The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (2024)

Editor’s Note: We reviewed these spike selections on December 13, 2022 and updated our recommendations to reflect our most recent round of testing. In addition, we have replaced any pairs that are out of stock or no longer available.

Today’s track spikes push the limits on materials and technology, utilizing everything from carbon-fiber plates to Boa lacing systems. They’re also more specialized than ever, with different shoes catered to sprinters (up to 400 meters), middle-distance runners (generally 400 to 5,000 meters), and distance runners (1 mile or 5,000 to 10,000 meters).

Sprinters’ spikes run extremely rigid and lack any cushioning but maximize grip so you can go as fast as possible without any slippage. Distance and cross-country spikes, on the other hand, have a slight bit of cush under the heel. Middle-distance spikes fall somewhere in between.

We’re excited to get back on the oval this spring for some fast outdoor racing. To evaluate this crop of spikes, our test team hit our local tracks once the winter’s snow finally melted for speed sessions ranging from 200-meter repeats up to mile-long intervals. Plus, we tested each pair while wearing socks as well as with bare feet to help you determine the right pair for your next race.

MIDDLE AND LONG DISTANCE SPIKES

Nike Air Zoom Victory

The right shoe for: Front-runners looking to win a 5,000-meter race

Nike Air Zoom Victory

The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (1)

Nike Air Zoom Victory

Now 30% Off

Pros
  • The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (2)Radically different, propulsive ride
  • The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (3)Fit accommodates wide feet better than most spikes
Cons
  • The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (4)Expensive

Key Specs

TypeMiddle distance
Weight4.6 oz (men’s size 9)

The most futuristic track spike on the market today is the all-new Victory. It uses a combination of a two-piece Air unit and springy ZoomX foam, plus a stiffening carbon-fiber plate to help you rocket around the track. The shoe is entirely weird the moment you step into it—it’s tippy, and you feel two distinct bulges under your foot. As you run, it comes alive. The sensation isn’t springy, like you might expect from ZoomX, a Pebax-based foam (the same used in the Vaporfly) that’s extremely lightweight, well-cushioned, and has boatloads of energy return. Instead, you feel tension build and the shoe load up as you press your weight down into it, then launch forward with toe-off.

The sole isn’t soft in the general sense, but it’s less punishing than a conventional track spike without being slowed by cushioning. The fit is also different, as it’s not long and skinny like spikes of old. Instead, there’s a little bit of a flare in the forefoot, squaring it up a bit and accommodating wider feet.

Buy Men’s and Women’s

Nike ZoomX Dragonfly

The right shoe for: Long track races to 10,000 meters

Nike ZoomX Dragonfly

The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (5)

Nike ZoomX Dragonfly

Now 53% Off

Pros
  • The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (6)Soft sole, thanks to ZoomX foam
  • The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (7)Comfortable for sock-less wear
Cons
  • The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (8)Open heel design won’t suit some runners

Key Specs

TypeDistance
Weight4.7 oz (men’s size 9)

Another crazy new shoe from Nike, the Dragonfly looks more like a conventional spike, albeit one with an exceptionally thick sole. That’s made possible only by the use of ZoomX. The result is a shoe that takes out the sting of running hard but doesn’t slow you down. Most of that foam, however, is centered right behind the ball of your foot—you feel a noticeable bulge there, and you can feel your heel drop off. So, it’s not for easy-paced runs.

Our testers all raved about the accommodating yet locked-down fit. The shoe has a square toebox, almost like a normal shoe, which makes it comfortable for long distances. Tip: Go sock-less. The mesh is smooth against your bare foot, and the hole in the back of the shoe helps keep you securely locked to the sole.

Buy Men’s and Women’s

Brooks Elmn8 7

The right shoe for: One- to four-lap racers who love a next-to-skin fit

Brooks Elmn8 7

The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (9)

Pros
  • The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (10)Extremely light
  • The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (11)Full-length carbon-fiber plate
Cons
  • The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (12)Significant price increase from v6

Key Specs

TypeMiddle distance
Weight4.3 oz

Thanks to a carbon-fiber plate and a snappy outsole plate, this spike has a springy feeling at quicker paces. The forefoot is stiff and ready to rip. Carbon fiber’s strength-to-weight ratio and ability to bend and rebound is noticeable in this shoe. Brooks updated the plate to cover the entire foot, with extra ridges and cutouts to save weight.

