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What Are the Different Types of Track Spikes?

Sprinting shoes typically have spikes that grip the ground for better traction.
Sprint track spikes are geared toward running short distances of no more than 400 meters.
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  • Written By: Nick Mann
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 08 December 2014
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Track spikes are shoes that have a lightweight design and allow athletes who wear them to achieve an optimum level of performance. These shoes accomplish this by increasing stability and traction, making it easier to achieve the fastest speed possible. There are a few types of track spikes that are used for different running and jumping sports. Selecting a style is ultimately dependent upon which type of event the athlete is participating in. The primary styles include cross country spikes, sprint spikes, mid-distance spikes, distance spikes and jump spikes.

Cross country track spikes are ideal for running long distances. They have longer spikes than most other running shoes and are designed for handling a variety of different terrain. Unlike most other track events, cross country running involves numerous surfaces that are sometimes unpredictable. Therefore, cross country shoes are equipped for sketchy surfaces like dirt and loose gravel, and aid athletes in maintaining balance.

Sprint track spikes are mainly geared toward short distance running of up to 400 meters. The majority of spikes on sprinting shoes are located at the front end under the toes. This is because most of the athlete's weight will come down on the toes during quick sprints. As a result, this design makes it easier to accelerate and quickly reach maximum speed.

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Mid-distance track spikes are designed for running distances between 400 and 1600 meters. Most of these shoes contain a small cushion on the heel that provides a bit of comfort for athletes. They tend to be one of the more versatile types of track spikes, and are usually the best choice for runners who plan on competing in events of varying length.

Distance spikes, as their name suggests, are made for running longer distances than sprinting and mid-distance shoes. They are best suited for events that require running up to 10,000 meters. In addition, distance spikes offer plenty of cushioning on the heel which makes it easier to run longer distances. They also weigh slightly more than most other shoes, but offer more support.

Jump spikes are another type of track spikes. They can be used for several types of events that require the athlete to jump. Some examples include long jumping and pole vaulting. Jump spikes offer cushioning for the entire length of the shoe, and unlike the previous styles, have spikes under both the heel and toe sections. As a result, these shoes offer extra traction, which is ideal for jumping events.

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