"There seems to be an acceptance now that the new generation of shoes are part of the sport moving forward," Geoff Burns, a biomechanics and sport performance researcher at the University of Michigan and an expert in running shoe technology, told AFP.

US-based journalist Brian Metzler, author of "Kicksology: The Hype, Science, Culture and Cool of Running Shoes", said there was a broader acceptance, largely because "all brands have caught up to Nike and because there is a greater understanding of how the school technology works".

"The key factors in acceptance are making sure there is a fair playing field and also the notion that there is no additional energy being created by the shoes, but instead a greater return of energy from the force the runner is applying with each stride," Metzler told AFP.

The technology, which exists in 'flat' running shoes and in spikes, is approved by track and field's governing body, World Athletics, albeit with parameters set on foam thickness, among other things.

The designs "have proven that they allow a runner to be more efficient and that's a big change, especially from 800m to 10,000m," said Metzler.

"Some athletes have told me that the new spikes can provide a five to 15-second boost in the 5,000m, so that's a real time difference."

Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia was wearing the shoes when she broke the women's 10,000m world record in June. Her time of 29min 1.03 sec sliced over a minute off her previous best.

And Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei used the shoes to set the men's 5,000m world record of 12:35.36 last year.

"The way the fast performances in the distance and mid-distance races are celebrated by fans, announcers and the media is still likely overdone for their respective importance," said Burns.

The more advanced technology is, Burns continued, the more it invites "complexity in the sport, for the athletes, fans and governing bodies."

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