An Evaluation of the Top Track Spikes For 2023

We put this spring’s super spikes on display in the oval and rank the tallest models for each distance and the best value options on the market.

Close up of two runners at the Tokyo 2023 Olympic Games wearing track spikes
An Evaluation of the Top Track Spikes

Whether you’re preparing for a race or a tough workout. The spiking method stirs up a well-known excitement and anxiety about what’s to come: your body instinctively knows that it’s time to act.

If you want to compete at your best in athletics, spikes are essential, and today’s spikes are higher than ever. The designers have created a replacement breed of super tips that are lighter in weight and will improve performance and reduce recovery times. Here’s what you want to know about the newest technology. Along with our top picks for this spring’s track spike options.

What Is a Super Spike?

An Evaluation of the Top Track Spikes For 2023 What Is a Super Spike?
An Evaluation of the Top Track Spikes

When a spike comes to mind, Elliott Heath, product manager for Nike Running Shoes. Says he and his team measure squares invariably looking for the right balance between four main factors: weight, cushioning, stiffness, and containment, or how well it holds up. the shoe. the foot. Until recently, designers focused on creating ever lower studs while retaining their ability to grip the court and secure your foot. The resulting finely cushioned soles “punch your body at the price of performance,” says Heath. Rigid animal footplates, built into the soles, served for additional power by extending the runners’ push.

In the last four years, however, there have been big changes around artifacts, says Heath. New foams have allowed designers to fit additional artifacts to the track spikes without adding excessive weight. These new forms appear not only to be lighter but also to recover more efficiently than ever before. Therefore, even though they sink underfoot, you will still be able to push off strongly.

Taking inspiration from super road running shoes like the 4D Nike Vaporfly the brands have created cleated models with ultra-cushioned midsoles that combine new, lightweight. Energy-returning foams with embedded curved plates that work in an entirely new way by stabilizing and optimizing foam response. Enter the super peak.

Are Super Spikes Worth the Price?

High academic, collegiate, national, and world records have fallen since the new spikes came out. Suggesting they are performance-enhancing just like their road shoe counterparts. That said, the scientific evidence on the impact of spikes is not entirely clear. In a very recent article, researchers from the University of Massachusetts concluded that due to the additional advanced metabolic demands of track events. It is more difficult to conduct valid studies to quantify the benefits of spikes than it is to measure the impact of super running shoes. Marathon In the absence of such studies. It is possible that recent fast times may also result in other factors opting to train during the pandemic.

Even if we can’t scientifically say that super spikes can make you do it faster, they want you to be doing it. Scott Burns, head track coach at Downingtown West High School in Pennsylvania and an elite runner. Believes the investment is worth it for any veteran runner looking to optimize performance. alternative testers nem con united with Burns; all found a marked improvement in perceived performance edges once wearing the more expensive spikes.

However, the potential advantages must be balanced against the value tag and skill of a broker. Super spike technologies increase imbalances similar to strengths and have the potential to negatively alter stride mechanics for those who lack foot stability, power, and strength. Rising or novice brokers, Burns says, might not realize the new high-price spikes apply. Newer runners may want to race in lightweight trainers or race shoes or select models with less expensive spikes built to be more accessible and forgiving (see our best value spike reviews at the end of this article).

How to Choose a Track Spike

An Evaluation of the Top Track Spikes For 2023How to Choose a Track Spike
An Evaluation of the Top Track Spikes

Given the wide variations in how each nail feels and performs, even across multiple models of the same brand. You should try a nail and run it to judge whether or not it works for you.

First, check what kind of spike you’d like for your most popular events. Track cues measure squares divided into 3 categories: sprint (optimized for sixty to four hundred meters), view (400 to three,000 meters), and long-distance (3,000 to 10,000 meters). These distinctions are not absolute, and some runners might find that a spike works well for them outside of their supposed event class.

Excellence, according to ASICS Senior Footwear Sales Manager Paul Lang, is all about how the foot moves. The rigid spike plate that sprint spikes are built with, according to Lang, “is sometimes designed to span the entire length of the shoe, providing underfoot rigidity and promoting power transfer and propulsion.” Sprinters can be on their toes with the aid of these rigid plates’ related forceful forward-leaning pure math. Spiked sprints will also feature numerous structured patterns that are longer in duration. According to Lang, this stops the foot to capture the enormous quantity of energy released at the sprinter’s explosive moments.


