Track Spikes for Sprinters How much do they improve your 100m time vs rubber shoes?

How much can Track Spikes for Sprinters improve my 100m sprint time?

Spikes  Make you faster: Studies show performance improved 6% with spikes

The purpose of the present study was to quantify trace Spikes for Sprinters’ effect on sprint performance in male athletes.

They were separating between both cleats and mass effects. Additionally, and analyzed the influence of the footwear on biomechanical running parameters.

In this study, nine male regional-national sprint athletes (i.e., 100, 200, and 400 m distances).

They performed three 40 m sprints in a randomized order (i.e., Track Spikes for Sprinters, running shoes, and mass added spikes).


Performance improved 2, 6% with spikes with respect to running shoes, were 1, 7% was due to the cleats, and 0, 9% was due to the mass.


When analyzing the biomechanical variables.

And observed that the speed increased because both the step rate and step length also increased.

Step length increased, and the contact time decreased due to a combined effect of the cleats and the mass.

In conclusion, the sprint performance improved when using Track Spikes for Sprinters concerning running shoes; two-thirds of the improvement was due to the cleats and the rest to the shoe’s mass.




So into perspective what is 6%. 

  • 12.0 without spikes = 11.28 (maximal with spikes)

  • 11.0 without spikes = 10.34 (maximal with spikes)


I have an article here querying can anyone break 11 seconds for 100m?


The Advantages of spike shoes allow the athlete.

  1. To run more balanced, less wobbling.
  2. Less time spent on the ground making contact
  3. Less energy is wasted when making contact with the ground.

Different Types of Track Spikes for SprintersNails

Short Distance Track Spikes
Track Spikes for Sprinters


Different Track Spikes for Sprinters designs (pin, pyramid, post, Christmas tree, and modified Christmas tree) are all touted for track and field performance.

But these claims have not been tested and reported in peer-reviewed literature.

The purpose of this study was to examine how track spike design impacted energy return on a Mondo track surface.

The load-deformation curves of the spikes driven by a machine into the track surface were determined.

And the energy absorbed and calculated as the energy returned by each spike.

The modified Christmas tree design generated significantly more energy return on the Mondo track surface than the other spike designs while the pin spike absorbed (and therefore returned).

Significantly less energy than the other spike designs. This information could be useful for athletes and coaches looking to enhance performance on a Mondo track.


What Sport Science Discovered with Track Spikes and Speed

Countless studies on foot mechanics and performance have been done.

But the best and most straightforward investigation is seeing if one runs faster with different shoes.

Specifically, the Track Spikes for Sprinters models we use now and lesser options.

Studies range from barefoot testing to different spike plates.

And even different types of tracks ranging from soft to hard.

And even “springy” options have been tested.

What was found was not surprising.

But Track Spikes for Sprinters are better than barefoot for producing speed. And several theories based on the variables they tested.

Not only did the researchers time the sprints to see the difference in speed with electronic timing. They looked at the motion of the foot in amazing detail.

To see what precisely was the cause of the improvement. What was found in the hardness of the plate increased the performance. And while some may think that horizontal forces from the friction of spikes matter. One must rethink the value when athletes can sprint across ice rinks at full speed, as seen in Ken Jakalski’s video.

In 1968 Puma and Adidas were in a spiked war, promoting a brush-style spike with dozens of tiny spikes. The benefit of the number of spikes is negligible. And the real reason they were banned. The rules didn’t permit the changes, and the IAAF still bans more than 11 spikes currently.

Do Track Spikes Make you faster: Maximal Velocity Mechanics

Full-speed running is maximal velocity mechanics meaning more vertical forces are placed on the ground up and down. Rather than behind the athlete. What we can conclude is that spikes have three roles. The first is obvious. They are being light enough not to slow down the leg when it’s swinging in the air. And this has not been a problem for 50 years.

As the weight hasn’t been that heavy in the past. Legs being repositioned isn’t a limiting factor in the research. But nobody plans to compete in construction boots as most shoes now are lightweight. Second is the need for a shoe that is hard to help transmit forces through the track.

When athletes come to tracks, many can observe the hardness by dropping the ball.

And seeing how high it bounces back. An athlete wants a hard track in competition. And the same rules apply with a hard spike. Cushioning is good, perhaps for training with distance runners. But when it comes to speed, hard options rule, but a limit.

Do Track Spikes make you faster: The Spike Test Results.

