Controversial Nike shoes ESCAPE full ban ahead of Olympics – but marathon star Kipchoge’s modified versions will NOT be allowed
On Friday athletics governing body published a list of new mandatory requirements on footwear for professional athletes, stressing that the step to modify the rules was aimed at ensuring fair competition for all competitors.
“It is not our job to regulate the entire sports shoe market, but it is our duty to preserve the integrity of elite competition by ensuring that the shoes worn by elite athletes in competition do not offer any unfair assistance or advantage,” said World Athletics president Sebastian Coe.
“As we enter the Olympic year, we don’t believe we can rule out shoes that have been generally available for a considerable period of time, but we can draw a line by prohibiting the use of shoes that go further than what is currently on the market while we investigate further.”
As expected, Nike's mass-market Vaporfly Next% avoids a ban. But the modified Alphafly prototype worn by Eliud Kipchoge to run a marathon in under two hours in Vienna last year is banned. Here are the new restrictions: pic.twitter.com/IELv9XSlcy— Dan Roan (@danroan) January 31, 2020
The scandal surrounding high-tech footwear has grown steadily after several Nike-sponsored marathon runners broke long-standing records while wearing the brand’s innovative Vaporfly shoes.
Last October, Kenyan legend Eliud Kipchoge set what was hailed as an incredible marathon landmark, becoming the first man to beat the two-hour barrier at a special event in Vienna, Austria. Due to the conditions of the event it was not deemed an official mark, however.
The same month, fellow Kenyan marathon sensation Brigid Kosgei etched her name into the history books by smashing the long-standing world marathon record held by Britain’s Paula Radcliffe.Also on rt.com No Nike, no records? Controversial running shoes 'set to be banned for handing unfair advantage to athletes'
The shoes, which had super-thick soles with three carbon-fiber plates, help athletes run faster producing an effect of springs.
To meet the newly-released requirements stipulated by the World Athletics, running shoes sole should not be thicker than 40mm and should not contain more than one embedded plate.
The mass market version of Nike's VaporFly Next% shoes would still be allowed at competitions as their sole height of 40mm fully meets the limit.
However, specially-designed prototype versions such as those worn by Kipchoge, and which are only available for a limited circle of athletes, would be prohibited.
From April of this year, all newly-produced shoes must be available for purchase on the open retail market for a period of four months before they can be used in competition.
“If a shoe is not openly available to all then it will be deemed a prototype and use of it in competition will not be permitted,” World Athletics said.