First, I wish compliment the founders of this website. You've provided a great service in creating a central location for current and up to date information on the world of competitive running. In most cases, the information is accurate and informative. Once in awhile, however, statements are made that are not quite accurate. It is for this reason that I write this post.
As you may be aware, there is a controversy regarding the legality of our shoes which contains a technology called WaveSpring. It is a real, mechanical spring.
USATF Rule 143.3(a) provides:
A competitor may compete in bare feet or with
footwear on one or both feet. The purpose of shoes
for competition is to give protection and stability to
the feet and a firm grip of the ground. Such shoes,
however, must not be constructed so as to give the
competitor any unfair additional assistance, including
the incorporation of any technology which will give the
wearer any unfair advantage, such as a spring or similar
device. A shoe strap over the instep is permissible.”
Because the shoes contain a spring, its use is clearly prohibited by the rules. I've read several posts which suggest that the shoes are somehow not banned. This is not correct. Fortunately, the governing bodies have not sought enforcement to date, but that does not end the controversy. I'll provide an example.
This past weekend the top five finishers in the men's open division and the top two women at the Detroit Free Press Marathon all competed in Spira. If the sixth place male finisher and the third place female elected to challenge the results, they would be well within their rights and probably successful. Accordingly, the rule, even if not enforced, has a chilling effect on use of our shoes for competitive races. As a result, we will continue to push this issue until it's resolved.
Finally, a word about marketing. Smaller start up companies like Spira, Newton, Loco and Vitruvian have had a near impossible time breaking into the marketplace. The odds are against all of us, and chances we will not survive. New technologies are not readily accepted, particularly from unknown brands. We have be to creative in order to survive, let alone compete. The established companies have incredibly strong brands and overall make really good products. They also do a great job in building relationships with their customers. We've elected to be edgy and play up the controversy in order to get noticed. It's our best, and perhaps only hope for success in the running market.
Even if we don't survive in the running market, I hope at least we might have an impact on the evolution of running shoes, which benefits everyone.