5 Best Track Spikes in 2023

Zack Dunn
Zack Dunn on
5 Best Track Spikes in 2023
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A well-selected pair of track and field shoes can be a real performance booster or even help you set a new PB.

We have tested and reviewed over 60 pairs of track and field shoes to help you buy the best one. We cited every little detail we could find about the shoes, even how they worked in different aspects when we were running, jumping, and throwing while wearing them. Whether you are an advanced athlete looking for a premium shoe or a beginner on a tight budget, we’ve got the top picks for you.

Best track shoes overall

What makes it the best?

We tested the best spikes on track and discovered Nike’s Air Zoom Victory to be the best of its kind. In our track sessions, it shines best in mid-distances with its unrivaled speed, almost weightless build, and insane grip. At $180, it’s a premium shoe that matches the performance of elites.

Deserving of its name, Air Zoom Victory is an aggressive speedster. The heel feels cushioned for comfort, whereas the forefoot has a one-of-a-kind feel. We experience two phases distinctly with every stride. The first is some compression because of the Air Zoom Unit, and then we get a springy response upon takeoff due to the Flyplate. We find that this spike performs best in 800m-3k distances.

This pair is race-ready with an immensely breathable Atomknit upper that stretches to fit our feet like a glove. The high-quality material secures our feet in place. It helps us fly on track as it’s much lighter than the average track spike (4.6 oz/130g vs. 6.2 oz/175g).

No matter how fast we run, Nike’s ShockWave Generated Outsole Plate keeps the ride smooth and steady. There are 6 spikes in the forefoot to ensure grip during races, while the heel perimeter has sharkskin for traction and durability.

On fast curves, we sometimes felt unstable because of its unique ride. It also takes some time to get used to it. Best to test this out before taking it to races.


  • True to size
  • Snug race-like fit
  • Secure lockdown
  • Lightweight
  • Very springy feeling
  • Unrivaled breathability
  • Fairly cushioned
  • Perfect for middle distance
  • Elite level, insane quality


  • Expensive
  • Adjustment period might be needed
  • Unstable on curves
Full review of Nike Air Zoom Victory

Best track shoes for sprints

What makes it the best?

We bolted through 100m-400m distances in search of the best track spike for sprints — Nike’s Zoom Superfly Elite 2 dominated this category. As its name says, it’s a lightweight elite spike that unleashes our speed and power beyond our imagination. The shoe feels insanely propulsive, grippy, and race-ready with its fit.

The spike feels airy on foot, but its energy return makes its presence undeniable. Underfoot, the full-length Pebax spike plate feels stiff to ensure maximum speed with some flexion for smooth toe-offs. Our runs feel so powerful for 100m sprints, yet comfortable enough to race our hearts until 400m.

The sole has a honeycomb pattern with 8 removable stainless-steel pins, ensuring the spike will grip well on track even as we approach curves.

The Atomknit upper feels light and breathable as it hugs our feet snugly. The Flyknit fabric stretches to accommodate the shape of our feet, whereas the heel area locks us down nicely and comfortably.

Its premium quality is reflected in its $150 price tag. It’s more expensive than its counterparts, but we honestly think it’s worth the investment.


  • Comfortable
  • Light
  • Snappy & propulsive
  • See-through breathable upper
  • Sock-like fit
  • Great heel lockdown
  • Head-turning sleek design
  • Elite-level spike
  • Perfect for 100-400m sprints
  • Notched laces keep the shoe tied


  • Pricey
Full review of Nike Zoom Superfly Elite 2

Best track shoes for race

What makes it the best?

We pushed track spikes to the limit and found Nike’s Air Zoom MaxFly as the best racer. MaxFly screams maximum record-breaking speed with its light weight, race-ready fit, and snappy ride. We learned it showed optimum performance in 100-400m events and surprisingly felt comfortable on foot. We believe this premium spike is one of the most advanced of its kind, justifying its $180 price tag.

MaxFly gives one of the most unique rides we’ve ever tried. For a racer, it’s pleasantly cushioned with full-length ZoomX foam and has an Air Zoom unit in the forefoot that launches us forward. The ride feels incredibly energetic because of the stiff Flyplate, culminating in the most comfortable yet fastest spike we’ve raced in. We feel like flying since it’s so light on the foot.

