Tuesday, February 22, 2011

To Be Perfectly Clear...

The rules for bunker gear have been unchanged since the Challenge started twenty years ago. For ease of interpretation, we simply adopted NFPA 1971. Companies who make a business in the protective apparel market provide representatives to the 1971 Technical Committee. This committee writes the testing standards that everyone has agreed to follow.

We have observed a major paradigm shift from rubber to leather boots over these past two decades. Very few Competitors wear rubber boots. Starting with Ranger footwear in 1992, we’ve had several companies sponsor the footwear category. For the past four years, Globe Footwear has provided over 70 pairs of boots as “loaners.”

Knowing that the ergonomics of footwear are very important in sport, it’s not surprising that a disproportionate amount of attention has been directed to form, fit and function. Removing the steel shank while reducing the weight, is illegal. So is wearing a non-NFPA compliant boot.

If you don’t have a legal boot, you’re welcome to borrow a pair of Globes. We will be inspecting for compliance including a valid NFPA 1971 label. Also note, resoled boots must likewise be compliant with NFPA guidelines.


Unknown said...

Removing the steel shank while reducing the weight, is illegal.
"So is wearing a non-NFPA compliant boot."

Again this only addresses American competitors. So you are saying it is only illegal for American competitors, This doesn't not create a level playing field. Again I hate to keep harping on this but No Real Answer has ever been given as to why Only Americans are held to this standard. If everyone is buying new boots(as stated in your blog) why not allow equal access to superior quality footwear. If the boot meets Structural Fire Fighting regulations why should the certifing agency matter? Espcially when we are talking about boots made in teh EU which has very strict standards and regulations. Again where is the eqaulity and the Global Fairness in only requiring some competitors to adhere to a rule that for lack of a better word handicaps them? We as competitors just want a definitive reason. What ever the reason if NFPA 1971 compliance is going to be mandatory it must be so for every American Competitor and only some of the checked competitors. Otherwise you open it up to cries and talk "favoritism". Thank you for your time and hoepfully we can get a clear answer sometime soon. Best of luck to everyone this year.

Unknown said...

I appreciate your response. I will say I don't know one person who really wants to be in the elite (or hopes to get there) that hasn't bought boots. Maybe I should have phrased it better. That being said having a different standard for americans and the rest of the world, especially since this is becoming more global every year does lend itself to future discrepencies. But again I appreciate the response and I look forward to a productive season.

Paul O. Davis, Ph.D. said...

The rules apply to North Americans- which constitute 98% of all competitors. I try to avoid generalizations like “everyone is buying boots.” The purpose of Globe’s sampling program is to allow use of an NFPA compliant product. Ergo, no one has to purchase a boot to run in the Challenge. Your point is well made regarding checking of gear. I admit that we have been remiss in checking gear; clearly the honor system doesn‘t work. Subsequently, we will make every attempt to enforce the rules uniformly.