Ever since shoes have helped athletes win races, they have been the subject of careful care and attention. Only Abebe Bikila opted not to use them in the marathon at the Rome Olympics in 1960. Even so, when he won the event again in Tokyo four years later, he wore "spikes", as athletics shoes are generally known. In the same way, Jesse Owens commissioned German cobbler Adi Dassler to make the shoes which helped him win four Olympic titles in Berlin in 1936. These shoes made the reputation and future of the German cobbler, who subsequently created the Adidas brand.Thanks to elaborate research, shoes are even more effective today. In this way, Canadian scientists have developed spikes that limit the vibrations and could help athletes break records. These shoes may look like any others, but the materials used are treated so as to absorb the trauma caused when the foot hits the ground. According to the researchers, a marathon runner wearing these shoes could cut his time by up to four minutes over the 42.195-kilometre distance because he no longer needs to worry about hitting the ground.Another example of tailor-made shoes are those developed for Trinidadian sprinter Ato Boldon, who wore sloping shoes at the Sydney Games in order to avoid losing his stride and thus gain speed round bends. They did not help him win.In fencing, a major supplier recently invented asymmetric shoes. Because fencers have one foot in front of them and the other behind, all that had to be done was to reinforce the heel of the front foot to absorb shock and reinforce the back shoe to increase the ability to push off. This invention could also be adapted to other sports.However, the most expensive shoes in Olympic history were those worn in Sydney by the winner of the 400 metres: Michael Johnson. Not everyone can afford his golden spikes, which were encrusted with droplets of 24-carat gold and created by a major equipment manufacturer.