There are wardrobe malfunctions and then there’s this.
Around mile 10 of the 26.2-mile Berlin marathon on Sunday, elite runner Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya began to have some serious shoe trouble. The neon-yellow insoles of his custom-made Nikes slipped partially out of his shoes; as he crossed the finish line, they were flapping at his ankles, according to the Berlin marathon website.
Though the Kenyan won the race and beat his personal best with a time of 2 hours and 4 minutes, he finished 63 seconds shy of the world record.
While no one would have faulted Kipchoge had he blamed the missed record on the literal unraveling of his shoes, the runner had only this to say after the race:
“It wasn’t a good day for me in these shoes, although they’re actually very good. I tested them in Kenya but just had bad luck on the day. I had problems from the first kilometre,” he said, according to the Berlin marathon report. “My goal was the world record but it wasn’t to be today. Nevertheless I’m delighted with this win and a personal best.”
According to The Wall Street Journal, Nike will continue to sponsor Kipchoge, and blamed the shoe failure on the “sockliner.”
“As he has done in previous races, Eliud was testing a prototype racing flat which we’ve been working on together for several months,” said T.J. Crawford, a spokesman for Nike. “As with any prototype, elements can sometimes go wrong. On this occasion, the sockliner didn’t work. As in all innovation, we will learn quickly from mistakes.”