Nike Shoe Tech Looks Like Cheating But Is Considered Legal


Nike made running popular and now, for some, it’s ruining it too.

Fort Worth will host its annual Cowtown Marathon this weekend, and all records are down because of shoe technology that comes from Nike when it feels like it came from NASA.

“These shoes are like running on trampolines,” said Elizabeth Northern of Fort Worth, who won all categories of the Fort Worth Cowtown Marathon. She ran her second Olympic marathon trials in the United States on Saturday. She finished 73rd with a time of two hours, 42 minutes and 41 seconds.

“The shoe technology is so good that it’s about to fake someone’s real ability. It’s weird. If you run 11:30 in regular shoes, you’ll run 7 minutes in those shoes. »

Which means if I had had these shoes, I would have won the 2009 Fort Worth Cowtown Marathon when I completed my third and final walk of self-inflicted stupidity. OK, not quite true but… I have a feeling it could be true.

Nike shoes are called “Vaporfly”. They should be called “Cheat Code”. They weigh as much as a 166 ounce glass of air. Each step is spring-loaded and you land on a cushion.

When Eliud Kipchoge set a new world record by finishing a marathon in Vienna in under two hours last year, he wore the prototype.

Are these shoes cheating? No. It’s not steroids, PEDs, or an Uber ride to the finish line. But these shoes are right on that invisible line.

The basic activity of running has finally entered the same territory as golf, baseball and others where technology has made such a big breakthrough that it will define an era and redefine success.

Because the Olympics are happy bed partners with Nike, and because there’s almost no way to monitor runners using shoes with carbon plate technology, no organization disqualifies what’s going to be a multitude of new records.

The Cowtown Marathon said it would not ban runners from wearing these new rocket shoes. When the winner crosses Sunday with a new Cowtown record, he will stand.

No asterisk, as some in the running community have suggested.

World Athletics, the international body that governs athletics, released a new set of guidelines and rules last month. The shoes created by Nike, and which are being copied by other major shoe brands such as Brooks, Hoka and Saucony, are doing well.

Since the shoes are authorized by law and sold commercially, they are “legal”. They are not steroids, although they have the same effect as a syringe.

Below the ankle, on the side of the shoe, Nike wrote: “Measured in laboratory. Verified with medals and records.

According to the New York Times, the five fastest marathon times were all recorded by runners wearing the Vaporfly shoes.

Representatives from Luke’s Locker in Fort Worth as well as the Fort Worth Running Company said the shoes cost around $250 a pair. They also said the shoes are designed to last around 250 miles.

It’s $1 per mile.

Both stores said they routinely ran out of popular sizes.

Runners prefer to train in a pair of “regular” running shoes and then upgrade to the high-performance model on race day.

Northern wore the new shoes when she ran the 50k at the International Association of Ultrarunners World Championships in Romania last year.

“It’s the certain percentage of efficiency that adds up over a distance,” she said. “You see records falling right and left.”

When Northern competed in the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, 205 women qualified for the event within the time of two hours and 45 minutes.

With the same time standard, according to USA Track and Field, 511 women qualified for the 2020 event.

It must be the shoes.

The problem in sports is that people like Northern feel like these shoes are illegal, even though wearing them has been declared legal.

“I don’t know how I feel now that I know everything. It’s partly my Catholic guilt,” she said. “And in part, ‘Why not let technology have its place? We have made progress in all sorts of other areas. Why not that?

“And then there’s the, ‘Just because everybody’s jumping off a bridge, am I?'”

Northern indeed jumped Saturday in Atlanta. She ran with the new shoes at the trials.

The sport decided the technology that allowed a man to run 26.2 miles in under two hours was OK.

And now all runners want Just Do It.

This story was originally published February 28, 2020 5:00 a.m.

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Mac Engel is an award-winning columnist with extensive experience covering Fort Worth-Dallas area sports for 20 years. He covered high schools, colleges, the big four sports teams as well as the Olympics and the world of entertainment. It combines dry wit and first-person reporting to complement an almost unfair hairdo.
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