Five years ago, Nike gave a 4% boost to the marathon running world with the Vaporfly. Now they’ve moved to the track.
For us though, the story takes place at the margin.
Super Spike Sneaker Technology
Question: Whose swoosh is giving elite runners a boost on the Brooks and Reebok teams?
Because Nike sneaker technology is (for now) ahead of their competitors, Brooks and Reebok have said it is okay for members of their teams to wear the Nike super spikes during Olympic trials. While other sneaker makers have their own super spikes, it’s Nike that has been winning races. With times that cut as much as 15 seconds off past records, Nike super spike wearers won recent men’s and women’s 5,000 and 10,000-meter races. On June 6th, superstar runner Sifan Hassan in her Nike Dragonfly ZoomX sneakers crushed the women’s 10,000m record by more than 10 seconds.
More speed might reflect the convergence of several developments. Nike tells us that its super spike combination of carbon fiber plates with a newer foam return more energy to the runner. At the same time, others suggest that pandemic cancellations created more training opportunities. They cite the pacing technology like Wavelight that runners were using during practice.
Our Bottom Line: The Margin
Just like our everyday decisions, Nike super spikes take runners to the margin.
Focusing on the cost and benefit tradeoffs we perpetually make, economists say that most of our everyday decisions occur at the margin. Defined as the line where we do something extra, the margin is where we decide to snooze for 15 more minutes. The margin is where we we accelerate to 10 miles beyond the speed limit or enjoy that additional scoop of ice cream. It is where interest rates rise, spending for an infrastructure bill contracts,, the aging population ascends. Indeed, when we eliminate all of its complexities, economics is all about how much we produce and distribution to satisfy our needs and wants. And yes, that means it is always at the margin.
Meanwhile, runners also are always thinking at the margin. The record is the margin from which they want to slice off those seconds.
Our featured image (the Airzoom Viperfly) is from Nike. Also, we should note that that 4% boost is 2.5% for women.