Socks "give you a better grip on an apparatus (kind of like chalk)," keep sweaty feet from becoming slippery, and, "help gymnasts get turns around on floor," according to The Gymternet. Others wear socks like Sole Impact Socks to help absorb some of the forceful impact routines can have on the soles of athletes' feet.
Gymnasts may wear socks; if they find them slippery, they can be easily removed. At the beginner stage, special accessories such as grips or beam shoes are not necessary unless specifically directed by your coach.
Some sports, like gymnastics, are performed barefoot. Gymnasts have extra demands placed on the small muscles of the foot as they are not getting the support of a shoe. When training barefoot, there is an increased demand of the muscles in the foot and lower leg.
The site claims that socks provide a "better grip on an apparatus (kind of like chalk)." This can be really useful for "gymnasts with excessively sweaty feet" who "sometimes slip on beam." Sock-wearing totally makes sense for an event as intense as the Olympics.
4. Don't let your bra and underwear show (and yes, gymnasts wear them!).
For years, female gymnasts have worn leotards: clothing that covers the body except for the legs. But in the opening round of Olympic competition, the German team wore unitards. This kind of clothing covers the whole body, including the legs.
And some are going to drastic lengths to remove them - or even to stop them developing in the first place. According to ESPN magazine, gymnasts push themselves to the 'brink of starvation' to avoid developing breasts and a host of professional athletes have spent a lot of money to surgically reduce them.
They're predominantly seen in floor and beam routines, and will come in different styles and specifications, with most looking a bit like ballet slippers or ankle socks.
"The half socks the gymnasts wear help reduce friction and protect feet while practicing and performing these turning elements," Yim tells INSIDER in an email.
Most often, you will see male gymnasts wearing slippers or socks on high bar, parallel bars, and rings. Some also choose to wear them on vault, while others prefer chalk. Women will sometimes choose to wear socks or slippers during floor or beam routines, since they can aid with grip and turns.
They basically give you a better grip on an apparatus (kind of like chalk). Gymnasts with excessively sweaty feet sometimes slip on beam so it can help there, they help gymnasts get turns around on floor, and some have a little padding so they can help with skills that pound their feet.
Leotards that leave the legs bare were worn by every other female gymnast during qualifying at the Tokyo Games. At 4-foot-8, American superstar Simone Biles said in June that she prefers leotards because they lengthen the leg and make her appear taller.
Q: Why do some women wear only one shoe on beam and floor? A: Helps for turns on the balance beam and floor exercise.
Menstrual cups work well for dancers and gymnasts who are on their period because of their invisible nature. Menstrual cups tend to hold a lot more blood than tampons and can be worn for longer periods (no pun intended) before needing to be changed.
Gymnasts need very little to start their first class (learn more about gymnastics classes for kids). No special shoes or socks, no bats or gloves, or balls. Gymnasts simply need a tight fitting athletic outfit, a leotard is preferred.
While most gymnasts prefer performing or practicing barefoot, some opt for slippers. This special footwear is permitted in competition and training, and prevents the gymnast from slipping or falling when running or when using the beam. Slippers should have nonslip soles, be in good condition and fit your feet well.
So why do gymnasts wear socks on the floor exercise? According to TheGymter.net, socks "basically give you a better grip on an apparatus" and they also "help gymnasts get turns around on floor, and some have a little padding so they can help with skills that pound their feet."
Chinese, Russian, and Brazilian gymnasts, among others, have worn them during the last week. "The half socks the gymnasts wear help reduce friction and protect feet while practicing and performing these turning elements," University of Arizona gymnastics coach Tabitha Yim told INSIDER.
For gymnastics events that require more running about, the male gymnasts wear their leotards under short athletic shorts. From this observation, it's reasonable to assume that the long stirrup pant provides a visually more streamlined appearance, but may cause drag or foot slippage on mats.
Along with chalk, most gymnasts use leather hand grips while competing on bars because they help reduce blistering and tearing. The grips high-level gymnasts use have a narrow rod called a dowel that rests horizontally across the fingers, providing a firmer hold on the bar.
Post Tech claims most sprinters go sockless because the feet should fit tightly into racing shoes, but not everyone thinks that's the right way to run. Dr. Nicholas Romanov, innovator of the Pose Method of running, recommends wearing thin cotton athletic socks for an optimal sprinting experience.
Male and female gymnasts compete on different apparatuses, essentially dividing the sport based on their gender. The balance beam, for instance, is considered one of the most difficult apparatuses in gymnastics, requiring an obscene amount of strength, flexibility, and balance, but only women athletes use it.
Many elite women gymnasts, and some other endurance athletes like distance runners, are amenorrheal, or experiencing a significant delay in the onset of menstruation and puberty. It is routine for top-flight gymnasts to begin menstruating years later than other girls.
Do gymnasts get waxed? Women gymnasts have come to resemble swimmers in their uniform lack of body hair— waxing being an unspoken mandate that has as much to do with aesthetics as with aerodynamics. (Well groomed in her appearance.)
A lean athlete, not just a skinny athlete, will perform better. There is no correlation between body weight and the skills necessary for an elite gymnast—running speed, jumping height and hand strength. The average female gymnast gets her first period at age 15 ½ compared to the average girl at age 13.