What are the types of Track & Field Spikes?

There are nine basic types of Track Shoes:

  • Sprint spikes - Made for 100m to 400m sprints. They usually have no heel, very lightweight, and either have a flexible, or stiff spike plate. Flexible plates are great for 200-400, stiff plates help straight-line speed.


  • Hurdling - 100m, 110HH, and 400H. Most hurdlers run with either a flexible sprint spike or a middle distance spike because they have a small cushioned heel.


  • Middle Distance - 800m to Mile. These spikes usually have a small cushioned heel and a small forefoot spike plate. They have a smaller footprint than distance spikes.


  • Distance - 3000m to 10,000m. These spikes usually have fewer spikes in them and smaller spike plates but a full length cushioning. The elite level spikes have very little anything to reduce weight. Steeplechasers also use a distance spike.


  • Pole Vault/Long Jump/Triple Jump - These spikes have a thin, full length midsole for cusioning and stability when planting. TJ shoes usually have a different heel since they have to handle the 3 plants of a triple jump. Pole vault shoes are generally labeled as either LJ or TJ since they have similar takeoff requirements.


  • High Jump - These spikes have rearfoot spikes as well as forefoot. They are designed to allow a firm plant for the takeoff foot.


  • Javelin - Javelin boots are big and heavy. They have the support and both front and rear spikes to handle the approach and plant of a javelin thrower.


  • Throw - Shot/Discus - Two types of shoes are made, glide shoes and spin shoes. Some brands just have one choice, some seperate them like Nike (SD and rotational) and Adidas (hammer/discus and shotput). Glide shoes usually have a textured bottom for grip. Rotational shoes have a smoother bottom for better spin.


  • Multi-Purpose - these are low end middle distance spikes that have a full length midsole and a generic spike plate. They are meant for athletes that want an everyday spike to wear in practice. They can be used for almost any event except throws.

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