Best Cross Country & Track Spikes 2024 | Buyer's Guide (2024)

If you want to top the podium and hit your personal best on the track, cross-country course or in your field event, then finding the right pair of track or XC shoes will help you crush your next meet.

The best track and cross country spikes do two things really well:

  1. Feel lightweight and quick on your feet for the distance or event you are competing in
  2. Are secure and grippy enough to handle top speeds, twists and turns.

Many of today's best spikes and racing flats include cutting-edge technology like rigid plates, lightweight cushioning and advanced lacing systems, so you can focus on performing.

Whether you’re sprinting, jumping, throwing, or running middle to long-distance races, we’ve got you covered to help you find the best shoes and spikes for any event. When the gun’s about to go off, lace up one of these speedy spikes to light up the track or course.

Check out our list below comparing the best XC spikes and track spikes for every event:

Best Long Distance Spikes

  • Saucony Endorphin 3
  • New Balance LD5K v8
  • Nike Zoom Rival Distance
  • HOKA Cielo X LD 2
  • Brooks Wire 8
  • Nike Zoom X Dragonfly
  • New Balance FuelCell SuperComp LD-X
  • adidas Adizero Avanti TYO

Best Mid-Distance Spikes

  • Saucony Terminal VT
  • New Balance MD500 v8
  • Saucony Ballista MD
  • New Balance MD800 v8
  • Saucony Velocity MP
  • ASICS Hyper MD 8
  • Brooks ELMN8 v7
  • HOKA Cielo X 2 MD

Best Sprinting Spikes

  • Saucony Spitfire 5
  • Nike Zoom Rival Multi-Event
  • adidas Adizero Finesse
  • New Balance SD100 v4
  • Nike Zoom Rival Sprint
  • ASICS Hypersprint 8

  • Nike Zoom Rotational 6
  • Nike Zoom SD 4 Throwing Shoe
  • Nike Air Zoom Elite LJ Elite 2
  • Saucony Uplift HJ 2
  • Nike Triple Jump Elite 2
  • Saucony Soarin J2

Best Cross Country Spikes

  • Nike Zoom Rival XC 6
  • Brooks Draft XC Spike
  • New Balance XC Seven v4
  • Saucony Kilkenny XC9
  • New Balance XC5K v6
  • Saucony Havok XC 3
  • Nike ZoomX Dragonfly XC

[This article is part of the Fleet Feet Buyer's Guide for The Best Running Shoes 2024. Find all the best running shoes from the top brands for all situations.]

See All Buyers Guides

Understanding how spikes can improve your performance will help you pick the best pair for your race. The quantity of spikes in the shoe’s spike plate, length of spike and overall fit are the most important factors to consider before your next meet.

How many spikes do you need?

A good rule of thumb: the longer the distance, the fewer spikes in the spike plate. Cross country and long distance track spikes typically have four or five spikes, while sprinting and mid-distance spikes can range from six to eight spikes, which gives you the extra traction needed to push top speeds.

What spike length do you need?

Track and cross country shoes have spikes that can be screwed in and out of the bottom plate. Depending on the surface you race on, you’ll want to choose the appropriate spike length so you don’t find yourself carrying extra turf with you on the cross country course, or sliding around an indoor track.

Quarter (¼) inch spikes are generally safe for most track and cross country races. If you are racing on an indoor track, there can be regulations on the length of spike you are allowed to wear in order to keep the track intact as it’s used; on average, one-eighth (⅛) inch spikes are the standard for indoor track.

As you gain experience and fine tune the feel you prefer in your spikes, you can toy around with a variety of spike shapes from pyramid to needle spikes on the track, but always be sure to check the meet rules before changing out your spikes.

How should spikes fit?

Fit is important when it comes to spikes. They often will not fit or feel the same as your trainers. For instance, you may want slightly less space between your longest toe and the front of your spike compared to the thumb’s width you would generally shoot for in a running shoe. This will give you a more secure fit and better control during toe-off. If you’re not sure which track or cross country spikes to buy, visit your local Fleet Feet and meet with an expert Outfitter to help you find the perfect fit.

For events ranging distances from 1500m to 5K, the best long distance track spikes have a low spike count (4-6) with just enough cushioning in the midsole and heel to keep your legs fresh enough for your final kick.

To let your foot move naturally as you run, long distance track spikes are often more flexible and do not use a firm, plastic plate on the outsole compared to sprinting spikes. Instead, designers will use carbon-fiber or PEBAX plates in the midsole of premium long-distance track spikes for extra speediness.

Here are our picks for the best long distance track spikes.

Looking to compete in multiple events on the track or hone your skills in events like the 400m or 800m? A middle distance spike could be your race shoe.

The best mid-distance spikes have the perfect combination of lightweight cushion and rigidity for snappy transitions and fast speeds. They’re super versatile for athletes who need an all-around track spike and typically have a few more spikes underneath compared to long-distance models.

