Choosing Track & Field Spikes

Running Spikes

Running spikes fall into three catagories:

Middle & Long Distance
Cross Country

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.

Cross Country 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.

Field Event Shoes

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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  • CarolineAugust 20, 2018 at 4:46pm
    My daughter is 9 and has joined an athletix club. She is only a size 12 trainer (11.5 shoe). Do you know if there is anywhere we can get spikes that will fit her.

    Caroline Reply
    • Dipika SmithAugust 21, 2018 at 3:52pm

      Hi Caroline,

      It's great to hear that your daughter is inspired to do track running. Unfortunately the smallest size available is a junior size 1UK. Hopefully she will grow into this size very soon :)

  • Nicci GirkinJanuary 6, 2019 at 12:04pm
    My daughter is a multi event athlete and only wants Nike or New Balance shoes as these seem to fit better however I have managed to buy a pair of spikes suitable for every event except javelin. I have been on the websites for several months but cannot get a pair of size 6 ( nike) javelin spikes can you help please Reply
    • Shankara SmithJanuary 7, 2019 at 1:40pm
      Hi Nicci,

      Ah, yes, Javelin spikes can be hard to get. We did stock them for many years but demand was so tiny that eventually we gave up. However, I think we may be able to help you. Could you contact us direct so we can discus your options? Please call our London store on 020 7222 1314 and ask for myself or Nandanti.

      Thanks. Reply
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