Compared to the previous version, the upper is where this shoe shines. Brooks also upgraded the v7 to the exceptionally fine woven fabric it’s used in shoes like the Hyperion with great success. It allows the upper to be extremely thin but provide outstanding strength and locked-in support without requiring additional reinforcements—it’s the kind of shoe we would have worn without socks back in high school and college. We noticed the shoe runs a little long and narrow, but none of our testers reported any pinching or discomfort.

Buy Men’s and Women’s

Hoka Cielo X MD

The right shoe for: Runners seeking propulsion and cushioning for 800 meters to the 3K

Hoka Cielo X MD

The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (13)

Hoka Cielo X MD

Pros
  • The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (14)Propulsive carbon-fiber plate
  • The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (15)4mm drop feels similar to Hoka’s running shoes
Cons
  • The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (16)More expensive than the Rocket MD

Key Specs

TypeMiddle distance
Weight4.5 oz

Back in 2016, Hoka set itself apart from the competition with the flashy Speed Evo R spike worn by Leo Manzano. The pins underfoot had an asymmetrical configuration—those closest to the outer edge of the track were placed farther forward on the shoe to optimize grip on the curves. We liked the setup for ripping two fast laps in the 800 meters, but found the shoe lacked any real heel cushioning for anything longer.

Fortunately, Hoka added a softer EVA foam midsole for the Cielo X MD. And while this model reverts to a symmetrical four-pin design, the rest of the spike is far from traditional. The rockered midsole incorporates two plates: one made from Pebax, which anchors the pins beneath your forefoot, and a full-length forked carbon-fiber plate inside the midsole foam. This makes the ride snappy, but not too stiff. We found the rocker construction creates a slight pivot under the ball of your foot, so it’s still comfortable if you stay up on your toes.

Buy Men’s and Women’s

Adidas Adizero Avanti TYO

The right shoe for: The longest track races where you need extra underfoot comfort

Adidas Adizero Avanti TYO

The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (17)

Adidas Adizero Avanti TYO

Pros
  • The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (18)Lots of soft midsole cushioning
  • The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (19)Carbon-fiber rods improve energy return
Cons
  • The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (20)Heavier than most spikes

Key Specs

TypeLong distance
Weight6 oz (men’s size 9)

Boost might not seem like the best choice for a racing shoe, because the midsole material is far heavier than more traditional EVA foams and plastic plates. But the thin layer in the Avanti delivers better comfort along the length of the shoe without seeming to slow it down. When you’re running fast, it doesn’t feel exceptionally soft, like you’d find in road trainers, but there’s enough protection for those longer races.

The most polarizing feature of the shoe’s previous version was its fit. It ran a bit long and skinny, and the forefoot felt more narrow—especially across the pinky toe—than other spikes. And testers didn’t like how the tight bootie made it difficult to even get the shoe on. But the new mesh upper in the TYO feels secure and comfortable whether you have fairly narrow or wider feet. Plus, the shoe now has six pins instead of four, with the frontmost pair placed under areas of greatest pressure on toe-off. There’s plenty of traction from those spikes and the patches of soft rubber beneath the heel.

Buy Men’s and Women’s

Brooks Wire 8

The right shoe for: Versatility for track and cross-country races from 5K to 10K

Brooks Wire 8

The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (21)

Pros
  • The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (22)Low collar feels comfortable around the ankle
  • The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (23)DNA Flash foam provides firm cushioning
Cons
  • The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (24)Some testers preferred the greater flexibility of earlier Wire versions

Key Specs

TypeLong distance
Weight4.8 oz

Going longer? This Brooks has the same kind of woven upper that we love on the Elmn8, but everything underfoot delivers just a bit more comfort for track races up to 10,000 meters. The midsole doesn’t have a rigid carbon-fiber plate; instead, the spike plate is made from a Pebax material called Xelight. (And rather than using four pins like the Wire 7, Brooks designed the 8 with five—plenty for grip at long-distance speeds.) Though stiffer than earlier models, the surrounding plastic still has some flexibility built in and, combined with the thin layer of nitrogen-infused foam, it feels smooth and relatively soft when you hit on your midfoot or heel.

“The forefoot was surprisingly flexible and grippy,” one tester said. “I like the teeth spread between each of the aluminum pins; you feel really secure, even on turns.” Take note: these pins are embedded into the shoe, so you can’t swap them out for different lengths.

