There are several photos of a Nike prototype sprinting spike circulating. These spikes appear to be minimal, speed versions of the Nike Alphafly (which Eliud Kipchoge wore to break the two hour barrier in the marathon). The spikes seem to have all of the same principles of the famous road running shoe, without the inches of ZoomX foam.
As the Olympics draw near, every shoe company wants to give their athletes an edge. On the roads this has come via the carbon-plated, maximal shoe, but the track has been slower to the game–until recently.
RELATED: Kipchoge’s shoes spark backlash
Inevitable as far back as the Pistorius case in 2008. Straight line from then, through the Vaporfly 4%, the Alphafly, sub2, & World records, to this. Like night follows day. Next comes the “We just can’t know the true advantage” & “Must they run barefoot?” sleight of hand https://t.co/Qnt1dlpTSj
— Ross Tucker (@Scienceofsport) December 29, 2019
This Nike sprinting prototype has an upper similar to what has been industry standard. Most sprinting spikes have a boot-like upper with minimal stretch, to keep the foot in place while at maximum velocity.
The outsole and midsole, on the other hand, look different. Typically sprinting spikes have an extended plate on the outsole that’s designed to keep the runner on their toes. This plate runs from the toe to the beginning of the heel. This shoe has next to no cushion, and is designed to use all of the runner’s force to propel them forward. It has, for the past decade, been an extremely stiff shoe.
However, the Nike prototype shows a small amount of midsole cushion and a cut off outsole. Instead of having a stiff plate running from the toe to heel, this new (and presumably carbon) plate only runs to the midfoot. Then the shoe has dead space until you hit the heel, which is built up to a similar height as the plated toe.
Triathlete-turned-marathoner Gwen Jorgensen wore a distance spike prototype at the 2018 USATF Championships in the 10,000m. The shoes were basically the Nike 4% but modified for her, with 5 mm pins and a lugged plate at the front of the outsole.
Since then many Nike athletes have been spotted wearing a prototype distance spike that’s presumed to be carbon-plated. However, this is the first sprinting spike we’ve seen with the same attributes.