10 Best Spike Racing Shoes Tested

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If you’re a competitive runner looking to compete this fall when cross-country season starts, chances are you’re in the market for a pair of racing spikes. After you have a great pair (or few pairs) of trainers you love, and maybe even some spikeless racers, check out our list of the top 10 spike racing shoes. These guys are just for your special day out on the course, and permitted you’re allowed to wear them in your races, they could make the difference between winning or losing a race. When looking for the right spike shoe we need to consider five key points which are do we want studs, tartan spikes, compression spikes, needle spikes or pyramid spikes?

Each runner will have his or her own preference and it will be related to the type of running, the surface and the distance. After choosing which system we want for traction, we then need to choose which shoe works for our own individual needs, this review will give you options for the best shoe for you.

Last Updated: November 9, 2017
By Brian Price:

We’ve gone back and added a whole bunch of additional information to go along with precisely what we looked for when choosing our list. Also check out the newly added frequently asked questions.

New Balance XC900V3
  • New Balance XC900V3
  • 4.9 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Cross-Country Racing Shoe
  • Price: See Here
ASICS Cross Freak 2
  • ASICS Cross Freak 2
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Trusstic System for Weight Reduction
  • Price: See Here
Nike Victory XC 3
  • Nike Victory XC 3
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Reasonable price point
  • Price: See Here

10 Best Spike Racing Shoes

 

1. New Balance XC900V3

1. New Balance XC900V3
New Balance’s best racing shoe is officially marketed towards college racers, meaning it matches competitive design with an affordable price point. The shoe features a light, flexible sole, and welded overlays to fit a variety of feet.
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The thin REVlite soles gives the spike the feel of a racing flat, but the foam is lightweight and breathable.

The flexible sole is designed for experienced racers who want non-intrusive, comfy padding for long races. It also makes the shoes comfortable, giving them a slightly wider, more flexible fit.

Cost
The college-level spike offers competitive racing technology at a price students will respect. It’s a great buy for a mid-level racer looking for an elite shoe that does not come at an unreasonable price.
Pros
  • Additional arch and sole support.
  • More supportive feel
  • Deep treads on sole
Cons
  • Narrow fit is not right for everyone
  • Slightly heavier than other models

2. ASICS Cross Freak 2

2. ASICS Cross Freak 2
The second version of the much adored ASICS Cross Freak feature the same high, sculpted arch and multilayer sole set that set it apart as a slightly more supportive spike option. The shoe runs narrow, but for racers who prefer a tight fit or have especially narrow feet it may be the perfect fit.
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The Freak features a 5-spike rubber outsole with deep treads, providing lightweight mobility in a sturdy package.

Weighing in at 7 oz., they are not the lightest spike on the market, but all the extra weight goes straight to the support and stability. Runners who need a bit of extra support won’t want to pass up on the ASICS Cross Freak.

Cost
ASICS are reliably affordable, and the Cross Freak are no exception. Given the elite nature of the shoes, they are fairly priced compared to comparable models.
Pros
  • Additional arch and sole support.
  • More supportive feel
  • Deep treads on sole
Cons
  • Narrow fit is not right for everyone
  • Slightly heavier than other models

3. Nike Victory XC 3

3. Nike Victory XC 3
These spikes are some of the lightest on the market and feature a glove-like, single-layer mesh upper to provide you with excellent breathability. Available in four color options, runners young and old swear by this spike for the comfort, durability and price point.
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Most important to the Victory XC 3 is the flywire technology that provides an adjustable and secrure fit. The shoes are durable and will stay tight for even the most aggressive, competitive racers.

This shoe also features a Pebax sole, which is a harder plastic material than you will find on some other shoes. This leads to more durability and can give a racer better traction on muddy or grassy terrains.

Cost
The Victory XC 3 is one of the best-priced models on the market, matching high-quality with affordability. One of several racing spikes offered by Nike, the Victory XC 3 is marketed as their entry level model, but many competitive racers still pick it over some of the other options.
Pros
  • Lightweight, breathable fit
  • Durable sole great for tough terrains
  • Low price point
  • Four color options
Cons
  • Some runners may not be used to the plastic sole

4. Saucony Carrera XC

4. Saucony Carrera XC
If you’re looking for lightweight, look no further than the Carrera. Weighing in at 4.2 oz for men and 3.7 oz for women, this spike is one of the lightest on the market thanks to the super lightweight ISOFIT upper and stripped-down midsole.
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The shoes feature a FlexFilm system for tying the shoes that can mold around a runners foot and create a supportive fit. The upper is thin and less durable than some other shoes though, so you may end up replacing your Carrera’s mid-season.

