10 Best Track Shoes Reviewed & Rated for Performance
When every second counts in the race, the difference between victory and defeat may come down to your track shoes (see all other running shoes here). Finding the right pair of track shoes depends on the style of event you’re doing, the distance you’ll be running, and your skill level. They feature elements designed specifically for racing and sprinting, whether a few hundred meters or a few thousand.
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 so that any irritation is prevented. All your focus needs to be on making those seconds count!
- Saucony Spitfire
- removable spikes
- Saucony Velocity
- Air Mesh construction
- Asics Gunlap
- Solyte midsole
While selecting a track shoe may seem daunting to the novice racer or athlete, there are incremental differences in every brands footwear that will help you make the decision that’s best for you based on functionality, performance, and durability.
10 Best Track Shoes
1. Saucony Spitfire
A lightweight track shoe, with a welded quarter and eyerow, these shoes will support your movements on the turns as well as the straight aways. They have a three quarter spike plate that holds 7 spikes, gripping the track with optimal hold. Like the best running shoes, they’re made of synthetic material that allows for the foot to breathe in extremely athletic conditions, as well as have perforations and stripes along the toe for proper air circulation. Their aerodynamic design means there’s no chance of you slowing down.
Like other great brands that specialize in athletic footwear, they’ve done their homework. They have noted that whatever level of fitness you are on the track, you need stability and you need comfort to achieve maximum performance potential. That’s why they constructed the Saucony Spitfire’s with Grid, a sole-based stability and cushioning system that is the first of its kind, to provide an advantage to every athlete regardless of skill level. They also have EVA cushioned insoles for a padded footbed and excellent comfort.
Cost and Value:
Making the most out of your time at the track means investing in the best track shoes available, which give you the best features for the price. With the attention to detail Saucony pays in their design, and developmental research to create the ultimate in athletic footwear technology, you get a one of a kind track shoe featuring the Grid system, that makes sure you stay stabilized and comfortable no matter your athletic prowess.
- Lightweight, aerodynamic design
- Grid system for stability
- EVA insoles for comfort
- Welded quarter and eyerow for turning support
- Can run small
2. Saucony Velocity
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.
Cost and Value:
Saucony is a brand that constantly tries to take the needs of its athletic customers into account, creating and designing athletic footwear that gives them the confidence they need to complete their activities no matter their skill level. For an entry level shoe, the Velocity is very moderately priced, and will last a long time before the need to purchase the appropriate shoe for more advanced training.
- EVA insole for comfort
- Lightweight design
- Textile and synthetic design
- Good entry level shoe
- Can fit tight
3. Asics Throw Pro
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 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.
Cost and Value:
Since 1949, ASICS has been committed to delivering you the best athletic shoes possible, beginning with basketball shoes and pushing the design innovation with every other sport. Their new technological advancements give their wearers the confidence they need to train hard and train well, never sacrificing durability, functionality, or performance. For the price, there’s no better track shoe for your athletic needs.
- Rhyn skin for abrasion resistance
- Spevafoam midsole for comfort
- Velcro and lace closure system
- Leather upper easy to clean
- Runs half size small
4. Puma TFX Sprint V4
The PUMA TFX Sprint V4’s are made from top quality mesh and synthetic textiles, featuring an all-in-one, one piece microfiber upper, and an 8 pin Pebax spike plate with cutouts. This differs from other brands like Saucony and ASICS that use a 7 spike plate. These shoes are incredibly lightweight, with perforations along the toes to allow for air circulation and cooling airflow. Their microfiber design, uncluttered with extra materials, allows them to be much more aerodynamic.
These shoes have a die-cut EVA sockliner cemented with a Strobel board for a tight fit. A snug fit is expected for track shoes considering the speeds of sprinters and racers. The compression-molded EVA midsole adds cushioned comfort in the form of extra padding, as well as some stability for such a thin shoe.
Cost and Value:
Considered by many to be a champion of “sports lifestyle wear”, PUMA is heavily influenced by today’s track stars and sports figures. It incorporates the features and functions they love in their training right into their footwear, making track shoes like the PUMA TFX Sprint V4 stand out for performance, functionality, and comfort. They are slightly more expensive because of their association to celebrity, but the added features they possess makes it worth the investment.
