Nike Breaking2 footwear

Photo: Nike.

Each of the three Nike athletes who took part in the Breaking2 attempt were wearing customized footwear.

Not only were the specifications fitted for Eliud Kipchoge, Zersenay Tadese and Lelisa Desisa, all three were able to add a personal touch of their own to the Nike Zoom Vaporfly Elite. The trio wrote personal messages, which were visible on the heel, to keep with them during the attempt at a two-hour marathon.

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Desisa wrote ‘Bidike’ and ‘Desisa,’ the names of his father and mother. Kipchoge wrote his kids’ and wife’s names as well as ‘Beyond the limits’ on his pair of Zoom Vaporfly Elites. Tadese wrote his wife’s name. All personal messages were written in their own handwriting, which was then digitally printed onto the shoe.

Curious about the shoes that the Breaking2 athletes were wearing?

From Nike:

“Custom crafted for each athlete, the shoes feature Nike ZoomX foam for responsive cushioning and a full-length carbon fibre plate to increase stiffness and provide a propulsion sensation. An aerodynamic heel reduces drag. A Flyknit upper hugs the foot without adding weight.”

Nike Breaking2 Footwear

Photo: Nike.

In addition to the innovative shoes, all three athletes wore half-tights, arm sleeves and a breathable singlet in an effort to reduce drag, maximize comfort and aid the athletes in breaking the two-hour marathon barrier. Kipchoge was the victor of the three, running 2:00:25, dropping off pace only in the very late stages of the attempt, which was held in Monza, Italy on Saturday morning (local time).

Though the time is the fastest marathon in history, it is not a world record as the IAAF requires certain mandates to be followed. The strategic use of pacers and the fuelling strategy were two factors which made the time non-record eligible. The men’s world record is 2:32 slower than Kipchoge’s time, Dennis Kimetto’s 2014 mark of 2:02:57.

Variations of Nike’s Breaking2 shoes will be available to the public in June. Those are the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 34, the Nike Zoom Fly, and the Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4%. The Nike Vaporfly Elite “will never be sold,” according to Nike. The 4% Vaporfly, a racing flat, is the closest thing to the shoe that the Breaking2 athletes wore in Italy.


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