Clarification on World Athletics Rules for Footwear worn for Track Races


Changes to Rules for Footwear worn for Track Races

On the 28th July, World Athletics amended the rules on footwear for the track which included limits to the thickness of soles of shoes that can be worn in track events. The rules, which come into immediate effect, are available through the Link here

  • For distances up to 800 m (not including 800m) there is a maximum sole height of 20 mm
  • For distances 800 m and above there is a maximum sole height of 25 mm
  • In the context of the rule, a 'track shoe' is any shoe worn on the track.

The amendment means that shoes up to 40mm sole height that are still permitted on the road, are not permitted on the track with immediate effect.

Athletes, officials and organisers of permitted events should familiarise themselves with the new rules as they include both details about measurement of the sole height, and other restrictions including the number of spikes, carbon plates, and requirements for availability of the footwear to other athletes.

Athletics Ireland has been in dialogue with World Athletics over a few ambiguities in the new rule, and these are expected to be removed/amended.

  • World athletics have clarified that a grace period of adjustment until December is only for those with certified medical conditions requiring the additional depth of sole. It is not anticipated that there will be many, if any, conditions that meet requirements for soles over 25mm on the track.
  • World athletics have indicated that they will provide further clarity on the level of competition and athlete that the rules will apply. However, with immediate effect, permitted events should be run under the amended World Athletics rules, and this obviously includes National Championships.
  • To assist athletes and race organizers in the future, we expect there to be a list published of approved footwear for each event.

They have also indicated the possibility that performances already achieved since the 28th July in non-compliant shoes may be marked as DQ.

Performances achieved in 2020 after the 28th July, may fall within the performance window for various track championships selection in 2021. So athletes that may seek selection for 2021 championships should be particularly mindful to ensure that they are compliant with the new rules. While race organisers adjust to the amendments, athletes may also be advised to retain evidence of the shoes worn in a given meeting.

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