Jan 30, 2020

Nike Varporfly: World Athletics set to rule on running shoe range

World Athletics is set to tighten regulations regarding high-tech running shoes. The critics believe this is insufficient, and that the regulations have been overtaken with the Vaporfly range revolutionising elite distance running since they were released in 2016. Characterised by increased 'stack-height' or depth, patented extra-springy foam and an embedded carbon plate which supposedly helps propel the wearer forward, Nike claims the shoe can improve running economy by 4%. Last year, bespoke hybrid versions were worn by Eliud Kipchoge when he became the first athlete to run a marathon in less than two hours using a pair of the next-generation 'Alphafly' in Vienna, and then by fellow Kenyan Brigid Kosgei in Chicago when she obliterated Paula Radcliffe's long-standing women's world record in what was understood to be a prototype of the 'Vaporfly Next%'. It is unclear whether the modified versions used would meet the new regulations set to be announced by World Athletics. A New York Times study of results from more than a million amateur races suggested runners using Vaporflys were running 4-5% faster than they would in an 'average'' running shoe.

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