Track shoes are specifically designed for running on Tracks – both indoor and outdoor. They feature lightweight constructions and spikes on the soles to provide stability and traction. While visually simple, track shoes actually have several parts that work together to provide performance and comfort.
The Track Upper
The upper portion of a track shoe covers the wearer’s foot and ankle. It is typically made from breathable and lightweight materials like lightweight mesh, synthetic suede or engineered knit fabrics. The purpose of the track upper is to provide a secure fit while still allowing maximum breathability. Some track uppers feature a few overlays and support panels for added structure and stability. The laces allow runners to customize the fit and lock the foot in place during running.
The Track Sole
The outsole or track sole is the bottom layer of the track shoe that makes contact with the ground. High-quality track soles feature a stacked design with multiple layers. Thetraction layer features spikes or traction patterns to provide grip on the track surface. The midsole layer underneath provides cushioning and shock absorption. The outsole is usually the most durable part of track shoes made from rubber compounds. Track soles come in many spike configurations based on the type of event.
Track Links (Spikes)
Track link or spikes protrude from the outsole of track shoes to provide traction on track surfaces. The length, thickness and placement of the spikes vary based on the event – sprints require shorter spikes compared to middle distance events. Track spikes can be made from aluminum, plastic or steel. Most advanced spikes feature moveable track links that self-adjust to the track’s surface for optimal grip. Track spikes significantly improve push-off, acceleration and speed on track surfaces.
Track rollers are rounded track spikes used for middle and long distance track events. They provide traction and grip while also reducing stress on the runner’s body compared to longer spikes. Track rollers are often made from elastic and rubber materials for cushioning and comfort. They are able to roll smoothly over the track surface while still providing enough grip for push-offs. Athletes prefer track rollers for their stability, comfort and flexibility during prolonged track sessions.
Track chains refer to the metal spikes that connect midsole and outsole layers in track shoes. They provide stability and structure for the sole unit as a whole while allowing the different material layers to move independently. Track chains prevent excessive twisting and provide pivot points where spikes connect to the midsole. Advanced track chain designs feature flexibility and give to mimic the foot’s natural movement during running. Track chains ensure the spikes work together efficiently with the cushioning midsole.