- EVA sockliner
- EVA molded midsole
- One piece microfiber upper
- Runs a half size too small
5. Asics Gunlap
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, it also makes the shoe more durable. The SharkDuo outsole provides maximum traction on the track, and ensures your stability during intense sprints.
Cost and Value:
ASICS always tries to stay ahead of the game when it comes to the development of athletic footwear, and their track shoes are no exception, Building off their other track shoes and finding ways to improve them has culminated in the ASICS Gunlap, a technologically advanced track shoe that is incredibly lightweight, extremely durable, and ensures that with the addition of features like ripstop nylon and a Solyte midsole, no track is unconquerable.
- Ripstop nylon
- Solyte midsole for comfort
- SharkDuo outsole for traction
- Weighs only 4 ounces
- Runs small
6. Puma Complete TFX Sprint 3
The PUMA Complete TFX Sprint 3’s are constructed of a firm synthetic and mesh textile combination. They feature a secure, glove-like fit that provides enduring comfort as you round turn after turn. This means less foot fatigue so you can train longer and harder and get the most out of your running experience. The lace up vant allows for customizable comfort and fit, and the 7 spike quarter plate at the forefoot of the outsole gives you expert grip.
The solid rubber of the heel provides firm and steady grip, and the synthetic leather construction of the upper allows for easy cleaning. These track shoes don’t utilize metal spikes, which while different from the usual metal spike design for track shoes, still provide excellent grip and support. They have a padded tongue and collar for added comfort, and they fit low on the ankle, which means they won’t chafe your ankle bone. This means less pain for you and less wear on the interior of the shoe itself.
Cost and Value:
PUMA is a company devoted to creating athletic footwear that is both innovative, technologically advanced, and inkeeping with the latest trends in sports. Because they take note of the preferences of sports figures and professional athletes, wearers of their shoes receive the same equipment as the pros for a fraction of the cost. The PUMA Complete TFX Sprint 3 proves that you don’t need metal spikes on your track shoes to be competitive, and that durability and aesthetics can come together to make one of the most daring track shoes on the market.
- Padded tongue and collar
- Rubber spikes instead of metal
- Synthetic rubber upper for easy cleaning
- Excellent grip and support
Runs a half a size small
7. Saucony Vendetta
Unlike the Saucony Spitfire, this track shoe has a 6 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. It’s 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!
Cost and Value:
Saucony has developed several different track shoes to meet the needs of its customers, from entry level to mid level and beyond. The Saucony Velocity shoes are specifically designed for mid level racers, and for the price, are a fantastic shoe. They can accommodate wide feet while still delivering a snug fit, and while they only have 6 instead of 7 spikes to their plate, less is more in this case.
Lightweight and aerodynamic
Carbon rubber outsole
6 pin Pebax spike plate
Runs a half size small
8. Reebok Twistform Blaze 2.0 Bright
Since these track shoes don’t have a spike plate, they can be comfortably worn off the track. They are not particularly narrow, and have a thick rubber sole, as well as a typical lace system, giving them a slightly more casual look and feel. Like track shoes, they have an EVA midsole for extra cushion, and the collar and tongue have extra padding. The collar also rests higher than the ankle bone, not in line with it, making for a more comfortable fit. These shoes can be worn for a variety of athletic activities, not just sprinting, but are a good gateway shoe to build up to it.
A spiral midsole that has 16 different and uniquely designed transition waves propels you forward faster and more smoothly. It makes sprinting on the straight aways fulfilling, and also means that rounding turns doesn’t put as much strain on your joints. The midsole is also higher in the heel, allowing for maximum cushioning, and a way for beginners to “push off”, gaining speed and traction.
Cost and Value:
Most consumers don’t associate Reebok with track shoes, but with the Twistform Blaze 2.0 Bright, the running shoe and track shoe have become one, joining forces to provide the perfect shoe for young athletes to learn the principles of sprinting with the best footwear available. There is no need to worry yet about the grip of spikes, as you learn how to push off and access your running power, while handling turns comfortably and not losing traction.
