Types of track running spikes

A common element of any professional athlete's training shoes are running spikes. These small spikes vary in shape and material, but generally speaking look like small spikes that are located on the underside of the athlete's shoe.

The main purpose of any sprinting spike design is to improve the performance of the athlete, by increasing traction, bounce and, as a result, overall speed. There a numerous designs when it comes to running shoe spikes, which are made from different materials and come in various sizes. However, for simplicity the three most common designs will be discussed.

Compression Tier

Compression Tier spikes are technically not spike-shaped at all. Indeed, the ends of them are blunt and work by compressing the track, rather than piercing into it. This action allows the runner to enjoy an added bounce when the foot lifts, increasing their overall speed whilst promoting added traction.


Pin (or needle) spikes, as their name suggests, are finely pointed spikes. They have an average sized diameter and physically puncture the track, giving the athlete excellent grip whilst running and the ability to force forward at a stronger pace. Pin spikes have been banned from being used on certain tracks, as they can damage the track causing extensive repair costs over time.


Pyramid spikes are similar to pin spikes, though they have a smaller diameter. The shape of this type of spike is more conical than their pin counterparts, though they are equally as effective. They have the benefit of not being banned from venues as they do not cause damage to tracks like pin spikes.

These three designs are the most common spikes found on shoes, but new and innovative ways of providing athletes with grip and added performance are continually being investigated. Track running spikes are available from all good sportswear retailers that specialise in running shoes.

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