Do Short Distance Track Spikes Make you faster
Figure 1. The relative improvement of track spike with a stiff plate. Track Spikes for Sprinters



In the study, Increased Shoe Bending Stiffness Increases Sprint Performance.

The researchers concluded that a hard plate is necessary to improve spike performance, but not all athletes increase the spike plate’s stiffness.

Some barely got better, and some got slower, but most improved their speed. Next, the researchers timed the athletes in a 40-meter sprint and analyzed the 20-40 m segment.

They found that some athletes improved by a few hundredths when wearing more brutal track spikes, specifically the soles made of carbon fiber.

Choosing the Right Track & Field Shoes and Replacement Spikes

by Nick Stebenne, M-F Athletic

Short Distance Track Spikes
Track Spikes for Sprinters

There are many different considerations when selecting track shoes and replacement track spikes.  Replacement track spikes come in many styles, but the pyramid, needle, Christmas tree, and tartan are the most popular.


A) Pyramid Spikes

Dirt and grass (Cross country mostly). They will not wear down as fast, and they have a good bounce on the track.  The most popular size is ¼”.


B) Needle Spikes

– Used primarily on all-weather tracks.  They generate great traction.  The most popular size is 3/16″.


C) Christmas Tree Spikes – Compression spikes.

 They are a mix of bounce (pyramid) and grip (needle).  They usually come in a ¼” size. These are my favorite.  Being a former sprinter, I like the combination of bounce and traction.


D) Tartan Spikes – Normally ¼” dull needle spikes (selected rubber tracks only).

As far as track shoes are concerned, sprint spikes are very lightweight. Hence A more elite sprinter would use a spike with less of a heel. 

Sprinters are taught to run on their toes because a “heel to toe” running style is not explosive.

This being said, sprinter spikes can easily injure beginner athletes if they are not accustomed to running on their toes for the entire race.

  And I have seen many high school runners roll their ankles using these style spikes.

Also, I would suggest for a novice runner purchase a spike that has a more prominent role for safety concerns.

Hence Middle distance spikes and distance spikes are normally stiffer shoes and fit more comfortably on the foot. 

While they indeed have more of a sole and tend to be slightly heavier than the sprinting shoes.

Are soccer cleats better than flats for sprinting on a running track?

Unless the track is turf grass/or loose dirt, then no. You would not wear soccer cleats, and most tracks would forbid you from doing so.

These are Track Spikes for Sprinters:

Short Distance Track Spikes
Track Spikes for Sprinters
Short Distance Track Spikes
Track Spikes for Sprinters

These are soccer cleats.

Short Distance Track Spikes
Football Boots

Notice the drastic difference. Any compressed clay or synthetic track would/should forbid you from wearing soccer cleats. But, of course, you would not wear spikes or cleats on asphalt tracks.

Good tracks are made from compressed synthetic materials or clay. Soccer cleats are designed specifically for turfgrass surfaces.

Then there are specific soccer cleats (slightly smaller) for artificial turf. However, you would not wear either on a running track.

Also, note that soccer cleats have cleats in the back; running spikes do not.

Although sprinting is done on the forefoot, you wouldn’t want to have those cleats in the back; it would mess things up for a sprinter on a track.

So, if your choice is between running flats and soccer cleats, you use running flats.

It Depends on the Running Technique

If you want a long answer, it depends on your running technique.

Some people hit the ground quite vertically with their foot, which requires less grip than others who hit it horizontally.

The other thing is that sprint spikes are much lighter than other footwear like running shoes to run much faster without the weight.

During acceleration, the grip means more than the weight. At top speed, the weight makes more difference than the grip.

I can’t say ‘how much faster because it depends on how fast you are, how you run, and your current footwear. But spikes will make a noticeable difference to your speed, as well as allow you to grip the slippery track surface safely. Particularly in the wet, this is very useful.

They are worth getting; however, there is a big range of spike quality. The cheapest spikes would make a remarkable difference over running shoes, but the most expensive spikes won’t make as much difference over cheap spikes.

I would recommend getting some cheap spikes online if you can find a website that sells last season’s spikes. Running Shoes, Clothing, and Accessories | Start Fitness is the place to go in the UK- you can get a decent pair of spikes for £10–15 (less than $20). There will probably be an equivalent in your country, too, if you aren’t from the UK.

You can also get middle-distance spikes- their main difference is that they have small cushioning on the heel. Sprint spikes don’t have any cushioning because the heel doesn’t touch the ground during a sprint, but the speed difference is negligible. So middle-distance spikes would be suitable too!



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