Choosing Track & Field Spikes
Running spikes fall into three catagories:
Sprint spikes can be used up to 400m, above that you need middle/long distance spikes, these are suitable for all distance events and interval/repetition based track training, most are also suitable for cross country, unless otherwise stated, but will need a longer spike to give better grip.
Specialist cross country spikes differ from track spikes in that they have: a more rugged outsole for better grip a flexible spike plate gives a better footstrike on rough ground and prevents a spike plate from shattering on sharp stones, a slightly more durable, and in some cases water resistant, upper to cope with the challenges of the best of traditional British cross country courses.
Choosing the first pair
When they first start athletics with their local club or school most youngsters and beginners will try out a variety of track and field events and possibly cross-country in the winter. The best choice for this is an "all round" spike which will give enough cushioning for distance events, but will still allow you to get on your toes and run fast! They can also be used for training and competition and for cross country with longer spikes.
All round spikes can be used for cross-country with longer spikes to give better trip (9mm, 12mm or 15mm depending on the conditions). There are also specialist cross-country spikes. These have a more rugged one-piece outsole for better grip and a flexible spike plate giving a more secure foot strike on rough ground. They also have a more durable and protective upper. Some cross-country courses state they are not suitable for spikes and that is when the spikes v studs debate starts. Studs have rubber pyramid-studded soles (eg Walshes), which can be used, on any cross-country course and for hill running.
Once you are specialising in a particular event you may want to get a specialist competition spike. These generally have more technical features than all round spikes and are designed more specifically for a particular discipline: sprints, middle or long distance on the track, as well as shoes for all the individual field events. These can be used for training as well, but the track spikes will generally not offer as much cushioning or protection as a more specialist spike. Also generally not for use in cross-countries as the spike plate can be damaged on stony sections of a course. Runners either prone to injuries or recovering from injury sometimes use racing shoes for training on the track to give more cushioning.
We endeavour to carry a good stock of these more specialised field shoes for jumping and throwing, but availability of some models in store can be seasonal due to both availability from our suppliers and the seasonal nature of track and field. If you are making a special trip to buy a field event shoe, please do contact us to check availability before making your journey.
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