Usain Bolt set the world record in the 100 meters sprint by covering this distance in 9.58 seconds. Was the Olympic champion wearing socks when he crossed the finish line?
Photos and videos of Usain Bolt prove that he doesn’t wear socks during sprinting competitions. He didn’t start this trend, and it’s common for sprinters to wear their spikes without socks because many models feature a built-in sock-liner.
Stick around to learn why many sprinters, including Usain Bolt, prefer running without socks.
Socks vs. No Socks
Running with or without socks is a never-ending debate in the sprinting community, but it all comes down to personal preference. Socks don’t significantly influence sprinter’s performance since many other factors come into play.
Many elite athletes avoid wearing socks because they want their feet to fit tightly into spikes. Some of them opt for specifically designed running shoes that already feature a built-in sock mechanism, making regular socks redundant.
That’s not the case with every sprinter, and some of them see benefits to wearing socks. Runners who deal with blisters and friction burns rarely go sockless since they want to ensure their foot health by wearing an extra layer of protection.
There are no specific rules to sock-wearing, and it’s up to each runner to see which option suits them best. Experts haven’t reached a consensus either, and some believe socks should be worn at all times while others think it’s okay to ditch them if the runner is not dealing with blisters.
Running without socks, like Usain Bolt and many of his fellow Olympic sprinters, doesn’t necessarily mean someone will be able to achieve a similar result on the track. Natural ability and regular training are much more important, but it’s also crucial to get a good start in the race.
The American sprinter Noah Lyles proves you can wear socks and still thrive in this discipline. He was spotted wearing socks emblazoned with fictional characters, such as Speed Racer and Sonic the Hedgehog, but that didn’t stop him from winning medals.
Lyles is often compared to Bolt and he admitted watching videos of the Jamaican sprinter and studying his running style. The younger sprinter added he was “interested in what was his way of making people want to watch the sport.”
Bolt’s Partnership with Puma
Amature runners have to put a lot of time and effort into finding the right pair of running shoes and picking socks that fit them. That’s not the case with Usain Bolt, who works with an entire team of experts that can help him with this task.
Bolt signed a sponsorship deal with Puma back in 2002, but the company’s CEO Jochen Zeitz admitted that they considered dropping Bolt after his poor performance at the 2004 Summer Olympics. Luckily, they decided to give him another shot and their professional relationship flourished after that.
“For me to have grown up with the company to the point where I started being successful and then I am the legend that I am today, for me it’s a great feeling to be a part of that and to actually help them to build my brand also, is just, it’s been brilliant,” Bolt told CNBC.
His partnership with Puma is worth a mention because Bolt always wears their running shoes. Puma even celebrated the Olympic champion by launching a limited edition of the iconic purple and gold spikes that he wore at his last race in 2017.
The shoes were decorated with words “forever” and “fastest” and their colors paid homage to Bolt’s humble beginnings at the William Knibb High School and his Olympic victories. They also featured a sock-liner listing his notable victories and world records.
Bolt receives around $10 million a year from Puma, and he crossed the finish line in their shoes at all of his races. His victories have been paramount for the success of this brand, and Puma made sure that he always runs in the very best spikes on the market – with or without socks.