Spring is practically here, which means outdoor track season. It’s almost time to get out there and set some new PRs, but first check your gear. Last year’s spikes probably don’t fit anymore, so check out our top three recommendations below and then hit the track to begin training.
Whether you’re shopping for yourself or you’re shopping for a kid, the first thing you need to know is the basics of track spikes and how they should fit. If you’re already familiar with buying spikes, you can keep scrolling, but if you’re new to the sport, take a quick look at our fit guide before you start shopping.
First up is the Nike Zoom Rival S 9, designed for events from the 60m to 400m, including hurdles and long jump. With an aggressive traction pattern on the outsole and an updated eight-spike plate that digs into the track, these sprint spikes will propel you to victory.
Explode out of the blocks with the adidas Sprintstar, designed for technical athletes racing in events up to 400m. The upper features Celermesh, a super thin mesh with an inner grid for a lightweight lockdown feel. A Pebax® plate in the outsole provides optimal energy return to launch you across the finish line.
A new season means another chance to set records, and with the New Balance MD500 V7 those chances just got a little better. The lightweight mesh upper keeps your feet dry and fresh, and the six removable spikes lets you customize your run for the course.
And did you know Eastbay has a Test Run Program? You can try out your new spikes to make sure they work for you. And if they don’t perform as you’d hoped, return them free of charge within 30 days of purchase. For more details, click this link.
Track and field stars, it’s time to start gearing up for the upcoming outdoor season. Eastbay has what you need to succeed, so out with the old and in with the new. This gear guide was created to help you figure out which qualities to look for in competition shoes, based on your event, and provide you with our top recommendations.
If you’re not sure how your spikes should fit, check out this blog post, to learn how to shop track and field shoes.
When choosing a sprint spike, you should focus on two things : light weight and aggressive traction. You’re used to speeding through and relying on instinct when you’re on the track, but when it comes to deciding on sprint spikes, make sure to take your time. Look for a snug fit on the upper and a strategic spike plate to keep your feet stable in the blocks and help you grip the track with every stride.
Track and field stars, it’s that time of year again to find out what shoes you need for the upcoming season. Eastbay has what you need to succeed, so out with the old and in with the new. This Gear Guide was created to let you know which qualities to look for in competition shoes, based on your event.
On the track you’re used to going fast and relying on instinct, but make sure to take your time deciding on a sprint spike. You’re going to want a shoe that increases your power and delivers explosive traction to enhance your speed. Look for a snug fit and strategic spike plate to prevent slipping and help grip the track with every stride.
The Nike Zoom Rival S 9 can help you finish faster. The traction pattern on the outsole and updated spike plate give you ultimate grip as you fly out of the blocks, and the ¾ length bootie keeps your foot secure during your run.
Finding the right mid distance spike can be a little tricky. You want the speed of a sprinter with the endurance of a distance runner, and that takes a special type of shoe. You’ll want to find something that melds the rigidness of a sprint spike and the comfort of a distance spike.
A pair of New Balance md800 V6 is a great choice. They’re lightweight, offer a full-length spike plate to enhance speed, and have a bootie fit for added comfort.
It’s time to invest in a shoe to change your racing game. Since you’ll be running many consecutive miles, you’ll want a spike to give comfort and support while remaining lightweight so that even if your legs feel like lead weights your shoes don’t.
A good example is the Saucony Endorphin 2. It’s the lightest spike Saucony makes and features foam in the midsole for added cushioning, so that you can run confident and comfortable.
Pole Vaulting and Triple Jump
To run and jump with ease you need a hybrid shoe, something to give you the best of both worlds. Look for a shoe that fits securely on your foot, offers grip to gain speed on your approach, and features comfortable padding to protect your foot from impact when you land.
The adidas adiZero TJ/PV is the right shoe for the job and is created with a sharkskin pattern on the outsole to increase traction, a forefoot strap to keep your foot secure, and cushion in the midsole for comfort where it counts.
If I say, “Jump.” And you ask, “How high?” I’d ask what shoes you’re wearing, because footwear does matter. The perfect pair of high jump shoes will be lightweight and flexible to aid with speed during the approach, and they’ll also provide traction to give stability during takeoff.
