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Track Shoe Buying Guide

A pair of track and field shoes should be comfortable and have a good spikes for traction.
Track and Field

A good pair of track shoes can't turn a slug into a track star - but they can give an athlete an extra edge to help them win their event. If you are only taking part in track and field events during your P.E. classes, it's not necessary to go out and buy a new pair of shoes. A regular pair of running shoes will do just fine. But athletes who are competing on a school track team or who are focused on specific events will find it helpful to have track-specific footwear. Check out these tips for buying your next, new pair of track shoes.

Track and Field Shoes - Know Your Event

The type of track and field shoes you use will depend on what kind of races or events you participate in.

  • Short Distance/Sprints - For sprints and races under 400 meters, look for a pair of track shoes that is lightweight and streamlined. The shoes should have strong spikes to give you good traction and a fast start.
  • Middle Distance - For middle distance races, like the 1500 or 3000 meters, a pair of track shoes should be streamlined but have a bit more cushioning in the heel than a short distance shoe.
  • Long Distance - Longer distance runners should look for a shoe with good cushioning throughout to protect your feet. Track shoes for longer distances will also have fewer spikes in them, as the traction required for a quick start is not as important as good support.

Track and Field Shoes - What's Your Fit?

The main thing to consider when buying a pair of track shoes, of course, is that they fit and are comfortable. Always try a new pair of running shoes on at the end of the day, when your feet are at their largest. Make sure you have plenty of room for your toes and it's always a good idea to go for a short run around the store or the mall to make sure the shoes are comfortable. But, don't run for too long, or the store clerk may think you've decided to skip town without paying for your shoes! Also, be aware that some tracks don't allow runners to wear certain kinds of spikes (because they can wreck the track), so check with your coach to make sure your track shoes are acceptable.

Track and Field Shoes - Did U Know?

  • In 1960, Ethiopian track star, Abebe Bikila, never worried about what kind of shoes he wore while competing. During the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, Bikila won the gold medal and set a world record in the marathon while running barefoot!
  • The first pair of spiked shoes for track and field were invented by Adi Dassler in 1920. He would go on to form the German shoe company, adidas.
  • Skeleton racers use track shoes for traction during the running start at the beginning of their race.
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