Do expensive trainers make you run faster? Researchers say yes – The Times

Do expensive trainers make you run faster? Researchers say yes  The Times

Tom Whipple, Science Editor

The Times

A modified version of the shoes, worn by Eliud Kipchoge in October 2019, has already been banned

LISI NIESNER/REUTERS

On October 13, 2019, exactly two hours, 14 minutes and four seconds after she started running, Brigid Kosgei stopped. She had reached the finish line of the Chicago marathon almost 90 seconds faster than any woman had before.

But how much of her result was down to her trainers? Researchers think they have the answer: a little over two minutes.

In 2017 Nike, the sportswear company, introduced a trainer called Vaporfly. It was expensive, but it also promised to be worth it — with springy soles that incorporated a carbon plate, designed to propel the foot forward.

Sports scientists were suspicious. Initially, according to Stéphane Bermon, from the health and science department at World Athletics, it was “considered a marketing manoeuvre by the manufacturer”.