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Due to the shoe lobby, World Athletics has made amendments to its running shoe rules, which will permit prototype shoes to be worn during international competitions. World Athletics acquiesced on their own rule banning shoes that were otherwise not available to the general public. Not that they followed their own rules as close as they could have anyway.

Apparently, all major shoe manufacturers and the World Federation of the Sporting Good Industry (WFSGI) lobbied hard. They represent a lot of sponsorship dollars. Apparently, now is not the time to alienate the shoe industry.

The new rule will allow prototype shoes to be worn for a 12 month development period during international competitions. The gestation of a shoe to market can take as little as 4-6 weeks according to www.sneakerfactory.net. The trial period of 12 months gives athletes an advantage; watch for a flood of fast shoes to hit the market.

There are so many nuances to this rule that benefit the manufacturer, for example, marketing. Let’s just say a shoe company develops a shoe that appears to add a bigger performance improvement than any other shoe. For a 12-month period, the marketing gained by social media, discussion forums, and news would be an incalculable advertising boon.

The shoes will have to meet the same technical specifications as all other approved shoes to be regarded as a legitimate development shoe. However, how does a company differentiate a shoe in-prototype? There will need to be variances – how will it be policed? The talk in the running world will be, “which shoe was it?” After certain performances happen, not unlike the recent Valencia Marathon and Half Marathon where three of four winners wore the adidas adizero Adios Pro.

However, the shoes will not be permitted to be worn in any competition where World Athletics’ competition and technical rules are not applied.

The good news is, for competitions where athletes are typically racing each other and not the clock, like the Olympic Games and World Championships, the prototypes are out.

This also includes Diamond League events.