Moving his legs like engine pistons, Luis Badillo Jr. explodes off his feet, taking short, powerful stabs at the ground as he maneuvers over an agility ladder. Then he zips over short hurdles. Running sideways, he samba-steps over cones. He doesn’t take steps as much as much as he jabs the ground with his feet, as he furiously pumps his arms to generate his speed.
Watching videos about feet isn’t something I usually do — or at least cop to. But Badillo’s Instagram account (365,000 followers and counting) is an exception.
Badillo, aka King Feet, is a self-taught footwork trainer based in Miami. He works with pro athletes like Cristiano Ronaldo, Atlanta Falcon Devonta Freeman, Orlando Magic center Timofey Mozgov and San Diego Charger Jeff Cumberland. They seek out Badillo to improve their footwork and agility, and in turn, Badillo’s social media stardom rises a notch.
Unlike many of the popular Instagram workout accounts, Badillo’s videos don’t show him working out in a well-equipped gym, benching an insane amount, deadlifting a car or doing jumping sit-ups while his workout partner smashes watermelons on his abs. He’s just got fast feet and a few unexceptional tools, like a simple piece of training equipment that costs less than $10 at Walmart. I first saw him on Instagram doing drills on the beach with Marshawn Lynch. It’s captivating not just for the agility — it’s that Badillo has Lynch doing the drills full-speed in heavy boots.
Badillo began taking training seriously in his early 20s after performing particularly well at a flag football tournament. That said, he’s never played professionally; surprisingly, he says he didn’t even care for sports growing up. But thanks to his Instagram, clients soon started reaching out.
Haters gonna say it’s fake. In fact, internet commenters often accuse Badillo of manipulating his videos to appear faster. But by my own analysis, this is unfounded: Lots of times you can see people in the background, walking or running at a normal pace. Badillo himself has addressed the claims, doing his drills without the usual hip-hop tracks that accompany his clips, to show he hasn’t edited the video.
One thing that’s harder to verify? Badillo’s self-described “fastest feet in the world.”
That’s his claim to fame — so much so that it’s hard to find a story or video about Badillo that doesn’t use the phrase. Reebok, which Badillo now has a deal with, uses his self-given title in marketing blog posts like “World’s Fastest Feet Paint the Art of Speed.” Similarly, the first 10 results on YouTube for “world’s fastest feet” are Luis Badillo Jr. And Fox Sports did a news segment on Badillo that starts with this image below:
But… is it true? Does Badillo actually have the world’s fastest feet?
I reached out to Guinness World Records to see if he’s actually got a verified record — or if there’s someone who blows him out of the water. The response, per a Guinness spokesperson: “After researching within our database, I cannot confirm that Badillo had or has ever held a Guinness World Records title similar to what you’ve provided.” And while there are separate records for jump-rope skips, burpees and jumping jacks, there’s nothing for steps per minute.
The only footwork-related Guinness entry is “fastest flamenco taps in a minute,” set by Israel Vivancos of Spain in 2012, with 1,317 taps. Vivancos is part of the Spanish dance company Los Vivancos, known for their upside-down flamenco stunts —
—and tremendous feats of footwork.
I advise Badillo against shooting for this record: He’d need to log 22 steps per second without fatigue to best it. From a few clips we reviewed, he seems to max out at about 10 steps per second — still blindingly fast. But not enough to be the Flamenco Tap champion anytime soon.
The good news? Guinness guidelines for submitting a record are pretty straightforward:
- Suggest the title of a record.
- Define your record attempt.
- Note the rules depending on category, such as “most ___ per minute.”
- Provide evidence, in the form of two witness accounts, and a timekeeper.
I’ll volunteer to help draft the cover letter, one of Guinness’ requirements. Then the “Fastest Feet in the World” could finally have the trophy to prove it.