Rotational Traction Values on Kentucky Bluegrass

As an athlete accelerates, stops, and changes direction, numerous forces are transmitted to the lower extremities. The interaction between an athlete's shoe and the playing surface has been indicated as a factor in lower extremity injury risk. In particular, high rotational forces may result in increased injuries to the lower extremities due to the foot becoming "entrapped" in the playing surface during pivoting movements (Torg et al., 1974).

The following list contains rotational traction values of various shoes tested on Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis). The Kentucky bluegrass was grown on a sand-based rootzone and was a blend of the following cultivars: Everest (30%), Botique (30%), P105 (30%), and Bewitched (10%). The mowing height was 1.5 inches and the turf coverage was 100%.

2019 Shoes

Shoe Traction (Nm)
Under Armour C1N MC 78.9
Under Armour Highlight RM 78.5
Under Armour Highlight MC 78.3
Adidas Freak Ghost 78.0
Adidas Freak Carbon Mid 76.8
Nike Alpha Menace Elite 2 75.1
Adidas adizero 8.0 74.6
Under Armour Nitro Low MC 74.6
Nike Force Savage 2 Shark
Under Armour Spotlight MC 71.8
Nike Vapor Untouchable Pro 3 71.8
Nike Vapor Untouchable Varsity 3 TD 70.6

2017 Shoes

Shoe Traction (Nm)
Nike Force Savage Elite TD 75.7
Under Armour Highlight Lux RM 71.6
Nike Alpha Menace Vartisty Mid 66.7
Nike Alpha Menace Elite 66.2
Nike Vapor Untouchable Pro 66.0
Under Armour Highlight Lux MC 65.5
Nike Vapor Speed 2 TD 63.9
Adidas Freak x Carbon Low 63.4
Adidas adiZero 5-Star 6.0 61.7
Under Armour Nitro Select Low MC 61.7
Nike Alpha Sensory Turf 58.9

Previously Tested Shoes

The colors in the table below represent each shoe's traction value relative to the other shoes tested on Kentucky bluegrass, with red being the highest and green being the lowest.

Shoe Traction (Nm)
Nike Alpha Talon Elite 3/4 KBG1B.PNG
Nike Lunar Superbad Pro D KBG2B.PNG
Nike Air Astrograbber KBG3B.PNG
Nike Zoom Vapor Carbon Fly TD KBG4B.PNG
Nike Lunar Superbad Pro TD KBG5B.PNG
Nike Alpha Pro 3/4 TD KBG6B.PNG
Nike Vapor Pro Low D KBG7B.PNG
Nike Alpha Pro 3/4 D KBG8B.PNG
Nike Air Zoom Coop V (baseball) KBG9B.PNG
Nike Vapor Pro Low TD KBG10B.PNG
Nike Air Huarache Chrome KBG11B.PNG
Nike Air Destroyer 5/8 KBG12B.PNG
Saucony ProGrid Hurricane (running shoe) KBG13B.PNG
Nike Air Zoom Apocalypse IV KBG14B.PNG
Under Armour Fierce III Mid D KBG15B.PNG
Under Armour Spine Brawler Mid MC KBG16B.PNG
Nike Air Zoom Blade D KBG17B.PNG
Nike Vapor Carbon Fly Elite 2014 TD KBG18B.PNG
Nike Vapor Ultimate TD KBG19B.PNG
Nike Zoom Field General KBG20B.PNG
Nike Keystone (baseball) KBG21B.PNG
Adidas adizero 5-Star 3.0 KBG22B.PNG
Adidas CrazyQuick Mid KBG23B.PNG
Under Armour Hammer Mid KBG24B.PNG
Nike Land Shark 2 Low KBG25B.PNG
Nike Air Zoom Alpha Talon KBG26B.PNG
Under Armour Nitro III Low CompFit KBG27B.PNG
Adidas Predator Instinct FG KBG28B.PNG
Nike Mercurial Superfly FG KBG29B.PNG
Nike Mercurial Vapor IX FG KBG30B.PNG
Nike Hypervenom ACC Phantom FG KBG31B.PNG
Under Armour Highlight MC KBG32B.PNG
Puma EvoPower 1 FG KBG33B.PNG
Adidas Mundial Team TF KBG34B.PNG
Adidas F50 adizero TRX FG KBG35B.PNG
Adidas F50 adizero FG Messi KBG36B.PNG
Adidas Scorch Thrill FieldTurf KBG37B.PNG
Adidas Copa Mundial KBG38B.PNG
Nike Vapor Jet TD KBG39B.PNG
Nike Air Zoom Blade Pro TD KBG40B.PNG
Adidas AdiZero 5-Star 2.0 KBG41B.PNG
Nike Mercurial Victory IV KBG42B.PNG
HSD* 10.1

*HSD: Tukey Honestly Significant Difference Test. Traction means within the value listed are not statistically different from one another.

Interpretation of Results

Rotational traction measured with mechanical devices such as Pennfoot allow for comparisons among shoe-types and playing surfaces; however, 'safe' and 'unsafe' traction levels have not been established in the scientific community, as this type of data has not been directly correlated with injury risk. Although researchers have yet to establish 'safe' threshold levels, it is generally accepted that low levels of rotational traction are desired over high levels from a lower extremity injury risk standpoint (Lambson et al., 1996). However, if traction is too low, playability may be reduced as athletes may be prone to slipping, thus increasing potential for other types of injuries.

Rotational traction values are presented in Newton-meters (Nm), which is the standard rotational traction unit (ASTM, 2009).

Traction data (four measurements per each shoe-surface combination) were analyzed for each playing surface using Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). Tukey's Honestly Significant Differences (HSD) test was used for means separation at the alpha = 0.05 level. It is important to note that traction values within the HSD value listed are not statistically different from one another.

Disclaimer: The traction values reported in this database represent the traction of each shoe under the conditions on the day of testing. Variations in traction values due to surface wetness, turf coverage, mowing height, soil type, soil moisture, soil compaction, soil temperature, air temperature, and other environmental conditions are possible. Additionally, athlete age, athlete weight, athlete skill level, and other attributes affect traction. Rotational traction values have not been directly correlated to injury risk.