Best Track Shoes Reviewed & Rated
When every second in the race counts, the difference between victory and defeat may come down to your track shoes. Finding the right pair depends on the style of event you’re doing, the distance you’ll be running, and your skill level.
Shoes for this type of running will feature 5 to 8 spikes, a lightweight and aerodynamic upper, and the tech needed to help you handle curves and blaze through straightaways, as well as tear out from the starting block with the most force possible. They should have the appropriate cushion and padding for your midsole and have a low ankle profile to prevent any irritation.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 12 hrs of research
Textile, breathable upper
EVA Sockliner for snugness
EVA Midsole for comfort
- Puma Evospeed Distance 8
- Saucony Showdown 4
- Saucony Endorphin 2
- Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 35
- Saucony Spitfire 5
- ASICS Gunlap
- Brooks Mach 18
- Saucony Vendetta
- Saucony Velocity
- ASICS Throw Pro
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Track Shoes
1. Puma Evospeed Distance 8
Textile, breathable upper
EVA Sockliner for snugness
EVA Midsole for comfort
The Puma Evospeed Distance 8 were designed to help you go the distance, literally. Made with track runners in mind, it features a textile EVOknit upper that let’s your feet breath and stay dry, all while conforming to the shape of your foot, ensuring a perfect fit, every time. Look good, run fast and win the heat with the Puma Evospeed Distance 8.Read more
The die-cut EVA sockliner in the insole of the Distance 8 does an excellent job in cushioned and securing your foot in the shoe, allowing each of the muscles in your body to do its job and not overcompensate due to poor shoe fit. The Distance 8 can also be worn without socks, if that is your thing.
Finally, the U-shaped Pebax Plate in the outsole of the shoe, combined with a five-spike system, means you get extra traction and grip and get hit the pavement flying when you hear the start gun go off. The EVA midsole in the 8 is a great addition, as it adds comfort without weighing you down. A great value for anyone looking for performance on a budget.
2. Saucony Showdown 4
Full-length 10-pin Spike Plate
Secure Lacing System
Designed For Speed
The Saucony Showdown 4 is designed for top speeds and features a plethora of updated features, including, flexible overlays for a superior fit. The Showdown 4 offers a full-length 10-pin Pebax spike plate and a specialized lacing system for locked down security. Its lightweight and rigid design make for supportive wear, while synthetic materials allow for adequate airflow and ventilation.Read more
This Saucony track shoe gives the wearer the ultimate in stable grip thanks to its full-length 10-pin Pebax spike plate that grips the track like no other. Be prepared to dig deep and hard as you zoom past on the track shattering all of your previous records.
Saucony knows how to make a lightweight shoe and the Showdown 4 is the perfect example of this. It’s barely-there, feather-like feel will have you maxing out at top speeds like never before.
3. Saucony Endorphin 2
Breathable Mesh Upper
Supportive Spike Plate
Needs Getting Used To
At 91g, this is one of the lightest pairs of footwear you will find, and it packs a number of high-performance features to make it so much easier to beat the competition. Thanks to the removable spikes, it’s can be used on any type of surface, including pavement, while the snug fit of the upper ensures a locked in feel so that you can focus on the race, and not the fit of your footwear.Read more
The upper of the Endorphin 2 is made with a mesh material that’s been chosen for it’s breathability. Allowing fresh air into the shoe, and moving moisture out, these shoes help create a healthy environment for the foot, lowering the risk of chafing and blistering, as well as that of developing bad odors or a condition such as athlete’s foot.
Melded to the upper of the shoe, the Flexfilm is a supportive and strong material that ensures the structural integrity of the upper, while keeping the weight of the model down to an absolute minimum. What this means is that you can expect a good amount of durability, little chance of forward movement inside the shoe, as well as a strongly locked in feel to help you perform at your peak.
4. Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 35
Zoom Air Cushioning
Runs Slightly Narrow
Midsole May Crease
Made for runners of all levels, the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 35 features a good amount of cushioning that will work for sprints, middle-distance running, and may even be used for longer distances. If you’re after a daily training shoe, then this is definitely it, as it features some of Nike’s best tech both in the upper and the sole. Featuring a 10mm drop, it’ll shift your weight toward the forefoot, which should give you the feeling of gaining speed more easily while running.Read more
The Pegasus 35 features a full-length Zoom Air cushion in the midsole that has a purpose of absorbing shock from impact and transforming it into energy that’s returned to you with every next stride. Not only does this protect your joints from the rigors of daily training, but it also allows you to build up speed more efficiently, helping you make the most of your momentum.
