Tips on choosing the right athletics spikes

When you move on from a pair of trainers to investing in proper athletics spikes, you're making the step up to becoming a serious runner. We offer a few tips on finding the right spikes for your purposes. All the main brands and variations can be found online at sites like www.sportsshoes.com.

  • Appreciate the purpose of the spikes. They are there to keep your foot from sliding back, so the maximum force can be used for projection forwards. Making best use of your spikes will involve a little study of your ideal running position.
  • Look for lightness. Athletics spikes are not for everyday wear, they are just for your chosen event, so the emphasis is on performance, not how cool or tough they look.
  • If you are a sprinter, seek out the specialist sprint spikes that have no padding in the heels, because ideally you are doing all your running off the front of your feet. The spike plate is on the toes to encourage the correct sprinting position. You can use these for all distances up to 400 metres.
  • Middle distance spikes offer a little bit of compromise, and some cushioning in the heel. The spikes still encourage you to push with the front of the foot.
  • Long distance spikes offer much more support and cushioning. There are different spikes for track running and cross-country running, with the latter offering better grip, cushioning and protection.
  • It can be helpful to join in a discussion about the best types of athletics spikes at one of the popular running forums, or pick up some more technical advice at a specialist site like the Running Advisor (www.therunningadvisor.com).

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