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World Athletics Council bans prototype shoes

All shoes worn in track and field competitions must have been available in retail stores for at least four months.

Nike Vaporfly

Nike's Vaporfly shoes are allowed in World Athletics competitions under new rules.


Track and field's governing body, the World Athletics Council, has announced new rules about what shoes competitors can wear. Prototype shoes will not be allowed. Effective April 30, all shoes must have been available for purchase in retail stores for at least four months prior to a competition. Shoes can only be customized for aesthetic or medical reasons.

The new rule is part of an effort to crack down on shoe technology "to protect the integrity of the sport."

"Where World Athletics has reason to believe that a type of shoe or specific technology may not be compliant ... it may submit the shoe or technology for study and may prohibit the use of the shoe or technology," the council said Friday.

This includes shoe technology incorporated into soles and spikes, it said, which could "provide a performance advantage."

"It is not our job to regulate the entire sports shoe market, but it is our duty to preserve the integrity of elite competition by ensuring that the shoes worn by elite athletes in competition do not offer any unfair assistance or advantage," said Sebastian Coe, World Athletics president.

Banning prototypes means Nike's controversial ZoomX Vaporfly Next% shoes are still permitted, as reported earlier Friday by The Guardian.

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