Nike introduces super spikes to running shoes, returning 80-90% of energy to the runner, instead of 60% of previous foams. Many runners using super spikes are breaking records

feature soles with a rigid plate and superlight, energy-returning foam.

But Hoogkamer believes that the super spikes help people go faster. The soles’ newer foams work with the plate to return more energy to the runner: about 80-90%, rather than the 60% of previous foams, he said.

In less than a year, Nike super spikes have been used to set world bests in the men’s and women’s 5,000 and 10,000. Just this month, Dutch runner Sifan Hassan smashed the women’s 10,000-meter record by 10 seconds.

A spokesman for World Athletics, track and field’s international governing body, said other factors could be contributing to faster times. The Covid-19 pandemic canceled many competitions and channeled athlete training more sharply than usual into preparation for the Olympics.