This model features a 6-pin spike plate, compared to the 4-pin plate that some less elite models feature. It can lead to more agressive racing on some grassy or muddy courses.

They run a bit wider than some shoes, and are not designed to fit all feet. Trying on race shoes before buying is always important, but for this model it may be especially true.

Cost
Elite shoes come with elite prices, and you will end up paying a bit of a premium to get one of the lightest shoes on the market.
Pros
  • Very lightweight
  • 6-pin spike plate
  • Thin, lightweight upper
Cons
  • Not the right fit for all runners
  • Less durable upper

5. Endorphin MD4

5. Endorphin MD4
Designed for serious middle distance running, you get great traction from a liked good performance shoe through the six pin system which provides nice traction.

Great for middle distances, this 6-pin track shoe from Saucony provides an ideal level of traction.

These shoes were created as a result of extensive bio mechanics research which has resulted in very innovative shoe tech such as the sole based system which gives serious stability and top class cushion factor.
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Comfort/Features.
The Spike plate and out-sole are built from high performing durable plastic and a great feature for comfort through the mid-sole which gives cleverly engineered cushioning.

The thin upper shoe structure hugs to the foot, keeps a runner up on his/her toes and lets you move at lightweight speed while ensuring very good surface traction.

The shoe is seriously light weighing in at 3.20z and has very good durability blended with comfort and an ability to perform for runners.

Cost
This high tech performance shoe is comfortably affordable.
Pros

3.2 oz
six pin system for traction
good cushioning
comfortable and stable to wear

Cons

Keep to middle distance running

6. Brooks Mach 17

6. Brooks Mach 17
The elite racing spike from Brooks is back and better than ever. Totally rebuilt from the previous model, it now features a seamless stretch upper and a less flexible build designed for more powerful running.
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The rubber grip plate holds five widely spaced spikes and is combined with an internal torsion plate. These shoes are truly built to help you dig in and push forward on race day.

The shoes fit tight, but the stretch upper gives them a sock-like feel. Seasoned runners who like a tight, firm fit on race day will be fond of the snug feel the Mach provides.

Cost
The Mach has a higher price-point, but it is built for competitors looking for an extra advantage. It’s truly a racing shoe, not meant for a casual fun-run or training day.
Pros
  • Strong, rubber grip plate
  • Snug fit
  • Seamless stretch upper
Cons
  • Runs narrow
  • Less comfort and support

7. Saucony Havok XC

7. Saucony Havok XC
If the ultralight Saucony Carrera is more than you need, consider the Havoc, a slightly heavier, equally competitive shoe. Saucony describes the shoe as “designed for your top 7 and or varsity runner,” but all levels of racers will appreciate the features and price.
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A seamless sock layer and FlexFilm provides a snug fit without adding weight, similar to the Carrera. The FlexFilm here is slightly less moldable to your foot, so the fit might not be as perfect.

The sole also features durable XT-600 carbon, ensuring that the shoe will last a whole season. It weighs in at 5.4 ounces, about an ounce and half more than it’s elite sibling.

Cost

An entry-level spike, compared to the Carrera, this spike is more affordable but lacks some of the selling-points of other models.
Pros
  • Affordable price
  • FlexFilm upper
  • Carbon sole
Cons
  • Built for entry-level runners
  • Not as snug of a fit

8. Saucony Kilkenny XC5

8. Saucony Kilkenny XC5
Veteran runners will definitely recognize the name of the Saucony Kilkenny’s, as they’ve been a staple on raceday for years. Saucony has kept the shoes up-to-date with current trends, and the newest model features a lightweight upper, molded sole, and reliable traction.
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Aimed at beginning runners, the seamless upper will make the Kilkenny more comfortable for a wide-variety of foot types. It may not match the stable fit of some other options, however,

The Kilkenny is offered in both spiked and spikeless models, so young runners who like the fit may opt for it in races where spiked shoes are not allowed, as well.

Cost
The Saucony Kilkenny XC5 is not an Olympic-level racing shoe, but for early stage runners looking for a first pair of spikes, or spikeless racing shoes, this may be a good fit. The shoes are comfortable and half the price of some of their competitors.
Pros
  • Very affordable
  • Comfortable fit
  • Seamless upper
Cons
  • Less durable and form-fitting
  • Not made for elite runners

9. Hypersprint 5

9. Hypersprint 5
Hypersprint 5 is a very light shoe which performs really well for sprint running.

This is the 5th updated version for this shoe line and the tech and performance just keeps getting better each time.