According to Lang, a mid-distance spike has an associated aggressive pure math that aids the runner in reaching the midfoot for an associated efficient and powerful gait. But typically the plate can only run from mid to three o’clock. Quarters of the length of the shoe, to allow for a little flex and luxury on multi-lap runs. Uppers often prioritize comfort and power above power and are lightweight and adaptable. For added comfort during long trail runs, long-distance spikes can offer even more flex than mid-distance spikes and frequently contain a large number of midsole artifacts.

After checking what kind of spike you’d like. The selection comes down to coincidence and personal preferences about the artifact, stiffness, and pure math. Of these, sole stiffness seems to vary the most between peaks. Knowing whether you like a stiff sole or a more versatile one can be a broader method to help you find the perfect court cleat. In general, experienced runners who don’t sleep on their toes and push hard may prefer a stiffer, more arched spike.

If you’ve never worn cleats before, Lang advises searching for footwear that complements your foot and gives the impression of natural movement. A mid-distance spike is the most adaptable and may be used for sprints, hurdles, jumps, and distance if you haven’t chosen an event group yet.

How We Tested Spikes

An Evaluation of the Top Track Spikes For 2023 How We Tested Spikes
An Evaluation of the Top Track Spikes

To test this spring’s spike collection, we tend to recruit a group of eight experienced male and female track runners, including sprint, middle-distance and long-distance specialists. For 2 months, they tested the leading models of all the top complete runners in every track training and race from sixty to ten,000 meters. Each racer then ranked each peak on a scale of 1-10 and submitted a final report that supported performance, fit, ride quality, and overall impression. We tend to compile the reports to discover the simplest models in each class and we collect additional feedback on these models from other athletes to amplify subsequent reviews.

The Best Distance Spikes

Nike ZoomX Dragonfly ($150)

An Evaluation of the Top Track Spikes for 2023 The Best Distance Spikes
An Evaluation of the Top Track Spikes

The best high-end, well-rounded nail for distance runners, the ZoomX devil’s darning needle from the Greek deity ZoomX is appropriate for all track events of 800 meters and beyond. Dragonfly’s stiff outsole and moderately aggressive animal foot rocker promote graceful and economical transitions, making the spike the unanimous favorite among our mid- and long-distance testers. A thick layer of Nike’s most energy-returning foam, ZoomX, embedded with a full-length, arched Pebax plate, provides artifacts and rebound. “No different nail provides a ride that feels as sleek and easy as misjudgment in corners and direct sprints like the devil’s needle,” noted one tester. “It’s worth every penny.”

Ideal Events: 800 to 10,000 meters
Weight:4.4 ounces
Spike Pins: 6

Adidas Adizero Avanti TYO ($150)

An Evaluation of the Top Track Spikes for 2023 Adidas Adizero Avanti TYO
An Evaluation of the Top Track Spikes

As one of the softest and most versatile spikes on the market, the Adidas Adizero Avanti TYO was our top pick for longer-track events. Soft and bouncy, TPU-based LightstrikePro midsole, tempered with carbon-embedded rods, provides a ride that closely resembles the feel of a smooth, low-to-the-ground road race, yet still offers a high degree of surface sensitivity

Ideal Events: 5,000 to 10,000 meters
Weight: 5.6 ounces
Spike Pins: 6

Brooks Wire 7 ($130)

An Evaluation of the Top Track Spikes for 2023 Brooks Wire 7
An Evaluation of the Top Track Spikes

The Wire 7 provides a super-spike feel that works well for any distance event—but at a slightly cheaper price point. Those who find the Dragonfly too stiff and aggressive will enjoy the softer flex and more moderate curve of the Wire 7’s full-length Pebax plate, which is embedded in a healthy slab of Brooks’s cushy and responsive DNA Flash midsole, a nitrogen-infused EVA blend. One tester felt that the foam and plate combination bolstered energy return, “giving it a nice, subtle pop.” A word of caution on the fit: testers all found the tightly woven upper to be extremely snug, if not constrictive, in both length and width, so consider going up a full size, especially if you plan to wear socks.

Ideal Events: 800 to 10,000 meters
Weight: 5.5 ounces
Spike Pins: 4

The Best Middle-Distance Spikes

Nike Air Zoom Victory ($180)

An Evaluation of the Top Track Spikes

If you’re a strong forefoot runner. There’s no better spike than the Nike Air Zoom Victory to propel you to your next PR. Nike packed this shoe with high-end tech, including a full-length carbon-fiber plate embedded in ZoomX foam and a large. Forefoot Zoom Air unit that combines pressurized air and tightly stretched fibers to create an explosive ground response. “Every stride feels powerful and full of spring, lifting your confidence and vaulting you forward,” reported one tester. Best for the advanced runner, the aggressively tuned spike is a sharp, precise tool, requiring a strong, forward-focused stride. Those who can handle the stiff rocker profile will be rewarded with a “springy, lightning-fast tour of lane one.”