Choose the adidas adiZero HJ. It’s lightweight with flexible midsole cushioning and a Sharkskin traction pattern on the sole.
As you sprint down the stretch, hit the board full force, and take off through the air, what’s going through your mind? Hopefully you’re not worrying about your shoes — but if you are, that’s a sure sign you need a new pair. When purchasing long jump shoes, look for a light weight to assist with speed. You’ll also want the sole to have traction to grip the board before take-off. Lastly, ensure there’s cushion to protect your feet when you land.
I’d recommend checking out the Nike Zoom LJ 4. It has durable cushioning, a 3/4-length spike plate to give powerful traction, and a zippered shroud to keep the shoe securely on your foot.
Whether you wield a hammer or a discus or a shot, you’ll want a shoe that can give you an extra boost of power and has good grip to keep you planted during follow-through.
The durable Saucony Unleash SD 2 is a good choice. It has a rubber outsole for grip, a lockdown strap for support, and a padded tongue and collar for comfort.
Javelin throwing is hardcore, but just because your weaponry is medieval doesn’t mean your footwear should be. There’s a reason you don’t wear sandals to competition. The best shoes will have a secure fit and strategic spikes spread through the sole. This will give you extra grip and control during your throw and release.
What you need is something like the Nike Zoom Javelin Elite 2. It has 11 spikes, feels light with responsive midsole cushioning, and gives extra support with a midfoot strap.
Whether you’re running road races or just doing a high impact training session, it’s a good idea to have a solid pair of racing flats. They can be used for practice, so you don’t wear out your new spikes so quickly. You’ll want to find a pair that is comfortable for long hours of training, but light enough not to affect your performance.
A pair like the New Balance 1400 V6 will suit you well. This versatile shoe is made with specially engineered mesh and foam cushioning for a lightweight feel.
Did you know that Eastbay also sells clothing, replacement spikes, and training equipment? You can find it all at eastbay.com. Good luck this season and have fun breaking records.
This weekend, the best high school track and field athletes from around the nation will gather at Aggie Stadium in Greensboro, North Carolina to compete for the title of All American. Big meets like New Balance Nationals Outdoor mean big expectations, and to come out on top, athletes need to be prepared both mentally and physically. So, we asked former pro sprinter Keith Ricks how he kept his cool when big wins and PRs were on the line.
Eastbay: Did you have any superstitions or rituals for competition day?
Keith: When I was in high school, I would watch guys in the Olympics do their pre-race shakeouts right before they get into the blocks. I noticed that Tyson Gay raised both arms right before he gets down in the blocks, and I thought it looked cool. So I started doing it before my races when I was just starting to run track in school. It became a habit, and I continued to do this throughout my career. Fast forward six years later and I was racing beside Tyson Gay at the USA Outdoor Nationals doing the same pre-race shake out as he was ‑ that was an awesome race for me!
Eastbay: What’s one piece of advice you have for the athletes preparing for New Balance Nationals?
Keith: By the time you reach New Balance Outdoor Nationals, all of the hard work has been done! You’ve trained hard all year and hopefully got the results you were looking for during the season. Championships are a time to show out! Show all of the hard work you put in all year and punish the competition. Prove you are fast enough to not only compete but win against the very best!
Eastbay: When you’re competing at an elite level, how important are mental preparation and focus?
Keith: Mental preparation is essential. I would mentally prepare for every race the same way to stay consistent. I would visualize myself winning and running the best race of my life. I would do this for every meet from ones as important as New Balance Outdoor Nationals to the small district meet in high school on a Wednesday.
Eastbay: What are some physical recovery tips athletes should remember for after a meet?
Keith: After the meet, it’s important to cool down and recover effectively. Most runners hate ice baths but they are a life saver! It feels like it takes years (even though it’s really only 15 minutes) to adapt to the freezing cold ice, but your body will thank you later! A protein-rich, post-race dinner can also be beneficial. My favorite meal to eat after a race was grilled fish or chicken with rice and vegetables on the side.
Eastbay: What’s the most important thing you learned/your biggest takeaway from your competitive career?