Looking at the shoe shouts speed and appealing design mixed in with bags of comfort and high performance.

A 5 pin spike shoe which is certain to give awesome traction while you sprint at top speed.
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Comfort/Features
Constructed with durable and comfortable synthetic styled leather, the shoe offers a spike plate constructed from light nylon, ultra durable and excellent surface traction.

Durable and reliable EVA for the heel pad and a tough durable rubber sole, you get a choice for the shoe color in sliver/black or blue/white/black.

Cost
This is a top performing shoe sold at a price which is affordable for those specialist sprinters.
Pros

Spike Plate Durable nylon
Very good traction
Upper light mesh
Synthetic leather
EVA Heel Pad

Cons

Just for sprinters

10. Puma Haraka XCS

10. Puma Haraka XCS
The Puma Haraka is a heavier spike, meant for runners who prefer them for training or just like a bit of extra shoe on raceday. The spikes have a generous fit, with a bit of extra toe room and wider feel. It is more like a training sneaker than the race spike you might be used to.
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The Haraka runs sort of like a trail shoe, slightly lighter than a trainer but not your best bet for a short, speedy race. The textile lining for breathable for all-around comfort, although slightly thicker than some of the other shoes on the market.

Runners with sensitive feet will like the additional padding in the sole, which provides more comfort than some lighter racing spikes.

Cost
Because they are not an elite racing spike, the Puma Haraka has a more affordable pricepoint. They also last longer than some less durable shoes, so you’ll end up replacing them less frequently.
Pros
  • More cushioning in sole
  • Low pricepoint
  • Stablity provided with textile lining
  • 6-pin plate for aggressive running
Cons
  • Heavier than other models
  • Less form-fitting shoe shape

Anxious Athlete Waiting at Starting Line

The Criteria Used For Selecting The Best Spike Racing Shoes

 

Getting Ready For Race Day

There’s nothing like the feeling you get on race day. Whether it’s track or cross-country, the competitive atmosphere is captivating. All those days training, the special diet, the extra time choosing the right gear, it’s all led up to this moment. As participants make their way to the starting line, there is a certain amount of sportsmanship in the air that is as timeless as the sport itself. The truth is, no one is competing against the other. Every single participant present is actually competing against themselves. They want to beat their best time, fastest speed, or quickest start, and they want to beat it on race day against peers that have been training just as hard. When you look up, take your breath, and that starting pistol rings, it’s just you and your conditioning. Racing spikes are the embodiment of this competitive spirit; they are sleek and fast. Lace up the right pair and you feel unstoppable. Let’s take a look at some of the highest rated racing spikes on the market today and what they can do for your next event.

Quality Materials And Construction.

No matter what selection you make, these running spikes are all engineered to surpass expectations in terms of performance and quality of build. We did the legwork for you by going through countless reviews and feedback scores. While there’s no shortage of hi-tech materials, synthetic fabrics, and cushioning foams on the market, if they must be utilized effectively where they can provide the maximum benefits to the wearer. This is why we took what individuals that participated in several events had to say about their running spikes after they have been through their paces. When making a selection, it can be easy to grab for the product with the most bells and whistles. This is why construction and quality materials were critical factors when we were searching for quality spikes.

Lightweight Design

We researched a wide range of data from countless user reviews and recommendations, the most sought after quality is always a lightweight design. Testers enjoyed feeling as light as possible, almost forgetting that they were wearing racing spikes at all. We made sure that our buying guide reflects this need and we have included the lightest options available. We also took quality design into consideration. We listened to what racers had to say about the construction of the spikes on our list to ensure that they can compete as much as you do.

High-Speed Efficiency

There are several technical considerations to make when selecting the right racing spikes. It’s not very surprising that several scientific methods are utilized to calculate the footwear’s efficiency. Much like a finely tuned sports car is tested in wind tunnels, the spikes on our list have all been rigorously tested during the manufacturing process and by third party consultants. In competitions where first and second place are decided my milliseconds, every single seam matters.

Spike Plate For Proper Use

We listen to our readers and understand the subtle differences that they look for when they are searching for their high performance running shoes. Giving our readers as much information as possible to make their decision is our top priority. This is why we were sure to include spike plate description into our product information. There is a difference to track and field spikes and cross-country spikes. We like to give you the properties of the shoes and let you decide which ones work best for you.

