On 24 December, 2021, World Athlete released a press statement announcing changes to their running shoe regulations. The changes were:
The new rules and regulations will be in place from 1 January 2022. The amendments include:
- The deletion of the transitional provisions inserted in 2020 and 2021, leaving just an enabling rule at Technical Rule 5.2.
- A definition of ‘applicable competitions’ to make the scope of events the rule and regulations apply to clear and to avoid them being applied to amateur club, school or college or even masters level competitions.
- Clarification on which types of customisations are permissible with prior approval from World Athletics. This is to allow adaptations for individual athletes on medical and safety grounds.
- The simplification on sole thicknesses across all athletic shoes in track and field events to a stack height of 20mm from 1 November 2024. This timeline was agreed to give manufacturers sufficient notice following the significant investment they will have made into spike shoes with a sole thickness between 20 and 25mm. The current sole thicknesses will continue until then.
- A more flexible compliance process for athletic shoes to make checking compliance more practical and efficient depending on the nature of the event. Greater emphasis will be placed on conducting post-race spot checks through the introduction of shoe control procedures and a shoe control officer role. There will be some events (e.g. major marathons) where pre-event declarations will continue.
- A new approach to sanctions for breaches of the rules and regulations relating to athletic shoes particularly at events and breaches that come to light post event. Referees’ powers have been made clearer and World Athletics CEO or their nominee has been given the authority to act (or refer the matter to the AIU) where post-competition breaches are identified.
- That athletic shoes must not contain any embedded ‘sensing or intelligent’ technology now or in the future. This does not apply to use of heart rate, speed distance monitors etc.
- Minor word changes and phrasing as part of a general tidying up of the language in the rules and regulations.
Craig Payne Administrator
University lecturer, writer, runner, cynic, researcher, skeptic, forum admin, science communicator, woo basher, clinician, rabble-rouser, blogger, dad.