Do Running Spikes Make You Faster

Running spikes have long been a topic of debate among athletes, coaches, and sports enthusiasts. As a runner myself, I have spent countless hours researching and experimenting with different types of running shoes, including spikes. In this article, I will delve deep into the subject and address the question: do running spikes make you faster?

What are Running Spikes?

Running spikes, also known as track spikes, are specialized athletic shoes designed for running on track surfaces. Unlike regular running shoes, spikes have thin metal or plastic spikes protruding from the sole. These spikes provide extra traction, allowing runners to push off the ground more efficiently and accelerate faster.

There are various types of running spikes, each designed for different distances and track conditions. Sprint spikes, with their shorter and more aggressive spikes, are optimized for maximum speed on the straightaways of a track. Middle-distance spikes offer a balance between speed and support for distances ranging from 800 meters to 5,000 meters. Long-distance spikes, on the other hand, prioritize comfort and stability for races like the 10,000 meters and cross-country events.

The Science Behind Running Spikes

Now, let’s dive into the science behind running spikes and their impact on speed. When a runner pushes off the ground, the spikes dig into the track surface, increasing the grip and reducing slippage. This translates into more force being transferred to the ground, resulting in greater forward propulsion.

Furthermore, the spikes help runners maintain their form and prevent energy loss. With every stride, runners generate horizontal forces that can cause small slips or skids. Spikes effectively counteract these forces, minimizing energy wastage and allowing for a smoother and more efficient running motion.

In addition to these mechanical benefits, the psychological impact of wearing spikes should not be underestimated. The lightweight and sleek design of spikes give runners a sense of speed and agility, boosting their confidence on the track. This mental advantage can have a significant impact on performance, especially in highly competitive races.

Considerations Before Using Spikes

While running spikes offer numerous advantages, it is important to consider a few factors before incorporating them into your training or competition routine.

  • Track Surface: Spikes are designed for track surfaces and may not be suitable for other terrains like roads or trails. Using spikes on the wrong surface can cause damage to both the shoes and the track.
  • Training Level: Beginners or recreational runners may not immediately benefit from using spikes. It is crucial to develop a solid running foundation and gradually introduce spikes into your training regimen.
  • Injury Risk: The increased speed and responsiveness provided by spikes may put additional stress on your muscles, tendons, and joints. It is important to listen to your body and consult with a coach or medical professional if you experience any discomfort or pain.


In conclusion, running spikes can indeed make you faster. The improved traction, energy efficiency, and psychological boost they provide can give you that extra edge on the track. However, it’s essential to choose the right spikes for your intended distance and track conditions, as well as to consider your training level and potential injury risks.

As with any equipment, it is important to remember that running spikes alone will not guarantee success. Consistent training, proper technique, and a balanced approach to running are key factors in improving your speed and performance. So lace up those spikes, hit the track, and give it your all!