Eliud Kipchoge’s Nikes caused some controversy.
Eliud Kipchoge’s Nikes caused some controversy.

Shoes to be banned after Nike furore

The Nike Vaporfly running shoes worn by Eliud Kipchoge for the fastest-ever marathon are set to be banned.

Kenyan Kipchoge donned a prototype, hybrid version of the controversial shoe when he ran the first ever sub-two-hour marathon in Vienna, Austria, last year, The Sun reports.

The run was under controlled conditions and therefore has not been recognised as an official time.

Kipchoge's compatriot Brigid Kosgei wore the Vaporfly trainers as she smashed Paula Radcliffe's women's marathon world record in October.

Kosgei completed the Chicago Marathon in 2 hours, 14 minutes and four seconds - taking 81 seconds off Radcliffe's record from the 2003 London Marathon - but that mark is now at risk of being scrapped.

The problem with the Vaporfly shoes is in the soles, which feature foam and carbon fibre to increase the spring and therefore are thought to help runners push off with every step.

As reported, a moratorium is being considered by World Athletics, which may see records stand despite the likely incoming ban for the shoes.

New rules to place a limit on the thickness of soles and the use of carbon plates are on course to be introduced.

The current regulations state an shoes must be "reasonably available" to everyone and not give runners an "unfair advantage".

A furore erupted over the shoe following Kipchoge's history-making feat in October.

Ryan Hall, who holds the US record for the half-marathon and finished 10th in the marathon at the Beijing Olympics, insisted track officials need to ensure an even playing field when it comes to footwear.

"With all due respect to Kipchoge, as he is clearly the greatest marathoner of all-time regardless of the shoes he is in, when a shoe company puts multiple carbon fibre plates in a shoe with cushion between the plates it is no longer a shoe, it's a spring, and a clear mechanical advantage to anyone not in those shoes," Hall wrote on Instagram.

"I'm just hoping the IAAF makes sure the upcoming Olympics and World Marathon Majors are fair playing fields for athletes of all brands.


Eliud Kipchoge broke the two-hour barrier with a little help.
Eliud Kipchoge broke the two-hour barrier with a little help.

"I am no way trying to takeaway from Kipchoge's amazing performance this past weekend. I am continually blown away and impressed by his performances … He did it. He broke (two hours) and I'll be the first to celebrate that.

"(But) shoes need to be regulated with strict rules so that it's an even playing field for elite (runners) across all brands. I'm all about advances in technology that help us run faster. But I don't think athletes should be losing races because they are in a shoe that doesn't have a spring-like mechanism in them.

"This isn't about unreleased prototypes not being available, it's about mechanical advantage. Other sports have limits they place on the gear-cycling, triathlon, golf. So needs track and field."

Amateur runners have used the Vaporfly trainers - which cost $320 on the Nike Australia website - and have generally praised the shoes for their considerable benefits.

Writing a review on the Nike website, one wrote: "I was one of the many who immediately purchased this shoe for my marathon race, hoping for any edge to qualify for Boston.

"I ran CIM marathon yesterday in these shoes and achieved a 9.45 per cent improvement on my time from last year and credit these shoes for a large chunk of that improvement.

"The marathon felt surprisingly effortless and easy with these shoes. Thank you Nike for an amazing technological innovation that helped me achieve me goals this year."

World Athletics are also looking into banning revolutionary running spikes for sprinters.

The new design being developed is thought to have caused fears that the world's fastest men could threaten Usain Bolt's 9.58sec 100m world record at this summer's Olympics in Tokyo.

This story first appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission

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