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New Adidas prototype spotted at Houston Marathon

A look at the new Adidas shoe with a stack height to rival Nike

Sunday’s Houston Marathon saw huge results and a new shoe on the feet of some of the fastest runners. The Adidas prototype isn’t something we’ve seen before, and appears to stand even higher than Nike’s Next%. The all-white shoe has very subtle markings, with huge stack height and a line through the midsole, that presumably sandwiches a carbon plate.

RELATED: Check out the latest Adidas prototype shoe

The shoe was on the feet of Philemon Kiplimo and Abel Kipchumba, both Adidas athletes who finished in 59:28 and 59:35 respectively, for fourth and fifth place.

Adidas was the one company that had kept a low profile about a prototype shoe, until days before the 2019 New York Marathon, where two of their fastest women, Mary Keitany and Joyciline Jepkosgei, would be running. There, the Adidas athletes went one-two in the race, each wearing different shoes. Keitany’s had a strong resemblance to the Adidas Adizero Pro. But the shoe spotted Sunday was very different from what Keitany wore in New York.

Over time, it has become obvious that the Nike Vaporfly 4% and Vaporfly NEXT%, which have a thick layer of highly responsive Nike-patented foam in the midsole as well as an embedded carbon-fibre plate, have contributed to a significant drop in marathon times across the board. Numerous brands now offer shoes with a carbon-fibre midsole plate, while Nike’s latest model, the AlphaFly (worn by Eliud Kipchoge at the INEOS 1:59 Challenge in October), incorporates not one, but three carbon-fibre plates.

As more records are broken and shoes are getting higher, there have been multiple reports that the IAAF could step in. Some insiders have predicted a ban that would cover the very thick-soled AlphaFly but not the Vaporfly or NEXT% (which are slightly less thick), but some are now speculating about other ways of measuring and limiting the benefit conferred by the technology.