3 Best Sprints Running Spikes in 2024

Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen on
3 Best Sprints Running 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 running 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?

Among all the sprint track spikes we tested against flat-out and intense workouts, Nike’s Zoom Superfly Elite 2 is undoubtedly the best overall. It almost feels weightless on foot, but its power and speed are hard to ignore. This elite-level spike shines best in our 100m-400m sprints.

We experienced a different kind of energy with this lightweight and snappy spike. It’s lined with a stiff full-length Pebax spike plate that ensures great propulsion and maximum speed. It gives way to some flexion for smooth toe-offs and is comfortable enough to go all-out til 400m.

Underfoot, the sole has a honeycomb pattern with 8 removable stainless-steel pins that effectively grip on track. We had no slip issues even as we ran through fast corners.

The upper feels delightful on top, hugging our feet with a stretchy and breathable Atomknit upper. It fits like a glove for that race-ready fit, with a heel cup that locks us down effectively.

Unfortunately, this elite shoe is on the higher end of the market. Its £160 price tag proves it’s a premium shoe to invest in for all its speed-enhancing features.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • Pricey
Full review of Nike Zoom Superfly Elite 2

Best sprint spikes for races

What makes it the best?

Nike Air Zoom MaxFly showed unmatched speed and comfort among all the sprint spikes we brought on track, making it our top choice for races. It has all the advanced technology to enhance speed while ensuring a light, steady, and comfortable ride. It’s undoubtedly one of the most advanced and aggressive spikes — we think its £190 price is well worth the maximum performance.

MaxFly has a unique ride — blending insane snappiness and comfort into one. It feels airy on foot with its 5.6oz (162g) 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. This is balanced by the ZoomX foam and the Air Zoom Unit in the forefoot, which promotes smooth transitions and dampens landing impact. MaxFly can be used for hurdles too. Yet we discovered it performs best on 100-400m events.

The spike plate ensures reliable traction, allowing us to focus on our races. 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 testing it out for better adaptation before bringing it to races.

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 sprint spikes for beginners

What makes it the best?

Among all the sprint track spikes we tested against hard efforts, we learned Nike’s Zoom Rival S 9 is the best for beginners. It’s really fast and grippy for an affordable £70 price tag vs. the £120 average. It’s a great entry-level sprint spike, providing enough comfort until 800m races.

This speedster feels snappy underfoot with some flex in the spike plate for smoother toe-offs. It can compete against its more expensive counterparts with a little more effort. It displays unquestionable grip on speed curves with 7 spikes for that extra bite on the track. 

The midsole has a Phylon wedge in the heel area, which we found adds comfort for sprints up to 800m and even for jumping and hurdle events. This is great for beginners who are still getting used to the ride of spikes.

The mesh upper has overlays in the midfoot area to secure lockdown and durability. The overall fit feels race-ready and comfortable, with no unwanted heel slips.

Unfortunately, the upper feels toasty and breathable. We don’t recommend wearing this pair on warm days.

Pros

  • True to size
  • Snug race fit
  • Fast and snappy
  • Good traction
  • Durable
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Poor breathability
Full review of Nike Zoom Rival S 9
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.