Science

Study proves: Nike Vaporfly delivers big advantage

A new study will give critics of Nike’s high-tech Vaporfly running shoes more grist to the mill, wrote The Times Thursday. The shoes, equipped with carbon plates, would offer athletes wearing them an advantage of up to 2 percent, which is a huge amount at the highest level.

Nike released the Vaporfly in 2017. For just under 300 euros, the American sports brand promises better energy efficiency thanks to carbon plates that propel the foot. Since then, the marketing argument has gradually turned into a controversy in the sports world, as the running shoes, and the athletes who wore them, broke record after record.

A study by Stephane Bermon, a researcher in the science and health division of the international sports federation World Athletics, now claims that “advanced shoe technology offers an advantage,” he says. The Times.

Men vs. women

How much benefit do the shoes provide? About 1 percent for top male athletes and 2 percent for women. In the latter category, that’s just over two minutes faster in a marathon. In 2019, the Kenyan Brigid Kosgei broke the world record for that discipline with… 81 seconds. You guessed it, she had snuggled up at her feet.

Also for men, almost all top times are run nowadays with Nike Vaporfly on the feet. The phenomenal world record that Eliud Kipchoge set in Berlin in 2018 was one of the first times that the super shoes were used to deliver a top performance.

“Whether this technology should be banned or simply controlled remains to be decided by World Athletics,” said Stéphane Bermon. (mah)

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