Nike cheat shoes , issues?

The first time ever on the BTF coaching group a very good question was raised instead of the usual whinging; Should we be discouraging parents from buying Nike cheat shoes for kids. Now besides the argument that you should avoid worrying about marginal gains for kids as you should be developing the 99% not finding an extra second in the Tristars Gotri with £200 shoes. I wondered if those that used them, those with knowledge in the fields had any opinions. Are we storing up the next batch of injury issues in future by weakening feet, or putting too much stress in areas not designed for it? Is there any potential drawback to development of kids feet or another part of the chain. I must admit i know little about the science behind these things either. There’s a good piece put out by UKA on this all this and I’d like to get hold of a copy or the reference material also :-


Agree 100%, but on the subject of development…
I’m no expert and I will contradict myself here. I had some foot/ankle pain as a teenage runner. I was advised to spend as much time in bare feet as possible, not necessarily running, just day to day. I ditched wearing boots as my everyday shoes and my ankle strength improved. We did some grass running barefoot during warm-up & cool-down which also helped with strength and form.
Having said all that, the secondary benefit of the cheat shoes is the cushioning they provide, meaning they help protect the legs from the impact. Any cushioned shoe would achieve this, and there is the whole debate of cushioning being good/bad but like I say, I’m no expert.


I will do whatever it takes to give Taylor & Brydon the edge at the school 1500m. Plus it’s an extension of my #affluence.


I agree with @buzz regarding building up strength in the feet. I was recommended the original Nike Free and barefoot walking when I had similar issues.
The other question and not just about the shoes is how much of an arms race is it with bikes etc at Tri star level?

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I’m sure that’s tounge in cheek but for parents that can afford it, why wouldn’t they? My kids are too lazy for this to be a problem for me, but if they were racing, training hard and got beaten by someone with those shoes when they ran without, is that fair on them? Its not cheating, the shoes aren’t illegal. But if you can legitimately buy an advantage, why wouldn’t you.

I think the shoes should be banned, and I’ll wager they will be after Tokyo. The plastic swim suits were the same, obvious advantage, loads of records broken, finally banned after lots of WRs have been put out of reach without them.

At the minute these shoes are only really know to the running community. After an Olympics and the daily mail starts with stories of people’s shoes winning there will be pressure to ban them.

I don’t know. They are already mass market so to speak. Nike & others make a mint from them. There will be much lobbying, and we know ‘money talks and merit walks’.

Look at the Hour Record. The UCI ended up relenting on the Traditional vs TT bike rules.

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Bare feet or as close to bare feet as possible for as long as possible!!!

All these structured shoes from a young age have destroyed the strength and development of kids. And this is the full strength and development not just feet. It effects the whole body.

If they want the latest “trendy” shoes go for some vivo barefoot or similar.

My stepsons feet are horrendous! And it will put him off running for the rest of his life. He has no structure or strength in his feet, legs, and core and it’s even worse barefoot and he’s only 14.

Thankfully my stepdaughter is more agile and active but I still only buy her the most basic neutral shoes, even if her mates are getting the £100+ netball shoes etc.

Any search on this subject will back up that view - except when the research is funded by the shoe manufacturers so be sure to check!


Yep. And I’d guess the running shoe market is a fair bit larger than the swimskin market :joy: These are here to stay.

I thought there had already been rules set that stop them going any further but all the current models are OK. I don’t see how they could go back on those, effectively outlawing their own criteria.

This begs the question of long term development, is it about winning a minor local race at 10 years old or developing so that they can be the best they can be in years to come and enjoy sport into their adulthood. So much pressure on results at kids levels and that 1% is rarely the difference at any level but elite. If we are talking Junior (U19) levels and potential results to get into development academies it makes a bit more sense, maybe.

There are kids with all the gear, but it is less of an issue. You need a new bike every couple of years and when these days you cant get much under a grand anyway new.

This is the main thing tbh. I’m not bothered about my kids being thrown into some competitive meat grinder and growing to resent it.


I’ve loads of things to write on this! But I’m gonna try and be brief.

What @awildt said about barefoot shoes 100%, cushioning does not protect other than in the accident, as the body adjusts for it and just takes more load instead, so all that happens is you come to believe you can do a 10ft drop because the cushioning protects, then when you’re in your school shoes or whatever without that protection you just take too high forces. Barefoot, build to it. I can certainly imagine that it makes sense the same in running, so fully agree cushioning for racing only.

However - 1% can often matter, and it can matter in enjoyment as much as competition, you might only be wanting to beat your mate, or a time, or something entirely artificial and pointless but achieving that goal can aid enjoyment as much as anything.

Getting kids proper equipment is important - less so in running of course, but for other sports it can turn sports from hard to easy at that initial start that gets them interested, it may feel utterly wasteful, but it’s really not.

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Yes, proper equipment is important but not £250 shoes. Plenty of proper shoes for £40, especially by shopping around. Ethan Haytor raced on a second hand b-twin and won a junior national title with borrowed equipment. Whatever happened to him. Important lessons can be learned through not having everything on a plate, when things get tough. The 1% doesn’t really matter at that level, unless you’ve maxed out elsewhere. If you are competitive, you won’t become mid pack by not wearing special shoes. Too much emphasis on the cherry on top rather than baking a decent cake to start with. It really is just a triathlon issue as well. Very few kids with all the gear in the cycling club, yet I’ve seen a 14yr old triathlete with a Di2 Cervelo S5 and deep rims. He didn’t win!


This absolutely.

We had a long chat with Jess Phillips when they had the coffee shop, and she really emphasised how she climbed the cycling ranks on second hand bikes and never have the latest and greatest. Learning via that route just highlights the importance of hard work.

There’s a junior “cycling team” at the affluent end of Cheshire and it’s astounding the equipment their parents buy and the services they demand. They never win.

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No, but you might not get picked for the london youth games, and decide to jack it all in and just drinking in the park So it might be the difference between continuing in the sport or not. [*]

And how do we know the “worked hard with bad equipment and won” isn’t simply survivor bias.

[*] EDIT I realise this could be read in me supporting the use of the shoes, but I actually believe they should be banned outright in all youth and preferably adult competitive sport and left only for the people doing non-competitive. However given they’re not, then they can be the difference, and one made worse by others having them.


You are not going to lose out by the few seconds you may gain with these shoes. You will lose because you couldn’t outsprint someone, or didn’t have the mental strength to compete at that level. I’ve been around junior sport long enough to know its never equipment thats the difference at the front.

And coming second, third, fourth or lower when you’re 10 or 12 years old often translates into the determination to come first later on.

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i lived in an apartment above a triathlete from the English Commonwealth team…i rode my aluminium Trek to work (or took the car on hot days), he rode a posties bike that was adorned with racks and a Sturmey Archer…

In brief: barefoot as much as possible… wide fitting zero differential shoes at other times…wide fitting zero diff running shoes.

Unless there is a specific biomx need, there is no need for specialist shoes, certainly no need for high miles and no need for winning young. Most who win young, don’t win when they are older.

Worth noting that there was some credible research that suggested the greater the cushioning, the harder the foot had to work to provide sufficient feedback about the terrain and surface. Cushioned shoes can provide short term relief for creaky knees etc, but learning to run is far more important…


i don’t know…they took 2 mins off my 5 k time, and i was less fatigued for the subsequent bike and run…