Track Spikes | How To Buy Track & Field Spikes By Event & Experience

Track Spikes | How To Buy Track & Field Spikes By Event & Experience

How To Buy Track & Field Spikes For Your Event

Track & Field Spike Basics

What Are Track Spikes?

Track spikes are a type of athletic shoe designed for track and field events. These shoes are specially designed to help athletes gain better traction on the track surface and improve their performance during races.

Whether you're a professional track and field athlete or a casual runner looking to improve your speed, understanding track and field spikes first can help you choose the right shoes and improve your performance.

What This Article Will Cover:

  • How To Pick The Right Spikes
  • Best Sprinting Spikes
  • Best Long Distance Spikes
  • Best Long Jump Spikes
  • Best Triple Jumping Spikes
  • Best High Jump Spikes
  • Best Pole Vault Spikes
  • Best Javelin Spikes
  • Best Throwing Shoes
  • Frequently Asked Questions About Track Spikes

How To Pick The Right Spikes

To figure out which spikes you need, you need to identify the following:

  1. Which events are you going to compete in?
  2. Are you a beginner or an experienced athlete?
  3. What is your budget?

Below, we will go over the details of each of these points so that you can buy the right spikes for your specific event.

#1 - What Is Your Event?

Different events in track & field have demands unique to each, which means that the track spikes you choose need to be suitable for your event.

Athletes who prefer to compete in sprints will need different shoes than long-distance or jumping athletes.

You can find the right track spikes for your event group using the table below.

Track & Field Event

Spike Type

Sprint & Hurdle Events:

100m, 200m, 400m, 100m/110m hurdles, 300m/400m hurdles, 800m, 4 x 100m, and 4 x 400m relays.

Sprint Spikes

Middle Distance Events:

800m, 1500m, 1600m, Mile

Middle Distance Spikes

Long Distance Events:

3000m, 3200m, Two-mile, 5000m, and 10,000m.

Long Distance Spikes
Jumping Events:
Long Jump, Triple Jump, High Jump, Pole Vault
Jump Spikes

Throwing Events:
Discus, Hammer, Javelin, and Shotput

Throwing Shoes


#2 - What Is Your Experience Level?

With regards to sprinting spikes and long distance spikes, different models are tailored toward athletes of varied experience levels.

If you are new to track, going with a pair of entry-level spikes is appropriate. These are cheaper, more flexible, less aggressive, and typically have less high-tech features than more advanced spikes.

track spikes for every event

If you are an experienced track athlete looking to boost your performance, a pair of elite-level spikes is a good way to go.

This table lists some track spikes for sprinters and distance runners, depending on your experience level:

 Event Group Entry-Level Intermediate Advanced

Sprints & Hurdles Spikes

Nike Zoom Rival
Nike Zoom Superfly Elite 2 Nike Air Zoom Maxfly
Long-Distance Spikes

Nike Zoom Rival

Nike ZoomX Dragonfly

Nike Air Zoom Victory

Long Jump Spikes Nike Zoom Rival Long Jump Nike Air Zoom
LJ Elite
Nike Air Zoom
LJ Elite

#3 - What Is Your Budget?

Regardless of your experience level, budget is another factor to consider. You can only race in the spikes you can afford, so finding a pair of track shoes that meet your budget is essential.

track spikes

Typically, the entry-level and intermediate spikes above will be cheaper than the advanced spikes.

Best Track Spikes For Each Event

Best Sprinting Spikes

  1. Nike Air Zoom Maxfly
  2. Adidas Adizero Prime SP2
  3. New Balance FuelCell SuperComp PWR-X

Best Distance Spikes

  1. Nike Air Zoom Victory
  2. Nike ZoomX Dragonfly
  3. Nike Zoom Rival

Best Long Jump Spikes

  1. Adidas Adizero LJ
  2. Nike Air Zoom LJ Elite
  3. Saucony Saurin J2

Best Triple Jump Spikes

  1. Nike Triple Jump Elite 2
  2. Adidas Triple Jump Spikes
  3. Under Armour Hovr Skyline TJ

Best High Jump Spikes

  1. Nike High Jump Elite Spikes
  2. Saucony Uplift HJ 2

Best Pole Vault Spikes

  1. Nike Pole Vault Elite
  2. Adidas Pole Vault Spikes

Best Javelin Spikes

  1. Nike Zoom Javelin Elite 3
  2. Adidas Adizero Javelin

Best Throwing Shoes

  1. Nike Zoom Rotational 6
  2. Adidas Adizero Shotput
  3. Adidas Adizero Throws

Spikes For Track - Frequently Asked Questions

How Do Track Spikes Work?

Track spikes work by providing additional traction on the track. Pointed spike pins screw into the sole and grip the track's surface, preventing slipping and allowing athletes to push off more efficiently. This can help to improve speed and reduce the risk of injury for track athletes.

Track spikes feature a spike plate on the bottom of the shoe, with the rigidity of the spike plate varying based on the level of athlete the spikes are geared towards.

track & field spikes

Beginner-level track spikes will have a more flexible spike plate, whereas spikes for elite athletes are very stiff. The spike plate's stiffness helps ensure energy is efficiently utilized each step, with rigid spike plates helping athletes bounce their feet off the ground to apply as much force as possible.

Track spikes are also very light, weighing as little as 4 ounces in some cases. The lightweight nature of spikes ensures that track athletes can run as fast as possible without being weighed down by some chunky brick of a shoe.

How To Put Track Spikes In Shoes?

Putting spikes in your track shoes is simple. Using the spike wrench supplied with your spikes, screw the spike pins in until they make contact with the shoe's base.

Turn another 1/4 to 1/2 turn for a secure fit. Ensure not to overtighten the spikes so that you do not strip them or get them stuck.

How Much Do Track Spikes Cost?

Spikes and shoes for track vary in price depending on various factors, including the brand, the technology in the shoe, and the level of athlete the track shoes target.

Entry-level track spikes for high school athletes can cost as little as $50, whereas elite-level spikes like the Nike Air Zoom Maxfly cost $180 or more.

If you need to save money on spikes, look out for discounts on models from previous years on a website like eBay, Zappos, or Ross.

What Size Spikes Come With Nike Shoes?

Nike spikes typically come with 1/4" pyramid spikes, the most common size, and style of spikes for track shoes.

What Spikes Are Best For Sprinting

You can check out our buyer's guide on the best spikes for sprinting to see our favorite picks.

Based on testing dozens of track spikes, the Nike Air Zoom Maxfly, Nike Superfly Elite 2, and Adidas Adizero Prime SP2 are the best spikes for sprinters who want high-performing spikes with the latest technology.

Where To Buy Replacement Spikes For Track Shoes

You can typically find good-quality spikes for track shoes at Amazon.

What Size Spikes For Indoor Track?

Indoor tracks typically require you to wear pyramid spikes that are either 3/16" or 1/4" in length. Avoid using longer spikes, as well as needle or tree spikes.

Can You Use Sprint Spikes For Distance

While theoretically you can use sprint spikes for distance, it is better to use a proper pair of distance running spikes.

Check out our guide on the best spikes for distance runners to learn more.

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