Choosing Track & Field Spikes

Author: Taylah Danaë Baggs  Date Posted: 23 August 2019

Buying a pair of spikes (athletic shoes with spikes on the sole) needs a surprising amount of consideration. The right spikes can make all the difference between a slow, sloppy run and a legendary PB.

Fit and Sizing

Spike shoes should feel snug and secure, without cramping your feet. Your toes should be close to the front but not actually touching the end. Forget wide toe boxes and toe splay on the track. Spikes aren’t built for comfort, but to secure your foot and provide great traction.

Spikes tend to run narrow. If you have a wide foot, you may have to size up. Be aware that this may result in wearing shoes longer than what you’re used to, with a potential for heel slippage.

TRACK

Saucony Spitfire

Sprint (50m-400m)

Recommended replacement spikes: 5mm or 7mm Christmas Tree

Sprint spikes keep you on your toes, providing aggressive traction and reducing ground contact time. They feature:

Middle Distance (800m-1500m)

Saucony Vendetta

Recommended replacement spikes: 7mm Christmas Tree or 7mm Pyramid

Mid-distance spikes are versatile enough to be your best option if you’re unsure which spike shoe to get, or if you’re  competing in multiple events and don’t have the budget for multiple shoes. They feature:

Long Distance (3000m-10,000m)

Recommended replacement spikes: 5mm Pyramid

Saucony Endorphin

Long distance track spikes are basically extreme racing flats. Light, soft and nimble, they lack the support and aggression of shorter distance spikes. They feature:

FIELD

Saucony Uplift High Jump Shoes

High Jump

Recommended replacement spikes: 7mm High Jump or 7mm / 9mm Pyramid

High jump spikes provide support and traction during the approach and plant, keeping your shoes secure as you flip over the bar. They feature:

Long Jump / Triple Jump / Pole Vault

Saucony Soarin Long Jump Shoes

Recommended replacement spikes 7mm Pyramid (or 7mm Christmas Tree for Pole Vault)

Spikes for pole vault, long jump and triple jump provide extra support during take-off and landing, plus traction on the runway. They feature:

Throwing (Javelin)

Recommended replacement spikes: 7mm, 9mm or 13mm Pyramid

Saucony Lanzar Javelin Shoes

Javelin spikes are essentially boots with spikes for traction during the approach, plus solid plants. They feature:

Shotput and discus shoes don’t have spikes. Their soles either provide extra spin (for discus) or grip (for shotput).

CROSS COUNTRY

Recommended replacement spikes: 5mm, 7mm, 9mm or 13mm Pyramid

Saucony Kilkenny Cross Country Spikes

Heavier, more durable and more cushioned than track spikes, cross country spikes look more like a lightweight racing flat. They feature:

REPLACEMENT SPIKES

Omni-Lite Replacement Spikes

Think all those metal spikes on your soles are the same? Not so. Spikes come in a variety of lengths, shapes and even materials. Always check the guidelines for your track or race before purchasing spikes to ensure the length and shape is permitted.

Length

The default spike length is ¼ inch or 6mm. Other common lengths include 5mm, 7mm, 9mm, 15mm and 18mm. Go shorter for harder surfaces, and longer for softer or soggier surfaces.

Shape

Restrictions

Omni-Lite Replacement Spike Blanks

Please remember to check each event or track’s rules and regulations.

FINAL TIPS