If you’re getting into running and want to get every advantage that you can, then you may have heard about runners using spikes to get more speed, but is that actually true? Do spikes make you run faster?
Spikes offer more grip and stability on the racetrack and are used by professionals and enthusiasts alike for short sprints, long runs, and tight turns.
Spike shoes are in fact a great investment if you want to get the most speed out of your running, whether you do short or long distances.
The rest of this article will walk you through everything you need to know about spiked shoes and how to get the best pair for your individual needs.
Is It Easier to Run with Spikes?
Spikes have been used by runners for centuries to aid in running. While spikes are not always the easiest accessory to run with, there are a few benefits to using them.
Runners with spiked shoes have a definitive advantage over those who don’t have spiked shoes. In short, the more grip and traction you have on the course, the more force you can use to push off the ground and propel yourself forward.
It may seem like a small improvement, but spiked shoes can dramatically improve your run time, whether you do cross country, 100-meter sprints, or 400-meter relays.
The shoes can be outfitted for different purposes depending on what kind of running you’re doing and are great across the board for all kinds of running.
Lightweight and very minimal in design, spiked shoes are not designed for comfort; cushioning is extra weight, and more weight means more drag.
As such, spiked shoes are exclusively designed for racing, not for everyday use. And so they take some getting used to and are not the easiest shoes for newbie runners.
Pros of Spiked Shoes
Spiked shoes have a lot going for them in terms of versatility, design, and function. For runners across the board, they provide a boost to traction, improving the efficiency of the running motion and thus the overall speed of a runner.
Spiked shoes are designed for every kind of runner. Sprinters will put the spikes on the toe of the shoe because that’s where their feet mainly make contact with the ground to maximize speed during a sprint.
200 meter and 400 meter runners, on the other hand, might put the spikes on the inside edge of the left foot and the outside edge of the right foot to give them the most traction during those tight turns.
Cross country runners, needing to manage a variety of natural terrain, will spread the spikes all over their shoes for an overall boost in traction and speed.
Spiked shoes don’t just provide improved traction, they are also built extremely lightweight with little to no cushioning to avoid extra drag on the feet.
Long Distance Spikes
Long distance spikes provide a little more support to the heel and typically feature fewer spikes so that runners can have a blend of speed, traction, and support.
Cons of Spikes on Shoes
Spikes on shoes are great for getting the edge in races and making sure you get the best grip possible while you run, but there are a few downsides to consider if you’re going to invest in a pair of spiked shoes.
Wear and Tear
These shoes are lightweight and built for minimal cushioning. You’re also pounding them into the ground on a regular basis when you run, putting a good deal of wear and tear on them faster than ordinary shoes.
As such, they’re not really cut out for everyday use―even use for your practices.
You want the spikes to be fresh, not worn down, when you’re on the racetrack for real, so it’s usually better to have a backup pair that you can put some miles on so that your spiked shoes stay perfect for race day.
Another big downside of spiked shoes is that they tend to be pretty expensive. Not only are you paying out of pocket for them, but you’re also likely to need to replace them if you plan to keep running seriously.
If you enjoy casual running, you don’t need spiked shoes to enjoy yourself, but if you want that competitive edge, spiked shoes are a necessary―and sometimes pricey―investment that you’ll need to make in the long run for the best chance of dominating the competition.
When Do You Want To Use Spikes On Shoes?
You should primarily be using spikes on your shoes during race day. They fit well, but they’re not designed to be comfortable for everyday use, and since they wear out quickly, you’ll want to keep your shoes at their best for race day.
Are Running Spikes Worth It?
Running spikes are worth it if you’re running seriously. They offer a significant advantage over regular running shoes.
You should primarily be using spikes on your shoes during race day. They fit well, but they’re not designed to be comfortable for everyday use. Since they wear out quickly, you’ll want to keep your shoes at their best for race day.
How Much Faster Do Spikes Make You in the 400m?
Actual results may vary from individual to individual as to how much effectiveness you can get from switching to spikes, but you can save up to 0.5 seconds on your personal best.
Spiked shoes are a staple for professional runners everywhere, with different designs and styles available for different types of runners.
The spikes are usually adjustable and can be modified depending on what kind of running you’re doing, but when it comes down to it, there’s no doubt that spikes make you faster.