What many do not know that memorable night Tobi Amusan shattered the 100m hurdles world record at the World Athletics Championship in Eugene-Oregon-US, is that the Nigerian star was not wearing regular track spikes.
Amusan ran a staggering 12.12 seconds in her semi-final to beat Kendra Harrison’s old best by 0.08 sec – smashing her personal best time by nearly three-tenths of a second.
Amusan was wearing Adidas Adizero Avanti shoes, which are designed for 5km and 10km runners, rather than track spikes.
After running even faster to win gold in the final nearly two hours later, Amusan revealed she had accidentally stumbled on the idea of using the shoes, which have extra bouncy foam, after injuring her foot.
Adidas bill the Adizero Avanti as “like hitting fast-forward” and promise the shoes “provide a snappy, propulsive ride with high traction and reduce fatigue, so you finish 5km and 10km races with a kick.”
There is nothing illegal about the shoes, with current World Athletics rules dictating that sprint spikes cannot have soles thicker than 20mm – the same as the Adizero Avanti.
Until now these shoes have always been used for long races, but the benefits for Amusan were obvious as she flew high over the hurdles and into the record books. “My abilities are not centered around spikes,” said the Nigerian, who ran 12.06 in the final, only for the wind speed of +2.5m/s to make it ineligible for record purposes.
“I had patella fasciitis at the beginning of the season so that set me back for a while,” Amusan added. “I spoke to Adidas and requested if I could get spikes with a softer sole. They recommended a lot of stuff and I feel comfortable in [the shoes], so I was using them basically the entire time.”
The new breed of super shoes does appear to particularly help hurdle events, with Sydney McLaughlin also breaking the women’s 400m hurdles record wearing New Balance’s latest model.