The term “spikes” can refer to a shoe that house spikes or the actual spiked protrusions. Before purchasing spikes, the shoes, please speak with one of the coaches to recommend the proper shoes for the athlete.


Spikes, the shoes:

There is variation among spike shoes depending on their intended use.

  • Sprint shoes generally have a very stiff spike plate with the greatest number of spike wells. Very little heel support is needed because sprinters spend most or all of their time on their toes. Sprint spikes should fit tighter than regular athletic shoes yet still comfortable enough to perform in.
  • Distance shoes have a more flexible spike plate with less taper and fewer spikes. Because of the longer race distances, support through the mid-foot and heel is as important as efficiency with distance spikes. Distance spikes generally have a softer, more durable sole, particularly through the heel region. Although still “glove-like,” the fit for distance spikes is generally slightly looser than for sprint spikes, given the longer race duration.
  • Middle distance shoes are a hybrid of a sprint shoe and a distance shoe, featuring an intermediate level of taper, spike plate rigidity, cushioning, and support. Certain middle distance spikes are also popular among hurdlers because they have a relatively steep taper for sprinting and a cushioned heel for landings.
  • Cross country shoes usually have no more than six spike points and are similar to distance spikes in many respects. However, given the wide range of terrain encountered off-track, cross country spikes have a more durable rubber sole and supportive mid-foot to provide a level of cushioning and stabilization not required on a track. Depending on race length, surface types and personal preference, cross country spikes may be abandoned in favor of racing flats.
  • Long jump shoes are most similar to sprint spikes to provide good top speed.
  • High jump shoes have flat bottoms and heel spikes to allow energy transfer through the entire foot.
  • Steeplechase shoes are predominantly a water-resistant mesh for exceptional ventilation.
  • Javelin shoes can cover the ankle and have longer spikes in the heel to support the plant, especially on grass surfaces. As an alternative, on grass surfaces, cleats (soccer, baseball, football) may be worn.


Spikes, the protrusions:

Spikes are generally metal or ceramic.  The purpose is to derive traction by penetrating the ground.

  • The Flyers use pyramid spikes, which are conical spikes that taper to a point.  They normally have a maximum diameter nearly equal to the diameter of the threads of the spike.
  • The Flyers use 1/4 inch (6 mm) spikes for track & jumping events and 3/8 inch (9.5 mm) for cross country.
  • There are a number of specialty lengths, such as for javelin, as well as minimal "blank" spikes used to cover a spike well.  Blanks are recommended to keep the spike hole clear of debris.


Spike Keys:

Spike keys are used to put the spikes in and take them out of the shoes. Spikes and spike keys used to come is various shapes, such as screwdrivers (e.g., flat heard, Philips, hex). However, they are more universally becoming one shape. If you buy a spike key, make sure it fits your spikes. The Flyers team has spike keys.


Purchasing Spikes:

Since spikes, the shoes, should fit well to allow maximal performance, it is recommended that one try them on before purchasing. However, most shoe stores do stock many styles in many sizes. Alternately, spike shoes can be purchased online. There are many online sellers of spike shoes. However, www.EastBay.com is recommended by one of the Flyers coaches because they pay for return shipping.

Spikes, the pointed protrusions, can be purchased most anywhere that sells running shoes, as well as at some tracks and from Flyers coaches.