World Athletics puts the brakes on record-breaking Nike shoes, Sports News

Some variations of Nike’s Vaporfly running shoes have been banned for elite competition and strict limits on developed technology for all future shoes introduced after World Athletics announced significant rule changes on Friday.

The Sports Governing Body (WA) said that with immediate effect and for elite competition only, road shoes must have soles with a maximum thickness of 40mm and not contain more than one plate. rigid integrated.

The Vaporfly variants used by Eliud Kipchoge to run the first marathon under two hours and by fellow Kenyan Brigid Kosgei to break the women’s marathon world record both contained triple carbon plates inside the thick foam and ultra-compressed, declared by Nike to help improve running economy by up to four percent.

The new rules also state that from April 30 any shoe used in elite competitions must have been generally available to the public for four months – ending Nike and others’ use of prototypes. by their athletes in major races.

There will also be new rules governing the construction of track studs.

WA’s review concluded that the new technology “may offer a performance advantage and may raise concerns that it threatens the integrity of the sport.”

WA will now establish an expert working group to guide future research into footwear technology and assess new footwear that emerges in the market.

Nike did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment on the decision.

“It is not our job to regulate the entire athletic footwear market, but it is our duty to preserve the integrity of elite competition by ensuring that the shoes worn by athletes Elite competing offer no unfair help or advantage, ”WA President Sebastian Coe said in a statement.

“As we move into the Olympic year, we don’t think we can rule out shoes that have been generally available for some time, but we can draw a line by banning the use of shoes that go beyond what is currently. available. the market as we deepen our research.

“I believe these new rules strike the right balance in providing certainty for athletes and manufacturers as they prepare for Tokyo 2020 while also addressing concerns that have been raised about footwear technology.”

‘Secret weapon’

Nike released the Vaporfly in 2016 and various versions quickly dominated the elite and “serious recreational” side of road racing.

Marathon superstar Kipchoge was the model’s flagship, wearing them to set a world record, win the 2016 Olympic title, and then spend less than two hours in an unofficial marathon.

Kosgei ran 2: 14.04 in the Chicago Marathon last year, taking 81 seconds off Briton Paula Radcliffe’s 16-year-old women’s marathon world record and making her almost three minutes faster than any other woman in the world. ‘story.

The Vaporfly have featured in several other records over the past three years and the athletes wearing them won 31 of 36 top-three rankings in the Marathon Majors series last year. The distinctive pink and green shoes are now prevalent in all areas of every major race.

Kipchoge and other leading athletes have greeted the shoes as a natural technological advance, but others say they’ve gone too far, with Yannis Pitsiladis, professor of sports and exercise science at the University. Briton in Brighton, calling them “technological doping”.

Nike says the shoes, which cost around $ 250 and have a lifespan of around 200 miles, have “a built-in secret weapon that provides a propelling feel.”

Other manufacturers have also launched or are developing their own carbon-soled shoes, but WA’s decision now appears to have put the brakes on.

WA’s action echoes that of the swimming governing body, which banned Speedo’s record LZR speed suit ten years ago.

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