The World Athletics announced revisions to the rules governing the shoe technology to provide greater clarity to athletes and the shoe manufacturers around the world and to protect the integrity of the sport. These amendments are based on the ongoing discussions with the working group on athletic shoes, established this year with the shoe manufacturers.

The changes pertain to the maximum height of spiked shoes for track and field events and the establishment of an ‘Athletic Shoe Availability Scheme’ for unsponsored elite athletes. While the maximum height for road shoes (40 mm) remains unchanged, the maximum height of the track spike shoes has been amended to 20 mm in field events, 25 mm in triple jump event, 20 mm in track events including hurdle events except for 800m race.

Moreover, any shoe from 30 April 2020, should be available for purchase by an athlete on the retail market four months before it can be used in competition. If not, then the use of the shoes will not be permitted in the competition. However, if the shoes are available and are customized for aesthetic or medical reasons to suit the needs of the athlete is allowed. 

Under situations where the World Athletics feels that a type of shoe or technology does not comply with the set of rules, it may prohibit the use of the shoes or technology while it is under examination. 

All shoes must meet the following requirements :

  • The sole of the shoes must not be thicker than 40mm.
  • The shoes must not contain more than one rigid embedded plate of any material than runs either run the full or partial length of the shoe. It may be located in more than one part but it should be located sequentially and not overlapped. 
  • For shoes with spikes, an additional plate is permitted only to attach the spikes to the sole while the sole must be no thicker than 30mm.

The competition referee will have the authority to request an athlete to provide the shoes for inspection at the end of the race if the referee suspects that the shoes do not comply with the rules. 

The Assistance Review Group concluded that there is independent research that indicates that the new technology in the soles of road and spiked shoes may provide a performance advantage that might raise concerns about the integrity of the sport due to the development in shoe technology.

The World Athletics will establish an expert working group that will guide future research in shoe technology and to assess new shoes in the market. 

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