Best Sprint Spikes for Track in 2024

Updated:
 

Sprint spikes are designed for speed—they keep you on your toes, provide excellent traction for pushing you forward, and feel as lightweight as going barefoot.

Keep in mind that sprint spikes for track are pricey. But if you’re serious about sprinting, your performance will thank you for the investment. That said, you can still find decent spikes at budget-friendly prices to start you off.

Here’s our list of the best sprint spikes for track athletes.

Top 3 Best and Favorites

 

Nike Air Zoom Maxfly

 

  • Versatile sprint spike
  • Durable Flyweave upper
  • Carbon fiber fly plate
Check Price

Nike Zoom Rival

  • Breathable mesh upper
  • ¾-length plate
  • Midfoot band
Check Price

Saucony Spitfire 5

  • Synthetic upper
  • Molded Quarter Cage
  • Breathable mesh tongue
Check Men’s PriceCheck Women’s Price

Best Overall

1. Nike Air Zoom Maxfly

It’s no secret that Nike makes some of the best and most popular track spikes. The Nike Air Zoom Maxfly is a sleek, fast shoe with a bit of a price, but it’s worth it for the performance.

What We Like

These unisex spikes look great, first off. They come in a few bright, striking colorways with some mean-looking spikes. They’re created for one thing and one thing only—high speeds.

If you’re a short-distance athlete, you can’t go wrong with these. They have all the lightweight, streamlined sleekness for the 100-meter sprint but also feature enough comfort to see you quickly and speedily through the 400 meters.

They’re comfortable enough for a 400-meter race if you’re okay with a more aggressive spike for this distance but really excel at the 100 and 200. Great for hurdles too!

They’re super lightweight, even for a track shoe, at around 5.6 ounces. It’s one of the lightest around, thanks to its tech and the ultralight Flyweave upper, which is moisture-wicking and won’t hold onto sweat no matter how hard you run.

A feature we quite like is the textured laces, which help prevent them from accidentally coming loose. Together with a lightly padded heel collar and thin tongue, you can get a nice lockdown on the feet with these shoes.

You’ll find an aggressive set of 7 removable spikes that grip the ground and propel you forward with power.

The forefoot also has a two-piece Zoom Air unit—a small cushion that adds a spring to your step, making this shoe feel much more cushioned than the average pair of track spikes.

But the real speed feature here is the full-length carbon plate. It adds inherent stability to the shoe and boosts that propulsion when you toe-off.

Why We Like It

The Nike Air Zoom Maxfly sprint spikes are sleek! They’re also surprisingly versatile for shorter distances, being speedy enough for 100-meter races while comfortable enough for 400 meters. They’ve got it all—comfort, speed, cushioning, and a great look.

What to Consider

These track spikes are pricey! At $180, they cost more than most others, but you’re paying for the name and the quality. It’s worth the money, but the price may make it a less accessible choice for some runners.

It’s also definitely more suited to 100 to 200-meter races and will lose some of its effectiveness over longer distances. There’s also a slight possibility of the Zoom Air units deflating after a few runs if you’re a hard striker. Keep these in mind when buying!

PROS:

  • Versatile sprint spike that can also be used up to a distance of 800m
  • Durable Flyweave upper hugs your feet, providing a secure lockdown while allowing for some flexibility
  • Carbon fiber fly plate, ZoomX foam, and Air Zoom Unit provide a springy and responsive ride
  • Shockwave pattern on the outsole provides excellent traction

CONS:

  • Nike Air Zoom Units may deflate while sprinting after a few uses
  • One of the priciest shoes on the market
 

Top for New Sprinters

2. Nike Zoom Rival

If you’re new to track and looking for your first pair of spikes, the Nike Zoom Rival won’t disappoint. Built with Nike’s award-winning tech and at a great price point, they’re the ideal first pair for new sprinters.

What We Like

Available in a range of bright colors, you’ll feel as good in these shoes as you’ve ever felt. They don’t just look good, though—they’re designed to help you maximize your performance on runs up to 400 meters, including hurdles.

With six removable and replaceable spikes in the forefoot, there’s more than enough traction to boost you. The rear foot area has a rubber cushion for light shock absorption and durability.

