Eliud Kipchoge Fends Off Criticism Over Special Nike Shoes

  • Kenyan Athlete Eliud Kipchoge holding the Nike Alphafly Next% Shoe (left) and a pair of the shoes
    Kenyan Athlete Eliud Kipchoge holding the Nike Alphafly Next% Shoe (left) and a pair of the shoes.
    File
  • UPDATE: Ethiopian marathon runner Kenenisa Bekele on Friday, October 2, announced that he would withdraw from London Marathon due to a calf injury. 

    "This race was so important to me. My time in Berlin last year gave me great confidence and motivation and I was looking forward to show that again, I have worked so hard for it.

    "I realise many people around the world have been looking forward to this race and I am sorry to disappoint my fans, the organisers and my fellow competitors," he stated.

    Ethiopian Marathon Runner Kenenisa Bekele during a previous press conference
    Ethiopian Marathon Runner Kenenisa Bekele during a previous press conference.
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    Record-breaking athlete Eliud Kipchoge has dismissed criticism that his new shoes violate the spirit of sport.

    Kipchoge, who is gearing up for the upcoming London Marathon on Sunday, October 4, asked his critics to open their hearts and move on.

    There were calls that the shoes, Nike Alphafly Next%s, be banned from the track as they resembled those he wore in October 2019 when he broke the two-hour barrier in Vienna.

    “We live in the 21st century and we need to accept change.

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    Eliud Kipchoge wins the Ineos Challenge on Saturday, October 12, 2019, in Vienna, Austria
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    “Development goes hand in hand with technology. The shoe is good. We are doing a press conference virtually, is that not technology? We should accept technology and marry technology," he stated according to UK News outlet, The Guardian.

    Kipchoge confirmed that he would don the shoes during the Marathon although his competitor, Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, who is also sponsored by Nike, revealed that he would not wear the Alphaflys during the event.

    He argued that it was difficult adapting to them and that he had sustained injuries during training.

    “It’s really difficult to adapt to these shoes, especially with speed workouts.

    "Several times I had some minor injuries, like a muscle stretch. Because the shoe is not stable under the foot. It’s really unshaped. It’s really soft. The muscle needs to adjust to the movement under it. It’s really difficult," he stated.

    Kipchoge's Alphaflys were custom made for him complete with a Kenyan flag and initials of his name.

    They have a green-and-red colourway and feature 1:59:40 a time he ran in Vienna.

    Critics claimed that the shoe had multiple carbon plates but Kipchoge noted that it was not about the shoe but people using them.

    The shoes are claimed to improve running economy by up to 8%.

    A pair of the Nike Alphafly Next% shoes.
    A pair of the Nike Alphafly Next% shoes.
    File