5 Best Sprints Track Spikes in 2024

Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen on
5 Best Sprints Track Spikes in 2024
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Fast and light — these are the marks of a good sprint spike. With so many track and field sprinting shoes possessing these, finding the right pair can be a challenge. 

But don't fret. We've done the job for you. Setting their popularity aside, we've examined and selected the best sprint spikes among the ones we have personally tested. 

Even more, we've chosen our top picks from different categories because when it comes to sprint shoes, it's not a one-size-fits-all approach. 

How we test track spikes

Our choices for the best sprinting shoes are based on multiple (rigorous) testing. And to stay objective we: 

  • Buy the shoes with our own money to avoid brand loyalty. We avoid playing a part in partnerships because we do not want to give ourselves and our readers a reason to think we should thread lightly with our comments and opinions.
  • Clock up 30 to 50 miles of test runs in each shoe. We engage in different sprinting activities in different circumstances and conditions. As much as possible, we broaden our experience with the shoes so we can come up with a comprehensive review, as well as a valid conclusion.
  • Go mad with numbers. We do all sorts of testing on the shoes to measure and score their various characteristics. One thing we subjectively check is the stiffness of the heel. We use our bare hands in pushing and squeezing the sides and the back of the collar, rating the stiffness from 1 to 5, with 5 being the stiffest.

Best sprint spikes overall

What makes it the best?

Nike Air Zoom MaxFly delivered unmatched speed in our intense and flat-out efforts on track without sacrificing comfort—making it our top sprint spike. It has all the advanced technology to enhance speed while ensuring a light, steady, and comfortable ride. It’s undeniably one of the most advanced and aggressive spikes—we think its $180 price is well worth the investment.

MaxFly has a unique ride—blending insane snappiness and comfort into one. It feels airy on foot with its 6.0 oz (169g) weight but feels way lighter because of its speed-enhancing features. The Flyplate is one of the stiffest we’ve tried, ensuring maximum energy return. Our flex test confirms it’s 86.3% stiffer than average.

The stiffness is balanced by the ZoomX foam and the Air Zoom Unit in the forefoot, which dampens landing impact. MaxFly can be used for hurdles yet we discovered it performs best on 60-400m events. Our measurements reveal an aggressive -0.9 mm drop which promotes explosiveness and peak performance.

The spike plate ensures reliable traction, allowing us to go all out. There is a full-length ShockWave Generated Outsole Plate for a smooth ride, while the 7 forefoot spikes guarantee optimal traction on speed curves.

Note that MaxFly’s ride takes some time to get used to. We recommend easing into it with drills for better adaptation and injury prevention.

Pros

  • Extremely springy ride
  • Snug, performance-oriented fit
  • Propulsion from Flyplate and Zoom Air
  • Premium design and materials
  • Ideal for 100-400m sprints
  • Can be used for hurdles
  • Unmatched comfort and speed
  • Notched laces for secure lockdown

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Requires some adaptation
  • Can feel unstable for some
Full review of Nike Air Zoom Maxfly

Best track spikes for beginners

What makes it the best?

No spike can match Nike Rival Sprint’s flexible, durable, snappy, yet gentle construction—making it an excellent choice for beginners diving into track sprints. Other than its accommodating and comfortable nature, its $75 price tag is very accessible too.

A standout feature is the supportive midsole. Our 13.3/10.0 mm stack measurement creates a steep 3.3 mm drop, contrasting our nearly flat 0.7 mm lab average. This incline offers added support to our calves and tendons, particularly beneficial for newcomers on track.

Underfoot, Rival Sprint showcases a robust 2.8 mm rubber outsole in the heel area, while the Pebax plate makes up the forefoot for dynamic toe-offs. With six removable pins, we felt confident to sprint through fast corners. Despite its plate, Rival Sprint feels comfortable with its remarkable flexibility, outperforming the average by 39.9%.

When we tested the upper, we were delighted with its comfort and ventilation, making it suitable for sockless use. In our smoke test, we rated it a perfect breathability score. Even against our Dremel, the toe cap defended the fort easily with a high 4/5 durability score.

Unfortunately, this spike is noticeably hefty at 6.1 oz (174g). Those who want to go faster with lighter spikes should look elsewhere.

Pros

  • Pebax plate enhances toe-off
  • Highly breathable
  • Premium notched laces
  • Affordable price point
  • Roomy toecap area
  • Suitable for hurdles
  • Provides good stability
  • Slightly cushioned
  • Impressive durability

Cons

  • Noticeable weight
  • Possibly too flexible
Full review of Nike Rival Sprint

Track spikes with the best track feel

What makes it the best?

