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How to Select the Best Track Spike Shoes

By | January 20, 2013

How to Select the Best Track Spike Shoes

So … you have decided to try your skill at some track and field activities!  Good for you!  Do you know what equipment you will need to accomplish your goal?  How about the specific foot-wear for your chosen sport?  You know, your shoes can make or break it for your success in this arena.  Since, there is no substitute for good foot wear, let’s talk about how to select the best track spike shoes for your chosen sport.

Types of Track Spikes

Perhaps the first thing you need to know is that all track spikes are not created equal.  There are three basic shoe track spike designs:

Some other characteristics of track spike designs include lengths that range from 3/16 inch (5 mm) to ½ inch (12 mm), with ¼ inch (6 mm) being the most popular.  They are generally constructed of metal or ceramic, though you might also find some made of plastic.  Some tracks actually limit the length of the shoe track spike or prohibit needle or pin spikes to prevent damage to the surface of the track and injury to the players.

Best Track Shoe Construction

The construction of your shoe is pretty important for comfort as well as performance.  The soles of track and field foot wear are designed with a ”taper”, or upward bend of the toe of the track shoe to allow for the protrusion of the track spikes. This taper encourages athletes to spend more time on their toes when running. This taper can be designed rigidly or more flexibly, depending on the sport it is being used in.

If you are a sprinter, for example, your shoe will have the greatest number of track spikes in the toe of the sole with very little support in the heel of the shoe because sprinters spend most of their running time on their toes.  The taper on a sprinter’s track shoe is the highest and most rigid to keep him or her on their toes.

For the distance and cross country runner, the track spikes will be fewer and the taper lower with more support given to mid shoe spikes for more comfort and durability for those longer distances.  For the cross country runner, the track shoes will be similar to those described for the distance runner, with more support mid-foot and a more durable sole for more cushioning on the off-track terrain that these runners will encounter.

Track Spike Shoes Differ For the Jumpers

For those individuals who favor the long jump, the shoe and track spike design are similar to that of the sprinter to enable them to get the top speed needed for their long jumping.  For the high jumper, on the other hand, the track shoe is flat bottomed with the track spikes located in the heel section.  This design gives the jumper maximum energy transfer through the whole foot.

Not All Track Spikes have Spikes

Some track and field activities don’t require spikes on the track shoes.  Activities like Shot Put, Discus and Hammer Throw have “track spikes” that are flat bottomed.

Pick your sport … then pick your best track spike shoes for your best performance.

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