When the Kenyan runner Eliud Kipchoge became the first human to run a marathon in under two hours as part of the recent INEOS 1:59 Project Challenge, this was arguably one of the most significant achievements of athleticism since Sir Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile in 1954.
They are built around a carefully considered sole design that absorbs the energy of each foot strike and then helps store, channel, and returns it as the athlete runs.
Its various patented innovations include the types of polymers used and how they and air pockets are located to absorb and return energy, coupled with a carbon plate built into the midsole.
Yet since then, the maximum projections in that study have already been exceeded by around two minutes, and nearly by four if you include Kipchoge’s time.
In fact, compared directly to other elite-level trainers in the same study, the performance gain was in the range of 2.6 percent to 4.2 percent.
At the razor-thin margins of elite sport, that sort of benefit is the equivalent of bringing a gun to a knife fight.