In a first-of-its-kind partnership, Reebok and GeneralSports Venue, the exclusive U.S. licensee of the AstroTurf brand of synthetic sports turf products, announced today that they are joining forces to study the interaction between athletic footwear and field surfaces for athletes ranging from professionals to amateurs. The goal of the research collaboration is to help improve athlete performance and help reduce injury risk through the development of better shoes and synthetic sports surfaces. Reebok will spearhead footwear product development while GSV/AstroTurf will focus on synthetic sports turf. The AstroTurf brand was selected based on the advantages of its vertically-integrated manufacturing assets, including the scientific research, design and engineering used to produce sports turf that is among the most technologically advanced in the world.
“GSV/AstroTurf is clearly the leading innovator in synthetic turf, making them our first choice for this unique partnership,” said Don Gibadlo, Vice President of Cleated Footwear at Reebok. “Instead of studying the interface between the cleats and surfaces already in use, we will be the first to test these products in the conceptual phase, helping us produce innovations that will enhance performance and safety for athletes in field sports at all levels around the world.”
The research effort will analyze footwear-surface interactions, on both synthetic turf and natural grass, for an evolving range of athletic dynamics and an array of athlete types, from NFL linebackers to NCAA soccer players and Little League outfielders.
“As a global leader in performance athletic footwear and the official supplier to several of the world’s elite professional sports leagues, Reebok is the ideal R&D partner,” said Chris Plunket, Senior Vice President of Operations for GSV/AstroTurf. “As industry leaders, it is our shared responsibility to improve performance and safety, the top priorities of athletes, coaches and management at every level, by leveraging our collective expertise to put the products of the future on a fast track to the marketplace.”
The research will be conducted at various venues nationwide, including on a GameDay Grass 3D™ surface from AstroTurf recently installed at Reebok’s global headquarters in Canton, Mass., with state-of-the art equipment for mechanical and biomechanical testing. Until now, most shoe-surface interaction studies have used cleats and surfaces already on the market, focusing almost exclusively on the incidence of injuries as opposed to performance enhancement.