News analysis

Nike's record-setting shoes may be off on the wrong foot

The extraordinary marathon performances - 1hr 59min 40sec by Eliud Kipchoge in Vienna and 2:14:04 by Brigid Kosgei in Chicago earlier this month - have focused attention on an already simmering question: Does the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) need a more stringent rule to define legal running shoes?

It appears that running, the original and most elemental of sports, now faces the same tradition-versus-scientific-innovation challenge that other sports have encountered. Think: tennis rackets, baseball bats and, perhaps most similarly, competition swimwear - those polyurethane-based suits that have been banned since 2010.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 23, 2019, with the headline 'Nike's record-setting shoes may be off on the wrong foot'. Print Edition | Subscribe