How to Choose: The Right Running Spikes


Are you a runner looking into competing either in Track and Field or Cross-Country and having trouble finding the most suitable running spikes to run in as an alternative to using road running shoes or trail running shoes? Whether you are a regular runner or a complete beginner, you have come to the right place!

Why use running spikes?

In simple terms, running spikes allow you to run faster! The extra grip provided by spikes allows you to transfer your force in a more forwards direction with each stride therefore improving turnover. In addition, spikes are lighter than regular road and trail running shoes, again helping you to go faster.

There are a range of different types of running spikes available on the market, and choosing the correct pair will depend on the distance you are running, the surface you are running on as well as the speed at which you can run.

Sprinting Spikes (Maximum distance 400m – Track & Field)

Without stating the complete obvious Sprinting Spikes are for exactly that – sprinting over short distances at speed.

They are the lightest shoes on the market with no padding on the heels of the shoe at all. The spike plate at the front of the shoe is built to take on more force at the front of the foot as sprinters tend to strike more on 3 quarters of their forefoot and heel contact being very minimal, due to the difference in speed in comparison to middle distance running.

These are best recommended for sprinters training over short distances or for competition only. However, 400m runners who can achieve times below 52 seconds would also find sprinting spikes useful. Remember though to be cautious when choosing spikes for sprinting as they offer very little cushioning and the impact is greater.

Middle Distance

Middle distance spikes are similar to sprinting spikes in terms of lightness. The major difference is in the level of padding at the heel which is designed to provide more cushioning. They are also less rigid as middle distance runners have a much greater focus on running gait (roll through of stride). At Decathlon, you will find the AT Start, spikes that provides this support for middle distance runners.

Long Distance and Cross-Country Spikes

With these spikes there is a much greater focus on cushioning and grip, as the pounding within your stride is a lot more frequent and your running gait takes on greater importance. Also if you are looking to do cross-country these Spikes will give the support you need whether it be on muddy or dry terrain.

At Decathlon you will find the AT Cross – the stand out point of this shoe is the outsole on the heel is designed like a trail shoe with lugs that provide the necessary grip for those muddy terrains working in tandem with the spikes at the forefoot of the shoe.

Spike Studs

At Decathlon we have available four different sizes of Spike Studs in sets of 12 for Track and Field and Cross Country.

6mm: Intended primarily for track and field, however can be used for dry terrains in cross-country. Note: This is the only size that can be used for running on Athletics Tracks. Officials within Track and Field do not allow anyone to wear spikes above 6mm in order to maintain the safety of the track and the competitors.

9mm: A great starting point for running cross-country, these will provide the grip necessary for the muddy and wet terrains.

12 and 15mm: For anyone who does fell running or is running on steep hills and difficult terrains and require maximum grip.

Advice And Tips: To sustain the spike studs within your running spikes and to prevent them from falling out before screwing the spikes in, place some Vaseline into the grooves as this should ensure they stay in during your runs.

Always have spares and check the wearing on the studs as spike studs will wear down within a period of 3 months if you run frequently in them.

Finally remember what spikes are intended for, to enable you to run faster. They are intended for short training runs and competition. Always ensure you have a set of running shoes that provide you with sufficient cushioning and stability if you run frequently over longer distances.

To discover the Kalenji range available exclusively at Decathlon, please visit our website.

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