Our research demonstrated that runners appreciated having the option to select the number of spikes and being able to interchange them, rather than just opting for the maximum number allowed. Today’s runners seek more versatility and customization in their running spikes and our buying guide does a good job reflecting that.

Budget Conscious Options

At Runnerclick, we believe that no one should ever be priced out of participating in something that they are passionate about and that comes with so many therapeutic and health benefits. We are runners too, and understand the importance of having the right gear at the right price. This is why we don’t provide a “most expensive list” or choose products based on brand marketing or affiliation. Our buying guide has great options that will fit into every budget, and provide you with quality and design. In addition, by working with an internet powerhouse like Amazon, you know that you are getting the absolute best prices that are way below retail.

No one should be left out of participating in an activity they love because of cost.  We included a variety of products on our list that range in price points so everyone can purchase a quality product that fits in their budget.

defence_forces_cross_country_championships_8227146133

Other Important Things to Consider When Searching For The Best Spike Racing Shoes

Those were some of the important things we looked at when making our selection. While we are sure that you have already narrowed down your selection to a couple of choices, here are some additional points that you should read. Below you will find some personal factors to take into consideration when making your choice, and find your next pair of racing spikes.

Get The Right Spike For The Job

First, let’s consider the basic categories of spikes so that you can match them up with your individual needs. Cross Country spikes are the most popular type and the tool of choice for athletes that run or race on uneven, muddy terrain. A closely popular second type of running spike is the sprint spike. The design is strictly speed focused and keeps the runner’s grip safely secured, allowing them to focus on their time. Finally, the newest trend in running, and perhaps what brought you to this buying guide in the first place, is the standard distance spike. When runners begin to compete, they quickly learn that anything on a track (800 through 10k meters) is run in these standard distance spikes. Naturally, it’s a good idea to select your spikes based on what you plan to do in them.

Get The Arch Support You Need

When reviewing tester feedback, we came upon a common misconception when evaluating racing spikes. Runners tend to assume that they do not provide arch support and that it’s normal for them to be uncomfortable. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, our buying guide is jam packed with options that purposely provide additional arch support for those who need it. Gone are the days of tight and uncomfortable racing footwear, today’s competitors have all the advantages of thoughtful design. So make sure that you take a look at what we had to say about arch support in our individual recommendations, to make sure that you select something that feels great and supportive.

Know Your Course

Most runner will agree this is the key to success. For example, when you are selecting spikes for cross-country usage, consider the type of courses that you will be taking on. If you will find yourself in extremely muddy, uneven, or hilly courses you should look for the running spikes that possess a denser rubber sole and a water-resistant upper. We have included these in our buying guide at the recommendation of several testers. Depending on the severity of the course, you might even want to consider spikes with a toe guard to prevent studding against rocks or roots.

Likewise, if you are going to be on more manicured courses which typical feature packed dirt and even grass, look for cross country spikes that have removable spikes for more customization. These will give you an edge over the competition because they can be quickly adjusted depending on conditions. To further add to your advantage, select a pair that is lightweight, there’s no sense in buying more spike shoe than you need.

Select Based On Your Speed And Distance Requirements

When you need high efficiency at high speeds for track use (also called field events), there are a couple of things to keep in mind. First is spike length. Choose something that comes in a shorter length to effectively carry you at a faster pace. Testers also preferred a outsole that is less thick than the average with a little amount of cushioning, which is perfect for changings speeds and maintaining comfort for the longer runs. It would also be wise to consider a customizable spiked runner that would allow you to remove spikes as you see fit. Track terrain may stay consistent, but distance does not. Select an option that gives you variety.

Safety Always Comes First

This consideration is extremely important. Take stock of any and all past injuries that you might have. Selecting a pair of spikes with a negative drop will place additional stress on a number of muscles and tendons in the foot. Additionally, you can find shorter spikes for a nice balance between control and comfort. Runners with plantar fasciitis tend to gravitate towards a shorter track spike with a neutral heel drop. Safety should always come first, and in this case you can be your greatest advocate.

Consider The Tread

If you are making a selection for cross-country, be especially sure to look at the deepness of the tread on the individual footwear. There is nothing like the feeling of digging into the muddy earth with a surefooted confidence that springs you back into the race. This type of adrenaline educing traction comes from an aggressive, deep tread that can handle anything that you throw its way. We listed all the information that you need to make sure that you can dig in without loosing any speed.

