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Nike Vaporfly sneakers could be banned by World Athletics

Shawn M. Carter

Sneaker giant Nike could be running into trouble.

One of the brand's hottest running sneakers could be banned by World Athletics, the international governing body for track and field and related sports, according to Runners World.

The Vaporfly Next% brand, at $250 a pair, has come under scrutiny as critics say it could give the wearer an unfair advantage due to its lightweight midsole and carbon fiber plates.

Kenyan athlete Eliud Kipchoge wore an upgrade to the sneakers, the Alphafly, in October and broke the two-hour marathon barrier by 20 seconds at a company event in Vienna. Another version of the sneakers, the ZoomX Vaporfly, was worn by Kenya's Brigid Kosgei the same month when she set the record for the fastest marathon time for a woman.

The sneakers’ design is under review by sports officials.

“A working group of technical officials, athletes, health and science practitioners and legal experts, are reviewing the shoe, the technology and the wording around the rule. We hope to make their findings available early in the new year,” World Athletics said in a statement.

While some claim the sneakers could boost performance, Dr. Adam Tenforde, of the American Medical Society of Sports Medicine, told Newsweek otherwise.

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“The challenge in determining an advantage for equipment or technology requires independent testing,” he said. “There is clearly excitement around recent performances in road competitions with a number of runners with faster performances wearing Vaporfly.

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“However, many variables including weather, competition and the psychology of runners may also contribute to performance. For example, shared expectations going into a race that runners will run fast may result in a large number of runners performing well.”

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Nike did not immediately respond to a request for comment from FOX Business.

The company’s stock is up 30 percent on the year.

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