If you’re looking to shave some seconds off your PR for track season this year, check out our top picks for the best mid-distance spikes.

When you have to go all out, the best sprinting spikes will give you the push you need to finish strong.

Ultra-light, aggressive and super fast, track spikes for sprinting are designed with a rigid spike plate to keep your weight on the ball of your foot and promote snappy transitions. Ready to explode off the blocks, they can use anywhere from six to eight spikes so you can dig into your starting position.

The best spikes for sprinting use little to no padding on the heel and focus much of their technology on the forefoot and spike plate. While some experienced mid-distance runners may elect for the faster feel of a sprinter’s spike, these race shoes are designed for events under 400m, where every second and every stride counts.

Built for top-end speed, here are our top picks for the best sprinting spikes.

For field events like the high jump, long jump, pole vault and shot put, the best spikes help support your foot and ankle while you grip, twist and turn to generate the most power.

To accomplish this, field spikes are built to be lightweight with enough rigidity to push you faster and higher. They often have a higher spike count and can take needle spikes, which are longer than traditional spikes to help stabilize you as you jump and run.

Throwing shoes for events like shot put or discus are typically spikeless to allow for a free rotation while giving you enough grip to generate momentum to throw your farthest.

Whether you pole vault, jump or throw, these spikes give you the grip and traction you need to perform your best on meet day.

Here are our picks for the best jumping and throwing spikes.

Looking to prepare for cross country season? When you’re battling for position during your next meet, you want a cross country spike with grip, security and speed.

Cross country shoes are different from the running shoes that you train in outside of competition. Cross Country racing shoes are lightweight and built with low-profile foam cushioning for better control and responsiveness. They also have a glove-like fit around your midfoot and heel for extra support without weighing you down.

Whether you choose a spikeless XC shoe with finer lugging or a spiked shoe, cross country race shoes will give you better grip in slippery conditions and help you generate speed across the course.

Conquer steep climbs, rolling hills and tight trails with these best cross country spikes.

How We Tested the Best Spikes for Track and Cross Country

With over 250 stores in communities across the country, Fleet Feet is the largest running store in the U.S. with over four decades of experience outfitting runners with the best running shoes, apparel and gear. We focus on running and walking gear, so we can be the experts and bring you the best running and walking advice possible.

Through our personalized Fleet Feet fit id® Outfitting process with 3D foot scanning technology, we use data from over 5 million foot scans (and counting) to give us unique insights into how today’s top running shoes and spikes fit and perform on a wide variety of feet. Additionally, thanks to 100,000+ runners participating in our local running clubs and training programs each year, we can see firsthand how the newest running shoes and gear perform for all different types of runners, each with different goals in mind.

Collectively, our experienced team of Fleet Feet editors has tried, tested and fallen in love with hundreds of different running shoes from dozens of the world’s top running brands. With this knowledge, we meticulously pour over the smallest details like fit, comfort, materials, durability and weight, to decide which running shoes and gear are the best. From running shoe and gear reviews to cross country workout tips and inspiration, we are your go-to source for running knowledge and motivation.

With this knowledge and expertise, we’ve tested the best track and cross country shoes based on:

  • Purpose. Comparing apples to apples
  • Performance. How well does it do its job?
  • Real-world testing. We put them to the test on real runs
  • Price. Is it affordable? Does its performance justify its cost?
  • Sales. Best-selling models are best-sellers for a reason
  • fit id® data. Our 5 million+ foot scans show how shoes fit for different feet
  • Availability. It won’t be good for you if it’s not in stock
  • Designer interviews. We ask the people who made it

Standing Behind Our Picks

Fleet Feet knows running.

We picked the best track and cross country spikes based on over four decades of experience outfitting runners of all abilities, ages and sizes. If you buy gear from us and you don’t like the way it looks, fits or performs, bring it back within 60 days for a full refund.

Plus, we offer free shipping & returns on all orders over $99 on fleetfeet.com, and we’ll match a lower price from a qualifying retailer. That’s our Happy Fit Guarantee.

fit id® & Dynamic Pressure Mapping

Buying online isn’t for everyone. To try on your gear before you buy it, visit a local Fleet Feet store for an in-person fitting experience.

We fit you for running shoes through our own fit id® outfitting process. The one-on-one process uses a 3D scanner to take precise measurements of your feet. This in combination with our *Dynamic Pressure Mapping system helps our highly trained Outfitters assess your foot’s path of motion and stride as you walk so they can find the perfect shoes for you. Then, using data points for each foot and decades of experience in the industry, we help you find the right gear for your unique feet and specific needs.

Want to try it for yourself? Find a Fleet Feet location near you.

*Pressure plates are available at select Fleet Feet stores

Best Cross Country & Track Spikes 2024 | Buyer's Guide (2024)

FAQs

What is the best distance track spike for 2024? ›

Still the best all-around, elite-level track spike for distance runners, the Nike ZoomX Dragonfly is suitable for all track events 800 meters and longer.

