Choosing Your First Track & Field Spikes

Alert all parents: don’t let spikes screw you up!

Are you a parent who has heard the PE teacher at school say, “She needs spikes this term.” If this sounds familiar, then read on. Here are answers to the 6 most commonly asked questions:


Q: What type of spikes does my child need?

A: All spikes fall into 3 main categories:

If your child is running on track, then I strongly recommend that that until your youngster has stopped his or her growth spurts, go for spikes with a small heel, known as Distance Spikes, such as the Adidas Allroundstar Junior or Allroundstar Girl. Sprint Spikes are different. They don’t have any cushioning under the heel, because the athlete needs to be on their toes when sprinting. Have a look at the Nike Zoom Rival S and you’ll see it has less under the heel.


Q: Why go for distance spikes if I’m running 100m or doing long jump?

A: Younger athletes must protect their legs and heels. Inevitably they will be both training and racing in the same spikes. When doing a training session, it’s almost a given that the heels will make contact with the ground, which can lead to pain if done on a consistent basis.


Q: How do I put the spikes themselves into the shoes?

A: Take your time! If cross threaded, it can be a nightmare to get them out again. Tip: Put a small amount of Vaseline around the screw part of the spike. This way they will glide in. Then remember to tighten before each training session, as the naughty screws can become lose.


Q: How should they fit?

A: When your child is still growing, aim for a half a thumb’s width between the end of the toe to the end of the shoe. This way, you will be saving money and time 🙂 The last thing a parent wants is the hassle of having to buy two pairs of spikes in one season. Once the major growth spurts are over, go for a snugger fit.


Q: What length of spike should I put in?

A: It depends on the surface:

  • Tartan track: 5mm or 6mm
  • Grass Track: 6mm
  • Cross Country: 12mm or 15mm
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