The robust yet flexible upper hugs your foot. We particularly like the midfoot band that offers great support for the arch while stabilizing the foot through dynamic movements. Turns are not an issue in these spikes.

A wide reinforced overlay around the toe box helps to improve durability. The rest of the upper consists of lightweight mesh that won’t weigh you down or cause your feet to overheat.

There’s a ¾-length plate built into the midsole for some extra bounciness in the forefoot. Its shape and length helps keep you forward on your toes, for extra propulsion.

Why We Like It

The Nike Zoom Rival has everything you need in a great pair of spikes, plus a very nice price tag that’s ideal for first-time sprinters. They’ll power you through shorter runs until you know you love the sport and invest in a better pair!

What to Consider

The spikes may wear out a little quicker than higher quality, higher priced shoes. But that’s to be expected—these shoes are still superb quality.

What’s New

The plate in the Rival has been updated to boost the bounce on the push-off and increase speed. The upper has also been revamped for better durability, readability, and foot lightness.

PROS:

  • Breathable mesh upper with reinforced overlays on the toe box, increasing the durability out the starting blocks in high-wear areas
  • ¾-length plate offers stability while providing a snappy and responsive ride
  • Midfoot band offers a dynamic fit and supports the arch of your foot throughout your stride
  • Notched laces help keep the laces tied and in place as you run

CONS:

  • The spikes may wear out quicker than other shoes
 

Best Value

3. Saucony Spitfire 5

The Saucony Spitfire 5 is a unisex track shoe that performs exceptionally well for its price. If you’re looking for the best value for money, this is it!

What We Like

You get a surprisingly great experience in these track spikes for their price, from 60-meter to 400-meter events.

Its 7-pin Pebax spike plate is of excellent quality. The spike layout does a good job of increasing support in the forefoot and helping you maintain control at high speeds.

Between the Pebax plate, full-length EVA midsole, and excellent rubber outsole, these shoes provide a fair amount of shock absorption and have a decent level of comfort in addition to a nice bit of bounce.

The upper is stylish synthetic mesh, which not only looks good but hugs the foot for a great fit. Built into the upper is a Molded Quarter Cage, which increases support and gives it a more streamlined feel.

A sturdy heel counter, traditional lacing system, and slightly padded tongue add to the comfort of this shoe. Underfoot, you’ll find a thick layer of durable rubber that really works with the spikes to grip the ground and push you forward.

Why We Like It

They offer everything you need to run PRs in a surprisingly affordable package. Plus, they come in some funky colors!

What to Consider

These shoes aren’t the most flexible. Some users have likened the sole to hard plastic, so be aware of this before you buy!

What’s New

Updated features include a quarter cage for a more secure fit, a new outsole with more durable rubber, plus an overall reduction in weight and an increase in breathability.

PROS:

  • Synthetic upper molds to the shape of your foot and provides a secure lockdown
  • Molded Quarter Cage supports and stabilizes the midfoot while you run
  • Breathable mesh tongue is lightly padded for increased comfort
  • Lightweight and comfortable to wear out of the box

CONS:

  • The sole may feel rigid to some
 

Top Spike for Beginners

4. New Balance SD100 v4

The New Balance SD100 v4 is a forgiving track spike that’s excellent for beginners to get a feel for the shoe type. Plus, it’s well-priced for a first pair!

What We Like

These track spikes are classic—nothing fancy, but they do the job well. Like the others before, this shoe is designed for 60 to 400 meters.

A synthetic upper gives you the structure and stability to run comfortably and safely. The toe is overlaid, providing exceptional durability and protection against toe drag as you push off.

With a 6-spike plate in the forefoot and textured rubber covering the heel, you’ll get plenty of aggressive traction throughout your sprint. The molded heel locks your foot in place so no excess movement will slow you down.

As for comfort, there’s a layer of EVA foam in the forefoot that provides extra cushioning, plus the upper is surprisingly padded, including the tongue. This doesn’t hamper the fit, though.

Why We Like It

These spikes provide everything a beginner needs to start improving and hitting PRs, but nothing complicated or expensive. Perfect for those new to track!

What to Consider

The spikes may not last as long as other shoes. Keep that in mind if you use them often.

What’s New

The ankle collar has been reworked to make it more secure, giving it a more traditional, classic spike fit.

