We’ve seen incredible speed gains since the introduction of Nike’s Vapor Fly Next%. So much so that my friend Todd, who’s been on the smart athlete podcast, you can check him out here in a minute, he actually set his 5K, 10K, and half marathon PR in the same race, which he actually says really shouldn’t happen, but it’s been that dramatic. So, the question is, should we ban the shoe? Well, I’m Jesse Funk and on today’s episode Runner’s High, I’m going to give you a reason why we should not ban the Vapor Fly.

This is something I’ve really struggled with. I’ve tried to figure out, should we be in the shoe, should we not be in the shoe? I’ve been waiting to do this video for some time, some time that maybe you won’t even see this video because nobody cares anymore.

But I really think I struggled with this because it’s always a debate between what is advancing performance and okay, and what is beyond human. So, that’s kind of where we go in and we say, we should get rid of it because these are unnatural times. Well, but if you reduce that argument, you can say, okay, where’s the line and why?

Recently, on the Smart Athlete Podcast, I had Dan Feeney, Former Pro Triathlete, and Former Division One Runner, he works for a company called Boa Technologies. Now if you cycle at all, you’ve almost definitely seen Boa’s stuff.

They make those super cool dials that helped a shoe tighten up on you. Boa does all kinds of other things with shoes trying to eke out the most performance and best fit of them they possibly can. So, Dan is kind of the guy to go to here when we want to talk about looking at the data and figuring out should this be banned, why or why not?

Dan finally gave the perfect argument, at least to me, of why we should not ban the shoe. And I’m a believer now so I want to share that with you. And Dan’s argument basically, is that in a perfect world, when we’re running, the energy that we output, 100% of it is going to return to us. Now, in our current world with our current physics, we simply can’t reach that.

And we are always developing new technologies, new phones, new materials, new shoes to try to move us towards that percentage so that all the energy we put out we get back in that is optimal running speed, optimal running efficiency. When you get all the energy out that you put all your energy back that you put out.

Now, we can’t reach that point because there are limits to physics. But that’s the ultimate goal, right is that we want to get there and we are not there. The Nike shoes and subsequently, New Balance, Asics; all of the other makers trying to catch up and bring out their own versions are really just trying to advance our goal, where we get to the point when we can get all the energy out possible that we put out so that we as humans go as fast as we possibly can go. To advance Dan’s argument, you can apply this to really anything. We talked about this too on that episode.

We were talking about supplements and how I’m really kind of anti-caffeine. I think caffeine is cheating in racing because caffeine is a stimulant, and it forces your body to do things you cannot do otherwise. For me, that is the line. That’s where you draw and you say, we can’t go past this line. Now obviously, we do and there’s the USADA involved and they decide what’s a drug and what’s acceptable and what can be used for competition and non-competition, all those things. Obviously, I don’t work for the USADA, but that’s a good line for me.

So, when we think about Vapor Fly or whatever shoe comes out next that kind of pushes our advance in speed and sets new records, we have to decide, does this move us beyond in human speeds? And I would argue until we reach that limit, that hundred percent and go over it, then no, we have not reached maximum capacity of the human body. It’s pretty obvious when we decide that somebody is cheating, like in the triathlon world, every once in a while somebody will get caught, that has a motor in their bike.

And that means that they’re going to be working beyond that 100% capacity. Clearly, that’s wrong. So, that’s my delineation. Where that line is, is once we reach 100% capacity, 100% of the energy we output we get back; that’s where any advances beyond that point are no longer acceptable.

Do you have a reason that you think that we actually should ban the shoes? I’d love to hear your comments. Leave them down for me in the comments below. As always, subscribe to the channel. If you want to check out the interview with Dan Feeney and his wife, Melissa, that interview should be coming up on the screen shortly. Just click on that, it’ll take you over there. Dan’s gonna educate you on all kinds of stuff that I cannot properly do justice. So, click on that, check him out. I’ll see you next time on the next episode of Runner’s High.