Evaluation of Turf Damage and Traction from Athletic Shoe Cleats

Dr. Grady L. Miller

An apparatus was developed to consistently apply cleat-induced damage to turf surfaces using various soccer cleat configurations. The apparatus consists of a framework that supports a leg and foot assembly that can be weighted. The leg assembly can be adjusted to allow the foot to impact the turf at different angles and the foot assembly can be rotated so that the cleat impacts the turf in different directions. Traction was determined by the rotation force required to turn the shoe in the turf 90°. Experiments were conducted to determine the effect of five cleat designs on turf damage and traction. Cleat designs evaluated included 6-stud replaceable, standard (12-cleat round) molded, 13-cleat non-round molded, 25-cleat hard-ground molded, and trainer cleat. Preliminary data has been effective at separating the various cleat designs. The 6-stud replaceable cleat, which is the most aggressive cleat design, has the best traction. The standard molded cleat and the 13 cleat non-round cleat had similar traction. The 25-cleat hard-ground shoe had less traction than the other molded cleats and the trainer cleat had the least traction. The ranking of traction values was not surprising, but the amount of damage caused by each shoe indicated that these shoes cause different types of turf damage. Damage patterns also indicate that traction may vary depending on the direction the cleat impacts the turf.