World Athletics modifies the rules for competition racing shoes

So the Nike Vaporfly will stay legal, but don’t hold out hopes for getting an Alphafly. :slight_smile:

Mario Fraoli, in his Morning Shakeout newsletter, says the new rules will mean that:

  1. Results that have been posted and records that have been set over the past four years in the Nike Vaporfly and similar models from other brands will stand.

  2. If a company wants its sponsored athletes to wear their latest and greatest racing shoes at the Olympics in August, they better release it to the public soon.

  3. The Alphafly that Eliud Kipchoge wore in Vienna last fall to run the marathon distance in under two hours is likely not going to be competition-legal.

    3B. The prototype rule technically doesn’t take effect until April 30, so you may see some yet-to-be-released shoes on elite runners’ feet at the Olympic Trials Marathon and spring majors.

  4. A clearer definition of “elite” athlete is going to be necessary and universally accepted by event organizers around the globe, which shouldn’t be an issue at all (hope you could sense my sarcasm there).

  5. If the new regulations are enforced effectively, innovation will continue at a rapid rate for the next few years as shoe companies race to create better products within the current technical constraints and prototype timelines.

Don’t get me wrong: These new regulations are a good start, and they’re more than a few years overdue, but if you think this settles the shoe debate, think again: at best, it’s an early stage prototype.

Here’s an article describing more on the Nike Vaporfly controversy and regulations.

And now Dumb Runner weighs in:

This is a long and detailed post by sports scientist Ross Tucker that basically concludes that the sport leadership should have acted sooner to regulate these shoes, in part because the benefits of wearing the shoes aren’t equally spread across all runners—some people respond significantly better to them than others.

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Ross has a great podcast called the science of sport that goes into quite a bit of depth on these topics (and other track and field news). Seems a little suspicious that the new Alpha Fly happens to have a 39.5 mm stack height and was announced right around the time of the World Athletics statement…

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Thanks, Jason. I’ll have to add that one to my podcast lineup—looks like it’s not all that frequent.

But yeah, Ross Tucker isn’t holding back in his opinions about the Vaporfly. The latest episode is entitled “The Shoe That Broke Running II: The End of Integrity.” Ouch.

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