PROS:

  • Sleek upper with streamlined, breathable overlays that boost durability out of the starting blocks
  • Spike plate provides optimal rigidity to help propel you forwards
  • Molded heel offers lateral stability throughout your gait cycle
  • Durable rubber heel helps provide a strong grip while you’re waiting to push off

CONS:

  • The spikes may wear out faster than other shoes
 

Best Spikes for 100m

5. Nike Ja Fly 4

If the 100-meter race is your thing, the Nike Ja Fly 4 is a superb choice. Although it’s suitable for 60 to 400 meters, it excels at the shorter, sweeter distance.

What We Like

The Ja Fly 4 is Nike’s lightest sprint spike, which makes it speedy and absolutely comfortable on your feet. But they’re not only light but also low to the ground, providing excellent foot-to-track contact and lightning-fast energy return.

A uniquely-designed plate features an AI-designed hexagonal shape that provides stiffness where necessary while reducing the shoe’s overall weight. There are 7 spikes in the forefoot, giving you excellent traction to dig in and power forward.

It’s a close-fitting shoe—true-to-size, with a thin tongue and lightly padded ankle collar. The laces are flat and notched, providing the best lockdown possible and less chance of slipping while running.

Why We Like It

The Nike Ja Fly 4 is a fast, low shoe reminiscent of traditional spikes. If you want to get your next PR in the 100m, these are great shoes to have on your feet.

What to Consider

The shoe could be more breathable, which may be due to its close fit and synthetic upper. Take this into consideration if your feet overheat easily, but considering you won’t be wearing them for long periods, it might be something you can live with.

What’s New

The hexagonal plate is a new design. This shoe also has one fewer spike than the previous version, which featured 8. The upper is lighter than it was before.

PROS:

  • Breathable, woven upper with slightly off-set laces offers a snug and secure fit
  • Hexagonal plate is firm in the midfoot with a bit more flexibility in the forefoot, which offers a responsive ride
  • Firm heel counter provides support and stability during movement
  • Low to the ground, which provides excellent foot-to-track contact

CONS:

  • Not the most breathable upper
 

Best Spikes for 200m

6. Adidas Adizero Finesse Shoes

The Adidas Adizero Finesse track spikes have the perfect mix of support and speed, making them great for 200 to 400-meter races.

What We Like

While these shoes are suitable for distances between 40 and 400 meters, their features make them particularly good for 200-meter events.

At $130, they’re not entry-level shoes. They feature a full-length SPRINTFRAME spike plate with six spikes, providing the traction and the spring to push you through your race.

The Celermesh upper is surprisingly lightweight, with barely any tongue or heel collar padding. This is evidenced by the shoe weighing under 5 ounces—definitely built for speed!

Excellent breathability, a wide toe box for extra wiggle room despite a great lockdown and fantastic support from the SPRINTFRAME gives you everything you need to run a new personal 200-meter record.

Why We Like It

The Adidas Adizero Finesse is the ideal combination of supportive and fast. Extremely lightweight, it’s built to go fast while giving you the stability necessary to easily take on the corners.

What to Consider

While it’s got a pretty snug fit in the midfoot, the shoe does have a spacious toe box that may not feel comfortable on sprinters with narrow feet.

PROS:

  • Mesh upper with synthetic overlays molds to your foot for a true-to-size fit
  • A spacious toe box that can accommodate wide feet easily and comfortably
  • Molded, full-length spike plate provides excellent traction and smooth transitions
  • Lightweight shoe that’s easy to pick up the pace in and feels very secure on the bends

CONS:

  • It may not suit sprinters with narrow feet
 

Best Spikes for 400m

7. ASICS Hypersprint 8

The 5-spike ASICS Hypersprint is an excellent choice for events up to 400 meters. It’s less streamlined than others but carries all the features you need to power through a 400-meter race.

What We Like

This unisex shoe features five removable 6mm pyramid spikes in the forefoot for highly effective traction. These work together with a rigid resin plate, adding much-appreciated stability to your every step and a touch more energy return.

Inside the shoe is an EVA sockliner which adds shock absorption to each foot strike. It also helps to increase the shoe’s comfort, while providing a bit more support.

An impressive rubber heel finishes this shoe off, providing fantastic grip around corners and a little more impact absorption in a high-impact area.

