Spikes from the first half of the twentieth century

Spikes from the first half of the twentieth century

Taisto Maki was the first man to set a World Record by cracking the 30 minute barrier in the 10,000 meter run. Though difficult to see, if you look closely you’ll notice the shoes he is wearing are typical of spikes from the first half of the twentieth century - and even earlier, back to the mid 19th century. In that era, the shoes were made from chromed leather and featured 4 to 6 permanent spikes, which could be up to 3/4" (nearly 20 millimeters!).

The long spikes were necessary if the dirt and cinder track had become loosened by use. The best tracks were made of fine dirt mixed with cinders (pieces of burned wood), that were sprayed with water to hold together, then rolled smooth with a heavy weight. In the best conditions, the surface was smooth and almost springy, but was certainly easy on the legs. Back to the shoes, the thin leather uppers were frequently wetted and then molded to the foot, to make them snug and allow the best position of the foot/spikes for traction. The fit was different than what is usual in a modern synthetic spike, as the upper was a bit lower over the instep and the tongue was often folded back over the laces.


Written on Thursday, 28 May 2015 07:52 by Administrator

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