The international athletics federation, World Athletics, decided, Tuesday July 28, to amend the rules it had set at the start of the year on the shoes used by athletes. It thus modified the maximum tolerated height of the soles for spiked shoes used on the tracks, that accepted for shoes used for road races not being modified.
If, for road races, the sole thickness remains fixed at 40 mm at most, that of the track shoes should not exceed 20 mm for sprints, throws and jumps (except the triple jump) and 25 mm from the 800m and for the triple jump, while in January, World Athletics had imposed a maximum thickness of 30 mm for all these shoes.
It was the first time that the federation had regulated sole height in this way. This decision followed the controversies sparked by the multiplication of records recorded by athletes running with shoes made by the American equipment supplier Nike, the Vaporfly, also incorporating a carbon fiber plate.
World Athletics did not go so far as to ban these shoes already on the market, but decided to freeze the introduction of any new technology in shoes until the Tokyo Olympics, which initially were to have held at the end of July 2020. It had also limited the number of rigid plates inside the soles to one.
Certain Nike competitors had reacted strongly, however, because the American equipment manufacturer, shortly after this decision, had proposed models for the track adapted from its road technology and entering directly into the new regulations.
“These changes aim to maintain the current technological status quo until the Tokyo Olympics for all events”, warned the federation, Tuesday July 28, after having published its new rules.
She recalled that a ‘gNewly formed athletic footwear working group, comprising representatives of footwear manufacturers and the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (acronym for WFSGI) ” has been set up and that it must fix “The parameters making it possible to achieve the right balance between innovation, competitive advantage, universality and availability”.