Choosing the best footwear for your next run

Sprinters aim is to run as quickly as they can from one point to another with the least wind resistance, so they need to have less cumbersome and light shoes. Each runner has their own unique style and also individual needs, so one shoe will not fit another person.

Different Types of Sprinting Spikes. Image credit: Holabird Sports

There are three types of shoes that a sprinter can use, and this depends on what an individual feels as the most comfortable and can enhance his performance. These types are:

A sprinter spike

As the runner sprints, the balls of their feet receives much force hence sprint spikes promote this action. Under the forefront of the shoe, there is a stiff plastic or hard rubber that pushes the sprinter out on the ball of their feet. They also have a set of metal spikes or fine ceramics which are screwed in the forefront for aggressive traction. They are so light that it will feel as if you are running barefoot, have a great flexibility and it allows your toes to push forcefully into your next stride. This quality is what makes this type of shoe the most used shoes by sprinters. Sprinter spike shoes have less cushioning because most sprinters use their toes while running.

A racing flat

A bit heavier than sprint spikes and it is best for a runner who finds spikes to be too hard because there is minimal cushioning. A flat shoe has minimal cushioning compounds, and it is made of a super lightweight material which allows sprinters to maintain the need of a minimal, lightweight feel of the shoe while at the same time offering more cushioning, comfort and protection.

Lightweight training shoes

This is best for sprinters who are prone to injuries due to minimal cushioning in racing flat and sprint spike shoes. These shoes have extra cushioning but are light in weight so as to offer superior impact absorption hence help the sprinter perform better. The shoe needs to be of the correct form to provide individuals comfortability.

When choosing the best running shoes for sprinters consider the following:

  • The event or track surface matters when getting shoes because different spikes are meant for different surfaces. If you are running 2 miles get sprint spikes, but if running a mile get distance spike. If running on a hard track get smooth plastic spike plates, if sprinting while you are running on your toes, get plates with lifters and if sprinting on a softer rubber surface get shark teeth spikes.
  • Check on the spikes that they are of the correct length. The spikes come in different lengths in different brands, but make sure that you get shoes that don’t have too long pins. You may buy spike pins and a spike wrench that will help you replace the spike pins if need be.   Most spikes are similar in hardness, weight and spike distribution, hence they offer maximum comfort and make one feel good when they are sprinting.
  • The distance you are running will determine the types of spikes. There are spikes meant for short sprints, long sprints, middle distances, long distances, field events, steeplechase and cross country. The number of pins will depend on your running distance. For steeplechases, the shoes have holes to allow water to run through them.
  • Have the best fit where the shoe should fit like a glove, but a bit tighter than your training shoes. It should not have any excess room so that it doesn’t affect your performance. Try as many shoes and of different models so as to get the best shoe. Choose a pair of shoe that you feel fastest in if you have more than one option to choose from.

Bring the socks that you plan to compete in when trying on shoes. You can ask for testing of the shoes on different tracks or walk around the store on a carpeted surface. Whatever kind of shoe design that you find comfortable make sure you stick to it while training and sprinting.

Asics Gel Nimbus are super comfortable running shoes. Image credit: Asics

If you don’t know which shoe to get, ask your coach and they will give you guidance on the recommended type of shoe spike for you.

Most shoes are designed to provide optimum support for 300 to 500miles before they begin falling apart. Some of the most comfortable shoes you can buy are Asics running shoes, who are synonymous with making super-light, super-comfy footwear. After this, they may cause shin and arch pain because the cushioning has begun falling off and the seams split. It is worth investing your money in a shoe that will serve its purpose while keeping your feet safe and the best can be got from reputable running specialty stores.