Why Do Footballers Choose to Cut Holes in Their Socks?

Have you noticed that many famous footballers, despite earning a lot, wear socks with holes? You might think it’s for luck or some scientific reason, but it’s actually quite straightforward.

These players make holes in their socks to ease the tightness around their calf muscles. Especially those with strong calves, they cut the socks to improve blood flow in their legs. This helps them prevent muscle cramps during a game or after intense practice.

Recently, Jude Bellingham from Real Madrid made headlines for his socks with holes, but this isn’t a new trend. It was started by a Welsh player known for his love of golf during his time at Bernabeu.

Gareth Bale, who has won the Champions League five times with Real Madrid, began cutting holes in his socks back in 2016 to deal with leg muscle injuries. “He’s ready to play, and that’s what counts. His sock holes? That’s his personal choice,” said his coach, Zinedine Zidane, at the time.

The reason players cut their socks is simple. Those with bigger calf muscles find new, tight socks uncomfortable and restricting, which can cause cramps. Cutting the socks helps blood flow better and makes them feel more comfortable, explained Pratik Chaudhari, a defender for Jamshedpur FC, to The Indian Express.

“Some players cut their socks just above the ankle. I do it too. I wear anti-slip socks to keep my feet steady in my boots. Our game involves quick moves and turns, and you don’t want your socks slipping inside your boots. That’s why we wear anti-slip socks and cut the regular ones above the ankle for games,” he added

Interestingly, La Liga has a rule against playing in torn socks or clothes, but it’s not really enforced. This lets players like Bellingham and Bale continue wearing their socks with holes.

In the end, it’s all about what makes the player feel comfortable. Take Kyle Walker from Manchester City, for example. He plays with big cuts in his socks too.

He once said, “The socks were too tight and put pressure on my calves. Cutting holes was just to ease that pressure. After I did that, I played some good games, so I decided to stick with it!” That was back in 2018.

And then there are players who simply wear their socks lower, like Italy’s Francesco Totti or Jack Grealish from England and Manchester City.

No scientific evidence?

Richard Keys, a presenter on beIN Sports, thinks that footballers cutting holes in their socks is excessive, especially since they wear compression socks after the game to support their calves.

Kyle Walker was among the first to do this. He said that despite wearing compression socks later, cutting holes doesn’t really change anything. In Spain, this practice is banned, but Bellingham still does it. Keys believes there’s no proof that it helps with blood flow.

In India, some agree. An assistant coach said players began doing this because of large calves, particularly the bigger foreign players. Now, it’s become just a trend with no real impact on performance. But if socks are too tight, it can affect how you play. Ultimately, it’s about what keeps a player comfortable on the field.


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