Nike’s controversial Vaporfly ZoomX running shoes – versions of which have been worn by record-breaking athletes in recent months – could be banned in official competition for giving an unfair advantage
The scandal surrounding the specially-designed shoes has grown steadily after several top marathon runners broke long-standing records while wearing the Nike 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 mark barrier at a special event in Vienna, Austria.
Kipchoge clocked a time of 1 hour 59 minutes and 40 seconds, and while the time was not official his achievement was hailed as being as historic as the moon landing.
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.
Competing in Chicago, the 25-year-old Kosgei posted a time of in 2hr 14min 4sec, blowing away Radcliffe’s record by 81 seconds – which had stood for more than 16 years.
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Remarkably, both runners donned the controversial Nike shoes which are believed to make its wearers four per cent more efficient during the race.
The shoes’ super-thick soles include carbon-fiber plates which act like springs, helping athletes to run faster.
The high-tech footwear is expected to be banned by the World Athletics after the body announces new rules regarding running shoes.
The rules will likely set strict restrictions over shoes’ thickness and will prohibit the use of carbon-fiber plates in midsoles.
ZOOMX VAPORFLY NEXT%
PINK BLAST 再入荷‼️‼️
— ステップスポーツ福岡店 (@step_fukuoka) December 16, 2019
Kipchoge reacted to the news by dismissing claims that the footwear was giving athletes an unfair advantage, telling The Telegraph:
“They are fair. I trained hard. Technology is growing and we can’t deny it – we must go with technology.
“In Formula 1, Pirelli issues the tyres to all the cars but Mercedes are the best one. Why? It’s the engine. It’s the person.
“So for those that are against the shoe, it’s the person who is running, not the shoe. It’s the person driving, not the person making the tyres.”
It is believed that a moratorium is being considered for any records set thus far wearing the shoes, meaning records such as those set by Kosgei would still stand.