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A BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO RUNNING SPIKES

From choosing the right type to pin length and fit - here's everything you need to know to buy the right pair of spikes for you


Whether you're thinking about heading to the track to boost your endurance or taking up cross-country, you might be considering a pair of running spikes.

 

With different styles for short sprints, middle and long- distance running, knowing which ones to go for can be tricky. So here's everything you need to know to choose the best pair of running spikes for you...

Why use running spikes?

Running spikes are ultimately designed to help you run faster on certain, uneven terrain. By providing extra grip to the forefoot you can transfer more force forward, using that stick to push off, improving your stride turnover.

Lighter than regular road running or trail running shoes, running spikes will also help you pick up speed.

SPRINT SPIKES:

For short distances at speed, sprinting spikes are best for 100 metre to 400 metre sprints on a track. The lightest running shoe on the market they are designed to put the runner on their toes, leaving them with little to no cushioning at the heels and usually quite stiff. The spike plate at the front will have the maximum number of pins to take more force and provide as much grip as possible.  

MIDDLE DISTANCE SPIKES:

Still fairly lightweight middle distance running spikes will have more padding at the heel for greater cushioning over an 800 to 1500 metre distance. They're less rigid than sprinting spikes and the spike plate is not as far forward on the toe allowing for a more moderate speed. 

 

 

LONG DISTANCE SPIKES:

Best suited for events from 1500 metres to 10,000 metres, these running spikes provide the best cushioning while still maintaining a lightweight feel. They also do not feature the same aggressive spike plate as some of the shorter distance spikes. 

 

Designed to take on more force over a longer period of time they're made from more durable, but heavier, materials. Sometimes middle and long distance spikes are grouped together. 

CROSS-COUNTRY SPIKES:

With slightly more cushioning than your typical track spike, these are developed for running on grass in cross-country events. Typically used with longer spike pins, these are designed with more ankle support and a more secure fit for uneven terrain. 

Spike Pins

Spike studs, or 'pins', come in different shapes and sizes. 

  • 6mm - These are best for track and field events. This is the only size of spike pin that is permitted on most athletics tracks.
  • 9mm - Good for cross-country running, giving especially good grip in muddy and wet conditions.
  • 12-15mm - Perfect for very muddy conditions in cross-country races. 

Fit

Running spikes are intended to be snug to give you the most control over your foot but it’s important they’re still comfortable to keep you running at your best.

 

Don't Forget...!

  • Always carry spares if you're heading out for an event and make sure you check your pins frequently as they can wear down as quickly as in 3 months, especially if they are worn on concrete or other hard surfaces. Make sure you only wear your spikes whilst on the track or at a cross-country event on a soft surface.
  • As running spikes are a snug fit whether you wear socks or not is up to you. Going sock-free however can increase your chance of blisters so look for a thin technical sock to get the best of both.
  • Always break in a pair of running spikes before competing in them to reduce your risk of injury. Running spikes have a negative heel drop so extra stress is placed on your forefoot increasing your risk of plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, and shin splints.

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