Run shoe technology has improved considerably over the last decade and the new technology has caused much debate on fairness in competitive running. Tim Heming even took the subject up in this month’s 220.
To clarify the situation before Tokyo and ensure all athletes have a level paying field, World Athletics have now announced that they have amended the rules governing competition running shoes. The amended rule now states:
“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.
“If a shoe is not openly available to all then it will be deemed a prototype and use of it in competition will not be permitted.”
Shoes must also have a sole no thicker than 40mm and must not contain more than one rigid embedded plate or blade. (Read full rules here)
World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said: “It is not our job to regulate the entire sports shoe market but it is our duty to preserve the integrity of elite competition by ensuring that the shoes worn by elite athletes in competition do not offer any unfair assistance or advantage. As we enter the Olympic year, we don’t believe we can rule out shoes that have been generally available for a considerable period of time, but we can draw a line by prohibiting the use of shoes that go further than what is currently on the market while we investigate further.
“I believe these new rules strike the right balance by offering certainty to athletes and manufacturers as they prepare for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, while addressing the concerns that have been raised about shoe technology. If further evidence becomes available that indicates we need to tighten up these rules, we reserve the right to do that to protect our sport.”