The Complete Guide to Buying Running Spikes on eBay

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The Complete Guide to Buying Running Spikes on eBay

The right running spikes can never replace the right training, but without the right spikes, a well-trained athlete is still likely to be left behind. Different running spikes provide the correct traction for each surface and each kind of impact that track and field events involve. Rubber spikes are used on synthetic tracks while metal spikes help runners dig into cinder, gravel, and cross-country tracks. Distance runners wear different spikes than long jumpers or high jumpers, but all rely on their spikes to help maximise their performance. Because spikes have such an impact on performance, their use in competition is regulated internationally.

Running spikes of many varieties are offered on eBay, along with replacement spikes and spike wrenches that are used to insert spikes into the shoe. An athlete who knows how he or she plans to compete may confidently choose running spikes on eBay that are designed for the events and surfaces to be faced.

The Purpose of Running Spikes

Running spikes are used in a variety of track and field events to help athletes run faster. The spikes improve the grip of the athlete's shoes on the track or soil so the athlete does not lose any momentum to slipping feet. Running spikes are small pieces of plastic, ceramic, or metal that screw into the sole of special running shoes. The soles are designed with sockets specifically intended to receive the spikes. When spikes are not being used, a screw-in plug may sometimes substitute.

Shoes Designed to Take Spikes

Running shoes that take spikes are generally extremely lightweight. They fit closely, and their soles are thin, made of rubber or plastic, and have not been designed to grip the track. The running spike accomplishes that function for the runner. While many running shoes are designed with a somewhat elevated heel and toe that is rounded upward, the running spike has a very flat sole. When the spikes have been inserted, the toe of the shoe is lower than the heel.

Different Kinds of Running Spikes

Running spikes are produced in several sizes. The most common are 6 mm long, while spikes may range from 5 to 25 mm in length. Three shapes of running spikes accommodate the needs of athletes in different events or on different surfaces. Spikes made of metal are used in cross-country races on earthen terrains or on tracks of gravel or cinder. Rubber spikes are appropriate for soft asphalt tracks and tracks made of synthetic materials

Pyramid Spikes

The pyramid spike is a cone-shaped spike with a sharp point. Traction is gained when the spike penetrates the track surface. Its balanced shape promotes a stable grip, making it the preferred shape by many runners.

Needle Spikes

As the name suggests, needle spikes have a thinner diameter, making their shape more like a needle. Like pyramid spikes, they provide traction by penetrating the track surface. They offer the greatest surface penetration of the three shapes.

Tree Spikes

Some refer to these as "Christmas tree" spikes. Their "terraced" cone shape compresses as it meets the track and returns energy to the runner. This shape is most used by sprinters. It is least damaging to a track of any of the kinds of spikes and is therefore preferred on synthetic tracks.

Types of Spiked Shoes

Running spikes are produced in several distinct types. These are designed to optimise the performance of athletes in different track and field events.

Kinds of Running Spike

Shoe Characteristics

Performance Characteristics

Sprint Spike

Stiff spike plate and relatively high number of spikes

Spikes on front sole plate to aid in quick acceleration since sprinters run mainly on toes over distances no longer than 400 metres

Distance Spikes

Fewer spikes, more flexibility, more support, more durable shoe overall

Designed for races up to 10,000 metres; heel padding supports this runner's stride

Cross-Country Spikes

No more than six metal spikes, longest spikes, most cushioning and flattest sole

Spikes, sole and cushioning designed to provide support on mixed terrains; shoe includes toe-guard for protection against rocks and roots and water resistant uppers for wet or muddy courses

Long Jump Spikes

Heel spikes as well as front spike plate; cushioning under entire shoe

Provide for acceleration into the jump, support and traction for landing

High Jump Spikes

Heel spikes as well as front spike plate; cushioning under entire shoe

Maximum grip entering the jump; support and traction for landing

"Hybrid" spikes

Relatively lightweight overall with treads spaced to allow mud to slake out; supportive soles for irregular surfaces

Effective for both cross-country and track events; designed for relatively flat, even surfaces such as gravel trails; useful for student athletes on a budget

Performing a track event while wearing spikes is not the same as running in trainers. An athlete who plans to compete in spikes should also train in spikes in order to be prepared for the competition. At the same time, it is important to remember that running spikes, like any running shoe, are not designed to last more than 325 to 500 metres. Just as all training is logged, training using spikes must be logged to ensure that the shoes are replaced as needed.

Regulation of Spikes in Athletic Competition

When purchasing spikes to be used in athletic competition, it is important to be aware of the regulations governing spikes used in the specific contest. In competitive track, all spike types are allowed, with the number and size of spikes being regulated by the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) in its Competition Rules.

The 2010-2011 rules establish that the maximum number of spikes per shoe is 11 and the maximum spike diameter is 4 mm. The maximum spike length for most competitions is 9 mm, with length being measured from the spike plate to the end of the spike. That is to say the part of the spike that is screwed into the shoe is not included in the measurement. An exception is made for competitors in the high jump and javelin, who may use spikes up to 12 mm in length. On non-synthetic surfaces such as cinder or gravel, spikes as long as 25 mm are permitted.

Regulations for Competition in North America

The regulations for competition in Europe are similar to the National Collegiate Athletic Association regulations in the U.S. so if a collegiate athlete have the opportunity to compete in North America, the shoes used in Europe should be correct. When competing at the public school level, U.S. regulations vary by jurisdiction but generally require shorter spikes than those used in adult competition. An athlete competing in North America in this age group should confirm the requirements of the relevant governing body.

When Not to Wear Running Spikes

Running spikes are not designed for use on a road surface. Using them on this surface is an easy way to injure oneself. Those who have a history of calf strains, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, or metatarsalgia may find running spikes exacerbate their conditions. Most spiked shoes increase the strain on the forefoot, arch, achilles tendon, and calf while running. Using spikes in training may help to retain the muscles, but these runners may also find that spikeless racing shoes are their best solution.

Buying Running Spikes on eBay

Many people find any kind of shoe buying to be a challenge. The pair that seems to fit perfectly in the shop does not seem to fit quite the same once it is brought home. This common experience should make the idea of buying shoes online from eBay less daunting, since a correct fit at first go seems equally likely. When searching for running spikes in the main search window, you may specify the size, as in "size 6".

Alternatively, you may look for other filters that allow you to delimit the selection of spikes by size, gender, and brand, among other criteria. Confirming that the seller allows for returns is wise in the event that the fit seems off. It is always easier to buy your second pair of spikes than the first, of course, because then you know for certain which brand and size provides the best fit and run for you.

Other Items to Consider

When buying running spikes, you may also want to consider buying a set of replacement spikes, in case one or more works its way loose, and a spike wrench for correctly inserting the spikes. Running socks are also a good consideration.


Running spikes provide the athlete proper traction for the kind of surface and event he or she competes in. The spikes are screwed into closely fitted, lightweight athletic shoes that are specifically designed for these kinds of uses. Several kinds of spikes are made in different shapes, materials, and lengths. The shoes used also vary somewhat depending on the surfaces, distances, and impact involved in specific track and field events. The use of spikes in competition is regulated, with maximum lengths and diameters set for specific track surfaces and events.

An athlete's selection of the correct spikes depends in large part on the track and field event in which he or she competes. Hybrid spikes may allow an athlete to use a single pair of spikes for more than one event. When an athlete is familiar with the issues involved in selecting the right running spikes, finding an appropriate pair on eBay is not difficult.

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