Ross Tucker's new piece is a must-read. If you read it, it's clear he thinks the new World Athletics shoe rules are a joke and the new shoes need to be banned.
Ross Tucker wrote:
When the difference made by technology is larger than the normal difference between athletes, then the integrity of the result is changed. ..
I don’t want [to watch] a five-set final at the Australian Open thinking “Shit, I wonder if this result would be different if Thiem and Djokovic could swap tennis rackets? If only my guy had a different sponsor”. Nor do I wish to watch swimming wondering whether the guy in Lane 4 might actually be a better swimmer than the guy in Lane 5, but with a swimsuit that is 3% worse.
If this happens, the meaning of that sport is undermined. But this is the situation that has developed in running, now facilitated by the regulatory equivalent of the Emperor’s clothes, is that we have to watch running events not just wondering, but KNOWING, that if the runners could swap shoes, the outcome would certainly change.
After reading it, I 100% agree. In the short term, the problem is no one else's shoes are close to Nike's because of patents. That may or may not change because Nike has patents but if it does it will take several years. But even if that happens, there is still a huge long term problem.
The problem is that certain people respond way more to the shoes than others. Some respond 6%, some 0%. So what determines who wins a race isn't who has the best physiology or best training, it's who responds the best to when they put on their $250 shoes at the start line.
He also finds it an amazing coincidence that the new shoe rules perfectly allow Nike's new Alphapfly shoe that came out a week later (This is something a shoe executive raised with Jonathan Gault today. He thought NIke's John Capriotti had Seb Coe's ear recently at some Diamond League meetings. I have no confirmation of this but am just sharing it to say this coincidence theory is widespread and not surprising since Coe used to be a paid Nike brand ambassador).
He thinks the stack height allowance is way too high and should be cut in half.
I think at a minimum, we need a pause on the shoes. If I was Seb Coe, I'd say starting immediately, only a stack height of 20mm is allowed for elite competition.
How cool would it be if everyone was given old school flats at the start of the Tokyo Olympic marathon? KIpchge if you are truly the best - and not just the best responder to these shoes - then let's see it.
We don't want Nike men to have an unbeatable advantage for the 2nd straight Olympics.
Now here is George123's post.
In the first batch of lab studies on the most basic “super shoe”, they found a range between 0% and 6% in physiological benefit (see example). As you make the benefit larger (on average), this spread will go up. Maybe you even create non-responders. This is crucial for integrity
What it means is that *EVEN IF* all companies achieve the same typical benefit (it’s a big if), runners on the start line will be separated by the spread of responder vs non-responder. So running has a new success criteria: if you don’t get 4 to 8% from the next wave, you’re done
I find it quite sad. One of the great appeals of running was celebrating its history, records, breakthroughs, even PBs outside the spotlight. The limit was set at physiology, not equipment. The distortion of “input vs output”, and loss of integrity hurts the sport massively, IMO.
More on his twitter and this article.
He did raise a valid point on the responder thing.