The upper of the Pegasus 35 is made with mesh, and features Nike’s well-known Flywire cables that provide a secure fit over the midfoot area for a completely locked in feel. The heel portion will cup your foot without putting any pressure on the achilles tendon, which adds to the entire comfortability factor, eliminating friction and possible blistering.
5. Saucony Spitfire 5
7-pin Pebax spike plate
Molded quarter cage
Durable rubber outsole
If you are a track and fielder that likes to spend lots of time at the track, the Saucony Spitfire 5 is the runner you’ve been dreaming of. The 5 is the latest iteration of the Spitfire and it continues to build on the things that make the product line a first choice by athlete’s everywhere. This shoe is lightweight and features a welded quarter, lending extra support to even the most accomplished track runners.Read more
The synthetic upper on the Spitfire is a great addition, as it allows your feet to breathe and stay cool and dry, even on the hottest days. The perforated design with complementing stripes only adds to the Spitfire’s ability to keep your feet cool. Finally, the EVA footbed keep your feet comfortable while they get your past the finish line.
With a seven-spike design, the Spitfire 5 lends you all the traction and grip you need to succeed. Partnered with a grippy rubber, durable outsole, you can’t go wrong with the Spitfire 5, as it offers support, comfort, grip, traction and durability, all in one product.
6. ASICS Gunlap
Weighs only 4 ounces
For serious runners and athletes on the track, the ASICS Gunlap track shoe is here to give you the performance you can depend on. Even though it boasts what seems like extra hardware, it is incredibly lightweight at only 4 ounces, several ounces less than some leading competitors. Like Saucony, ASICS has put the time into researching additional features to include such as materials that won’t warp with excessive friction and ways to ventilate and drain moisture.Read more
The upper is made of ripstop nylon, reinforced by hot-melt TPU overlays that give wearers a snug, glove-like fit. Reinforced perforations allow for proper ventilation and air circulation, also allowing for the drainage of moisture and perspiration during the most hardcore athletic activities. It has a decoupled Pebax spike plate much like what PUMA uses, perfect for traction at a variety of angles.
The ASICS Gunlap have a Solyte midsole that makes for a lightweight but well-padded material, more lightweight than their standard ethylene vinyl acetate midsole. It not only adds extra cushion and comfort to your heel, but it also makes the shoe more durable. The SharkDuo outsole provides maximum traction on the track and ensures your stability during intense sprints.
7. Brooks Mach 18
Spike and Spikeless Versions Available
Seamless Mesh Upper
Lacks Cushioning for Newbies
Whether you prefer to go with or without spikes, the Brooks Mach 18 is an excellent choice in terms of performance. The spike version features 6mm spikes as well as a wrench for easy adjustments, while the upper is seamless and allows a good fit for all foot shapes. It features a good amount of both cushioning and support, crucial in protecting your feet, while the outsole is very lightweight, allowing you to achieve maximum speed with less effort.Read more
The upper of the Brooks Mach 18 is made from a 3D print mesh material that gives the perfect combination of breathability, flexibility and support, securely locking your foot in, while providing stretch in areas where you need it. The lining is made with suede-like microfiber that adds a bit more structure, as well as a good amount of moisture wicking so that your footwear stays fresh and odor free for a longer time.
The cushioning in the Mach 18 is provided by a thin EVA midsole that cradles the eel and arch, providing adequate support, while still managing to absorb some of the shock generated on impact. The outsole features a thin spiked heel, and a rubber forefoot that gives you a good amount of grip even on grassy surfaces.
8. Saucony Vendetta
Lightweight and Aerodynamic
Carbon Rubber Outsole
6-pin Pebax Spike Plate
Saucony has done it again with another excellent track shoe. This lightweight shoe has all the features of other beautiful Saucony athletic footwear, but with some slight modifications. This shoe goes beyond entry level and is intended as the shoe best suited for middle distance runners. High-speed performance and durability are part of its design, able to ensure sprinters can do multiple events without worrying about changing footwear. It’s a racing shoe that's ideal for the competitive athlete.Read more
Unlike the Saucony Spitfire, this track shoe has a six pin Pebax spike plate, as opposed to 7 spikes. It has a carbon rubber outsole, making it ideal for those wearers needing a truly aerodynamic design. It also means the shoe is easier to clean. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have the same perforations for ventilation, meaning that for higher velocity speeds, your feet might become overheated quickly. This also may contribute to foot fatigue.
