The shoe is an essential piece of uniform for almost all land-based sports. When it comes to bobsleighing, shoes fall under the indispensable category. In bobsleighing, it is popularly said that a team’s success depends mostly on what it does at the beginning of the clock. Therefore, the first 49 feet (15 meters) when the sled is pushed to gain speed and momentum are said to be crucial. Here, the role essentially of the bobsleighing boots come into the picture.
Sleighing as a sport dates back to the time of Vikings. But, bobsleigh is relatively new and considered a modern sport. The earliest boot recognised to be worn as a uniform was spotted in 1978. During the mid-80s, the boots of bobsleighs were on almost all cover pages of popular shoe company brochures. Apparently, the sport was very popular. By 1986, Kangaroo leather was introduced for the boot. At that time, the boot had a rubber toe guard. The bottom of the boot has a nylon section at the back and a nail plate at the front. The spikes in the plate help the athletes to push the sleigh.
The modern bobsleigh shoes are manufactured of synthetic materials. In each shoe, reflective markers are adjoined at the front and middle. While a bobsleigh run, the foot tends to bend. If the shoe doesn’t support this bending, then the speed of the bobsledder can get affected. To meet this requirement, manufacturers hardened the middle and outer layer of the shoe. In addition, bobsleighing shoes are marginally tilted upward at the toe section. This part of the shoe is called the "toe spring angle." The best angle suggested for toe spring is 40 degrees. Ideally, a stiff shoe that allows bending is considered the most suited shoe for a bobsledder.
As per the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation, here are the specifications of bobsleigh shoes :
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