Nike to avoid shoe ban for record-breaking tech

Although word on whether or not the World Athletics Association will ban competitors from using the controversial but very speedy Nike Vaporfly running shoes will not be made official until Friday, the Guardian is already reporting that the organization will not be imposing what it calls a “blanket ban."

The shoes were originally developed in 2016 and designed especially for marathon runners. The latest version had input from the world’s top athletes in the discipline such as Shalane Flanagan and Eliud Kipchoge.

The technical upgrades on the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly 4%, according to Nike, “delivered an average of 4 per cent improved running economy over Nike’s previous fastest marathon shoe.”

The four per cent figure was verified by Nike’s own peer-reviewed studies and other independent studies. It’s huge especially when it comes to distance events like the marathon. 

This, according to some, has given an unfair advantage to athletes sponsored by Nike. Some compare it to the 2010 banning of full-body swimsuits introduced by Speedo after more than 200 world records were broken. 

The latest version is the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next%. The shoe that was worn by Kopchoge when he broke two minutes in the marathon, one of the greatest athletic feats in recent memory.

The Nike Vaporfly shoes were worn by both the men’s and women’s world record holders in marathon, Kopchoge in 2018 when he broke the record in Berlin and Brigid Kosgei at the Chicago Marathon in October, 2019. 

Kopchoge was wearing the next prototype version of the technology the Nike AlphaFlys during his historic INEOS 1:59 challenge in Vienna, Austria on Oct. 12, 2019, when he ran the marathon in a time of 1:59:40.

Kopchoge hit back at critics following his incredible performance saying of the new shoe technology, “They are fair. I trained hard. Technology is growing and we can’t deny it – we must go with technology.”

The Guardian report goes on to state that although there will not be a blanket ban on the Nike Vaporfly shoes, there will be a suspension of any new models, perhaps the AlphaFlys, until after the upcoming 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. 


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