Sifan Hassan ran a world record on Friday at the Monaco Diamond League. She shocked running fans with a 4:12 mile, in a blazing negative split race. Hassan runs for the Nike Oregon Project and has been supported by Nike for several years. Before Friday she was already a European record-holder and World Championship medallist, so she’s certainly one of Nike’s premier athletes and an ideal person to test a shoe prototype.
A Diamond League race always includes a large contingent of Nike athletes and the Brave Like Gabe Mile in Monaco was no different. However, Hassan’s spikes don’t look the same as the other Nike-supported runners.
Her white Nike shoes have a higher stack height and different upper than her competitors’ or any of the track spikes on the company’s website.
This is an interesting move that mimics the shift runners saw when Nike released the original Vaporfly. Racing shoes had become minimal and light, and instead of going lighter, Nike produced a shoe that was a little bulkier but ultimately very fast. Until now, almost all shoes designed for the track were aiming to be as light as possible, but Hassan’s shoe looks a little bulkier than her competitors’.
Most of the other Nike runners in the Brave Like Gabe Mile appear to have been wearing the Zoom Victory, the spike designed for the 1,500m through 5K.
This isn’t the first time the shoe worn by a mile record-holder sparked conversation. Laura Muir broke the 31-year-old British record for the indoor mile in February at the Muller Indoor Grand Prix in Birmingham with a 4:18.75 finish, and some suggested her Nike spike had provided an unfair advantage. The IAAF said it would examine the situation if it received a complaint.