Athletes are always looking for an edge … and they’re willing to pretty stupid while doing it.History is littered with bizarre clothing, crazy contraptions, and other dumb devices that folks will strap to their bodies in the hopes that it will make them run faster, jump higher, and train harder.
They all have one thing in common — they prove that there are no short cuts to athletic success.
Nike revolutionised the entire sports shoe industry simply by adding a little pocket of air into their basketball and running shoes. (And paying the high flying Michael Jordan to wear them in public.)
Unfortunately, that little extra cushion doesn't help you run faster or jump higher.
In fact, it doesn't do anything except add to the cost of the shoes.
Nike's old rival Reebok tried to one up the 'Airness' by giving hoops players shoes they could add swelling to themselves.
New gimmick, same (non) result.
The concept seems to make sense. A little strip opens up the nostrils, allowing more air flow into the lungs, giving you more oxygen and better endurance.
Except ... most athletes don't even wear them correctly and even when they do, the extra air doesn't help much during peak athletic feats. Maybe it cured their snoring?
Compression clothing is designed to keep muscle warms and 'focused' ... which basically makes them slightly better for you than skinny jeans. They're more comfortable at least.
Looking good and feeling good may help an athlete play better, but the evidence that they make you higher, faster, or stronger could use some more support as well.
Another item cluttering up the closets of aspiring basketball dunkers, these platform shoes are designed to build calf muscles and turn the shortest white man into a high flying jammer.
The downside is that you might look silly running around in these babies and may also start referring to yourself in the third person. Jimmy won't like that.
One style of shoe that actually has been proven to have some health benefits is the 'barefoot' style that have zero cushioning and individual slots for each toe, to make you feel like our cavemen ancestors.
The barefoot running trend is actually catching on (we have a pair of Vibrams ourselves), but until someone wins the Boston Marathon in these babies it will be tough to convince people that you aren't just some weirdo in silly socks.
Those little black smudges have become such a common sight on baseball and football fields that we don't even notice them anymore. But do they do anything?
Well, the black probably does reduce some glare from sunlight, but so do sunglasses.
More importantly, the evolution of eye black 'technology' allows athletes to put personal messages (and advertisements) on their face.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.