A great study titled "Six different football shoes, one playing surface and the weather; Assessing variation in shoe-surface traction over one season of elite football" has recently been released discussing what type of football (soccer) shoes are best for reducing the risk of lower limb injuries such as the commonly experienced ACL damage.
Football involves a high amount of acceleration, deceleration and changing direction. Both require an adequate amount of traction between shoes and surface in order for the movement to be executed quickly, safely and effectively.
Previous studies have shown that compared to other team sports football requires the greatest amount of cutting movements. A player can perform up to 800 cuts per game!
A players ability to accelerate, decelerate and change direction is influenced majorly by the tractional properties of boots and playing surface.
The components of traction studied in this paper were translational and rotational. Translational relating to the player moving in a straight or side to side pattern.
Previous studies have proven that increased translational movement is linked to improved performance whereas increase rotational movements are associated with an increased risk of lower limb injuries such as ACL damage.
The study looked at the relationship between:-
Shoe outsole purpose
This study was completed to shed some more light on which external factors are contributing to lower limb injury in football players. The external factor here being footwear and the way they interact with the playing surface.
The study was done in Doha, Qatar at the Qatar national team outdoor training pitch. The study was carried out over a single season on the one natural grass football pitch.
6 Nike Shoes were included:-
All 6 shoes, one at a time, were attached to a portable traction testing device which is designed to mimic foot movements employed by football players.
This allowed the researchers to pool data about all 6 shoes and their translational and rotational traction qualities.
What were the results?!
Soft ground outsoles showed to have the highest translational traction, however they also showed to have had the highest rotational traction!
Shoe outsoles designed for artificial grass, so the Nike Tiempo (AG) had the lowest rotational traction and came out on top.
So what does all this mean?
Decreased rotational traction in a shoe is proven to decrease lower limb injuries WITHOUT causing any detriment to player performance.
So YOU want increased translational traction, helping the player move forward and side to side more effectively and safely, and decreased rotational traction, meaning they can rotate and pivot without that increased chance of hurting themselves!
This doesn't mean that if you put the Nike Tiempo on that you're invincible and you'll never hurt yourself. Many things come in to play when aiming to reduce the risk of injury. Adequately strengthening and stretching the correct muscle groups, building the appropriate skills and recruiting safe and effective movement patterns and strategies all compound together to make you a stronger, better player that will be able to stay in the game for longer.
Moving forward towards purchasing footwear, artificial grass shoe outsoles are small round moulded studs vs the screw in metal studs used with soft ground outsole shoes. Also, making sure the fit of the shoe is correct is just as important as getting the appropriate outsole. Having a shoe that is wide enough, deep enough and long enough is crucial!
Moving forward in the world of research they forecast studies looking further into the relationship between shoes and several different playing surfaces, soil types, and grass species to get a more complete understanding of shoe-surface traction.
Stay tuned players!
Access the whole research paper here, hot off the press!
Taylor JB, Wright AA, Dischiavi SL, Townsend MA, Marmon AR. Activity demands during multi-directional team sports: a systematic review. Sports Medicine. 2017 Dec 1;47(12):2533–51. pmid:28801751
Anneliese joins Health Associates as a podiatrist working Monday and Saturdays.
She holds both a Bachelor of psychology and podiatry and has dedicated herself to studying full time for 7 years.
As a podiatrist she combines her proficient knowledge of human mechanics and ability to connect and engage with her patients to deliver outstanding clinical outcomes and an exceptional customer experience.
Anneliese loves health and fitness and enjoys encouraging her patients to maximise their health.