World Athletics address shoe technology advantages: Athletic Shoe Availability Scheme

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    World Athletics has reduced the allowed height of soles in spikes along with a few variations of current shoe technology rule changes.

    Thirty-millimetres, the maximum height on spikes, which is measured from the heel is now reduced to 25mm for events 800-metres and longer, and just 20mm for sprint events.

    The 40mm maximum depth permitted for road shoes remains.

    Prior to January 31, the only stipulations on sole height were for high jump at 19mm and long jump 13mm.

    Because of ongoing concern over performances, World Athletics has looked at sole height limits which are now set out for all shoes.

    Recently athletes have voiced their concerns about shoe technology. Legendary Scottish athlete Liz McColgan told Athletics Illustrated that she is losing interest in the sport.

    “I feel strongly that the time has now come to cap technological input, all athletes should compete at the same level of shoe technology, no one should gain an advantage. Cycling and swimming saw this very early on in their sport and put a stop to it.  Nike is dominant and has resources far above what other sporting brands have. Their shoe technology is aiding in athlete performances so they have a clear and unfair advantage.  All athletes should be on the start line as equals and presently they are not.”

    Stephen Scullion, Northern Ireland’s top marathon runner at 2:11:52 has also expressed concern over shoe technology, “a lot of people are losing respect [for the sport]. That’s fair because they are clearly performance-enhancing.”

    A World Athletics media release states, “This is in keeping with the principle of shoes being reasonably available to athletes. As a priority item, in its forthcoming meeting, we will work with the working group and the World Federation of Sports Goods Industry to design an ‘Athletic Shoe Availability Scheme’ to deliver this. The scheme will cover process, criteria, numbers of pairs of shoes required, method of distribution and when the shoe needs to be available from (our position, which has been generally accepted by manufacturers, is for one month prior to international competition).”

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