Football: Traction Technologies
Copywriter: C. Mathis | Date Updated: 04/10/2013
Without traction to launch you forward, there's no chance of making a play or holding your block on the line. New traction technologies in football cleats can make or break your play.
Football cleats have always provided traction, but the latest technologies help you accelerate on the field like never before with a combination of reduced weight and smart cleat placement underfoot for dynamic, effective speed and power.
Football cleats give you studs in very intentional patterns and placement. Each type and location of studs is designed for a specific purpose and position. It's up to you to decide which you prefer to wear according to your playing style.
Sidewall Shovel Cleats
These are placed along the outside edge of your cleat, under the ball of the foot. They give you strong dig into the field for quick cuts and dynamic stopping power, ideal for the motions typical of running backs, defensive backs, or linebackers. They "shovel" into the field when you're making a sideways movement, but they also stay out of the way when speed is your goal.
Placed right under the toes, these might not seem powerful, but they sure pack a punch when you are accelerating and sprinting forward. During these movements, strong toe cleats are especially important for skill positions that rely on reaching top speeds quickly.
Found under the ball of the foot or under the heel, these shallow cleats add immense stopping power. For that reason, they can be incredibly helpful for linemen, looking to stand their ground.
Heel Shovel Cleats
Like those found along the sidewall, these act like rudders in the turf. Not content to just sit in the ground, these cleats are cupped and placed at angles that follow the curve of the heel. They give the intense multidirectional traction that every position on the field can use. These are most important, however, to running backs, receivers, tight ends, defensive backs, and quarterbacks who like the run.
Standard Cleat Placement
Every football cleat brand has its own propriety cleat placement that optimizes the power in each stud to get you where you need to go. You will see more creativity in the studs of a molded cleat, since those stationary studs can have a lighter weight and therefore cover more of the outsole. adidas football cleats use their TraXion® pattern to give multidirectional power for quick cuts and awesome speed. Nike, perhaps the most innovative of the brands right now as far as traction is concerned, has taken traction from a static affair to one of dynamic, on-demand traction that shows up when you need it most. Under Armour features a variety of molded cleats that are lightweight and provide notably superior traction.
The cleat pattern you see in a detachable cleat will look far different from what you'll see in a molded cleat. One is not necessarily better than the other, since whether you play in detachable or molded cleats depends on your playing surface. Detachable studs are heavier with varying lengths, so most of the innovative technology of a detachable stud goes into the surface angles and texture. For example, adidas hollowed out the detachable studs in the Malice 2 to make them lighter. In Under Armour's detachable cleats, they've enhanced the bottoms by creating low-profile fins that stop you in your tracks when you're digging deep for a cut.
Speed has always been a focus for football players, but it's more attainable now than ever before. As manufacturers continue to develop new traction technologies, you'll have more options that are built especially for your position. To hear what pro football players look for underneath their cleats, you can check out the Eastbay-exclusive interviews within Field Tested.