Track athletes who are new to the scene may find it challenging to choose a good pair of shoes for their activities. You’ll see a bewildering range of athletic footwear available on the market today, however, most sportsmen prefer spikes over any other shoes.
Why so? Do spikes make you run faster?
Yes, they actually do. Simply put, they have a better grip on the track and they are comparatively lightweight than other running shoes. So, You get better traction and can switch faster between feet.
Now, before you decide to get yourself a pair, there are certain things you should know, their types, how to care for them, etc. let’s talk about them!
Do spikes make you run faster?
Yes, spiked shoes make you run faster. Extra traction, extra stability, and the lightweight nature of the spikes have an effect on your footsteps when you run, helping you with running at greater speed.
Spikes are intended to assist you in moving faster on specific types of uneven terrain. They have a better grip on the track, offering you more traction in both wet and dry circumstances. With running spikes on, you can transfer more force forward by giving your forefoot more traction and using that grip to push off, enhancing your stride turnover.
Again, they are often lighter than other types of running shoes, allowing you to pick up your feet faster and with less strain. Although it may be a little unpleasant, most spikes have little or no padding, which allows them to be light in weight.
Though spikes will take some time to break in, your overall running performance is sure to increase eventually.
What are the different types of running spikes?
Different athletes require different types of spikes. Based on the event, sprint spikes, middle distance spikes, long-distance spikes, and cross country spikes are used.
Focusing mainly on the agility and speed of the sportsmen, the lightest shoes among all the spiked ones are the sprint shoes. There is no support around the heel of this type of spike. Because sprinters are instructed to plant their feet on the front part of their foot with minimum to no contact with the heel.
Again, unlike sprint spikes, middle distance spikes(used for 400 to 1500 m races) have more cushioning under and around the heel. And they are comparatively flexible too, which gives a little comfort factor desired in the longer run.
Long-distance spikes, which feature fewer spikes and provide additional support from the mid-foot to the heel, are also available for track events longer than 1500m. In comparison to sprint spikes, these spikes have full cushioning over the entire length of the spike and are built of heavier materials.
Do spikes make you run faster in cross country?
Yes, on natural terrain races like cross-country running, you can run faster and get better traction if your wear spikes.
The muddier or hillier the terrain, the more you need cross-country spikes. These spikes are made to cushion and support the foot, they have a slight upward slope on the toe plate and greater support on the heel. With a thin layer of full-length cushioning and a flat contour, they keep the foot close to the ground. You’ll see rubber spike plats used in these shoes because they provide an excellent grip on sloppy mud and uphills.
Remember, in track spikes, a hard plastic plate is used on the sole, which doesn’t have a very good grip on dirt, mud, and grassy fields. So, you are suggested not to use track spikes for cross country.
Should Spikes be tight?
The athlete’s preference for the fit of the spike is personal, albeit a snug fit is preferred. Spikes shouldn’t be any roomier than normal trainers, but you should be able to flex your toes without feeling pinched or constricted against the toe-box of the shoe. If they aren’t of proper fit, you might lose your speed during the race.
before buying spikes, you should try running with them first. because some of them are pleasant when standing still may not be appropriate for your running style.
How do you take care of your spikes?
Twisting pins in the spike plates correctly, removing spikes regularly, not using the washing machine to clean them, and some more caring tips have been mentioned below. If you care about your spikes properly, they can easily last 2-3 racing seasons.
Firstly, give yourself plenty of time to get used to jogging in spikes, especially if you’re trying out a new pair. Before you race in them, do a light workout session or take some strides in them.
When you are done racing with them, look for and remove excess dirt, mud, or debris in them, Because, the longer the dirt stays, the higher the chance is that the spikes will get rusted.
If dirt builds up on the track spikes and pins, wash them by hand with soap and water. You can use a toothbrush to thoroughly clean the spike plate. After that, allow the shoes to dry naturally. Never, ever, put them in the washing machine or the dryer. There’s a good probability your spike plate and sole will be destroyed after trips through the wash cycle.
And, loosen the spikes and retwist them once or twice a week. This will lessen the chance of the spikes forming rust.
Before ending, here are a few tips on spiked shoes for you!
Firstly, the length of spikes in racing events matters. While 6mm spikes are best for track events, 9mm spikes give you a better grip on muddy and grassy surfaces.
Secondly, you should take the proper time to break into these shoes, because you don’t want any foot injuries or cramps during the main event.
Thirdly, they should be snuggly, but not to the extent that you feel uncomfortable. And finally, avoid using them on hard surfaces, as they’ll wear out soon.
Hope now you understand how spikes make you run faster, and what type of spikes you need for what event. All the best for your event!