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Nike shelves Viperfly amid fear it could wipe out Usain Bolt’s records

Runner's World UK logo Runner's World UK 22/02/2021 RW Team
a close up of a footwear: Rival manufacturers concerned new ‘super shoe’ would wipe out the Jamaican’s legacy © Provided by Runner's World UK Rival manufacturers concerned new ‘super shoe’ would wipe out the Jamaican’s legacy

The Nike Zoom Air Viperfly has been shelved after rival manufacturers expressed concerns that the ‘super shoe’ would allow less gifted athletes to break Usain Bolt’s 100m and 200m world records, according to a report in The Times.

The Viperfly, lauded by Nike as ‘a new paradigm of performance on the track’, is designed specifically for the 100m, which Nike describes as ‘the truest test of human speed’.

Similar to Nike’s record-breaking road shoes – the Vaporfly and the Alphafly – the Viperfly incorporates a carbon plate. However, when one shoe company reported remarkable results from testing the spikes, concerns were raised that Bolt’s 100m and 200m records would be obliterated.

Bolt, regarded as the best male sprinter of all time, ran his records (9.58 for 100m and for 19.19 for 200m) in Puma spikes.

The Times reports: ‘The shoe was originally due for release last summer but was never put forward to World Athletics for approval and was not on the list of approved shoes published by the sport’s global governing body last August.’

Experts said ‘the shoe may not have met the new criteria for approval amid concerns that its spike plate was acting as a secondary spring’.

Sources have suggested, however, that a revised version of the Viperfly could yet be adorning the feet of sprinters at the Tokyo Olympics this summer.


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