Kipchoge defends barrier-busting Nike shoe


Kipchoge defends barrier-busting Nike shoe
A screen-grab depicting a closer look at Eliud Kipchoge's shoes after the marathon world record holder, celebrates after a successful attempt to run a marathon in under two hours in Vienna, Austria, October 12, 2019. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

In Summary

  • The Nike Zoom Vaporly shoe has turned to be the centre of controversy with some claiming the shoe gives an added advantage in comparison to other footwears
  • As reports indicate, the shoes boast of Nike’s ultra-light, ultra-responsive ZoomX technology to help with unprecedented levels of responsive cushioning

World marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge has brushed off the critics of the Nike shoe he used to run the INEOS challenge- where he became the first human to complete a marathon race in under two hours after clocking 1:59.40.

The Nike Zoom Vaporly shoe has turned to be the centre of controversy with some claiming the shoe gives an added advantage in comparison to other footwears.

As reports indicate, the shoes boast of Nike’s ultra-light, ultra-responsive ZoomX technology to help with unprecedented levels of responsive cushioning.

It also has a highly-efficient carbon-fibre plate in the midsole which prevents energy loss to power a person’s strides.

According to the Telegraph Sport, Industry insiders have suggested the prototype version of Nike’s latest edition Vaporfly shoe – the Alphafly – which Kipchoge wore when completing a marathon distance in one hour, 59 minutes and 40 seconds last October, could provide a boost double that.

However, as quoted by the Telegraph Sport, Kipchoge has laughed off the claims, choosing to draw comparison of the shoe to the cars being used in Formula One.

 “They are fair,” he said. “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,” Kipchoge said.

It is not only Kipchoges’s shoe that is under the question. In October, Brigid Kosgei smashed the women’s marathon world record after running 2:14:04 to lower Britain’s Paula Radcliffe record of 2:15:25 which had stood for 16 years.

At the time Kosgei wore a modified Vaporfly Next% shoes which contain thick soles and carbon plates. Independent studies have found they offer an improvement in running economy of up to four per cent compared to other leading racing shoes.

The Daily Mail is already claiming that the shoe cloud be banned leading on the uncertainty whether the world record will stand.

According to the United Kingdom-based news agency, the contentious issue is the foam and carbon-fibre composition of the sole, which acts like a spring to help runners get the most forward push from each stride.

A technical body looking into the Nike shoes are set to deliver their findings at the end of this month.

The World Athletics governing body is yet to issue a statement on the same however according to its competition rule 143- “any type of shoe used must be reasonably available to all in the spirit of the universality of athletics. Shoes must not be constructed so as to give athletes any unfair assistance or advantage”.

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Story By Gilbert Kiprotich
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