Sports footwear testing
The slip resistance requirements of sports shoes varies widely across the spectrum of sports – those involving rapid stops, starts and changes of direction provide the greatest challenge to sole designers. SATRA can assess the slip resistance of a range of sports footwear but also offer advice on tread design and compound choice.
Shock absorption is particularly important for sports played on hard surfaces. The midsole and components such as footbeds and other inserts should absorb impact to minimise risk of ankle, knee, hip and lower back injuries. SATRA can measure the shock absorption properties of complete shoes and also components and sheet materials.
A stiff shoe requires more energy to flex but may offer support and protect the foot on uneven ground. Different sports and activities will require different levels of stability. The two key modes of flexibility are longitudinal, which describes how easily the footwear ‘bends’ along its length, and torsional or measuring how easily it twists around the heel to toe axis. Both these properties can be measured at SATRA.
Cushioning reduces pressure points and the risk of foot injuries. SATRA’s whole shoe and material cushioning tests can assess products to ensure they meet the high demands of modern sports footwear.
Sports footwear can be subjected to vigorous use. Wear life is important and premature wear could compromise the wearer’s performance. As well as biomechanical abrasion testing that simulates the forces of walking, SATRA also offers a complete wear assessment protocol that combines other procedures including the simulation of perspiration during wear.
SATRA’s stud and cleat safety protocol looks at a number of key aspects of the whole footwear. Sports studs are required to perform well in terms of grip and strength while not presenting a danger to other players. Assessment of studs at SATRA includes glancing/raking testing, a stud/cleat impact test and a wear simulation which includes an assessment of the risk of burrs which can exacerbate injury. An impact test against the upper uses pressure mapping techniques to assess the risk of injuries from studs.
Sports footwear requires good moisture management to avoid perspiration build up in the hose and footwear linings. As well as making the wearer uncomfortable and potentially impacting competitive performance, if moisture is not managed effectively there is increased risk of skin abrasion damage. Assessment at SATRA can include a heated, ‘perspiring’ foot form to simulate the performance of product in wear.
Sports footwear should be correctly proportioned and shaped so that it supports the foot without exerting undue pressure on the toes or other sensitive areas. SATRA is a recognised expert on footwear fitting, fit and comfort after 90 years’ research on the relationship between feet and footwear.