Track spikes have been worn since the 1920’s, when Adi Dassler, founder of Adidas, first created them. Track events encompass sprinting events, mid distance events, and distance events, and it’s vital to make sure you have the right shoe for your foot and your event. Today, we’ve rounded up the top six mid distance track spikes for running events from the 600-meter to the 10,000-meter.
A sprinting spike has almost no heel and pushes the runner up on her toes for maximum liftoff, but a mid distance spike has more support, as the runner needs more over a longer distance. You’ll also find a fairly stiff forefoot in the spike plate that still has enough flex for heel landing.
The spikes themselves – also called pins – are also different. Generally speaking, the longer the event, the fewer spikes you’ll need. With a mid distance shoe then, you won’t see as many spikes as a sprinter, but you’ll still have more than a long distance shoe.
Mid distance spikes are the most versatile of all the track spikes. If you are new to track and trying lots of different events, mid distance spikes are a good option as they work fairly well for events like jumping and sprinting.
Ready to find the best mid distance track spike? Let’s get started!
Top 3 Best and Favorites
Lightest Mid Distance Track Spike
1. Saucony Ballista 2
The Saucony Ballista 2 has everything you’d want in a high quality mid distance track spike. This updated version now comes with a woven upper and a firmer spike plate in response to racers wanting a crisper toe. That woven upper is made with flexfilm, a melded fabric in the upper. Racers enjoy a feel that’s more seamless and flexible.
The Ballista 2 also has ISO Fit, a rib-strapping system that hugs your foot to hold it in place without any strong pressure points.
Like most mid distance spikes, the Ballista comes with six spike implements, all of which are removable. Despite its extremely low weight of 3.1 ounces, there’s still a padded collar for ankle comfort and a lace-up closure for added fit benefits. This shoe has a very thin foam insole that will provide some padding.
This track spike also has a unique look that is both eye-catching and attention-grabbing.
- Extremely lightweight (only 3.1 ounces)
- Reviewers claim high levels of flexibility
- Not as much cushioning as other spikes
Best Mid distance Track Spike for New Athletes
2. Saucony Vendetta 2
The Vendetta is a great all-around shoe. While not as light as other shoes featured here (this Saucony shoe weighs in at 5.3oz) it is still so light you might forget you’ve got them in your gym bag! The Vendetta is the perfect spike for new track athletes. It’s versatile enough to work as a jumping and longer sprinting shoe.
Thanks to the Vendetta’s six spikes arrayed around the front of the shoe, you’ll get great traction as you run around the track. It should also be noted that this shoe comes in male and females sizes while many spikes are unisex. This means less hassle about converting sizes.
It does run slightly narrow, so if you have a wide foot, it might not be the best choice. The breathable mesh upper and molded EVA midsole create a shoe that will give you that extra burst of speed you need.
- Versatile spike for many events
- Men’s and women’s sizes
- Durable construction (includes tear resistant mesh uppers)
- Eye-catching colors and design
- Runs narrow
- Little cushion
- Some complaints about spikes breaking
Best Aggressive Traction Mid distance Track Spike
3. New Balance MD800v5
The MD800v5 from New Balance is another lightweight track shoe with a range of supportive benefits for the runner. An innovative shoe, the MD800 takes advantage of several technologies from its creator, New Balance, among them Fantom Fit and a Pebax plate.
Fantom Fit is an engineering technology that fuses two thin materials in the upper together in a no-sew process. This provides support that is extremely light, as well as flexible. The seamless upper increases comfort and cuts down on opportunities for blisters. It also allows for running without socks, if that’s your preference.
The Pebax plate provides strong support under the toebox, important because it holds the six spikes that provide the power for you to push off the track. The Pebax plate is comprised of a high-strength thermoplastic polymer which extends the length of the sole, providing a unique look and superior traction.
This track spike provides great traction even with the spike implements removed.
- Lightweight (4.5oz)
- Seamless, breathable upper
- Superior traction and support, thanks to the Pebax plate
- Extra support on outer sole means small amount of weight is added to shoe
Best Support for Longer Mid distance Runs
4. New Balance MD500v5
This shoe from New Balance is another top contender in the best mid distance spike category. While the MD800 from New Balance is slightly more aggressive, the MD500 will be more comfortable over longer mid distance runs. The extra comfort comes from the EVA heel wedge that provides added protection for longer mid distance events.
Of course, the extra heel protection adds more weight (5.1oz). Every runner, however, will have to make a personal decision about the trade-off between weight and comfort.
With that in mind, the MD500 comes with some spectacular tech. A Pebax bar made from high-strength thermoplastic polymer lends support and flexibility (without much weight) to the outsole, while the new-so upper on the New Balance shoe lends itself to increase comfort and support.
- Extremely comfortable, thanks to the EVA heel wedge
- Added strength from the full-length Pebax plate
- Strong support
- Seamless upper
- Slightly heavier (5.1oz) than other spikes
Best Mid distance Track Spike for High School Athletes
5. Nike Zoom Rival M 9
If you’re a beginner looking for a well-reviewed spike to get you started on the track, the Rival from Nike checks all the right boxes. You’ll want something a little less aggressive to ease into track competitions. The Rival comes with great support and comfort without sacrificing extra weight and overall performance.
Nike utilizes Flywire technology on its Rivals, which consists of filaments that are strategically placed across the upper. Nike likens this to cables on a suspension bridge, and the result is support for your arch and midsole without heaviness. In fact, as you close in on the finish line, this tech will help you focus solely on your race, not on your shoes.
This shoe does tend to fit a bit wider, so if you’ve got a narrow foot it might not be a good option. Depending on the iteration, you’ll find six or seven spikes on the spike plate.
- Flywire cable tech provides comfort and support
- Lightweight feel
- Good for new athletes
- Heaviest shoe reviewed today
- Tends to run wide
Best Performance Mid distance Track Spike
6. Nike Zoom Victory 3
The Victory line from Nike is one of the brand’s top performance spikes. In fact, this was the shoe one of the most popular spikes at the 2016 summer Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro. Where most of the other shoes mentioned today have a full-length Pebax plate, the Victory has a ¾-length plate to add strength where needed and then switches to a Cushlon foam for the heel to provide comfort and decrease weight.
At just 3.5oz the Victory is one of the lightest spikes you can find, and is perfect for the aggressive competitor. Further, this shoe is water resistant, so if you live in a damp climate, you’ll appreciate the extra protection provided in the spikes.
Despite the thin upper, the internal arch wrap provides a very secure clamp. So secure in fact that it’s recommended to size up at least once size, particularly if you’re not used to such a snug shoe.
- Extremely lightweight
- Very aggressive performance
- Used by top athletes
- Fits small
- Might be uncomfortable for new runners