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World Athletics Official Ruling on Competition Shoes for Elite Athletes

After outcry and accusations of "technological doping" regarding Nike's Vaporfly Next%, World Athletics has made their official amendments to the rule book. The controversial Next% shoe is constructed with a Pebax® foam midsole with an embedded carbon fiber plate, and the new amendments focus in on these two parts of running shoes, the midsole foam and plates.

After the World Athletics Commission deliberated with scientists, athletes, and legal experts, they have decided to amend their rules governing competition shoes for elite athletes.  

Previous Rule LanguageNew Amendments
"...shoes must not be constructed so as to give athletes any unfair assistance or advantage - and any type of shoe used must be reasonably available to all in the spirit of the universality of athletics."

Download the offical rules here

 

Notable additions in the new ammendments include:

  • "From 30 April 2020, any shoe must have been available for purchase by any athlete on the open retail market (online or in store) for a period of four months before it can be used in competition." - Therefore prototype shoes will not be permitted in competitions.
  • Maximum sole thickness of 40mm
  • Maximum 1 embedded plate/blade, although multiple plates on one plane (not stacked in parallel) is permissible

Read the full World Athletics Press Release here