10 Best Track & Field Shoes (Buyer's Guide)

Author: Jens Jakob Andersen. Updated: .

Many athletic activities can be done using a shoe specially designed for it. The same can be said for the track and field category, with its selection of shoes that cater to the sport.

If you are ready to buy your track and field shoe, browse our catalog page for more information and links to our track shoe product pages.

How we determine the best track shoes

RunRepeat provides the user with recommendations for the best track and field shoes based on user ratings and expert reviews. These data are aggregated to form the Corescore, which is a numerical value (from 0 to 100) that indicates how well-liked a shoe is.

  • We have 3,000+ user reviews for over 180 track and field shoes.
  • Each track shoe product page has been done with around 7 hours of research on shoe details and reviews.

Popular track & field shoes aren't the better rated ones

67 70 73 76 79 82 85 88 91 94 97 100
High Popularity Low
10 best shoes
32 most popular shoes

Why use a track shoe

Here are some of the distinct components of a track and field shoe that make it more efficient for the sport than other types of athletic shoes:

 

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  • Lightweight and breathable: Track and field shoes are light and airy because of the thin mesh upper that usually accompanies them. usually have a rigid upper construction to provide a snug fit.
  • Snug fit: Aside from a thin mesh, the upper of track shoes have a rigid structure to provide a snug fit and keep the foot in place.
  • Minimal midsole: Unlike other cleat-type footwear such as those for football and soccer, track shoes usually have a midsole that is thin and minimal. It acts as both underfoot cushioning and impact absorber.
  • Spike pins and spike plate: Some track shoes use spike pins. These are small pointed attachments on a plastic plate that aid in gripping the track surface. Spike pins vary in type, size (pin width), and number depending on the event it is used for.

 

Spike pins.png

Track shoes vs running shoes: 3 key differences

Although track-and-field as a sport includes running events, the shoes used for those are different than the typical running shoe. Each shoe has its particular design and purpose, which we can differentiate through the following:

  • Weight: Track and field shoes are significantly lighter than running shoes. They use fewer materials and are relatively smaller in figure because they intend to boost the athlete’s momentum.
  • Cushioning: Track spikes for running events are thin and minimal. On the other hand, running shoes are plush and substantial as their focus is on underfoot cushioning and arch support.
  • Overall appearance: The most noticeable difference between track shoes and running shoes is the use of spikes. Track shoes for running use spike pins to make the forefoot higher and promote better traction.

Track and field shoe categories

The various events within the track-and-field sport are distinctive from one another and, as such, require the use of different shoes. Here are the types of track spikes and the notable qualities of each one:

Running events

 

Running
Sprints Mid-distance Long-distance
Sprints.png Mid distance.png long distance.png
  • lightweight
  • little-to-no cushioning
  • around 7-8 spike pins
  • little-to-moderate amount of cushioning
  • more tapered forefoot compared to sprint spikes
  • around 6 spike pins
  • most flexible of all running track shoes
  • around 4-6 spike pins (to keep the shoe lightweight)
See track and field shoes for sprints See track and field shoes for mid-distance See track and field shoes for long-distance

Jumping spikes

 

Jumping
Long-jump / Triple-jump High-jump Pole vault
long jump.png high jump.png pole vault.png
  • has an extra layer of cushioning for protection
  • usually flat in the heel area for more stability and power during the jump
  • uses a sturdy upper material for durability during varied movements
  • has a midfoot strap to keep the foot in place during run-up and take-off
  • employs spikes in the heel for increased support and traction
  • underfoot structure is the most rigid among all jumping track shoes
  • heel area is more padded compared to other jumping shoes
See long-jump and triple-jump shoes See high-jump shoes See pole vault shoes

Throwing events

 

Throwing
Javelin / Shot put / Discus throw / Hammer throw
Javelin.png Shot put.png Discuss throw.png Hammer throw.png
  • Throwing shoes are versatile and can be used in any of the sports included in the throwing events
  • These shoes do not use spike pins as throwing events include circular and pivoting motions that do not require the additional grip
  • Slightly bulky, to keep the athlete firm on their position without unnecessary movements
  • Has a smooth (but not slippery) outsole to allow for a fluid spinning motion
See javelin shoes See shot-put shoes See discus throw shoes See hammer throw shoes

Frequently asked questions

Are spike pins important in track shoes?

There is no absolute rule that track and field shoes should be used with spike pins. Additionally, not all track shoes are used with spike pins. When used accordingly, spike pins improve traction and support.

Are socks important?

You might be hesitant to use socks because track shoes are intended to fit snugly on its own. Socks are not important. Many athletes prefer not to wear socks because it makes the fit of the shoe too tight and the movements uncomfortable.

The best track & Field shoes in every category

Which track & field shoes brand has better reviews?

Which brand is cheaper?

Now, are you ready to buy track & field shoes?

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.

jens@runrepeat.com