Nike’s new chief executive John Donahoe has defended the company’s range of VaporFly shoes against claims that they offer a mechanical advantage to runners.
Speaking to Sara Eisen on CNBC’s Closing Bell programme, Donahoe denied that the shoes - which claim to offer an improvement of 4 to 5 per cent in performance - are unfair.
"It’s not a mechanical advantage," he said.
"It’s simply using the same materials that go into a shoe and putting them together in an innovative way that allows the athlete to do their very best in a safe way."
Speaking ahead of Nike’s Innovation 2020 event in New York City, Donahoe hinted at a new range of shoes within the company’s VaporFly Next% range of shoes.
"It’s really this innovation that’s going to be profiled at the Olympics demonstrates too things that I think distinguish Nike," he said.
"One is investing in innovation that delivers improved performance for athletes.
"And the VaporFly Next% Platform does just that…
"That’s the shoe that [Eliud] Kipchoge broke the two-hour mark in the marathon.
"And what we’re announcing today is a full line so that athletes in Tokyo of all distances can take advantage of that performance-enhancing technology."
Last Friday (January 31), World Athletics announced that it was not currently planning to take any measures to reverse or halt the emergence of the VaporFly shoes, with their innovative carbon plate and compressed foam design, which have been around for the last four years.
But the sport’s world governing body imposed an "indefinite moratorium" on shoes with a sole of more than 40 millimetres and more than one embedded plate or blade of any material.
That effectively made illegal for competition the next level of VaporFly shoe - the AlphaFly - which was worn by Kipchoge as he set his assisted marathon time of 1 hour 59min 40.2sec in Vienna last October.