The carbon rubber outsole and synthetic materials inherent to its construction deliver a snug fit, and like all track shoes, it has an EVA midsole that delivers extra cushion and padding. Unlike other track shoes, it doesn’t have a padded tongue or collar, however, which may lead to some minor discomfort at the ankle. Its lace closure system isn’t as adjustable since the laces are elastic, but that does ensure the shoe won’t slide off your foot anytime soon!
9. Saucony Velocity
Textile and Synthetic Design
For those that have the need for speed, the Saucony Velocity is for you! With a 7 spike track system and an aerodynamic, well-fitting design, they are the track shoes that will keep you focused and staying in your lane. With materials that include top of the line synthetic fabric and textile mesh, and a soft rubber sole, they are lightweight enough to make you almost forget you’re wearing any shoes at all.Read more
While slightly more streamlined and simplified than other Saucony track shoes, the Saucony Velocity’s are no less impressive on the track. Though they may be considered an “entry level” track shoe, they are as high functioning as any shoe geared towards more experienced athletes. Their mesh upper and welded quarter frame won’t feel like a lot on your feet, but they’ll give you the support you need so you can go the distance.
These sleek track shoes have an EVA insole to keep your feet well cushioned no matter the ferocity of your athletic activity or your rate of impact. Everyone’s pace is different, but these shoes were made with a variety of distances in mind. And while they are entry level track shoes, they have been designed to provide the comfort and stability of a more advanced runner’s shoe.
10. ASICS Throw Pro
Velcro and Lace Closures
At first glance, the ASICS Throw Pro seems somewhat atypical for a track shoe. It doesn’t have any spikes, and its entire sole seems thicker and broader than a regular running shoe. And while it’s made out of synthetic and mesh materials, it incorporates other textiles specific to the ASICS brand and athletic footwear technology. The features that make it different from other track shoes may make it better, as it stands toe to toe with the best brands to deliver a track shoe that is both performances enhancing and functional.Read more
The ASICS brand is known for innovative athletic footwear technology to put you ahead of your competitors. And even if you’re only competing with yourself, you can’t go wrong with these shoes on the track. The Rhyno skin leather they use is abrasion and tear resistant, giving you extra durability. The synthetic leather they’re made from makes them easy to clean and to keep them looking fresh. Finally, their Spevafoam midsoles give you greater energy return and less midsole breakdown over time.
Where most track shoes have a simple lace closure system, this shoe has an added velcro strap for customizable comfort and fit. It is adjustable at the instep for greater versatility. The Throw Pro has the patented Rhyno skin technology, which is a rubber that grips like it means business along the sole and outsole. You won’t miss a step with these shoes on your feet.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Though the range of track shoes may seem broad, the differences in their construction are subtle. Most brands make footwear with every skill level in mind, from the novice to elite sprinter, and spend vast amounts of time researching their customers’ needs so that they can deliver the best footwear possible. Whether you race a few hundred meters or man more, there is a track shoe that will help you break records and go the distance. All the various features that they have are designed around specific events and specific lengths and are designed in such a way that you can upgrade your footwear as you get better, or want to branch out with your racing.
When it comes to performance on the track, there are a couple of things you need to consider; the comfort of your shoe, the materials of your shoe, and the style of spikes of your shoe. Spikes are a lightweight feature of track shoes that help you grip the track better, allowing you to get the most out of your stamina by giving you the force for a full range of motion.
The type of spikes you need depends on the events you’ll be doing, which are an indicator of the distance you’ll be running. There are entry-level spikes (sprint), mid-level spikes (mid-distance), and long distance. Now, these distances can vary greatly, so a mid-level spike can be significant for a variety of events because its spikes are designed for use from 800 to 5,000 meters. Track shoes intended for sprinting are stiff, whereas long-distance track shoes have more give and specific materials like mesh fabric promote breathability, while EVA midsoles provide the padding and cushion you will need for putting your feet through so much.
