For the serious distance runner, track spikes are an essential tool for competing at your max potential. Whether you lean towards the mid distance end of the spectrum (800m – mile) or you are a true long distance runner, track spikes provide the added traction, responsiveness, and lightweight design needed to run a Personal Best.
Nike has always been on the forefront of spike technology, and the new 2017 lineup is no different. That being said, with a large selection of spikes that (at first glance) seem very similar, it can be hard to determine which shoe is best for you. Below, we lay out the key features and specs of Nike’s current distance spikes to help assist you in making the best decision for your personal needs.
Nike Zoom Victory 3 – MSRP $125.00
A high level track spike that can perform well from 800m to 5000m, the Nike Zoom Victory 3 continues to be a go to option for both mid distance and distance runners. Now completely redesigned from its predecessor, version 3 utilizes some of Nike’s newest technologies built to deliver a high level of performance. Compared to the Victory 2, version 3 utilizes a vastly different spike plate. The new generative plate design is built to create specific zones of stiffness and flexibility in order to create lightweight propulsion. The shoe still offers 6 spike receptacles, arranged in a similar pattern to the old version, as well as a shark skin material in the heel.
An updated Flymesh upper is another key story of the Victory 3. The shoe still maintains an ultra soft and seamless design that makes it a great choice for sockless wear, but the new Internal Archstap delivers a snug and secure midfoot wrap. The shoe no longer utilizes flywire technology, but the new design overall seems to enhance foot lockdown. Weighing in at 4oz (men’s size 9), the Nike Zoom Victory 3 is built to deliver a high level of performance over a range of events.
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Nike Zoom Victory Elite 2 – MSRP $150.00
Built to the specs of elite athletes, the Nike Zoom Victory Elite 2 delivers top of the line technology to create an extremely aggressive ride during 800m to 5000m racing. While at first it may be hard to distinguish the difference between the Victory 3 and the Victory Elite 2, a closer inspection proves that the Victory Elite 2 is the optimal pick for the runner seeking a stiffer and more responsive racing option. While both spikes offer the exact same soft flymesh upper, the main differences become evident within the midsole and spike plate.
At first look, the most noticeable difference can be seen with the use of permanent 1/4 pyramid spikes. The elimination of spike receptacles helps keep weight down, but it’s important to note that you will not be able to swap the spikes out if certain meets require a certain style of pin. The Victory 3 also accomplished a stiffer design through an internal carbon fiber shank as well as a firmer generative plate design. For the runner seeking a true elite caliber distance spike, look no further than the Nike Zoom Victory Elite 2.
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Nike Zoom Matumbo 3 – MSRP $125.00
Using a similar design to previous versions, the Matumbo 3 continues to be a reliable track spike for the true distance runner. Its lightweight design makes it a suitable option for the mile or 2 mile distance, but its extra cushioning makes it an excellent option in races from 5k to 10k, as well. The Matumbo 3 continues to utilize a similar horse shoe shaped spike plate, but the new generative design helps to further increase propulsion.
It’s worth noting that this shoe’s design also switched from removable pins to permanent 1/4 pyramid pins in an effort to keep weight down. Paired with a single thin layer Flymesh upper with an Internal Archstrap, this shoe remains ultra light with an even snugger midfoot lockdown. Weighing in at 3.9 oz, the Nike Zoom Matumbo 3 remains the premier long distance track spike.
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Nike Zoom Mamba 3 – MSRP $125.00
Originally released in 2015, the Nike Zoom Mamba 3 is an aggressive track spike that continues to be an important part of the current Distance lineup. Built with the steepler in mind, the Mamba 3 offers a highly breathable design along with sticky traction. At first impression, the shoe looks completely different due to to its all new upper construction. The Mamba 3 offers a neoprene like material that offers a bootie wrap. The soft material construction paired with fantastic ventilation makes it an excellent choice for sockless use.
Another big update seen in the Mamba 3 is the updated split plate. This was the first spike to offer this plate design which helps create a smooth ride with increased propulsion. Running between the split plate is a full length strip of sticky material that further enhances grip to clear steeple barriers. In order to further reduce weight and increase responsiveness, the spike uses permanent 1/4 pyramid pins as well as a midfoot carbon fiber shank. While the Mamba 3 is a steeple specific spike that excels at the 3k distance, its aggressive nature should make it a suitable option for anything from 800m – 5000m.
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Nike Zoom D – MSRP $90.00
Coming in at $90.00, the Nike Zoom D delivers performance in a more value oriented package. While it doesn’t offer all the bells and whistles seen in some of the high end spikes, it still offers a reliable racing option for the competitive athlete. Similar to the Mamba 3, the Zoom D features a split plate design for a smooth, propulsive ride. The underfoot cushioning is fairly versatile and should be able to take on any distance event.
On the upper, engineered mesh pairs with seamless overlays to create a soft and snug foot wrap. For the competitive distance runner that does not want to spend top dollar but seeks a spike that can perform, the Nike Zoom D is a great option to consider.
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Connor, aka The Face of Running Warehouse, is our resident footwear guru and helps us keep a finger on the pulse of running trends and current events. A member of the local HOKA Aggies running team, Connor walks the walk, or should we say, runs the run.