Technological Advances in Track Spike Design Facilitate Enhanced Running Performance
In February 2023, 52 professional, club, and collegiate level athletes broke the 4-minute mile barrier all within the span of an hour at Boston University’s indoor track facility. While this track has been known to be fast, another important common feature in this unprecedented feat was the use of what the Track & Field world refers to as “superspikes”. Similar to the now common modern marathon racing shoes (e.g., Nike Vaporfly), superspikes feature a lightweight, compliant, and resilient midsole foam, often combined with a stiff midsole plate. These shared characteristics in tandem with the abrupt rise of notable middle-distance and distance running performances on the track since their introduction has led to speculations as to if/how much the use of these spikes improve/contribute to a user’s performance (Healy et al. 2022). One may brush these speculatory comments off as merely anecdotal, but a growing consensus is being observed amongst athletes of all levels. So, the question is whether there is potential validity to these comments.