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Artificial turf is designed to look, feel, and function in a similar manner to natural grass. The better the quality of grass and infill the more this will be the case. In general, that means that most standard cleats and shoes, with exception of spikes, are useable on synthetic fields.
However, with the growing popularity of artificial grass sports fields, there are a large number of options in terms of both cleats and other athletic footwear that are likely to perform better than traditional hard surface sports shoes on synthetic grass.
Traditional hard surface cleats can be used on most artificial turf fields, but if you plan to play on artificial turf frequently, you should invest in synthetic field cleats. Spikes, however, should not be worn as they pierce the ground to provide traction and can damage the synthetic grass.
Do you need special shoes for artificial turf?
Artificial turf is a very forgiving surface. Pretty much most hard surface cleats or sneakers, with the exception of spikes (metal-studded cleats are often prohibited too) will be fine. This doesn’t mean that this is the best option. Although traditional cleats are perfectly usable on artificial turf they are primarily designed for use on natural grass which can inhibit performance.
What Is the Difference Between Traditional Cleats and Cleats for Artificial Turf?
With cleats designed for artificial surfaces, the outer soles are more durable than conventional cleats. In addition to this, they have studs or blades that are shorter in length but with denser, and more pronounced raised treads.
Traditional cleats for real grass achieve traction by digging into the soil. Of course, different ground conditions often mean there is a need for several different pairs of cleats to suit the firmness of the ground. This is not an issue for artificial grass cleats as the surfaces will largely be the same.
Artificial grass cleats find traction differently on artificial turf with the shoe gripping the synthetic blades and infill. The tread and stud arrangement on the soles of artificial grass cleats work this way resulting in better performance with more control over sharp movement being provided by the artificial turf shoes.
What kind of cleats are best for artificial turf?
Cleats designed for artificial turf are specifically designed to get the right amount of traction from synthetic surfaces. This results in better performance with more control over sharp movement being provided by the artificial turf shoes.
In terms of one artificial cleat over another much will come down to brand loyalty and preference for studs or blades. However, it is the experience of many that molded rubber studs generally perform better than blades. With studs, you are less likely to lose grip and slip making them the better choice.
If you find that you playing more than just occasionally on artificial turf it is advisable that you get shoes or cleats that are specifically designed for use on synthetic surfaces. These are going to allow you more precise movement, decrease the likelihood of injuries, and all in all better serve your performance.
What are the best shoes for turf?
In general terms, it is far better that you use shoes and cleats that have been specifically designed for artificial turf. With the ever-increasing number of synthetic fields being used, manufacturers have vastly increased their ranges of shoes and cleats designed for these surfaces.
It is recommended that you choose the ones appropriate to the sport you play. Whilst they may appear similar, there are differences between them that will impact your performance if you use the wrong shoe.
When choosing a shoe you need enough grip to ensure the best maneuverability possible. Being to accelerate, stop and turn quickly are clearly vital components of your ability to play the game to the best of your ability. However, there can sometimes be a fine balance between enough grip and too much. If there is too much traction from the shoes you can end up placing ligaments and joints under strain which can very often lead to serious injuries.
Another aspect to bear in mind is, that when playing on artificial turf in hot conditions, you will feel the effects of the heat more intensely and have greater fatigue and soreness in your leg muscles. This is because, unlike natural grass, artificial field surfaces retain and radiate heat. Although the artificial turf is often watered before use to cool it down, underfoot it can still be substantially hotter than real grass.
To help combat the effects of heat on your feet it is advisable to choose shoes with uppers made of real leather. This will prevent your feet from sweating as much, thereby keeping them cool and helping to stave off cramps.
Summary: Can You Wear Cleats on Artificial Turf
Artificial turf is a reasonably flexible surface in terms of what footwear to use. Generally, most normal hard surface cleats can be used on most artificial turf fields with the exception of spikes. If you are only playing on this type of surface occasionally traditional hard surface cleats should surface.
This being said you are likely to get much better performance from shoes that have been specifically designed for use on synthetic fields. The major brands all have shoes designed for specific sports and surfaces. Thus acquiring a pair is advisable if you are going to play on artificial turf frequently.
Commonly Asked Questions
Can you wear regular sneakers on turf?
You can wear regular sneakers on artificial turf. Although perfectly adequate they are not the best shoe to use in terms of grip and performance. You will get firmer traction and better maneuverability if you use shoes specifically designed for use on synthetic grass.
Can turf cleats be worn on grass?
You can wear turf cleats on natural grass. The issue with natural grass is that the underfoot conditions vary depending on the weather and season, which is why you often need cleats with different stud lengths for different conditions. In normal firm conditions, you will find turf cleats will provide decent traction and grip. However, if the ground is particularly soft you will find with artificial grass cleats that you lose grip.
Can you wear running shoes on turf?
You shouldn’t use running shoes on artificial turf. Running shoes are designed to move you forward in a straight line, rather than allow you to twist and turn direction that is required when playing ball sports. You should never wear spikes on synthetic fields as these are likely to damage both the fibers and artificial turf base.