by Robert Seaberg
The prospect of purchasing two pairs of shoes for one season may appear excessive. Rest assured, however, there are significant differences between training shoes and racing spikes. Most importantly, having a pair of spikes to accompany your training shoes is essential to making the most out of your season. And don't forget, we are here to help you.
What are Track Spikes?
Spikes are a unique type of running shoe. Traditionally, they are a minimal running shoe with replaceable metal spikes in the forefoot. Race spikes differ from traditional training shoes in a number of notable aspects including weight, support, flexibility, and durability. They generally weigh less, and sacrifice support and durability in order to maximize speed and performance.
Don’t let the sacrifice of support and durability scare you away. Track spikes are intended to be used sparingly. They are meant for racing and minimal practice. The majority of practice runs during the season should occur in training shoes which offer more cushion and support to help your body stand up to the repetitive stress of practice and training runs.
For reference, one of the most popular running shoes for training runs that that we offer is the Altra Escalante. This shoe features 24 mm of cushion in the heel and weighs 7.8 oz. In contrast, the Altra Golden Spike offers runners a mere 15 mm of cushion and weighs only 4.9 oz. This means that the spike cuts the weight and cushion practically in half.
Benefits of Spikes
Track spikes are designed to optimize speed. They will help you perform better, run faster, and be more competitive. Ultimately, they will make the race more fun. The fact that they weigh about half as much as a typical training shoe helps them make you more efficient. The minimal cushion and surface area make the track spikes more responsive. And the firm plate along with the spikes in the forefoot of the shoes let you really take off.
Different Kinds of Spikes
Some spikes are for the track, some are for cross country. Certain models have four, five, or six spikes in the front. Some models are prescribed for short sprints, middle distances, or longer distances. The options can be overwhelming. We’ve decided to make it easy, and this season we have a carefully curated selection that includes only one model from each of the brands that we carry: Asics, Altra, Brooks, and Saucony.
We have opted for models that provide versatility without compromising on any level of performance. The track spikes that we carry will function well for any distance on the track, from 100 meters to 10,000 meters, and any event, including hurdles.
They come with their own 1/8–1/4 inch spikes and a wrench.
The general rule for training shoes is take your regular shoe size and add one. With track spikes this may get a little more complicated. Many athletes prefer their track spikes to have a tighter fit than their training shoes. Some people do this to make their race shoe more responsive, and some runners even prefer to wear their track spikes without socks. Whatever your preference is, the best way to find the correct size is by simply trying on multiple sizes.
Visit Us or Shop KylesBikes.com
With an estimated 300–400 middle and high school runners in Ankeny between fall cross country and spring track, boys and girls, two high schools, and four middle schools the sooner you get a chance to come in and get your shoes, the better.
If you are outside the area, we encourage you to shop our on-line selection: Shop Now