World Athletics Shoe Rules

Updated: Aug 15

Are you are planning on treating yourself to a new pair of trainers this summer? Thinking ahead to a new pair of spikes for the Cross Country season? If so, you might want to check out the following guidance from UK Athletics:

All competitions on the track, road and cross country held under UKA Rules are subject to the application of the rule to ensure fair competition and, should records be achieved, then those records can be ratified.

Road shoe soles must not exceed 40mm thickness and spiked shoes must not exceed 20 or 25mm depending on the relevant track or field event as set out in the WA table.

Varying specifications apply to all shoes, spiked or not, as used for different track and field events. (N.B. some shoes may be approved for road racing but be non-compliant for use in track events – shoes with a sole thickness greater than 25mm / 20mm may not be used in track and field events).

No shoe may have more than one rigid plate within the sole.

Which events could this apply to?

The ruling applies to all events across all age groups, however the practical difficulties in checking shoes at many events make it probable that detailed checks will only be carried out where Technical Officials or event organisers have doubts about the compliance of the footwear of an athlete, or where such reasonable doubts are brought to their attention.

Primary responsibility for conformity lies with the athlete. Spot checks may be carried out. Although the formal rules of competition are clear, Competition Providers and Technical Officials are encouraged to use their discretion at entry level events, especially in the younger age groups (schools or club events) or within mass participation ‘fun run’ style events, if the shoes in question are unlikely to create a significant unfair advantage and where it may not be in the best interest of the individual or in the spirit of the ‘sport’ to enforce the rule.

If you want to check out the full guidance from UK Athletics, view the full document here:

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