Underfoot, transitions feel smooth and the overall ride feels steady thanks to the highly engineered spike plate. The forefoot has 7 spike pins for reliable traction on the track.

Nike’s Flyweave upper feels high-quality. Together with the laces and slightly padded heels, the fit is spot-on. We’re confident that the lockdown is secure, allowing us to focus on smashing our PBs.

We discovered MaxFly is not for maximum distances and performs best on events 800m and below. We recommend exploring other options for mid-to-long-distance track runs.


  • Very springy
  • Snug race-like ft
  • Extremely well-engineered
  • Premium design and feel
  • Perfeect for 100-400m
  • Works for hurdles as well
  • Superb comfort+speed combo
  • Breathable
  • Notched laces stay tied


  • Expensive
  • Adaptation period might be needed
  • Feels unstable on curves
Full review of Nike Air Zoom MaxFly

Best track shoes for long distance

What makes it the best?

The Nike ZoomX Dragonfly feels like a dream with its airiness, speed, and comfort for track runs. We felt like flying in our high-mileage efforts as this elite racer shines best in 3K-10K distances. It’s extremely supportive and powerful, making it our best spike for long distances.

ZoomX Dragonfly feels pleasantly bouncy and fast throughout our track workouts. We noticed its capability to sustain our power for long efforts, thanks to the stiff Pebax plate that ensures a smooth and efficient ride. Its premium ZoomX foam is Nike’s lightest and most responsive foam and has really good arch support. It’s supportive enough that our legs don’t feel too beaten up even after intense efforts. 

The bottom has a full-length spike plate with a sharkskin heel for extra grip. It also includes 6 removable stainless-steel pins for reliable traction on track. We had no slips even as we encountered curves at high speed.

This premium spike is a real pleasure to be in since the Fly Mesh upper feels lightweight and airy. It has many perforations for breathability and feels comfortable to be in. 

To experience its elite performance means paying a higher price tag of $150. We recommend those on a budget to explore other options.


  • Perfect for 3k-10k
  • Works for 400m-1600m as well
  • Bouncy and fast
  • Full-length spike plate
  • Super breathable
  • Perfect laces
  • Wow looks
  • Elite-level spike
  • Worth the price


  • Tongue bunches up
  • Pricey
Full review of Nike ZoomX Dragonfly

Best cross-country track shoes

What makes it the best?

The Nike Zoom Victory XC 5 made us zoom through brutal races! It's everything performance-oriented, and it's here to make you win your next cross-country competition. It's featherlight, fast, and grippy, it's everything we wanted to run with speed! Even better, it's durable and will surely go through gnarly terrain with ease.


  • True to size
  • Super snappy
  • Stable
  • Anti-clog outsole
  • Flexible
  • Durable
  • Superb traction
  • Breathable
  • Lightweight
  • Good value for money


  • Very narrow
Full review of Nike Zoom Victory XC 5

Comparison of the 5 best track spikes

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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:


  • 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

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)

Jumping spikes

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

Throwing events

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

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.

How we test track spikes

Here at RunRepeat, we provide you with recommendations for the best track and field shoes based on our very own experiences and observations. We set the process in motion by getting hold of the shoes we wanted to test. We purchase the pairs so that we do not need to gratify anyone, especially brands, by providing a good review.

We then proceed with wearing the shoes in our actual track and field sports and activities. We assess all the things we can notice about the shoes, but we make sure that we spend a good and substantial amount of time on each of them before we finalize our thoughts.

Next up, we collect more usable data by measuring and scoring the parameters of the shoes through our lab tests. We quantify 30+ parameters, one of which is durability. For this test, we use our Dremel tool to apply force on the different parts of the shoes, then we employ our expertise to subjectively discern how durable and abrasion-resistant the shoes are.

By the way, we also split the shoes in half to uncover all the parts of the shoes for us to investigate and take note.

Zack Dunn
Zack Dunn
I race distances between 800 meters and 10K whether it be on the track, the roads, or on cross country courses. My typical training consists of easy days, long days, workouts (fartleks, tempos, interval training, etc.). My typical training paces range from 7’30 a mile on easy days to sub-5 minutes a mile on fast interval days, and with many paces in between. I run anywhere from 40-60 miles a week. My personal bests are 2:00 for 800m, 4:30 for 1600m, 9:50 for 3200m, 15:57 for 5K, and 34:10 for 10K.