Buy Men’s and Women’s

Asics Hyper MD 7

The right shoe for: Fast races up to 800 meters, given its weight and harsh feel

Asics Hyper MD 7

The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (25)

Asics Hyper MD 7

Pros
  • The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (26)Comfortable mesh upper
  • The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (27)Responsive forefoot
Cons
  • The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (28)Exceptionally hard heel

Key Specs

TypeMiddle distance
Weight5.6 oz

Let’s start with a style note: Go for the black or sunrise red colors of Asics’s MD 7. Our white test samples looked like bowling shoes, complete with the little heel lift. But it’s an entry-level track spike that delivers a snappy response on toe-off, combined with good grip to help you rip around the track once or twice. We found the heel foam is really hard and does little more than level the surface should the back half of your foot ever meet the track—which, at quarter-mile speed, it’s unlikely to do so. We all liked the upper, which has a traditional mesh and a lot of taped-on overlays to give you support through the turns. The five pins are positioned around the perimeter and protrude far, so you feel the hard sole underfoot more than some other spikes. But those, combined with plastic teeth around the edge of the plate, give plenty of traction at high speeds.

Buy Men’s and Women’s

New Balance MD 800v8

The right shoe for: Middle-distance racing in hot and humid weather

New Balance MD 800v8

The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (29)

New Balance MD 800v8

Now 15% Off

Pros
  • The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (30)Full-length Pebax plate with 6 pins
  • The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (31)Versatile for racing 800 to 3200 meters
Cons
  • The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (32)Slightly heavier than previous version

Key Specs

TypeMiddle distance
Weight4.8 oz

Earlier versions of the MD 800’s upper had a higher bootie style that wrapped up and over the ankle bone. While the design securely held our testers’ feet in place, it made the back of the shoe noticeably less breathable. In the v8, a new soft and stretchy mesh proved a big hit. The low-cut upper, combined with a full-length Pebax plate, makes these spikes feel airy and responsive for race distances from 800 meters up to two miles. “The midfoot and forefoot mesh seems to breathe great,” one tester said between mile repeats. We also noted that the upper’s flat interior seams allowed us to wear the shoe without socks. We didn’t experience any internal rubbing or hot spots.

While New Balance’s MD 500v8 lacks a snappy Pebax plate, we found it’s an extremely capable budget performer. We recommend it for runners who haven’t yet settled on their favorite race distance, and want a fast and versatile six-pin spike to tackle both sprints and longer events.

Buy Men’s Buy Women’s

Saucony Endorphin 3

The right shoe for: Grip that feels featherlight from one mile to 10K

Saucony Endorphin 3

The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (33)

Saucony Endorphin 3

Pros
  • The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (34)The lightest spike you’ll find
  • The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (35)Soft woven upper
Cons
  • The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (36)Very little cushioning

Key Specs

TypeLong distance
Weight3.7 oz (M), 3.2 oz (W)

The Endorphin spike has gained half an ounce in the last year, but at just 3.9 ounces for the men’s shoe—3.2 ounces for women’s—the 3 still wins on the scale. Within those slight ounces, Saucony packed its SSL (Saucony Super Lite) EVA, a cushioning blend meant to maximize rebound and durability. Cushioning, though, is almost non-existent. The Endorphin’s a little more comfortable than a sprint spike, but you’ll still be looking for better protection at longer distances. The woven upper is breathable and soft, with overlays melted onto the woven material to provide a bit of structure without adding weight. The upper fit seemed high volume compared to others. The sole has just four metal pins to help save weight, but combined with the plastic frame, it bites the track adequately.

Buy Men’s Buy Women’s

SPRINTING SPIKES

Asics MetaSprint

The right shoe for: Early adopters going no more than one lap

Asics MetaSprint

The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (37)

Asics MetaSprint

Now 28% Off

Pros
  • The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (38)Lightweight carbon-fiber sole
  • The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (39)Lack of metal pins reduces weight
Cons
  • The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (40)Not as grippy as other sprint spikes
  • The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (41)Limited sizing

Key Specs

TypeSprint
Weight4.8 oz (men’s size 9)

The MetaSprint is wildly different from your usual track spike. The entire outsole is made of a carbon-fiber plate, but the forefoot doesn’t include any metal pins. Instead, there’s a honeycomb pattern of jagged edges that bite into the track. Beyond the traction component, the shape of the sole is novel, too, in that the plate is curved and forces your foot to roll inward on toe-off so that you’re pushing off directly over your big toe for maximum propulsion. It’s a noticeable effect that feels off initially but smooths when you turn on the speed.

