The Effect of Advanced Footwear Technology on Elite Male Marathon Race Speed

Jamie Langley*, BEN LANGLEY

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Purpose The aim of this study was to explore the ergogenic effect of Advanced Footwear Technology (AFT) upon world-class male marathon running speed.
Method A retrospective analysis of 99 world-class male marathon runners’ performances between 2012 – 2021 was undertaken, providing a sample size of 971 performances, split into two footwear groups: AFT (n = 299) and traditional (n = 672). Additionally, details regarding the year of the marathon performance and racecourse were extracted. A mixed model for repeated measures (MMRM) analysis were undertaken identifying athlete (Wald Z = 2.821; p = .005) and course (Wald Z = 4.111; p < 0.001) as significant contributors to the variance in marathon running speed and as such were included as random factors with footwear type set as a fixed factor.
Results World-class male marathon running speeds were significantly faster (p <0.001) when running in AFT (5.441 m.s-1) when compared with traditional shoes (5.386 m.s-1) with a mean difference of 0.055 m.s-1 (95% CI: 0.039 – 0.071 m.s-1), translating to an improvement in marathon speed of 1.0% or a 79s improvement in marathon race time.
Conclusion Our findings demonstrate an improvement in world-class male marathon running speed of 1% when running in AFT, a near identical degree of improvement to the male marathon world record ran in AFT. Whilst a 1% improvement in marathon running times associated with AFT is smaller than previously predicted utilising laboratory-based models, this still reflects a significant degree of improvement at the elite level.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Early online date3 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Advanced footwear technology
  • super shoes
  • race performance
  • technological doping
  • runing


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