Once every two years, the greatest athletes from around the world represent their countries with pride and compete to etch their names in the history books. This massive event is truly a spectacle, and there may be no one better equipped to break down what it takes and what the stage feels like more than Lauryn Williams. As one of only five athletes, and the first American woman, to take home hardware in both winter (bobsledding) and summer (sprinting) events, Williams can provide unparalleled advice and knowledge on the topic. So we sat down with the legendary competitor to hear all about her experiences on the global stage.
Part 1: Training For The Stage
Q: How did training for a huge event like this differ from how you trained normally year-round?
A: “You don’t train any differently for the games. That’s one of the biggest pieces of advice I give to people who are training for the team. Do what you know works, don’t do something completely different. A lot of times people get poor performance at the games because they are like ‘ok, I made the team, now I have to go above and beyond.’ But the thing that helped you make the team is the thing that will help you perform while there.”
Q: Can you walk us through what your training routine looked like?
A: “I trained roughly three hours a day, six days a week.
We would start with early morning, 6 a.m. weight room workouts, then we’d come back in the afternoon for the running portion. Depending on what day it was, it would be a harder workout or a sprint workout.
Wednesday was our recovery day, so we could regroup — which was really important. A mistake athletes everywhere make is overtraining. A lot of times, you’ll hear people say ‘you need to work smart, not hard,’ and I completely agree. You can’t work yourself to the bone and think it’s going to make you the fastest.”
Q: Competing on that stage also meant added pressure and expectations. How did you prepare mentally for that?
A: “The biggest thing for me was telling myself ‘I am good enough to be here.’ So often you second-guess yourself and compare yourself to the competition, but, in reality, mental prep is knowing you’ve done everything you possibly could to make the result go in your favor. Then you just need to go out there, relax, and realize your potential.
In my sprinting events, I often had only 100 meters. I had 11 seconds or less to make the most of my moment, so if I had spent the time thinking about what my neighbors were doing — it would have gotten me off track and the result wouldn’t have been as good.”
Feb. 9 – Part 2: Competing In Summer Events Vs. Winter Events
Q: You can give really unique insight on this since you have competed and medaled in both summer and winter events. What were the biggest differences between the two?
A: “The biggest difference between the two is the atmosphere and size. When I was on the winter team, we had around 230 total athletes representing the US, whereas just our track and field team had over 180 people one summer. So that one sport is pretty much the size of all the sports for the winter. But that smaller size helps you get to know the people better. It’s a lot more intimate of a community and more of a family environment in the winter.”
Q: How did that transition from sprinting to bobsledding come about?
A: “My track and field career was getting ready to be over and I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do next in my life after sports. So I started playing with some different options and I ran into a friend at an airport. I had just read an article about her trying bobsled and asked her ‘hey, I heard you did bobsled? How did you like it?’ She had nothing but praises to say about bobsled, and what a great opportunity it was. She said ‘Lauryn, you’re fast and powerful, those are two tools you’ll need. So if I were you, I’d give it a try.’ So I did, and six months later, I was at the Games!”
Q: What were some of the biggest challenges you had when you made the switch?
A: “Definitely the learning curve. Track and field is a very individual sport while bobsled is much more team-oriented. It was one of my biggest life lessons — it taught me how to compete against someone but also have their best interests at heart. You want the overall team to win. It was a very steep learning curve, and I depended on the other girls to help me so that I could be good enough to represent the USA.”
Q: As someone who has truly excelled at multiple sports, what advice would you give to young athletes who want to go down that path?
A: “It’s a great way to diversify yourself. I work in financial planning now and that’s a common term that we use, but it applies to multiple parts of your life. You want to be multifaceted so that you can give yourself different skills and strengths. The more things you expose yourself to, the better opportunities you’ll have long term. It’ll also make you more well-rounded as a person. Plus, what you learn in one sport could be useful in another.”
Feb. 16 – Part 3: Favorite Moments Of Her Career
Q: When you look back at your career, were there any moments that really stood out?
A: “I would say in 2012, when I did my part to help the 4×100 relay team win gold and break the world record. I was part of the qualifying relay, but wasn’t chosen to participate in the finals. You would think that would be a negative experience for me, but it was kind of that redeeming moment that I realized in bobsled later: it’s bigger than me.”