Think About The Width Of Your Foot

Everyone’s feet are shaped differently, and while footwear manufacturers try and make a variety of different models for the best fit, it could be tough if you have a wider foot. If this sounds like you, consider what we had to say about the narrowness of the racing spikes. You may want to steer away from anything that we labeled as narrow for some testers with wide feet and make a selection that will give you a better fit.

Experiment With A Different Brand

One of the most frequent quirks that we came across while researching this buying guide was how runners have a tendency to stick with the same footwear brand over and over again. We would suggest making a change every once in a while, as you may be surprised to find a new favorite brand. In fact, testers that made a switch were often surprised to find that a new brand felt better on their feet when it came to racing spikes. So fight the urge to scroll through our buying guide and look for that familiar logo. Take a moment and go through all the factors when making your decision.

Choose A Sole That You Like

On race day, you’re going to want all your check boxes to be filled when it comes to your footwear. Runners have a preference when it comes to the soles of their competitive shoes so we made sure to list the differences. We have durable options that can handle the toughest of terrains and plastic soles for lightness to name just a few. So if you have used racing spikes before, and felt like you needed a little more from the soles, make a selection to provide you with that change.

Looks Are Important, Too

While we would never recommend to make a selection based on looks alone, there is something to say about a sleek looking, flashy racing spike. Track and field or Cross-County competition is a fun and great way to show your personal style and sportsmanship with great looking footwear. The good news is that runners no longer have to choose between a high performing racer and a stylish piece of footwear. Our guide has several styles that will fit everyone’s tastes. Don’t forget that each model has several different color ways once you click over to Amazon.

800_m_2010_usa_track__field_championships

FAQ

No matter which spiked racing shoe you choose, there is no question that runners at every level will benefit from running or training in them. This is true even if you are not competing. Implementing them into your regimen will help your lower anatomy grow stronger and more efficient. These factors, along with the questions below, will surely help you select the right pair of shoes for your needs.

 

Q: I would like to train in these racing spikes as well; is there anything that I should be aware of before I start?

A: While these are meant to be used on race day, you can use them to train as long as you keep the distance and time lower than usual. Make sure to break them in before using them for a full training session. This is very important to remember and remains true for spikes of any kind. It’s a good idea to lace them up and go light for a while until you feel some flexibility, never use them right out of the box. Additionally, you’re going to want to start keeping an accurate log of miles and activity, this comes with the territory. This way you know when to replace them.

Q: I’m running 400 and 800 events where you don’t need spikes; should I still consider using a pair?

A: Yes. If you are a fast runner, spikes will make you faster. There will be a noticeable difference in control as well. For events that don’t require spikes, you automatically have an advantage by utilizing them.

Q: What’s the difference in fit when compared to my regular training sneakers?

A: While it’s true that spikes require a very secure fit all around your foot, most runners find that they can keep the same shoe size when making the transition. Remember not to make the mistake of lacing them too tightly. You should use the same amount of tightness that you are used to.

 

Q: Is going without a sock is standard practice when running on track with spikes?

A: Not necessarily. It’s really more of a personal preference but there are some things to keep in mind. If you decide to go without a sock for running longer distances, the laces may irritate your skin. Try a thin sock as a happy medium.

Q: What’s the difference in fit compared to regular training shoes?

A: Most runners purchase spiked shoes in the same size they normally wear. Same rules apply as well- not too loose, not too tight. You want the shoe to be secure on your foot, and comfortable, too!

Q: I am planning on running on some muddy courses in these, how can I care for the spikes to make them last?

A: Runners stuff the toes with newspaper or paper towels and allow them to dry overnight since obviously, you can’t place them in a washer or drier. The most important thing is to make sure never to run in spikes without the spikes or plugs inserted. Not only will you lose traction but they will also be very difficult to clean. Don’t walk at all in them without the plate or plugs in.

defence_forces_cross_country_championships_8227157273

Remember that this type of footwear is an investment in your training and competitive nature, so have fun with your footwear. We hope this guide was helpful in your search for the best pair of spiked shoes for you.


 

Here Are Some Sources We Used While Conducting Our Research

We consider a variety running, consumer, and other industry sources when creating our top ten guides. The sources we utilized for this guide are below.

Sources

  1. Amazon, Amazon, Product Reviews,
  2. Runner’s World, Runner’s World, Running Magazine,
  3. Stack, Stack, Fitness and Lifestyle Website,
  4. Live Strong, Live Strong, Fitness Website,
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