Shoe wars: Kenyan athlete SMASHES half-marathon record as ARMS RACE between sneaker brands takes center stage
Kenya's Kibiwott Kandie made history by smashing the world record for the half-marathon and in the process became the first man to run the distance in less than 58 minutes, but his success may have owed much to the shoes on his feet.
Kandie completed the race in a new world-record time of 57 minutes, 32 seconds to take 29 seconds off the previous record. But his achievement also broke another notable stat, with the Kenyan long-distance ace breaking the record while wearing Adidas shoes.
The long-distance market has been dominated by Nike, with the brand receiving criticism from some quarters for giving athletes an unfair advantage.
But after the brand's controversial thick-soled Alphafly Next% shoes, as worn by marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge, were ruled to be legal by World Athletics, the sneaker world entered into an arms race of sorts, with Nike stealing a march on the competition. The brand also achieved similar success on the track with their new ZoomX Dragonfly spikes.
But Kandie's half-marathon success has seen rival sneaker brand Adidas strike back, with the new record holder setting the new mark while wearing Adidas Adizero Adios Pro shoes, which also feature a much thicker, almost platform-like sole.
Kandie's success wearing Adidas means the battle for sneaker supremacy in long-distance athletics is set to wage on and, with World Athletics seemingly happy to allow a virtual arms race to develop between the world's top sneaker brands, fans could expect more records to be broken, and more complaints to be made, as the sportswear giants, worn by the world's top athletes, do battle on the track, on the roads, and in the testing lab.