What is the best XC spike? ›

  • Saucony Spitfire 5. Men's Shoes.
  • New Balance XC 900 V4 Spike. Men's Shoes. $89.95.
  • Nike Unisex Zoom Rival XC. Shoes. $65.00.
  • New Balance XC Seven. Men's Shoes. $74.95.
  • Saucony Havok XC 3 Spike. Men's Shoes. $84.95.
  • adidas Adizero Adios 7. Men's Shoes. ...
  • New Balance MD500 v6. Men's Shoes. ...
  • Saucony Havok XC 3 Spike. Women's Shoes.
Jan 12, 2024

What is the best length for cross country spikes? ›

What size spike goes in the bottom of the shoe? In cross country the standard is 3/8". In track 1/4". Check with your coach for rule updates since the WIAA does limit the length due to safety concerns.

Can you use the same spikes for XC and track? ›

Can't I just wear Track (sprint) spikes in Cross Country races? While Cross Country spikes and Track spikes are similar, they are NOT the same. You can wear XC spikes in Track, but not the other way around.

What brand is best for track spikes? ›

We pushed track spikes to the limit and found Nike's Air Zoom MaxFly as the best track spike overall. MaxFly screams maximum record-breaking speed with its light weight, race-ready fit, and snappy ride. We learned it showed optimum performance in 100-400m events and surprisingly felt comfortable on foot.

What spikes does Noah Lyles wear? ›

Noah Lyles most recently has worn the Adidas Adizero Prime SP2. He calls these spikes his “favorites.”

Should I wear 9mm or 12mm spikes cross country? ›

Generally you'll want 9mm for firm / dry ground, 12mm for your average British weather conditions, and 15mm for mud-bath conditions. After a muddy race, do try and get the worst of the mud off your spikes as soon as you can, they will last longer that way.

How do I choose XC spikes? ›

CROSS COUNTRY SPIKES

Different types of spikes let runners adapt their shoes to the terrain of the race. Shoes with shorter spikes provide better traction on grass and gravel, while longer spikes work best on wet, muddy, or loose terrain.

Why are cross country spikes banned in California? ›

NOTE: If you compete in California high school cross country, only consider cross country flats, as cross country spikes are banned at most courses and are nonetheless ill-suited for the courses in California due to the large sections of pavement or hard-packed surfaces.

Are spikes worth it for cross country? ›

The benefits of a spike are so fundamental that no elite cross country runner competes without them. They're significantly lighter - which means you have to haul less weight through the mud and grass. Spikes also have traction designed for rugged terrain to reduce the effort you put in to run at a fast pace.

How often should you replace cross country spikes? ›

1 - The same pair of spikes should last you several seasons.

Unlike training shoes, which need replacing every few hundred miles, cross country spikes should last you at least two seasons. That's because you usually only wear them to race.

Should you wear socks with spikes? ›

Make sure you only wear your spikes whilst on the track or at a cross-country event on a soft surface. As running spikes are a snug fit whether you wear socks or not is up to you. Going sock-free however can increase your chance of blisters so look for a thin technical sock to get the best of both.

What is the difference between cross country spikes and distance track spikes? ›

But there's still quite a difference in how each type of running spike affects your performance. A lot of it is about the materials used. Cross-country spikes have additional padding and rubber for flexibility, while sprinting spikes are typically reinforced with a hard plastic plate.

Are pyramid spikes good for XC? ›

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– For cross country and most tracks since they are less aggressive on the flooring.

Do track spikes make that much or a difference? ›

While your regular trainers are built for, well, training, spikes are built for competition. They're lighter which reduces fatigue; they hug your feet for better control; and they provide extra grip where you need it most, resulting in greater responsiveness and powerful push offs that propel you forward, faster.

What are the best distance track spikes? ›

What Makes a Spike Good For Distance?
The Best Distance Spikes of 2024
Spike TypeOur Picks
Best Spike for Middle Distance (800m, 1500m, 1600m) EventsNike Air Zoom Victory
Best Spike for Long Distance (3000m, 3200m, 5000m, and 10,000m) EventsNike ZoomX Dragonfly
Best Distance Spike for BeginnersNike Zoom Rival Distance
Dec 29, 2023

What is the max spike length for track? ›

There are generally 3 criteria when choosing spikes; 1. Shape of Spikes: Pyramid or Christmas Tree (also known as compression tier spikes). Traditionally, the maximum allowable spike length for outdoor tracks is 7mm and indoors is 5mm.

What is the best all around track shoe? ›

The Asics Novablast 4 is our favorite do-it-all training shoe; the one all-around favorite running shoe of our expert running shoe testers. Why? It was the most consistent top-performing shoe across the range of our rating metrics that we have evaluated.

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