Jenny Chen

Jenny Chen


Articles

We collected marathon performance data from a systematic sample of elite and sub-elite athletes over the period 2015 to 2019, then searched the internet for publicly-available photographs of these performances, identifying whether the Nike Vaporfly shoes were worn or not in each performance. Controlling for athlete ability and race difficulty, we estimated the effect on marathon times of wearing the Vaporfly shoes. Assuming that the effect of Vaporfly shoes is additive, we estimate that the Vaporfly shoes improve men's times between 2.1 and 4.1 minutes, while they improve women's times between 1.2 and 4.0 minutes. Assuming that the effect of Vaporfly shoes is multiplicative, we estimate that they improve men's times between 1.5 and 2.9 percent, women's performances between 0.8 and 2.4 percent. The improvements are in comparison to the shoe the athlete was wearing before switching to Vaporfly shoes, and represents an expected improvement rather than a guaranteed improvement.

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