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A pragmatic approach to resolving technological unfairness: The case of Nike’s Vaporfly & Alphafly running footwear.

Dyer, B. T.J., 2020. A pragmatic approach to resolving technological unfairness: The case of Nike’s Vaporfly & Alphafly running footwear. Sports Medicine - Open, 6 (1), 21.

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DOI: 10.1186/s40798-020-00250-1


Background Technology is often introduced into sport to facilitate it or to improve human performance within it. On occasion, some forms of novel technology require regulation or prevention entirely to ensure that a sport remains fair and accessible. Recently, the Nike Vaporfly and Alphafly shoes have received some concerns over their appropriateness for use in competitive distance running. Methods This paper evaluates the use of these shoes against an existing framework for sports technology discourse and adopts a pragmatic approach to attempt to resolve them. Results It is proposed that the three concerns regarding cost, access and coercion cannot be ruled out but likely remain short term issues. As a result, it is proposed that these running shoes are acceptable forms of technology but that ongoing vigilance will be required as such technologies develop further in the future. Conclusions The Nike Vaporfly/Alphafly shoes do push the perceived acceptability of running shoes to the limits of the current sports regulations. However, the alleged gains have not manifested themselves to a level that could be considered excessive when reviewing historical performances or when evaluated against a set of well-cited criteria. The sport will need to adopt a stance of ongoing vigilance as such technologies continue to develop or be optimised in the future.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Fairness, technology, running, footwear
Group:Bournemouth University Business School
ID Code:33958
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:04 May 2020 11:29
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:21


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