Track and field spikes are specialized shoes. They are not only designed for track and field but designed specifically for each individual track or field event. I have been asked where to buy track and field shoes since entering the track equipment business. First, it is important to recognize that there are different types of track shoes depending on what track and field event you participate in. At the younger ages and lower abilities it isn’t as important to have specialized track and field shoes. However, as the athletes’ ability increases it is important to purchase the appropriate footwear. Multi-event track and field athletes have several pairs of track shoes, generally speaking one for each event. There are spike shoes for hurdling, mid-distance, multi-purpose, pole vault/long jump/ triple jump, high jump, distance, sprint, and javelin. At the upper levels appropriate footwear is critical.
Each different track shoe is designed for a specific purpose.
Sprint shoes are made for distances between 100m to 400m sprints. They generally have spikes only on the front half of the shoe, from the arch forward. They are very lightweight.
Hurdle spikes are used for those athletes that have chosen to sprint while jumping hurdles. They are flexible and designed to help cushion the athlete as they “land” after having jumped the hurdle.
Mid-distance shoes are used in the 800m to one mile race. They usually have a small cushion in the heel and are built sleeker than those built for distance.
Distance spikes are used in 3000m to 10,000m races. These athletic shoes usually have fewer spikes in the bottom of the shoe and more cushioning to handle the impact over a longer distance.
Pole vault/long jump/triple jump shoes they are designed to allow the athlete to jump well while still able to run fast in the run up.
High jump spikes have spikes on both the toe and the heel. They are the only track and field shoe that has spikes on the heel other than javelin shoe.
Javelin shoes are a heavier shoe with spikes that cover the whole bottom of the track shoe. The spikes can be as long as 1″ in length.
Multi-purpose spikes are low end mid-distance spikes. They are meant for athletes to generally wear during practice.
Spikes are metal “points” screwed into the bottom of the athletes spike shoes. They range in length from 1/8″ to 1″ in length. There are 5 different types of spikes.
Tartan spikes – Are used for rubber tracks and look like a dull needle.
Compression Spikes – (X-mas Tree) – they look like a Christmas tree and are used on rubber and tartan surfaces. They are used to help the athlete to avoid their shoes sticking into the track.
Studs – (Blanks) – These are used on indoor tracks and have no spike on them.
Needle – (Slim) – Needle spikes are used on all weather tracks and 3/16 ” is generally the recommended length. This allows for good traction while allowing for the athlete to still “release” from the track surface while running.
Pyramid – These are used on dirt or grass surfaces and can range up to 1″ in javelin spike shoes.
There are many places that sell track and field spikes. One place an athlete can purchase spike shoes is at your local “Foot Locker” or such stores. However, online shopping is becoming increasingly popular. Therefore, here is a short list of some of the online “stores” everythingtrackandfield, roadrunnersports, vsatheltics (which is the only one that I have found that has youth sizes).