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.

The components of a track shoe

The main elements of a track and field shoe do not vary greatly from other sports shoes. The difference lies in the way track shoes are structured and the materials that are used to build them.

  • Upper: Track and field shoes usually have a rigid upper construction to provide a snug fit. The upper uses thin mesh to keep the shoe lightweight and breathable.
  • 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. 
  • Outsole: The outsole provides bottom coverage for the track shoe. Depending on the track event, the outsole may or may not have a spike plate, which is used for attaching the spike pins to the shoe.
  • Spike pins or spikes: These are small pointed attachments 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.

Track shoes vs running shoes: 3 key differences

Although track-and-field as a sport includes running events, the shoe used for those is 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 are meant to make the runner go faster.
  • Structure: Track spikes for running events are thin and minimal. On the other hand, running shoes are plush and substantial as it focuses on underfoot cushioning and arch support.
  • Anatomy: 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 encourage forefoot striking.

Track and field shoe categories

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

Running events

Jumping events

Throwing events

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

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