When it comes to achieving your best on race day, you simply can not beat the advantage that a good pair of sprinting spikes gives you. They are designed and developed with one purpose in mind - to help you beat your competition.
A quality pair of sprinting spikes are a worthwhile investment if you are looking to take your running to the next level. Keep reading to find the best spikes available on the market this year.
Do Track Spikes Make You Faster?
When it comes to sprinting, there is no doubt that a good pair of well-fitting, properly set-up spikes can make you a faster sprinter. In studies involving male regional and national sprint athletes, results showed that spikes improved their elapsed times by 6%.
This was found to be down to three factors:
- Runners are more balanced when wearing spikes.
- Less time is spent making contact with the ground.
- Less energy is wasted when making contact with the ground.
This means if you are running the 100 meters in 12 seconds wearing normal running shoes, theoretically you should be able to run an 11.28 in good track spikes. As any sprinter knows, taking almost an entire second of a race is a massive accomplishment. For sprinters trying to run their absolute fastest, there is no replacement for track spikes.
What Are Top Athletes Saying About Track Spikes?
For the most part, sprinters of most abilities all take advantage of the extra grip, lightness, and speed that track spikes can provide. For many years, shoe manufacturers all followed an un-written code and all designed their running spikes in more or less the same manner.
However, in recent years, a number of companies have started to create what is being called “Super Spikes.” These shoes are not only designed to be as lightweight as possible but are now being designed with a stiff plate (most often carbon) and more foam in the midsole, much like many of the fastest road shoes being made today. The stiff plate reduces the amount of energy needed in each stride, while the softer midsoles reduce and slow onset fatigue.
Just as with carbon-plated on-road shoes, these new shoes are dividing the racing community, as some don’t agree that they should be allowed in competition. Usain Bolt, widely considered the greatest sprinter of all time, was quoted as saying:
“When I was told about it I couldn’t believe that this is what we have gone to, you know what I mean? That we are really adjusting the spikes to a level where it’s now giving athletes an advantage to run even faster.”
Who knows how much faster his World Records would be if he was able to run them in super spikes? While some runners see these newly designed shoes as a form of cheating, others have taken to them immediately, as anything that can help make them even the slightest bit faster is considered worthwhile.
Do Track Spikes Hurt?
Compared to normal running shoes, sprinting spikes are designed quite differently. While running shoes are designed to be soft and cushioned for long uses, track spikes meant for sprinting are the exact opposite. They are lightweight, stripped of most if not all cushioning, and are not designed to be worn for any longer than a very short race.
Due to the lack of padding, they can cause some discomfort, especially when you are breaking a new pair in. Running spikes also have a negative heel drop, so extra stress is placed on your forefoot. This can increase your risk of plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis, and shin splints.
Here are some tips to help reduce the discomfort when wearing spikes:
- Make sure your spikes are designed for the distance you intend on running in them. (See “How to Choose the Correct Track Spikes” Below)
- Track spikes fit a bit differently, so make sure you don’t simply buy the same size as your running shoes. Running shoes are usually sized with an extra thumb’s width of room, whereas spikes need to fit snugly. It is not uncommon for your spike size to be a full size smaller than your running shoes.
- If you are planning on wearing them with socks, make sure they are wicking, and preferably seamless. Some runners prefer not to wear socks at all, saying it gives them better feel and control. Do not wear cotton socks as they will make your feet prone to blisters.
- Ensure that your spikes are broken in before race day.
Are Track Spikes Worth the Cost?
How serious you are about running will depend on whether running spikes will be worth the cost for you. No matter your skill level, there can be quite a varying range in the price of spikes. A cheap pair of spikes can start around $40-50 US, with some shopping around. High-end track spikes can be $200 US or more per pair, so you need to make sure that you need them before spending the money on them.
If you are a high school or college athlete (or a parent of a student) track spikes can be a worthwhile investment to get the absolute best performance on race day. When a few hundredths of a second can mean winning a race or missing a podium entirely, having the best possible footwear on is extremely important.
If you are a weekend runner or a long-distance runner who wants to do some track speedwork on a track, spikes likely aren’t necessary at all, especially if you are on a tight budget. That doesn’t mean you can’t buy them for the occasional sprint session, just that they probably won’t be the best money you could spend on shoes.
If you do decide you need to purchase some spikes, here are some tips for getting the best deal on your next shoe purchase:
- Buying shoes at the end of the season (as the new models come out) is a great way to get some great prices on shoes. Both manufacturers and retailers are highly incentivized to get rid of the old stock before the new models are released.
- If you know your feet aren’t going to grow any bigger, buying several pairs of the same shoes at once can also save you some money.
