On December 13, Niklas Klei of Kirchlengern, Germany ran a new 400-meter world record. No, he didn’t break Wayde van Niekerk’s 43.03 from the 2016 Olympics— but then again, van Niekerk wore high-tech carbon fiber sprinting spikes. Klei covered one lap of the track in 51.84 seconds—while wearing Crocs.

Back in January 2020, Olympic 800-meter finalist Nick Symmonds popularized the Crocs 400-meter dash in a YouTube video. The veteran set the record at 54.64. Since then, other runners chased the Crocs 400-meter world record, including Will Eggers, who set the previous record of 52.06 in June 2020.

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NEW 400 METER WORLD RECORD!!! ... (in Crocs)
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Klei, 23, told Canadian Running that he thinks the record could drop below 50 seconds—especially because his Crocs were a size too big. Despite wearing three pairs of socks (and putting the Crocs in sport mode, where the movable strap sits behind the ankle to lock-in the foot), he started to slip out of the clogs by 100 meters. After the 2023 indoor track season, Klei and Eggers might meet up to race head-to-head to re-break the record.

Klei, who competes for Mississippi College, owns a 400-meter personal best of 47.10 when running in spikes. Eggers’ PR is 49.56. If wearing Crocs slowed them down just three to five seconds, could van Niekerk take a shot at a sub-48 in the foam clogs? Someone call his agent.

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Chris Hatler
Service & News Editor

Chris Hatler is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but before joining Runner’s World and Bicycling, he was a pro runner for Diadora, qualifying for multiple U.S. Championships in the 1500 meters. At his alma mater the University of Pennsylvania, Chris was a multiple-time Ivy League conference champion and sub-4 minute miler.