Analysis: Do the shoes matter in marathon running?

Kevin Quealy and Josh Katz for The Upshot analyzed shoe and running data to see if Nike’s Vaporfly running shoes really helped marathoners achieve faster times. Accounting for a number of confounding factors, the results appear to point to yes.

We found that the difference was not explained by faster runners choosing to wear the shoes, by runners choosing to wear them in easier races or by runners switching to Vaporflys after running more training miles. Instead, the analysis suggests that, in a race between two marathoners of the same ability, a runner wearing Vaporflys would have a real advantage over a competitor not wearing them.

Very statistics-y, even for The Upshot. I like it.

It takes me back to my fourth grade science fair project where I asked: Do Nike’s really make you jump higher? Our results pointed to yes too. Although our sample size of five with no control or statistical rigor might not stand up to more technical standards. My Excel charts were dope though.