Nike’s record-breaking Zoom Vaporfly 4% and ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% runners have dominated marathons worldwide since they were first introduced to the market back in 2017. However, it’s very likely they’ll be banned amid new rule changes from governing body World Athletics.
Changes to the rules will limit the thickness of midsoles and the use of carbon-fibre plates in athletes’ footwear. Unfortunately for Nike, their next-gen performance runners both make use of super-thick ZoomX foam midsoles infused with a curved carbon-fibre plate.
This also means the prototype Nike Alphafly – and its three carbon-fibre plates – worn by Eliud Kipchoge when he broke the two-hour marathon mark, will also be banned, even before its wide release. If the bans do eventually take place, there could be moratorium that allows records set in these shoes to stand.
Rival brands are probably breathing a sigh of relief, with numerous reports of non-Nike-sponsored athletes raising concerns over the Vaporfly in the past. Criticism often falls within the regulation of Nike shoes not being ‘available to all’.
Kipchoge and fellow Nike-sponsored record-breaker Brigid Kosgei are both due to race at the London Marathon in April… We’ll be watching closely to see what they have on-foot.