World Athletics President Sebastian Coe has acknowledged that innovations in shoe design may lead to numerous world records at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, scheduled to take place later this year.
He conceded that the new shoe designs would be "unlikely to inhibit" such performances.
Coe was speaking during a virtual media conference to launch the Museum Of World Athletics (MOWA), the world’s first fully virtual sports museum.
Asked if the controversial advances in road and track shoe technology introduced by Nike and now being developed by other brands would lead to "a clutch of world records in Tokyo this summer", he replied: "If you look at the collection we have assembled here, the one thing this collection does reflect is innovation.
"We have, just down the corridor from me, a glass case in which is Jesse Owens’ track singlet from Ann Arbor in 1935 when he broke the best part of five world records in less than an hour.
"It’s made out of heavy-duty cotton.
"You also have some contributions that are light, breathable materials.
"We have Adhemar da Silva’s jumping shoes which are positively clog-like compared to the shoes that we have from Christian Taylor.
"So the answer to your question is we want to reflect every generation, and every innovation that has marked the history of our sport, certainly in modern times.
"Do I think they will be responsible for a clutch of world records in Tokyo?
"The answer is that I hope we have a clutch of world records in Tokyo and I think they will reflect a whole series of interlocking factors that go to high class performance.
"But I readily concede that the creativity of the shoe companies is unlikely to inhibit those performances."
Gesturing to a pair of road shoes just donated to MOWA which were worn in 1982 by the late Grete Waitz, the first women’s world marathon champion and multiple New York and London winner, Coe added: "This is a growing museum reflecting the fact that if our sport is about anything it is about innovation over the years from road shoes that looked like this 30 years ago to the very latest.
"And yes, world records are always being broken."
When Nike introduced a range of road shoes with a rigid embedded plate they were widely reported as reducing average marathon times by up to four per cent.
In recent months a number of track world records have been broken by athletes using similar new technology in spikes.