A Visual History of the Nike Track Spike

From Michael Johnson’s gold spikes to one of the first shoes Nike ever made.


Few people know that the track spike is what got Nike off the ground. It was one of the first shoes developed by founder Bill Bowerman, and it was the foundation that Nike was built on. Over the years, Nike introduced a handful of technologies in its track spikes, which would later trickle down to the rest of the line. Everything from Flywire to Flyknit was honed on the track and was worn by some of the world’s fastest athletes before it made its way into your casual trainers. The images below are a sampling of Nike’s more revolutionary models — the ones that changed the way people thought about athletic footwear.

Handmade Shoe by Bill Bowerman (1966) – Nike was originally founded as Blue Ribbon Sports in 1964. This is one of the oldest pairs of Nike shoes in existence.

Nike Americas Worn by Steve Prefontaine (1974) – These spikes were the first examples to have the rubber sole wrap up onto the side of the shoe.

Nike Triumph (1978) – The Triumph further refined the ’74 Americas.

Nike Zoom S (1982) – The Zoom S was a slimmer and faster version of the Zoom D that was also available in ’82.

Nike Zoom S II (1985) – Three years later, the Zoom S II further tweaked the Zoom S silhouette, making it more comfortable.

Nike Zoom D for Team USA (1992) – The 1992 Zoom D featured a Team USA specific colorway indicative of the early ’90s aesthetic.

Gold Spike for Michael Johnson (1996) – Based on the Nike Zoom S silhouette, these gold spikes were worn by Michael Johnson in Atlanta, where he took home two gold medals.

Nike Zoom Super Fly (2000) – The Zoom Super Fly was a pretty radical departure from upper construction of previous Nike track spikes. Note the zip-up lace cover.

Nike Air Zoom Miler (2004) – The Air Zoom Millers featured a perforated upper and a timeless colorway.

Nike Zoom Victory (2008) – The Zoom Victory was among the first Nike shoes to utilize Flywire technology.

Nike Flyknit Spike (2012) – The Flyknit spike marked the start of Nike’s move into knit fabric uppers.

Nike Zoom Superfly Elite (2016) – The latest iteration of the Nike track spike. The sole is modeled after ocean organisms’ geometric structures.

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