Footwear tech has been under scrutiny in recent years, and the MetaSprint calls to mind Puma’s “brush spikes” from the late ’60s. Those had dozens of tiny needles on the bottom for grip, helped runners set world records, and were banned. Current World Athletics regulations stipulate a maximum of 11 pins on the sole of a track spike. It’s unclear how they count a shoe like the MetaSprint, which has eight clusters of raised hexagonal shapes, but it’s been approved for competition by World Athletics.

Buy Men’s and Women’s

Under Armour Sprint Pro 3

The right shoe for: 100- to 200-meter sprinters

Under Armour Sprint Pro 3

The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (42)

Under Armour Sprint Pro 3

Now 30% Off

Pros
  • The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (43)Breathable upper
  • The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (44)8 pins for maximum grip
Cons
  • The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (45)Uncomfortable until you start running

Key Specs

TypeSprint
Weight6.3 oz

During our testing, we loved how the Pro 3 reflected iridescent gold colors from its outsole—it felt as fast as it looked when we charged down the track’s straightaways. “This is a super-stiff shoe you want to wait to put on until right before you get in the blocks,” said a tester. But once you’re off and sprinting full bore, that same forward-leaning platform made us feel like we were flying. Credit the full-length Pebax plate that has a convex shape under the midfoot to launch you off the start line as quickly as possible. (The raised part of the plate is cored out for additional weight savings.) A breathable upper molds to your foot, and the interior is even comfortable if you race sock-less—Under Armour’s Threadborne material is reinforced with a TPU film for security.

Buy Men’s and Women’s

New Balance Sigma Harmony

The right shoe for: Sprinters who like a super-secure fit

New Balance Sigma Harmony

The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (46)

New Balance Sigma Harmony

Pros
  • The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (47)Interchangeable 8-pin configuration delivers exceptional grip
  • The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (48)Full-length Pebax plate
Cons
  • The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (49)Limited availability

Key Specs

TypeSprint
Weight6.2 oz (men’s size 9)

Lightweight and super-strong Kevlar laces cinch down uniformly via an easy-to-use dial, wrapping the Sigma Harmony’s upper around the foot more snugly and securely than any other spike in this roundup. Combined with a notably stiff, full-length nylon polyamide plate, the dial makes this spike feel like a cycling shoe upon step-in. But with its eight spikes in an asymmetrical configuration and snappy feel, it’s ready to sprint out of the blocks. (The downside is that Boa lacing system is a little heavier than traditional laces.) New Balance updated this model to include a sleek, premium knit collar and a more aggressive plate, which New Balance athletes contributed data to help build and design.

Buy Men’s and Women’s

Nike Zoom Superfly Elite 2

The right shoe for: Less than one lap at elite speeds

Nike Zoom Superfly Elite 2

The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (50)

Nike Zoom Superfly Elite 2

Pros
  • The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (51)Insane grip
  • The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (52)Breathable upper
Cons
  • The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (53)Extremely tight fit

Key Specs

TypeSprint
Weight5.2 oz (men’s size 9)

To rip a straightaway or lap as fast as humanly possible, you’re going to need to be locked to the track. The Superfly Elite 2 does that, thanks to eight metal pins under each forefoot—four are positioned in a line directly under the ball of your foot. One tester described the shoe’s grip as “trust”—trust that they’ll deliver no-slip speed. The shoe also eliminates any extra foot movement, due to the unbelievably tight-fitting upper. We all had trouble even getting them on and off—one tester ripped the tongue loop getting into the shoe; I nearly dislocated my shoulder taking them off. But, once on, the AtomKnit fabric is breezy yet secure.

Buy Men’s and Women’s

The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (54)

Jeff Dengate

Runner-in-Chief

Jeff is Runner-in-Chief for Runner's World, guiding the brand's shoes and gear coverage. A true shoe dog, he's spent more than a decade testing and reviewing shoes. In 2017, he ran in 285 different pairs of shoes, including a streak of 257 days wearing a different model.

The Best Track Spikes for All Distances (2024)

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