Best For: 100m - 400m
Star Feature: Full-length Pebax Rnew Sprint plate
Weight: 5.8 oz
Finding the perfect spike comes down to preference. You can read all the reviews you want, but until the spike is on your foot, you’ll never really know for sure. These Brooks QW-K sprint spikes definitely fall into that category. You’re going to want to try these on before you make any final decisions. Let me tell you why:
When I first picked up the Brooks QW-K, I was a skeptical from the start. The one piece synthetic upper has a different feel than most spikes, and at first glance, the upper also appears to be baggy around the toe, almost like there’s no way it’s going to fit snug to your foot once you’re in. As you continue to look over the spike you’ll notice the plate comes up almost like a wall on both sides of the spike, and heel. This threw me off as well, seeing as most spikes pride themselves on a tiny, minimal spike plates.
So although I went into the testing phase not feeling 100% on how these spikes would perform, I found myself surprised with some aspects of this spike. First of all, the QW-K has one of the highest power positions I've ever felt. This spike gets you so high of your toes, that it’s more than likely you’re showing off those calves, and that’s just standing still. The spike I can most accurately compare the power position to would be with the Saucony Showdown 2, which I consider to be one of the most elite spikes on the market right now. The Brooks QW-K has you about a half-inch higher than the Showdown. This is a big deal when it comes to sprinting. The higher, more prominent position you get your foot into, the faster you’re going to run. It allows you to generate more power with each step, propelling you to faster speeds.
Speaking of propelling, the QW-K has hands down the most flexible spike plate I've ever seen on a sprint spike. Brooks “innovated the mid-foot of the spike plate, by reducing materials to eliminate weight and also wrapping the spike plate up the side of the shoe to ensure integrity”. Because of this, the QW-K can literally bend in half at the base of the 8-spike configuration, which is meant to propel you forward, allowing you to sprint faster. Personally, I didn't notice any difference with propelling forward due to the flexibly. I actually prefer a spike plate to be extremely rigid and tough with no flex at all, that way your foot is forced to stay in the power position, and there’s no loss of power. So as I said in the beginning, it all comes down to preference. While on the topic of the spike plate, you should know that the plate itself, without the spikes screwed in, should be more aggressive. The metal spikes aren't the only thing digging into the track and creating traction. The plastic plate itself plays a huge role. There’s a reason they come covered in spikes and shapes and patterns. Brooks has a lot of room for improvement here. The plastic spikes themselves are pretty dull, and the ones running along the outside of your foot are almost square. Same for the plastic track patters down the mid-foot and heel, they’re dull. However, I do like the way the plate comes up onto the heel and mid-foot. You felt a bit more snug in a turn.
With a fantastic power position, but a week plate the only thing left to talk about it the on foot comfort. The spike is comfortable, and it is light, BUT there’s also room for improvement here as well. The spikes aren't as narrow as some may prefer so there’s room side to side. As far as the baggy toe, it’s really not all that baggy. They fit well in the toe area. The interior is also a plus. The heel is wrapped in an almost fuzzy interior, while the mid-foot breaks into sections of fuzzy and then a rubber type synthetic. This is a plus for barefoot runners because you get the comfort needed in the heel, but the grip needed in the foot. With this being said, the spike does not breathe. It’s a one piece upper with no ventilation for breathing, except for the tongue. It’s the same fuzzy material as the heel cut very thin to save some weight. And finally, the laces. Brooks uses the same thin ribbon laces they use on the Racer St 5. I personally am not a huge fan, but like I said, it all comes down to preference.
Bottom Line: Although an awesome spike, I'm not completely comfortable placing them in the elite category. This spike is perfect for the intermediate high school or collegiate athlete looking to stay fast and improve, but they wouldn't be the spikes to wear in a major final.