Nikes high-tech sneakers provide unfair advantage to competitive runners


Creative Commons

One of the models of the Nike Vaporfly 4% Sneakers

Nike’s most controversial running shoe yet, Vaporflys are said to take 4% off a runner’s best time, and the new rules set by World Athletics have banned some of Nike’s high-tech line of running shoes. These shoes provide an unfair advantage to runners and at a shocking $250, not everyone can get their own pair creating a further disadvantage. 


The high-tech shoes are supposed to guarantee 4.2% off your mile time by Nike. In 2019 both the men and the women’s marathon records were broken within days of each other, both runners while extremely talented and well trained, were sporting pairs of Nike’s cutting-edge prototype for Vaporflys. This sparked enormous controversy, catching attention from runners all over the world and sparking some serious questions: will these records stand? What about the record that stood before? Is it fair that it was beaten with high-tech running shoes? 


The Vaporfly shoes were the cause of many new rules set by the World Athletics Council. It was stated that on April 30, 2020, any shoe runners want to use must be openly available to the public online or in-store; to avoid any prototypes. Any prototypes will not be accepted by World Athletics. The shoe must be out publicly for four months before they can be used in competition, anything before 4 months is considered a prototype. Whenever World Athletic suspects that a shoe or the technology used for it is not compliant with the rules, it can prohibit the use of the shoe until the investigation is complete. 


These sneakers aren’t fair for use in competition, especially the Olympics because the tech provides an unfair advantage. Guaranteeing a 4.2% decrease in your mile time which can make a huge difference in an important race. While they are technically available to the public there are pairs of these shoes that go for $1000, and the cheapest that the controversial Vaporflys go for is around $250. Simply put, these shoes, while very cool don’t follow the spirit of the rules of running.