A 2013 study on synthetic soccer surfaces examined whether or not shock pads and elastic layers help the surface’s longevity

 

The results of a 2013 study, undertaken by FIFA and the European Synthetic Turf Organization Shock Pad Group, show that in order to keep synthetic turf performances at a high level and to reduce the risk of injury to athletes, a high-quality shock pad is strongly recommended in situations where maintenance can’t regularly be done on the turf.boston-college-practice-585

The study investigated whether shock pads and elastic layers help the performance longevity of synthetic soccer turf surfaces. Tests were carried out by Labosport on 40 mm soccer turf systems with a variety of different shock pads and a 60mm system without a shock pad. The dynamic properties of these soccer turf systems were measured before and after simulated play undertaken on a Lisport XL. In first series of tests, all samples were maintained every 1,000 cycles, with a total of 7,000 conditioning cycles being undertaken. In the second series of tests, no maintenance was undertaken during the test in an attempt to replicate what’s often seen in practices. Throughout the test program, the samples were kept dry with no attempt to replicate the effects of rain, snow, solar radiation, etc.

The test’s conclusions state that:

  • With no or minimum maintenance, systems without shock pads or those designed to only initially satisfy the specified requirements fail to maintain adequate long-term athlete protection. Systems with high-quality shock pads will maintain the desired performance.
  • Tests undertaken were shock absorption, vertical deformation, HIC, ball rebound, rotational resistance — all the values measured confirm the test’s results.

Test results can be found here.