Among all the sprint track spikes we tested against hard efforts, Nike’s Zoom Superfly Elite 2 undoubtedly delivered the best track feel. It feels almost weightless on foot, but the ground connection, power, and speed it delivers are hard to ignore. This elite-level spike shines best in our 60m-400m sprints.

We experienced a different kind of energy with this lightweight and snappy spike. Our scales reveal a mere 5.5 oz (156g) build, attributed to its minimal cushioning. The insole and outsole mostly comprise the 12.3 mm heel and forefoot we measured. With an aggressive zero drop, this spike delivers the raw leg speed that some runners crave.

Underfoot, the sole has a honeycomb pattern with 8 removable stainless-steel pins that effectively grip the track. We had no slip issues even as we sped through corners. The outsole doubles as a plate, with its plastic nature allowing some flexion for smooth toe-offs, and is comfortable enough to go all-out until 400m.

The upper feels delightful on top, hugging our feet with a breathable Atomknit upper, which our smoke test confirms with a 4/5 score. It fits like a glove with enough wiggle room in the big toe area that measures 75.0 mm vs. the 73.1 mm average.

Unfortunately, this elite shoe shines best at top speed. We recommend this spike for more advanced runners to fully enjoy its features.

Pros

  • Snug, performance-oriented fit
  • Premium design and materials
  • Ideal for 60-400m sprints
  • Suitable for hurdles
  • Designed for raw speed
  • Notched, Alphafly-like laces
  • Lightweight build
  • Enhances foot strength

Cons

  • Demands superior technique
  • Not cushioned
  • Narrow platform
Full review of Nike Zoom Superfly Elite 2

Best lightweight sprint spikes

Nike Ja Fly 4
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What makes it the best?

We tested sprint track spikes against hard efforts and found the Nike Ja Fly 4 to be the best lightweight in our lab. Besides its non-intimidating $120 price tag, it delivers raw speed and a more natural feel. Its exceptional flexibility, lightness, and grip generate effortless times on track.

We instantly felt this spike's remarkably low number on the scale and high ground feel on our feet. Our lab confirms it’s only 5.1 oz (145g) vs. the 5.6 oz (158g) average, attributed to its lack of rubber in the outsole which is made of 4.5 mm plastic instead.

Additionally, we measured a humble 11.2/11.2 mm stack height and an authentic zero drop, perfect for developing leg muscle strength during 60-200m sprints. The low profile improves Ja Fly 4’s flexibility, allowing for our natural movement. In our manual twist assessment, the shoe freely gave in, earning the lowest 1/5 torsional rigidity rating.

Conversely, our bend test tells a different story. At 33.0N, this Nike resisted more than the average spike (29.1N). This level of stiffness translates to some propulsion without the harshness of a carbon plate. Further enhancing our confidence on track is the grip delivered by the 7 removable pins underfoot.

Unfortunately, we cannot recommend this to runners with wide feet because of the tightly snug upper. Our measurements show the toebox tapers quite aggressively too.

Pros

  • Lightweight design
  • Removable pins
  • Cost-effective choice
  • Comfortable tongue
  • Enhances foot strength
  • Ideal for 60-200m sprints
  • Notched laces
  • Above-average durability

Cons

  • Limited breathability
  • No midsole
  • Extremely narrow upper
Full review of Nike Ja Fly 4

Best budget sprint spikes

What makes it the best?

We tested sprint track spikes against hard efforts and found Adidas Sprintstar to be the most budget-friendly. For an affordable $70 price tag vs. the $117 average, it delivers raw speed and power and a more natural feel. It’s a great entry-level sprint spike that also promises a long lifespan due to its impressive durability in our lab.

We instantly felt the remarkable ground feel this spike delivers, perfect for developing leg muscle strength during 60-400m sprints. Its humble 10.4/8.6 mm stack height enhances an authentic barefoot experience. 

Furthermore, the absence of a carbon plate in the midsole enhances its flexibility, which allows for our natural movement. Our bend test confirms its gentle nature when it emerged 48.6% more flexible than average.

Impressively, despite its budget-friendly price, its durability is outstanding! Extensive testing showed minimal signs of wear, with both the toebox and heel resisting our rigorous Dremel. The outsole, measuring a robust 88.0 HC and 1.1 mm thicker than average, promises it will last long.

Unfortunately, the upper lacks ventilation which may lead to hotspots and blisters. We couldn’t wait to take the shoes off on warmer days.

Pros

  • Excellent track grip
  • Ultra-padded tongue
  • Unbeatable value
  • Removable pins
  • Ideal for novices
  • Exceptional ground sensation
  • Solid durability

Cons

  • Zero cushioning
  • Poor ventilation
  • Requires strong feet
Full review of Adidas Sprintstar
Author
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.