Ideal Events: 400 to 3,000 meters (and maybe 5,000 meters for some)
Weight: 4.6 ounces
Spike Pins: 6

Hoka Cielo X MD ($160)

An Evaluation of the Top Track Spikes for 2023 Hoka Cielo X MD ($160)
An Evaluation of the Top Track Spikes

Outfitted with a full-length carbon-fiber plate embedded in the midsole, the Hoka Cielo X MD isn’t as aggressively forward leaning and stiff as the Nike Air Zoom Victory, making it much more forgiving and suitable for all levels of runners. Despite a good amount of light, responsive, compression-molded EVA foam cushioning underfoot, you get a surprisingly sensitive and connected ride: “a nice mix of smooth and fast, yet firm and snappy,” said one tester. The engineered mesh fabric wrapping the foot embodies everything we like to see in a track-spike upper—lightweight, airy, and comfortable enough to go sockless.

Ideal Events: 400 to 5,000 meters
Weight: 4.5 ounces
Spike Pins: 6

The Best Sprint Spikes

Nike Max Fly ($180)

An Evaluation of the Top Track Spikes

Coming in as the preferred spike for all sprint events, the Nike Max Fly is every bit a super spike. A two-chambered Zoom Air unit in the forefoot sits beneath a full-length carbon-fiber plate, creating a ride that “feels more like you’re running on bouncy pillows rather than a thin, stiff spike plate,” according to one tester. The responsive foam and pressurized air units in each midsole result in a soft, cushioned ride that “makes sprinting feel less harsh, allowing you to attack the ground more.” The downside of all that cushioning? A wobbly feeling out of the starting blocks. But once you get used to how they respond, one tester says, “no spike is more comfortable.”

Ideal Events: 60 to 400 meters, hurdles
Weight: 5.7 ounces
Spike Pins: 7

ASICS Metasprint ($180)

 An Evaluation of the Top Track Spikes for 2023 ASICS Metasprint ($180)
An Evaluation of the Top Track Spikes

The Metasprint quickly emerged as a short-sprint favorite, given a unique design that eliminates screw-in spikes. Instead, a curved, carbon-fiber outsole plate with clusters of protruding honeycomb shapes provides both rigidity and traction. One tester reported that this stiff plate pushed him up onto the front of his foot more than the plate of any other spike, yielding the highest stride frequency of the test. The ride is light and quick off of the ground, and, despite its minimal cushioning, one tester felt the spike performed “equally as well or sometimes better than the Nike Max Fly.” The Metasprint is suitable for intermediate or advanced runners. Especially in short, straight sprints and hurdles. In longer events, however, the spike’s foothold and traction through turns were deemed questionable.

Ideal Events: 60 to 100 meters, short hurdles
Weight: 4.9 ounces
Spike Pins: None

The Best-Value Spikes

Nike Zoom Rival D 10 ($65)

An Evaluation of the Top Track Spikes

Not everyone needs, or will even benefit from, pricey super spikes. For runners who want a versatile, reliable, well-made distance spike, the Nike Zoom Rival D10 is one of the best-value picks on the market. It’s built with a Pebax spike plate that adds a touch of rigidity to maintain performance form, while still allowing a natural flex that favors novice runners. A full-length, energetic EVA midsole provides just enough cushioning underfoot to assure a comfortable ride. A first-time high school runner focusing on anything over 400 meters can’t go wrong with this time-tested favorite.

Ideal Events: 400 to 5,000 meters
Weight: 5.8 ounces
Spike Pins: 5

Under Armour Kick Sprint 3 ($65)

An Evaluation of the Top Track Spikes

At less than half the price of high-end sprinting spikes, the Under Armour Kick Sprint 3 is an absolute bargain for novice and emerging sprinters. The three-quarter-length Pebax cleat plate delivers powerful propulsion without feeling too stiff and harsh like many entry-level spikes can. “In general, these spikes feel well padded, moderately stiff, and fairly durable. Making them a good choice for high school athletes in any sprint or hurdling event,” said one tester. However, they fit extremely small—so much so that our tester felt a full-size up would be more appropriate for most.

Ideal Events: 60 to 400 meters, hurdles
Weight: 6.5 ounces
Spike Pins: 6

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