- Online retailers can have some great deals throughout the year. Just make sure you shop early as these can sell out of popular sizes and styles quickly.
How to Choose the Correct Track Spikes
Once you’ve determined that you are going to buy track spikes, how do you go about choosing the best pair for your feet? If you’ve owned spikes before, it can be as simple as upgrading your old pair to a newer version of your current track spikes.
If you are shopping for spikes for the first time, buying them online is a great choice as most retailers including TrackSpikes.co offer a 30-day return policy if you don’t end up liking how they fit, or how the sizing is on your feet. While you don’t have the convenience of being able to try them on in-store, you can rest assured that the we will work with you to make sure you are happy with your purchase.
As there are 4 different types of spikes, it is imperative that you get the correct style of shoe. Track spikes designed for running events are broken down into 3 main different categories: Sprinting spikes, mid-distance spikes, and long-distance spikes. (The 4th kind of spike is for field events, such as javelin or long jump). For sprinting events (100, 200, and 400 meters), sprinting shoes will give you the best results.
Sprinting spikes have a stiff spike plate that runs from the heel up to the toe, where it is the stiffest. This allows runners to stay on their toes where the spikes are located, which provides the maximum amount of traction when running on a track. They also feature a contoured upper that keeps the foot secure and prevents it from moving around inside the shoe.
Mid-distance spikes can be used for shorter events in a pinch, but sprinting shoes should never be used for longer events.
Some tips for assuring you purchase the best sprinting spikes for your needs:
- Unlike running shoes, where your foot is designed to be entirely on the ground, sprinting spikes are designed for you to be on your toes the entire time. For this reason, there is no differentiation in shoes for runners who pronate or supinate.
- Try on as many different brands and models as you can before deciding which feels best for you. Everyone’s feet are different, so shoes will feel different to different runners.
- While it is recommended that sprint spikes be quite a snug fit, some runners (both novice and pros) prefer a looser fit for their spikes. Trying a few different sizes of the same shoe will give you an idea of what works best for your feet.
- When trying on spikes, take a pair of the socks you plan on running in to test fit the shoes with. Trying them on with the wrong socks can cause them improper fitment when you wear them with your running socks.
The Best Sprint Spikes 2023
With every new year comes new and updated models of shoes, so picking the best pair of sprinting spikes can be a bit overwhelming. To make it a bit easier to choose the pair that is best for you, below are 5 reviews for some of the best sprinting spikes of 2023.
1. HYPER CARBON CP2 SPRINT TRACK SPIKES
The Hyper carbon CP2 sprint spikes offer a full length carbon fiber plate to offer a stiff responsive plate for maximum speed for all sprinters. The lightweight shoe comes in 3 awesome colors and during testing it provided a slightly better sprinting experience than the Nike Maxfly and for a lower price tag.
Price: $169.99 - Shop Here
2. NIKE AIR ZOOM MAXFLY SPRINT SPIKES
The Nike Maxflys need no introduction. One of the most popular sprint spikes since their release, they offer a carbon plate for improving acceleration. The negatives of the Maxfly include the high price, the unavailability and in some cases a broken carbon plate. The reasons the CP2 got top spot is that they are a more superior shoe with more durability.
3. STORM Z SPRINT TRACK SPIKES
Launched back in 2019 when TrackSpikes.co entered the market, this versatile sprint shoe can be used for 60m right up to 400m with hurdles. Lightweight and featuring a stiff plate the shoe offers excellent value for money which comes in at under $70. When it comes to finding the best entry level sprint spikes look no further than the Storm Z spikes.
Price: $64.99 - Shop Here
4. HONEYCOMB SPRINT TRACK SPIKES
The Honeycomb sprint spikes are the perfect track spikes for someone looking for an aggressive plate with maximum rigidity. The upper features a honey comb design bound to help you stand out on the track. This shoe performs best for 100m-400m. The 8-pin layout provides exceptional traction and comfort to propel you down the track.
Price: $67.99 - Shop Here
5. HYPER CARBON CP1 SPRINT TRACK SPIKES
The CP1 offers many aspect of the CP2 sprint spikes but for a more competitive price. Like its counterpart it features a carbon plate, however its not as stiff as the CP2. The CP1 comes in 3 amazing colors and is super lightweight.
Price: $149.99 - Shop Here
If you are looking to run a new personal best in 2023, track spikes may be just what you need to unlock your full potential. Not only can they help you run a new personal best in your favorite sprinting event, but they can also help avoid injuries from things like slipping in less-than-ideal track conditions. Don’t wait any longer, get yourself fitted for some sprinting spikes today and work towards becoming the fastest sprinter you can be.