Feb 22, 2020 - Sports

Ethiopian runner smashes half-marathon record in Nike Vaporfly shoes

Ababel Yeshaneh crosses the finish line of RAK Half Marathon. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP via Getty Images

Ethiopian athlete Ababel Yeshaneh broke a women's world record in the half marathon in the United Arab Emirates while wearing Nike's Vaporfly shoes — completing the race on Friday in 1 hour, 4 minutes and 31 seconds, CNN reports.

Why it matters: The record-breaking event comes shortly after Eliud Kipchoge became the first man to run the marathon in less than two hours, while also wearing the Vaporfly shoes. Nike's new shoe technology has proven controversial because of the performance boost it seems to provide. The footwear does meet new rules set by World Athletics that limits the thickness of a shoe's sole and the use of carbon plates, CNN writes.

Go deeper: Nike's magic running shoes ignite debate

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The race to catch Nike's Vaporfly shoe before the 2020 Olympics

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Four months ago, on the very same weekend, Eliud Kipchoge became the first human to run a marathon in under two hours, and fellow Kenyan Brigid Kosgei shattered the women's marathon record.

Why it matters: Kipchoge and Kosgei were both wearing Nike's controversial Vaporfly sneakers, which many believed would be banned because of the performance boost provided by a carbon-fiber plate in the midsole that acted as a spring and saved the runner energy.

Go deeperArrowFeb 26, 2020 - Sports

Molly Seidel scores 2nd at U.S. Olympic marathon trials in her first sanctioned race

Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Running in her first-ever sanctioned marathon, Molly Seidel took second place at the U.S. Olympic marathon trials to secure one of three spots on the U.S. women's team for the Tokyo Games.

The backdrop: Seidel was a four-time champion at Notre Dame, but she'd been off the grid since 2016. She revealed her battles with an eating disorder and other mental and physical ailments in a lengthy piece on Runner's World.

Go deeperArrowMar 2, 2020 - Sports

Chinese authorities send Uighurs to work at Nike supplier

The posters on the wall alongside the Qingdao Taekwang Shoes Co. factory. Photo: Anna Fifield/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Hundreds of ethnic Uighurs have been sent to work at Qingdao Taekwang Shoes Co., a large Nike supplier and one of the American brand's biggest factories, The Washington Post reports.

Why it matters per Axios' Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian: Nike is one of the many American companies whose supply chains are closely intertwined with forced labor in Xinjiang, and it's actually against the law for U.S. companies to import goods made through forced labor.

Go deeperArrowFeb 29, 2020 - World