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History of Track Spikes

author image Dustin Bogle
Dustin Bogle is an experienced personal trainer, group fitness instructor, nutritionist and fitness article writer. His articles have been featured in "Daily Press" newspaper and "Fresh Ink" newspaper.
History of Track Spikes
Track spikes have come a long way since they were first created in the 19th century. Photo Credit: Steve Mcsweeny/iStock/Getty Images

Track shoes, also referred to as track spikes, have been around since the 19th century. According to "The History of Sport Shoes" by Cameron Kippen, the motivation behind the creation of track spikes evolved from the need for a lightweight shoe with improved traction, which would help increase speed while competing in the modern games of those times.

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Origin of the Track Spike

The earliest development of track spikes took place in 1852, and was catalogued by the Spalding Company in 1894. The spiked footwear were low cut, made of kangaroo leather and had six spikes on the sole of the shoe, according to Kippen. They were retailed at $6; back then that was very expensive, as most households survived on only $11 a week.

First Companies

In 1890s, Joseph William Foster created the first sports shoe company in the United Kingdom; today it is known as the Reebox company. He was an athlete himself, and developed track spikes that helped him increase his speed. In 1920 Adolf Dassler, known as the father of the modern running shoe, began to create shoes that were designed for specific events. His company, now known as Adidas, offered a wide range of shoes, and used the lightest but strongest materials available at that time, according to Sports Shoes Technology.

Types of Spikes

With the evolution and advancement in technology, many different types of track spikes have been created depending on the event the athlete participates in. The actual spikes are also made of ceramic or metallic materials, and are removable so the athlete can replace the spikes when worn down and not have to replace the whole shoe. With high jump spikes, the spikes are at the front and back of the shoe; the front spikes helps the athlete gain speed while running up and the heel spikes provides grip for the athletes takes off, according to Sports Shoes Technology. Long jumps, pole vault, and running events only have spikes on the front of the shoe. The short distance running events require a lightweight but durable sole, and the long distance races require a thicker heel.

Current Spike Options

Advanced track spikes and are now offered by a wide range of brands, including Nike, Asics, Puma, Saucony, Adidas and Reebox. According to First to The Finish, the average price of track spikes can range from $10 to $120, depending on the brand and quality of the shoe. Spiked shoes are sold in a variety of styles including long distance, mid distance, sprint, jumps, javelin and high jump track spikes.

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