Home > Running Gear

Shelby Houlihan runs American record in old-school spikes

Houlihan opted for a pair of Victory Elite spikes for her record-breaking run, which were first released in 2008

Over the weekend, the Bowerman Track Club ran one of the fastest collection of 5,000m races in history. The intrasquad meet, which was held at a high school in Portland, saw an American women’s record and a North American men’s record. Shelby Houlihan ran the women’s mark in 14:23.92 and Mohammed Ahmed ran the new Canadian and North American record of 12:47.20

For runners who want to cry carbon-plate, don’t be so hasty. While Ahmed appeared to wear an unreleased pair of spikes that are rumoured to be carbon-plated, Houlihan was wearing some good old-fashioned Victory Elites. The Victory Elite has been a staple in Nike’s line up for years and is routinely worn by sponsored Canadian athletes like Melissa Bishop and Gabriela DeBues-Stafford. Here’s a closer look at what the runners had on their feet at the Bowerman TC meet. 

RELATED: Weekend recap: the biggest week of running results since March

Karissa Schweizer – Air Zoom Victory (announced but unreleased)

Schweizer, who ran a 14:26 to become the second-fastest woman to cover the distance in American history, was wearing the Air Zoom Victory. This is the newest version of the Victory spike which was announced in February. Nike says this spike is designed for the 800m through 10,000m and is inspired by the Alphafly NEXT% (their most talked about marathon shoe). 

The spike is a combination of a thin layer of ZoomX foam, a carbon plate and Nike’s newest upper, the Atomknit, which is a version of Flyknit. It’s set to release this summer. The track world hasn’t been hit with an onslaught of new shoe technology like road racing has, but with shoes like the Air Zoom Victory on the horizon, it’s certainly coming. 


Shelby Houlihan – Victory Elite (released in 2008)

The first iteration of Victory Elites were released over a decade ago in 2008. Several iterations later, they’re still one of the most beloved pair of middle-distance spikes on the market. Houlihan opted for the old-faithful pair of shoes over a newer version for her record-breaking run on the weekend. The Victory Elite has a plate on the bottom (as all spikes do) but it’s not made of carbon and doesn’t include ZoomX foam. 

Mohammed Ahmed and Lopez Lomong – Prototype

Both Ahmed and Lopez had on a shoe with a little bit more sole than the women. This shoe, reportedly called the ZoomX Dragonfly, hasn’t been announced officially by Nike or released to the public. 

With the Olympic year pushed back, Nike has also pushed back the announcement of their Olympic spikes. There’s a chance that this is the shoe they’re cooking up for Team USA. 

RELATED: The five-minute full-body strength routine for runners

Check out the latest buyer's guide:

Top 10 shoes our testers are loving in July

We tested tons of great shoes this year, but only the very best make the list