The track & field events start this week in London, with the 100M as the most anticipated race kicking off on Sunday. The defending Gold medalist Usain Bolt is looking to break another World Record with a 9.4 finishing time, going up against American favorite Tyson Gay. Sneaker Report saw this as a great opportunity to break down the history of the 100M event and the track shoes that evolved with it. Follow us above for the bizarre athlete stories and their equally peculiar footwear.
Track shoes have been around since the early 19th century, remaining an essential tool for sprinters seeking lightweight shoe that provides improved traction and increased speed on the track.
It all began at the Spalding Company, where track cleats were first provided in the 1894 catalogue in 3 options at $6/pair, very expensive at a time that families of 4 lived off $11/week. The original models were low cut, made of supple kangaroo leather, and had six permanent spikes or nails on a rubber sole, which saw little change for another sixty years.
The Dassler Brothers' introduction of the canvas upper in 1925, and the development of modern day rubber tracks changed the need for bigger spikes, making way for today's lightweight custom spikes. Through the '60s and '70s, midsole cushioning and nylon uppers provided a comfort element while spike wells for a custom approach worked with the athlete. Looking forward to today's innovative Zoom Spike featuring next-level Pebax plated shoes and accompanying Flyknit version from Nike, or adidas' adiZeros weighing in at 3.5 ounces, the gear for the 100 meter Olympic race is just as competitive as the athletes themselves.
Catch up with us Sunday for full coverage of the Olympic showdown.