Other considerations in performance, also, include your style of running; or better yet, the type of race may dictate form, as well. If you run on the forefoot, as typical sprinters do, then you want footwear which pads well in this area to help absorb the shock you are placing with each and every step. Likewise, for longer distance racing, a heel-to-toe stride may be the running preference. In situations, such as these, you will find better performance with track shoes having a midsole conducive to giving you the best in shock-absorbent properties, such as an EVA midsole.
Track shoes need to fit snug; not tight enough to restrict blood flow or cause cramping in your muscles and nerves, but not loose enough to wear your heel might slide out. You don’t want your toes to feel pinched or cramped in any way, because this pressure will cause foot fatigue and may result in injury. Wherever possible, try on several pairs of track shoes at a specialty store so that you can get a feel for them. Padded tongues and collars, as well as specific lace closure systems with added velcro straps, can all add to how well a track shoe fits.
Also, there is specific footwear with midfoot straps in place to help the track shoe stay a bit more secure. They, usually, can be found in pole vault or long-jump footwear and is a nice attribute to have after leaving the ground. In addition to this, tuck-away lace system is recommended to not only add to your secure fit but to, also, add to your safety, as well.
A number of models featured above will also feature supportive overlays that ensure that the mesh and knit uppers often used in this type of athletic footwear locks you in securely enough so that your foot doesn't move forward in your shoes. Not only is this important in terms of injury prevention, but can also greatly influence your performance due to the added weight. Some manufacturers have started using printed overlays which are a great solution, considering that they add the necessary structure, without adding any bulk or weight that would cause fatigue, especially for long-distance running.
Since different track shoes are designed for varying levels of skill and various events, they will all function slightly differently. For sprinting shorter distances, track shoes will have a hard, firm sole all along the bottom of the foot, designed for pushing off and generating the most power and momentum possible. For running longer distances, track shoes will have more give and are made with rubber components that are flexible, and midsoles that bounce back, giving you the maximum amount of energy return. The spike plate on a pair of track shoes will have a varying amount of spikes. The maximum allowed for sprinting is eight, while for mid-distance or long distance track shoes, the count is between five and seven.
Furthermore, when shopping for athletic footwear, you should consider the smaller features that influence your performance in smaller ways. For example, a large number of sprint models are made with a minimal midsole and zero drop, which means that your feet will have to work much harder to minimize the damage that naturally occurs when landing. A feature as simple as a shock absorbing foam insole can greatly influence your comfort, as well as lower the level of fatigue you feel.
Another thing you may want to consider is whether the spikes on your footwear are removable. If you're expected to use them on more than one surface - track and grass - you may want to have the benefit of adjusting the traction to be more specific.
Proper ventilation in your track shoes is critical if you run for more than a few hundred meters. For sprints, it’s not as vital because the time spent on the track is minimal. However, for mid-distance or long distances on the road, perforations and mesh fabric along the toes and uppers allow for better circulation and airflow, decrease heat friction, and prevent discomfort.
In addition to these things, a breathable environment can help prevent athlete’s foot and other foot ailments, as well. Track meets can last over multiple days and you may participate in more than one event. So, it goes without saying that proper foot health is vital to making it through to the next day. With this in mind, you should consider breathable footwear environments for daily training, as the hours are a bit longer during training sessions than that of actual meets. In this, you and your feet will be much happier together.
With track footwear, support is important, according to the type of gait you have. Most of the pairs listed are for neutral runners and, therefore, do not provide adequate support for underpronators and overpronators. If you are not a neutral runner, then it is advisable to find footwear specific to your pronation type. If, however, you absolutely must have a certain pair which catches your eye but does not support like you need, then make certain the insole is removable. If it is, then you can replace it with an orthotic that will support your feet during your run and will help your overall foot health. Furthermore, the proper support for your pronation type will lower the aches and pains associated with a few hard days at the track meet and/or daily training regimens. Also, you may find your performance time may become better after inserting the proper support for your pronation type. It is amazing how the right kind of support can translate into precious shaved seconds out on the track.
