A step ahead?
The controversial Nike Vaporfly series has decided to go ahead with the retail of Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next% by the end of February. This will make the pair of shoes competition-legal by the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which opens on 24 July.
Under the new regulations of World Athletics, the track-and-field governing body formerly known as IAAF, it rules running shoes must be “readily available” for four months before being worn in a competition and for distance running shoes, soles thicker than 40 millimeters and the use of more than one plate will be banned. Interestingly enough, the Air Zoom Alphafly Next% has a 39.5-millimeter sole, just enough to be qualified.
World Athletics Marches With Nike?
Other shoe companies are upset that World Athletics had only consulted Nike and not them.
“Our biggest concern is, nobody picked up the phone and asked us what we thought or included us in the decision-making process,” Danny Orr, New Balance’s general manager for performance said “That’s not just us. It’s the rest of the sporting goods companies, except maybe one.”
Though not explicit, that one company refers to Nike. “There is part of this which is, Nike is big. They’ve got an enormous stable of runners. And therefore it feels unfair. I don’t subscribe to that. I don’t think you get to compete and then, if you don’t like the outcome, you say, ‘That just wasn’t fair.’ That’s not how competition works,” said Shawn Hoy, Saucony’s Vice President of Global Product.
The World Athletics have since denied tipping off Nike prior to the release of the new regulations.