Norway’s Sondre Nordstad Moen, a seven-time national record holder, pulled out of Friday’s Brussels Diamond League citing World Athletics’ new shoe rules as the reason. According to Inside the Games, the 2:05 marathoner felt that he couldn’t safely compete in a shoe with only 25 mm of cushioning. “I’m not sure I would be any of those things if I raced in Brussels because I’d have to race on the track for something like a half marathon – and hopefully a bit further – in shoes which only have 25 mm of cushioning. To be honest, I’ve decided I just can’t do that as I feel pain in my feet after only a few kilometres in such shoes.”
Britain’s Mo Farah won the event and set a new world record, completing 21.33K in 60 minutes.
The new WA shoe rules put a limit on the stack height of any shoe worn on the track. This means for people running the 800m through ultramarathons, their shoe height can only be a maximum of 25 mm. On the road, shoes can reach 40 mm. For middle-distance events, this is an entirely fair stack height, however, other runners have pointed out that they miss the cushioning over the long haul (for example, a one-hour effort).
Camille Herron is an American ultramarathoner who holds the 24-hour track world record. She suggested on Twitter that the maximum stack heigh of 25 mm should only apply on the track through the 10,000m, so that runners competing longer could have the extra cushion.
In the ever-evolving landscape of carbon-plated racing shoes and mega stack height, WA has changed their rules several times in the last year. Their latest guidelines were only announced seven weeks ago, and could certainly change again between now and the Olympics next year.