Parker Valby Wins NCAA 10,000m In Hybrid Nike Spike Super Shoes

What will she wear for the 5,000m tonight?


American collegiate running sensation Parker Valby clinched her fifth national title last night, winning the NCAA 10,000m championship at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.

What’s more interesting, however, is what she was donning across the finish line: a custom pair of Nike Vaporfly 3 shoes modified with track spikes.

In a post-race interview, Parker humorously revealed, “I’m a handy woman, and I sewed some spikes into them!” before clarifying that Nike had customized the shoes for her. 

Parker Valby Wins NCAA 10,000m In Hybrid Nike Spike Super Shoes 1

She says she opted for these unique shoes(?) spikes(?) (not sure what we call these now…hybrids?) to help her recover faster for her upcoming 5,000m race. “They’re lovely shoes. Recovery shoes, honestly! My legs feel great,” she remarked (Valby calls them shoes; I guess that’s what we’ll go with).

The Nike Vaporfly 3, known for its high stack of ZoomX foam, offers a more cushioned and forgiving experience than traditional track spikes. However, fans and followers raised a critical question: Are they legal?

According to World Athletics’ 2020 regulations, elite athletes’ shoes must not exceed a stack height of 40mm for road races and 25mm for middle-distance track events (reducing to 20mm from November 1, 2024). 

With a 40mm stack height, the Vaporfly 3 is technically illegal for track events. Nonetheless, the NCAA allows college athletes to use shoes of any stack height on the track, including developmental shoes not on the World Athletics approved list.

Parker Valby’s Fifth NCAA Title

The 10,000m race began at a slow pace, which played to Parker’s advantage. She surged ahead with four laps remaining, covering the final 1,600m in 4:49.37, including a blistering 62-second last lap. She finished with a controlled and comfortable victory in 31:46, nearly a minute slower than her personal best.

Parker’s focus seemed to be on the 5,000m race, which takes place later today. 

When asked about her choice of shoes for the upcoming race, she teased, “It’s a secret. You guys will get to see. I’m super excited for it.” Is it something new? “Something spicy!” she hinted.

As a senior at the University of Florida, Parker Valby has had the collegiate career many can only dream of. 

She’s set NCAA records for the indoor 5,000m (14:52.79), outdoor 5,000m (15:20.10), and outdoor 10,000m (30:50.43). Her 30:50 performance not only shattered the previous NCAA record by 28 seconds but also ranks her as the 11th fastest American in history in the 10,000m. 

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Although it’s just short of the 30:40 Olympic standard, it is the third-fastest time in the US during the qualifying period, making her a strong contender for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games in both the 5,000m and 10,000m events.

Following this weekend’s 5,000m race, major shoe brands are expected to compete to sign Parker when she turns professional this summer. Last June, she signed a name-image-likeness (NIL) deal with Nike, set to expire upon her graduation. Parker is anticipated to become one of the highest-paid athletes in the US, with reports claiming she could be earning a base salary between $600,000 and $850,000.

One certainty remains: once she graduates, Parker Valby won’t be able to compete in her custom spiked super shoes.

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Jessy has been active her whole life, competing in cross-country, track running, and soccer throughout her undergrad. She pivoted to road cycling after completing her Bachelor of Kinesiology with Nutrition from Acadia University. Jessy is currently a professional road cyclist living and training in Spain.

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