The World Athletics Federation (IAAF) wants to put Nike's latest running shoe model to the test because of potential competitive advantages. Several athletes have asked the IAAF to investigate the model "Vaporfly" according to consistent media reports. Eliud Kipchoge was the first man ever to run the marathon under two hours with high-tech shoes from the American supplier. Brigid Kosgei (both Kenya) had set a world record among women. Also in the top triathlon - as with the German Hawaii winner Anne Haug - the shoe is used more and more often.
The IAAF Technology Commission has convened a working group of former athletes, social scientists and lawyers, as well as bio-mechanics. This is stated in a statement by the IAAF, which is available in the English newspaper "The Guardian". The association did not specifically refer to the Nike specimen. So far, the rule is that a shoe for all athletes must be freely accessible and the athletes should not offer unfair advantage.
However, athletes are often tied to other outfitters through sponsorship contracts. In addition, the Nike shoe is more energy efficient than other running shoes due to its innovative design, say critics. Nike itself did not respond to a request from the SPIEGEL.
"The air cushion in conjunction with the carbon plates are a resilient element. However, the carbon plates have been in use for a long time," said Uwe Kersting, sports scientist from the Institute of Biomechanics and Orthopedics at the Sport University Cologne, the German Press Agency. "You can thus slightly improve the running economy."