The World Athletics commission will not be imposing a ban on Nike’s record-breaking running shoe, the Vaporfly Next%. The Guardian reports that the sports governing body is instead expected to announce a temporary halt to all new shoe technology ahead of the Tokyo Olympics this summer.
Nike’s premiere running shoe sparked controversy last year for being “too good”, following complaints by non-Nike-sponsored athletes who claim the shoes gave Nike athletes an unfair advantage in competitions. Last year Brigid Kosgei and Eliud Kipchoge both historically broke separate marathon records wearing the shoe, although Kipchoge’s attempt was not under official conditions as he used a group of rotating pacemakers.
World Athletics’ official decision will be announced Friday, but for now it seems the Vaporfly has escaped a blanket ban. There will, however, be “a temporary suspension of any fresh shoe technology” until after the Tokyo Olympics. According to The Guardian, the commission will launch a deep dive into examining the model and plans on introducing a tighter set of regulations for new shoes in the future.
Currently World Athletics’ rules say running shoes can’t confer any “unfair assistance or advantage” and have to be “reasonably available” to everyone. Studies have shown that the Vaporfly increase athletes’ energetic efficiency by 4% or more. However, the shoes don’t fall within regulations because they are not “available to all.” According to Business Insider, World Athletics is reviewing the wording of the rule.