significantly improve an athlete's performance, both due to the physical effects of enhanced traction, as well as the mental effects of knowing you can put out full effort. Often when I am using running shoes for sprinting which do not use spikes, I feel that I have to hold back a little bit so that I won't slip or lose my grip.
Because spike pins enhance traction, wearing spikes when you compete will allow you to apply more force to the ground with each stride, resulting in faster times or higher jumps.
What Types Of Spikes For Track Shoes Are There?
There are several types of spike pins that are commonly used for track shoes, including pyramid spikes, needle spikes, and Christmas tree spikes.
Pyramid spikes are the most common type of spike used in track shoes. They are named after their shape, which is similar to a pyramid with a broad base and a pointed tip. Pyramid spikes come in various lengths, and are typically made of stainless steel or ceramic materials. Pyramid spikes are suitable for all track & field events, and they tend to minimize damage to the track itself.
Needle spikes, as the name suggests, have a thin, needle-like shape. Needle spikes provide excellent traction on the track surface, but are often not allowed by meet organizers or track facility management. Also, because of their design, these spikes tend to puncture the track itself, which can lead to damage of the track surface and excess friction when the athlete tries to run across the track.
Christmas tree spikes are similar to pyramid spikes, but instead of a smooth pyramid shape they look more like a wedding cake, with 3 cylindrical segments which are stacked from widest to narrowest from bottom to top. They provide good grip on the track surface, but are typically not allowed by track staff.
In general, most tracks only allow the use 1/4 inch pyramid spikes, and as such my suggestion to you is to purchase these and keep them on hand. You can also keep some 3/16 inch spikes in your track bag, just in case you go to a meet which has a smaller size limit for which spikes you can have in your track shoes.
How To Replace Spikes In Track Shoes
Replacing track shoe spikes is a quick and easy process. Here are the general steps to follow:
Remove the old spikes.
To remove the old spikes, you will need a spike wrench or a pair of pliers. Typically, a spike wrench is included with your running spikes or the spike pins themselves. Insert the wrench into the spike and turn it counterclockwise to loosen and remove the spike. Repeat this process for all the spikes that need to be replaced.
Clean the spike holes.
After removing the old spikes, check for any dirt or debris that may be in the hole where the spikes go. If needed, clean this out with a small screwdriver or some other pointy object. If there is no dirt or debris, you can move on to the next step.
Choose the new spikes
Choose the new spikes according to the length and type of spike you're allowed to wear. 1/4 inch pyramid spikes are usually safe to use, but it is wise to keep an extra set of 3/16 inch pyramid spikes on hand just in case they are required by the track or meet you are attending.
Insert the new spikes
Insert the spikes into your shoes by hand, then continue to tighten them using either a spike wrench (typically provided with your pair of track shoes), or a pair of flat pliers. Turn the spikes clockwise until you feel they are affixed to the shoe.
Check for tightness
Once all the new spikes have been inserted, use the spike wrench or pliers to check that they are tight and secure. Be careful not to over-tighten the spikes, as this can damage the sole of the shoe. I usually turn them with minimal effort until they are in the shoe, then give an additional 1/4 to 1/2 turn to ensure they are secure, while not being too tight.
Test the shoes
Before using the shoes in competition, test them on the track surface to ensure that the spikes provide good traction and are securely fastened. If you hear a metallic clicking sound when you run or walk in your track spikes, you likely have a loose spike pin.
Overall, replacing spikes in track shoes is a simple process that can help athletes maintain optimal performance and safety on the track. If you spikes ever seem dull, consider replacing them.
Commonly Asked Questions Related To Spike Pins For Track Shoes
Here are some questions that athletes and coaches commonly ask related to the spikes you put in your track shoes.
How do I know what length of of spikes to use for my track shoes?
3/16 inch spike pins are always allowed at any track which allows spikes to be used, but most tracks will also allow 1/4 inch spike pins.
Can I use the same spike pins for all types of track events?
Typically, yes. Nearly all track events can make use of 3/16 inch or 1/4 inch track spikes.
High Jump and Javelin allow for longer spikes than other events, where you can use spikes as long as 12mm or 0.47 inches. This length is measured as the length the spike protrudes from the base of the shoe, not including the threads which go into your track spike shoes.
What are the rules and regulations regarding the use of spike pins in my track event?
Most of the time, the rules you must abide by are related to the length and type of spikes. Most tracks will require you to use pyramid spikes, and will limit the length to 1/4 inch or less.
World Athletics has rules that limit the number of spikes per shoe to 11 spike pins. All events other than High Jump and Javelin are limited to a spike length of 9mm, or 0.35 inches, whereas High Jump Spikes and Javelin Spikes can be up to 12mm or 0.47 inches long.
How often should I replace my spike pins?
Most of the time, spike pins will need to be replaced every few months. I replace them prior to important competitions, or when they become dull. If you walk on concrete in your spikes, they will become dull more quickly and will require replacement more often. If you only ever wear track spikes on a synthetic track, you will get more use out of them over time.
Do I need to clean my spike pins after each use?
I only clean my spikes when dirt or debris becomes lodged in the underside of the track shoe. You can use your best judgement to decide when they should be cleaned or not by simply looking at them.
What are the benefits of using spike pins in my track shoes?
The primary benefits of using spikes in your track shoes are that you will have better grip, be able to put out full effort without slipping, and likely run faster or jump better with spike pins in your track shoes.
Can I use my track shoes with spike pins for other activities besides track and field?