The shoe is an essential piece of uniform for almost all land-based sports. When it comes to skeleton, shoes fall under the indispensable category. In this sport, it is popularly said that success depends mainly 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 skeleton boots come into the picture.
Sleighing as a sport dates back to the time of Vikings. But, skeleton 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 skeleton boots were almost on 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 skeleton shoes are manufactured with synthetic materials. In each shoe, reflective markers are adjoined at the front and middle. While a skeleton 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, skeleton 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 the athletes.
As per the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF), here are the specifications of skeleton shoes:
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