The no-sew upper molds to your feet and provides a sleek fit, while light padding in the tongue and heel collar add to the shoe’s comfort.

Why We Like It

These spikes provide you with everything you need to run a cracker of a 400-meter race. The rigid plate offers stability and propulsion, and it’s a surprisingly comfortable shoe too!

What to Consider

Some people may prefer a more aggressive spike pattern, but this comes down to personal preference.

PROS:

  • Rigid resin plate propels you forward while enhancing traction and stability so you can run faster
  • EVA sockliner helps absorb shock, support your foot, and increase comfort
  • 5-spike design provide excellent traction over various distances
  • Unisex design that comes in two colorways

CONS:

  • The spike pattern may not be aggressive enough for some people
 

Most Versatile for Sprint and More

8. Nike Zoom Rival Multi-Event Spike

Another Nike shoe, the Zoom Rival Multi-Even spike shoe is separate from the one mentioned above.

This may have the same name as our number 2 shoe, but this is the version specifically created for multiple events—excellent for those still figuring out which event they want to focus on.

What We Like

This shoe is similar enough to the original Rival to know that it’s an excellent track shoe, but it’s created to be suitable for use in sprints, hurdles, pole vault, and any other jumping events.

A lightweight ¾-length plate offers extra stability and snappy feeling underfoot for those sprint distances. Six replaceable spikes made of strong ceramic aluminum help you to really dig in and push forward on your toes.

At the same time, there’s enough cushioning in the heel to provide comfort and shock absorption across slightly longer distances.

Another thing we like is the midfoot arch band, which works with the laces to allow for a dynamic fit that molds to your arch and provides custom support.

Why We Like It

This is the perfect shoe for those who are still deciding what event works for them. No need to go out and buy multiple pairs of shoes, and these are of great enough quality to really perform well in all events.

What to Consider

The spikes don’t last long, especially if you’re using them frequently for multiple events simultaneously!

PROS:

  • Specifically designed for multiple events, from sprints to longer distances to jumping events
  • Six replaceable ceramic aluminum spikes in the forefoot for excellent propulsion
  • Cushioning in the heel for comfort and shock absorption on longer runs
  • Midfoot arch band provides dynamic support and a custom fit

CONS:

  • The spikes don’t last that long
 

Top Brooks Sprint Spikes

9. Brooks QW-K v4

These are their speediest, sleekest track spikes if you’re a Brooks fan. They’re unisex and built to go fast!

What We Like

Also designed for distances up to 400 meters, the QW-K v4 uses lightweight materials to help you reach top speeds on the track. You’ll hardly feel like you’re wearing shoes at just 4.7 ounces and with a sock-like fit!

A 7-spike configuration offers optimal traction and control over your foot strikes. To complement the spikes, there’s a nylon plate built into the shoe, carefully designed to provide the right rigidity-to-weight ratio for top-notch performance.

With a drop of 1 mm, you’re very low to the ground on this ground. It’s the perfect opportunity to maximize that ground contact and run naturally.

Why We Like It

This is an excellent option from Brooks—surprisingly lightweight, with a decently aggressive spike layout, and low enough to the ground for super performance.

What to Consider

The upper may be slightly less breathable than others, but it may not be an issue if you’re only running short distances.

PROS:

  • Under 5 ounces in weight, making it light on the feet and fast on the track
  • 7-spike configuration offers a combination of traction and control
  • Integrated nylon plate maximizes the ratio of weight to rigidity
  • 1 mm heel-to-toe drop keeps you low to the ground and boosts ground contact

CONS:

  • Upper may be less breathable than others
 

Sprint Spike Buyers Guide

Fit

Sprinting spikes are meant to be tight but comfortable. For people who have never worn them before, be warned they won’t feel anywhere near as nice as your trainers. This is because they are designed to make you as fast as possible on the track – not for comfort and protection at practice.

Many spikes are narrow, especially in the mid-foot. This is by design to keep your foot locked securely in the shoe. If you have wider feet, it can be tricky to get a good fit because they run so narrow. Some people try going up in size to get extra width.

Sprinting spikes should also be fairly tight in the toes. You don’t want your toes smooshed in the front of the spike – instead you want them as close to the front as possible without touching.

