Amusan’s Stellar Run Reignites Footwear Technology Debate

Tobi Amusan’s record-breaking performance in the 100m hurdles event at the World Championships on Sunday brought attention back to shoe technology, but the Nigerian said her performance had nothing to do with her shoes.

Amusan, who wore Adidas Adizero Avanti shoes designed for runners who compete in 5-10km races, won gold in the 100m hurdles in what was billed as a world record 12.06 seconds, but was later ruled ineligible due to excessive wind speed.

She had already broken the world record earlier in the day by running 12.12 in her semi-final at Hayward Field.

“My abilities aren’t centered around spikes,” Amusan told the Guardian, revealing that she had come up with the idea to use custom shoes with bouncing foam due to an injury.

“I had patellar fasciitis at the start of the season which set me back for a while. I spoke to Adidas and asked if I could get spikes with a softer sole,” Amusan said.

“They recommended a lot of things and I feel comfortable with that, so I used them pretty much all the time.”

Footwear technology has become a priority since records began to fall last year, with governing body World Athletics trying to draw the line between innovation and the unfair advantage given to athletes.

Current regulations allow shoes to have a maximum thickness of between 20 and 25mm depending on the event, while they can go up to 40mm for road races.

Sprint spikes cannot have soles thicker than 20mm, which is the same as the shoes Amusan wore on Sunday.

Sole thickness for all sports shoes in athletics events will be simplified to a 20mm stack height from November 1, 2024, World Athletics announced in December.

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