A Guide To Athletics Spikes
If you want to go that extra mile as an athlete, adding spikes to your shoes can help you do just that. Of course, they won't do all of the work, but the extra grip and traction they provide can certainly go a long way!
Which Type of Athletic Spikes do I Need?It can be challenging to work out what spikes would be best for you with so many options out there. However, with this brief guide at hand, we’re here to help!
First, let's look at some of the most common spikes that you can buy on the market...
When it comes to what spikes you can buy, there are usually two main types. One of these is called a puncture spike, while the other is known as a compression spike...
As the title suggests, these spikes are designed to run into the ground with great ease! They are great at giving you extra grip, and generally speaking, if you mainly work with standard surfaces, these are probably your best bet. If this is what you're ideally after, Pyramid and Needle spikes are perhaps the most common options you can get...
If you're new to spikes, Pyramids are an excellent place to start. They work great on grass and rubber, and you can use them either for track or cross country. Also, with one of the most extensive size ranges available, they are suitable for every discipline. With their impressive duration and versatility, you can't go wrong by picking up some of these!
Needles are generally considered to be better suited for lighter runners. They sink deeper into the track than other alternatives, as their points are much sharper than those of a Pyramid. If you're going to invest in Needles, make sure you use them with caution. They're probably not the best for beginners!
Instead of puncturing the ground, these spikes compress the surface instead. If you work mostly on Mondo surfaces, these spikes could be the better option for you, as they are known to give you better return on surfaces of this nature. Many compression spikes are readily available to buy, although the Christmas Tree is probably the most well known within the world of athletics...
Christmas Tree Spikes
Despite the unusual name, these spikes have been used by athletes for years! Much like Pyramids, they compress the track surface as opposed to puncturing it. However, their design is slightly different. Instead of being pointy like a Pyramid, Christmas Trees are more geometrical in shape, which would result in the sprinter making more contact with the track due to their flatter tips. Some tracks have also banned these spikes from their grounds in fear of them ripping the surface to shreds. Therefore, it's best to ask your coach beforehand whether these spikes are a wise choice moving forward!
Alternative SpikesAthletes often go for any one of the above spikes, depending on what their main disciplines are. However, there are other alternatives available to buy on Neuff’s website, which may prove to be something else for you to consider…
In a similar fashion to Needles, these spikes dig into the track instead of compressing the surface. They're easy to put in and remove too and are suitable for track and cross-country. Overall, they provide you with impressive traction, regardless of your discipline!
These spikes have a wider top and are less pointy than Hexagonals, making them most similar to Christmas Trees. In terms of surface, they have been reported to give a better return reaction on Mondo surfaces. Therefore, if you're often found on these surfaces, this could be another viable option for you.
Typically, Tartan spikes are exclusively used on rubber tracks. They are dull and have pointed pins, much like Needles and Pyramids. As they’re only for rubber tracks, they are a niche spike and should only be considered if you spend most of your time on rubber surfaces.
Steel Spikes or Ceramic Spikes?
What the spikes are made from will also influence how you perform on the track. Most spikes will either be steel or ceramic, both of which have their own advantages and disadvantages...
These are the more traditional spikes out of the two. In terms of wear and tear, they're pretty durable and should last you for a little while. However, they will be the more hefty option out of the two due to this.
Ceramic (Omnilite) Spikes
While Ceramics are lighter than Steels, this means that you will get less endurance with these spikes. It's therefore essential to take your shoes off before walking off the track or over concrete if you own spikes of this type. They also come in a range of great colours to match your spike shoes, which is perfect if you like to colour coordinate!
Which Size Athletic Spikes do I Need?
When it comes to buying spikes, you'll probably notice that they come in different sizes. It's essential to work out how big you need your spikes to be, as it will impact how you run. To give you an idea of how this can affect sprinters, take a look at this brief guide to sizing... although many more sizes are available for purchase!
One of the smaller sizes of spikes you can buy, and the one which is permitted on the majority of athletic tracks. Generally speaking, this size is most suitable for track and field events.
These are great for disciplines such as javelin and high jump. On the other hand, they're also great for cross country in dry conditions. Therefore, while these spikes are slightly bigger, they can still be relatively versatile for athletes.
Spikes of these sizes tend to be better in much more challenging conditions. As such, they will likely give you a boost in confidence when you're on muddy ground. However, spikes this big are often forbidden from tracks. It's worth getting advice from your coach if spikes this big are something that interests you!
What Athletic Spikes are Right for Me?
If you are new to the world of spikes, there are a few different factors that you need to take into consideration before investing in a set of spikes. But ultimately, you should think about the following three questions before going any further in the process...
1 - What are your disciplines?
All spikes have different characteristics. Because of this, some spikes will work better for specific disciplines as opposed to others. If you're known for one particular discipline, it's probably best to buy spikes that are best suited to that field.
2 - What surfaces do you train on?
As we briefly mentioned earlier, the surface you often work with should also play a massive part in your decision making. Especially as the much bigger spikes are usually frowned upon by many track regulators! As well as checking the legalities of the spikes, also consider where you usually train and compete.
3 - Personal preference!
What spikes would you feel most comfortable using? Would you prefer spikes that puncture or compress the ground? Would you perform better with smaller spikes rather than bigger ones? Also, are there any spikes that you think would look good with your gear? If you can find spikes that suit your needs and look great at the same time, then that's a bonus too!
New spikes can significantly benefit athletes in the long run, but you'll ultimately be wasting your time and money if you pick the wrong ones and even run the risk of disqualification. When it comes to working out what spikes are best for you, doing as much research as you can is highly recommended!