"The half socks that the gymnasts wear assist minimize friction and preserve their feet while preparing and performing these turning components," Yim writes in an email to INSIDER. As a result, you'll probably see more gymnasts wearing socks to reduce undesired friction on their feet's skin.
The idea of wearing socks to help with movement is not new. Kung Fu actors and dancers have been doing it for years. The socks they wear are usually black to absorb heat from the stage lights and keep their legs cool.
There are several types of gymnastics sashes that gymnasts can choose from depending on the competition. These include the all-around sash, where athletes compete against each other based on their performance on each apparatus individually; the team event sash, where members of the same team compete against one another; and the compulsory elements sash, which includes seven events: balance beam, floor exercise, vault, uneven bars, horsemanship, pommel horse, and rings.
Gymnasts must qualify for the all-around finals by completing three routines on each of the four apparatuses used in the event. Afterward, they will compete in the team event final for first through fourth place prizes. Finally, they will compete in the compulsory elements final for spots in the Olympic Games.
As for why gymnasts don't just practice more...well, that's just what they do.
The feet of a gymnast are likewise formed of flesh and bone. Their feet can sustain a variety of injuries when performing intense gravity-defying stunts. When acting barefoot, everybody is susceptible to toe fungus. Wearing socks or shoes will assist in absorbing powerful impacts and preventing microorganisms from entering.
Barefoot athletes claim that their feet feel more connected to the ground, which allows them to balance better and perceive obstacles sooner. They also say it helps with posture and self-esteem.
In modern gymnastics, footwear is generally used by all participants, both male and female. This is because wearing shoes reduces friction and makes it easier to handle the gymnastic equipment utilized during competition. It also prevents injury to bones, joints, and muscles due to rough surfaces on which they might otherwise slip and fall.
In ancient Greece, only boys would practice gymnastics without shoes. The girls would use soft leather boots instead. Despite this difference, both groups were free to express themselves through dance and music. These activities were often performed at religious festivals to honor the gods.
Modern gymnastics was originally a male sport. Not until the early 20th century did women begin competing as well. Even now, most prominent gymnastics events are held separately for males and females.
Despite the fact that most gymnasts don't go barefoot, there is a small group of athletes who enjoy this challenge.
All of the floor routines were done barefoot. According to The Gymternet, socks "provide you a greater hold on an equipment (sort of like chalk)," protect sweaty feet from getting slippery, and "assist gymnasts get spins around on the floor."
Barefoot or not, all of these athletes have had shoes that gave them some degree of support. That's why they can balance on balls, plates, and other objects during their performances.
The ancient Greeks and Romans also performed gymnastics without footwear. They used leather straps or cords as shoe substitutes. Modern-day gymnasts usually use foam blocks or disks under their feet to provide support.
Without shoes, your skin would be exposed to the elements, so coaches apply oil or cream to their athletes' bodies to help prevent injury and keep skin smooth.
Additionally, coaches believe it is easier for their athletes to focus on their skills when they are not distracted by the feeling of fabric against their feet.
Finally, coaches make sure their athletes' feet are healthy before allowing them to compete. If any part of the foot is injured, the gymnast may not be able to balance properly and this could affect their performance.
As you can see, there are many reasons why gymnasts perform their skills without shoes.
Socks have little effect on sprinter performance since so many other elements are at work. Many professional athletes do not wear socks because they want their feet to fit snugly inside their spikes. This makes them more stable and able to absorb some of the impact from landings.
Also, without socks, a sprinter's skin can be exposed to the sun's heat and light pollution which could lead to erythema (redness) and photodamage (skin damage caused by sunlight). Erythema can make it harder for a sprinter to win races, while photodamage can increase their risk of developing melanoma.
Finally, not wearing socks may be a part of a broader aesthetic approach in sports fashion. Some athletes may choose not to wear socks because they believe that bare legs are more aesthetically pleasing than hairy ones.
Football players wear long socks because they cover the shin pads and keep them solid and stiff so they don't move when hit. As a result, the shins will take all of the impact from a fight or a tackle, protecting the leg. This is also why so many football players currently wear long socks, even over their knees.
In early football games, the rules allowed players to wear shorts instead of long pants. Because there was no protective gear beyond the skin, players would often break bones in fights or during play. To help prevent this, doctors were called in to come up with a safe way to protect players' legs. They decided that shoes with thick rubber soles and hard leather uppers could deal with most injuries, so that's what we now see on the fields every Sunday.
During World War II, short pants became illegal for college football players, because they were used by some people to hide weapons. The fear was that if players were able to be seen wearing underwear, they might be taunted or attacked. So for decades, college football players have been required to wear long pants.
Finally, in 1972, long pants were made mandatory for high school athletes as well. Previously, only boys' basketball players wore shorts; others went barefoot.
So, yes, men in boots are still popular among football players today. They help them stay on their feet better and give them an edge in fights.