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TRAINER TECH

CAN WHAT YOU WEAR ON YOUR FEET REALLY MAKE YOU A MORE EFFICIENT RUNNER? MR INVESTIGATES

The fantasy of lacing on shoes that impart superhuman abilities isn’t a new one. The sandals worn by Hermes, messenger of the Greek gods, were known as talaria. Originally described as made of gold and allowing the wearer to run swiftly as a bird, it’s only in later retellings of greek myth that they gain literal wings. Several thousand years later another Greek innovation, the marathon, is still helping drive the quest for footwear that might allow us to push beyond the limits of what’s possible solely through the application of muscle and bone.

During Nike’s recent and highly choreographed sub-two-hour project, Eliud Kipchoge’s became the fastest man ever over the marathon distance. Somewhat less romantic than the feathered appendages on Herme’s slippers, his shoes were controversially fitted with carbon fiber springs designed to help propel him forwards.

Created as part of a project that drew on expertise from a vast range of fields to examine every conceivable aspect of the attempt; from the ideal climatic conditions, to the genetic makeup of the runners, Nike’s Zoom Vaporfly shoes are likely the most high tech ever created. So high tech in fact that the brand claim they boost running efficiency by a huge 4% versus their next fastest models. At elite level that’s easily the difference between being an also-ran and a podium contender.

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Men's Running - January 2019
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