In a sport where a fraction of a second could mean the difference between first and third place, runners need all the help they can get from their shoes to perform at top speed on the track. With Track & Field being such a global phenomenon, it's no surprise that footwear brands offer a wide range of track spikes for athletes to choose from. But the truth of the matter remains that choosing isn't always that easy.

While they may all look the same to the untrained eye, track spikes come in a variety of shapes and fits depending on distance. If you're a long distance runner, you'll want a flat, more durable spike that can go the distance (literally). However, sprinting is all about going short distances in the fastest time possible. This means sprint spikes need a more aggressive profile that can handle tremendous stress as you shoot out of the blocks towards that finish tape.

Being the performance footwear junkies that we are, we've put together a list of the 10 Best Spikes for Sprinters that are available today. If you're a middle or long distance runner, not to worry, we're working on a list for you too.

RELATED: It’s Gotta Be the Shoes: Every Gold Medal-Winning Track Spike in Olympic 100m History
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No. 10 - Nike Zoom Rival S 6

Weight: 7.2 ounces
Ideal Distance: 100-400m

The Nike Zoom Rival S 6's aren't quite as fast (or flashy) as some of Nike's premiere track spikes, however they are easily the best option for sprinters on a budget. The spikes feature a thin, but effective, layer of Nike Zoom cushioning to compliment its low-profile design. There's a forefoot strap on the shoe for a lockdown fit, as well as great power transfer. The 7mm pyramid spikes on the outsole offer excellent traction.

$65

No. 9 - New Balance 400

Weight: 5.25 ounces
Ideal Distance: 60-400m

This high performing track spike from New Balance offers the perfect mix of comfort and support, making it an easy choice for any competition. The aerodynamic design of the NB 400, and a brand new SD607 spike plate work in cohesion to put out maximum performance in races up to 400m.

$100

No. 7 - Asics Japan Lite-Ning 4

Weight: 5.9 ounces
Ideal Distance: 60-100m, 50-110m hurdles

The Asics Japan Lite-Ning 4 is definitely one of the best looking spikes on the market, but it isn't to shabby in the performance department either. A full length Pebax spike plate and a customized fit make the Lite-Ning 4s a rather fierce piece of footwear, a nice compliment to the tiger-print upper. Despite only having a six-spike configuration, the lightweight construction of the shoe makes it one of the fastest options out today.

$120

No. 6 - Puma Bolt evoSPEED LTD

Weight: 6.3 ounces
Ideal Distance: 60-800m

You're probably wondering why the shoe worn by Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world, is No. 6 on this list. Well it's quite simple. We're not knocking the Puma evoSPEED LTD in any way, but it's safe to assume that Bolt would be just as fast wearing any one of these other track spikes. Still, you have to give credit where it's due. And the truth is that the evoSPEED can hold its own on the rack track, thanks in large part to an aggressive spike plate and a microfiber upper that holds everything in place.

$66

No. 6 - Nike Zoom Ja Fly

Weight: 7.0 ounces
Ideal Distance: 100-400m

What do you get when you combine a Flywire upper with a Nike Zoom cushioning unit? The Nike Zoom Ja Fly—one fast track spike. Along with the aforementioned performance specs, the Ja Fly also features a Phylon midsole wedge for added cushioning. The shoe's outsole consists of eight 7mm Christmas Tree spikes designed to rip through the track as you go for your PR.

$125

No. 5 - Mizuno Tokyo 7

Weight: 6.1 ounces
Ideal Distance: 100-400m

The all-new Mizuno Tokyo 7 is back for another go-around, and the latest version of the ultra-fast track spike is faster than ever. The shoe's full-length sprint plate houses an impressive nine-spike configuration designed to send you flying right out of the blocks. The Tokyo 7 has fit straps where laces should be, a feature that increases acceleration through an enhanced fit, while reducing weight all at the same time.

$105

No. 4 - Saucony Showdown 2

Weight: 5.9 ounces
Ideal Distance: 100-400m

As the newest member of Saucony’s expanding Track & Field footwear collection, the Showdown 2 is, you guessed it, an upgraded version of the original Showdown. With a reduced weight, a natural running-inspired FlexFilm upper, and a Pro-Lock lace system, it’s the strongest and lightest sprint spike the brand has ever manufactured. If you thought the nine-spike configuration on the Mizuno Tokyo 7 was impressive, the Showdown 2 goes even faster with a 10-Pin Pebax spike plate.

 $100

No. 3 - adidas adiZero Prime Accelerator

Weight: 5.4 ounces
Ideal Distance: 60-200m, 110m hurdles

The adiZero Prime Accelerator from adidas has everything you want in a sprint spike—it's super light, breathable, supportive, and best of all FAST. The spikes feature a seamless Sprintweb upper designed to lock your feet in securely, while still allowing them to function in a natural range of motion. The upper is housed on a Sprintframe spike plate, which reduces torque on the midfoot and transfers the power through the whole foot instead.

$110

No. 2 - Brooks Qw-k

Weight: 5.8 ounces
Ideal Distance: 100-400m

The Brooks Qw-k has been around for quite some time now, but that's because it is a lean mean sprinting machine. This competition spike is built for explosive starts and down-to-the-wire finishes. A rigid yet flexible spike plate provides ground-hugging traction that pushes your momentum forward so you break the tape first. The spike is ultra light and features a firm, customized fit that any elite sprinter will appreciate.

$100

No. 1 - Nike Zoom Superfly R4

Weight: 7.8 ounces
Ideal Distance: 100-200m

If you want to bring your A-game to the track, you should get yourself a pair of the Nike Zoom Superfly R4 spikes, plain and simple. The Zoom Superfly R4 made its debut at the 2012 London Olympics, and since has seen the podium countless times. Ideal for 100m to 200m sprints, the Superfly R4 offers a dynamic lockdown fit thanks to Flywire technology in the upper. An aggressive full-length Pebax plate comes with eight spike receptacles for maximum speed and acceleration. Zoom Cushioning units in the heel and forefoot provide a soft landing pad as you run faster than you've ever run before.

$120

RELATED: It’s Gotta Be the Shoes: Every Gold Medal-Winning Track Spike in Olympic 100m History
RELATED: Nike Adds Flyknit to Matthew Centrowitz’s Zoom Victory Spike

 

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