The history of the spiked track shoes, stretches back to the latter half of the nineteenth century. Several brands featured shoes with spikes through their soles to give traction on the dirt and cinder running tracks that dotted the stadia and schools of Europe and North America, and to a lesser extent, other regions which they influenced.
These shoes featured thin soles with nails driven through the outer layers, through the bottom of the sole, the head covered by a very thin innersole layer of leather. The combination of hard tracks and long spikes often proved painful to the unconditioned athlete. Since most of the training occurred on the tracks, very little of the running was undertaken on the roads, and running across fields was often done in the same spiked shoes. Some running was done on the roads in shoes with the same thin leather soles, but without spikes.
Michael Murphy was a successful coach at the University of Pennsylvania, and was the Olympic track coach for the 1900, 1908, and 1912 games. His sage advice was: "Gradually build up to running distances. Beginners may want to use tennis shoes to avoid the pounding. ” It still has relevance today.