Furthermore, in addition to these precious seconds gained, as it were, you will gain the added benefit of a healthier lifestyle. The wear-and-tear on your feet and ankles may not be immediately noticeable, especially for those who are younger. But as the years begin to pass by, the devastation from wearing the wrong gear will start to rear its ugly head. Problems will be noticed in the feet, ankles, and hip area. Most of this is in relation to load-rate; the measurable amount of shock endured with each step. Thankfully, however, a lot of these problems can be avoided by simply wearing the proper gear. Healthy training attitudes can go a long way in prolonging the time in which you can enjoy your favorite activities.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
While the majority of track related activities does involve running, other sports do take place on the field and in the lanes. Running, jumping, throwing, and combined events all are part of track and field sports.
So, if you don't particularly like the idea of running for hours on end, you can always look into sports such as the long or high jump, pole vaulting, shot put, javelin, or heptathlon and decathlon.
Track shoes can vary according to what event you do more. Sprinters tend to have more grippy soles with spikes, while long distance runners need extra cushion for those longer runs.
Select your next pair based on what you intend to focus on. If you're in it just for the great benefits of running, go with a basic running sneaker first, before selecting footwear that increases performance in a specific discipline of track.
Other Factors to Consider
Track shoes have a spike plate that can feature either five to eight spikes depending on the distance you plan to run, and are made with materials like mesh and carbon rubber to give you the ultimate in aerodynamic comfort. They also often have unique technology designed to help you handle curves and blaze through straightaways, as well as tear out from the starting block with the most force possible. They should have the appropriate cushion and padding for your midsole and have a low ankle profile to prevent any irritation. All your focus needs to be on making those seconds count!
Frequently Asked Questions
q: How tight should my track shoes be?
Ideally you want your track shoes snug, but not so tight that they cut off your circulation. If you can, go to a specialty store and try on several kinds, getting a feel for different brands. Some beginning track shoes feel a little looser, and sometimes it will be a matter of preference how tight you want your shoes for competition, but your shoes should never pinch your toes, and many brands come to a half size smaller anyway.
q: What are the best track spikes?
There are different sorts of track spikes for various events and distances. Pyramid spikes are great for cross country. They’re thicker, won’t deteriorate as fast, and give you a nice bounce back on the track. Needle spikes are used on all-weather tracks, are thinner, and provide excellent grip. Compression spikes are a combination of the two, offering both significant bounce and traction, ideal for sprinters.
q: Are there different sizes of spikes available?
Spikes should always be custom fit whenever possible because they require a snug fit. Running shoes can afford to be a little looser, but with track shoes, any amount of feet slide in the shoe can mean seconds lost on the clock, possible discoordination, and even injury.
q: How often should spikes be replaced?
The frequency with which you compete in events or races will determine how often your spikes should be replaced. They will deteriorate over time as they rub against the track, requiring them to be replaced every so often. It may seem expensive to do this, but in the long run, it’s much less costly than a hospital bill gained by getting injured running with faulty shoes.
q: Why should I wear shoes specifically for the track?
Track shoes feature a spiked design that provides the wearer with traction and allows for top speeds. Typical running shoes lack the proper grip needed when running at such a fast pace on the potentially slippery surface of the track.
Factors such as weather conditions can drastically affect how slippery the surface of the track is going to be and wearing a pair of spiked shoes will prevent any accidental slips or falls which could potentially lead to more severe injuries. Running shoes just aren’t designed to provide a firm enough grip for this type of terrain.
q: Do I still need a spiked shoe for running on an indoor track?
This will depend on the rules of the specific indoor track that you plan to run on. So long as it is an actual track than spikes should not be a problem, there are, however, some indoor tracks that do not allow spikes at all, or that have strict rules for what lengths and styles are acceptable.
Regarding there being a difference between indoor or outdoor track shoe spikes, there isn’t any. If you are running on an actual running track than any spike is excellent no matter if it’s inside or out.
q: Wouldn’t running on a spiked shoe be uncomfortable?
Spiked track shoes are designed with a thick and hard rubber or plastic outsole which the spikes are attached to by being fitted into specially chosen locations. The way these shoes are made is so they will not cause any discomforts and certainly won’t dig into the wearer's foot.
q: What shoes are the best for sprinters?
Shoes that are geared towards sprinting will usually have the highest number of spikes possible, which is presently eight. Any standard track shoe that has six or more, but preferably eight, will work great for sprints.
q: What brand makes the best track shoes?
No one brand makes the best track shoes, there are some high-quality and trusted names in the field who deliver time after time when it comes to quality and performance-enhancing features. The shoes chosen for this list are all examples of some of the very best options available on the market today.