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Protest made at WTCS Abu Dhabi about Gustav Iden’s shoes

World Athletics to check Ironman world champion's shoes after 52nd-place finish

Photo by: World Triathlon/ Wagner Araujo

We reported that the On prototype shoes Gustav Iden wore to win the Ironman World Championship last October are no longer legal at World Triathlon and Ironman events earlier this year. Now it would appear that a federation, or athlete, involved in yesterday’s World Triathlon Championship Series (WTCS) event in Abu Dhabi has protested the shoes that the Norwegian wore in the race. According to the official results list from the event, the “Result of athlete #41 Iden/NOR is provisional: a shoe protest is pending.”

We reached out to World Triathlon, who confirmed that, as per the new rules announced at the beginning of December, “the shoes will now be sent to World Athletics to be checked.”

Iden on the run on his way to the Ironman World Championship.

Related: World Triathlon bans super shoes (like the ones Gustav Iden wore in Kona) starting in 2023

It’s uncertain as to what the appeal might have been based on at this point – whether the shoe might be considered a prototype, have a sole that is too deep, or have too many carbon plates. World Triathlon has adopted the same rules that World Athletics put in place in 2020:

any shoe must have been available for purchase by any athlete on the open retail market (online or in store) for a period of four months before it can be used in competition.

If a shoe is not openly available to all then it will be deemed a prototype and use of it in competition will not be permitted. Subject to compliance with the rules, any shoe that is available to all, but is customised for aesthetic reasons, or for medical reasons to suit the characteristics of a particular athlete’s foot, will be allowed.

Where World Athletics has reason to believe that a type of shoe or specific technology may not be compliant with the rules or the spirit of the rules, it may submit the shoe or technology for study and may prohibit the use of the shoe or technology while it is under examination.

The new rules also put limits on the depth of shoe’s midsole and the number of carbon plates it can contain:

  • The sole must be no thicker than 40mm.
  • The shoe must not contain more than one rigid embedded plate or blade (of any material) that runs either the full length or only part of the length of the shoe. The plate may be in more than one part but those parts must be located sequentially in one plane (not stacked or in parallel) and must not overlap.

Iden announced a new partnership with On Running just before the Ironman World Championship.