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Competitive athletics shoe rules amended

The rule changes are said to give certainty to athletes preparing for the 2021 Olympic Games and to preserve the integrity of elite competition.

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World Athletics – the international governing body for the sport of athletics – has announced revisions to its rules for shoe technology. These changes were recently approved by the World Athletics Council, following liaison with the Working Group on Athletic Shoes and footwear manufacturers. The amendments include the maximum height of track shoes permitted for most field events. According to the organisation’s website, ‘the sole of the shoe (including the part beneath the athlete’s heel) may have grooves, ridges, indentations or protuberances, provided these features are constructed of the same or similar material to the basic sole itself’. The maximum thickness of the sole has been changed to 20mm in field events (except for triple jump shoes, on which a 25mm sole can be used), and 20mm for track event shoes (with 25mm soles permitted for races of 800m and longer). The 40mm maximum thickness of soles acceptable for road events remains unaltered. When fitted, spikes must not project from the sole or the heel further than 9mm, except in the high jump and javelin, where projection of up to 12mm is allowed.

“We have a better understanding now of what technology is already in the market and where we need to draw the line to maintain the status quo until after the Tokyo Olympic Games,” said World Athletics chief executive Jon Ridgeon. “In developing these rules, we have been mindful of the principles of fair play and universality, maintaining the health and safety of athletes, reflecting the existing shoe market in these challenging economic times, and achieving a broad consensus with the shoe manufacturers, who are major investors in our sport.”

Publishing Data

This article was originally published on page 3 of the September 2020 issue of SATRA Bulletin.

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