- Spiral midsole with transition ways for traction
- EVA cushioned midsole
- Higher midsole for extra cushioning
- Good for a variety of running activities
- Ideally suited for younger athletes
9. Adidas Performance Sprintstar
Like any good track shoe, perforations along the toe allow for ventilation and airflow. The patented SPRINTWEB technology along the forefoot is designed to lock the foot down, gripping the track while performing event specific motions. This also allows for greater maneuverability and traction. Synthetic overlays along the mesh fabric upper add to the secure fit of the shoe. The outsole is one solid piece of carbon rubber for a seamless look and all around balanced feel.
A soft collar and padded tongue make all the difference when it comes to performance, as you’re less likely to be worried about discomfort and more concerned with making a better time. The low profile of the shoe also doesn’t chafe the ankle bone or Achilles tendon during racing, a common injury. It has a typical Prebax spike plate for the best energy return, with 6 spikes instead of 7, similar to the PUMA brand.
Cost and Value:
This unassuming looking track shoe, devoid of bright colors and contrasting fabric overlays, conceals an elite piece of athletic footwear. Reebok, since the 1890’s, has taken into account the needs of competitive athletes, helping them to run longer and farther and achieving their goals. If your goal is to be a great sprinter at an elite level, then this is the shoe for you. The SPRINTWEB technology helps your forefoot lock onto the track and give you the strongest push out of the starting block.
- SPRINTWEB technology for gripping the track
- EVA midsole for comfort
- Low profile for less ankle chafing
- Proper perforations to ventilate
- Can be expensive
10. Puma Evospeed Star V4
The spike pattern is multi directional and allows for great grip on the track. The shoe weighs about twice as much as some of the other track shoes at 9 ounces, so with that in mind the wearer may have to compensate for that. They’re good for a variety of distances when it comes to sprinting, but wouldn’t be used at elite levels because of their shape and weight.
As far as entry level track shoes go, these shoes get the job done. Designed with the novice sprinter or young athlete in mind who’s just beginning in track and field, they are able to be used for different events with ease, which helps if sprinting won’t be your main event. The 6 pin spike plate is configured similarly to other PUMA track shoes that are designed for a more advanced athlete.
Comfort and Value:
PUMA knows that as a brand it needs to appeal to all sorts of track enthusiasts, from top athletes to those that are just starting out. By making an entry level shoe that features elements of its footwear that are more advanced, it provides beginners with a sense of what to expect as they develop their skills and continue to invest in the PUMA brand. For the price, these shoes are a great value, and will last you a long time before you feel the need to upgrade.
Multi directional grip for better traction
Can be used for a variety of events
Durable over various differences
Fair price point
- Slightly heavier than average track shoe
Though the range of track shoes may seem broad, the differences in their construction are subtle. Most brands make a shoe 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 man6 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 distances 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.
Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Track Shoes
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 on 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 depend 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 great for a variety of events because its spikes are designed to be used from 800 to 5,000 meters. Sprinting track shoes are stiff, whereas long distance track shoes have more give. Certain materials like mesh fabric promote breathability, and EVA midsoles provide the padding and cushion you will need for putting your feet through so much.
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 certain lace closure systems with added velcro straps can all add to how well a track shoe fits.
Since different track shoes are designed for different levels of skill and different 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 slightly longer distances, track shoes will have more give, and be designed 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 generally.
Proper ventilation in your track shoes is key 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 track, perforations and mesh fabric along the toes and uppers allow for better circulation and airflow, decrease heat friction, and prevent discomfort.
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 the 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 a half size smaller anyway.
Q: What are the best track spikes?
There are different sorts of track spikes for different events and distances. Pyramid spikes are great for cross country. They’re generally 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 great grip. Compression spikes are a combination of the two, providing both great bounce and traction, ideal for sprinters.
Q: Are there different sizes of spikes available?
Spikes should always be custom fit whenever possible, due to the fact that 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.
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