This snug fit is to keep the spike as secure as possible. It should feel like an extension of your foot with the traction and stiffness to make you run faster.

Arch Support

If you have flat or low arches, you may be concerned about finding a pair of sprinting spikes with arch support. But unlike trainers that come with varying levels of built-in support for over-pronators (often people with flat arches), sprinting spikes don’t come in categories with different levels of support or stability.

So what are your options if you have flat feet?

None, really. But don’t worry! Sprinting spikes are usually worn for such a short distance, extra support isn’t necessary. If your feet hurt wearing them, then only put them on for meets. Use trainers for practice.

There are thin inserts that might fit in sprinting spikes (like the Superfeet Carbon), but these are only necessary in special cases.

Traction

You may have noticed that the more expensive spikes have more holes for spikes as well as more traction on the plastic plate. When sprinting, you want the spikes with as much traction as possible. This helps you push off and accelerate.

You’ll also find that all the spikes and traction are on the ball of your foot and toes. This is perfect as you’ll be running on your toes for the entire race.

Weight

Your sprinting spikes should be as light as possible. They should feel like an extension of your feet – getting them as light and snug as possible will help you run to your max ability.

FAQs

What distances can I run in sprint spikes?

Most sprinting spikes are designed for distances of 400 meters or shorter. Anything longer and you’ll start heel striking as you run. Because sprint spikes are designed to make you run on your toes, they won’t feel comfortable or natural if you land on your heels.

If you plan on running distances longer than 400 meters, but still do some sprint distances, middle distance spikes are recommended. These have more flexibility to allow for heel striking, but offer enough stiffness that they’ll be appropriate for sprinting.

What’s the difference between sprint spikes and other types of track spikes?

Sprinting spikes have stiff, hard spike plates on the bottom of the shoe. They are designed to hold your feet firmly in place and keep you on your toes as you run. The upper is often more substantial than other spikes to lock in tighter to your feet.

Middle distance and long distance spikes are more flexible, making them better for heel striking. The uppers are often lighter and less substantial than sprinting spikes. They typically have fewer spikes since traction is less important for longer distances.

Are the spikes removable?

Yes! They can be taken in and out as needed. Depending on your meet, you may be required to run without spikes or with lengths different than what’s included with the shoes. The spikes can be removed with a spike wrench (included in these spikes).

How do I put the spikes on the shoes?

Start them off with your fingers, then tighten them with the included wrench.

Are spikes included? What length?

All good sprinting spikes come with spikes and a wrench to take them in and out. If your shoes didn’t come with spikes, they are likely an inferior brand or got lost somewhere in transit. Check with the store where you bought them.

1/4 inch spikes are the standard length for track spikes. Depending on your meet, you may need to swap them out for shorter or longer spikes. Always check with your coach to determine the correct length. When in doubt, use the 1/4 inch spikes included with the shoes.

What’s a spike bag and do I need one?

Spike bags are small, plastic bags with a cinch drawstring to hold your spikes when transporting them. The better spikes come with a spike bag. They can also be purchased separately.

What size should I order for unisex shoes?

Most spike shoes are listed in men’s sizes, even for unisex shoes.

Depending on the brand, women’s sizes are 1.5 to 2 sizes smaller than men’s. Check the brand for the exact difference. When in doubt, most brands use 1.5 as the size difference.

So if you are a women’s size 8, then order a men’s size 6.5.

Should I run with socks or without?

Many athletes feel they run faster without the burden of socks. They also claim they get a more responsive feel.

The downside to going sock-less is you’re more prone to hot spots and blisters. If you don’t get blisters and want to go sock-less, by all means, do it. If you are prone to blisters, a thin, moisture-wicking sock (like these) are a good compromise.

You might also want the extra cushioning and comfort of a thicker sock. That’s also fine.

Ultimately, it’s personal preference and your choice will likely have little impact on your final results.

Why Trust Us

After owning a running store for over 5 years, Ben Drew has tons of experience fitting track athletes for sprinting spikes. Ben knows which models and brands work best for which athletes. He also knows which spikes are good for beginners and which ones experienced athletes should use. Ben also researched and wrote this article using our testing and review process.

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AUTHOR

Ben is an avid road and trail runner, and has completed multiple marathons and ultras. A former running store owner, he now shares his knowledge and experience writing these articles.