Do U Need To Buy Football Cleats For Highschool Football Use Rubber Mats to Protect Your Track From Unnecessary Cleat Damage

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Use Rubber Mats to Protect Your Track From Unnecessary Cleat Damage

Summer is approaching and football practice is starting at many high schools and colleges. Football practice involves walking in cleats on feet – hundreds of feet each day – across the oval running track that often surrounds a school’s football field. Running tracks can cost a small fortune and look great. How long they look good depends on the measures taken to protect the track surface. Consider using rubber floor mats to protect your track.

Floor mats can be used to prevent damage to the track by football cleats, turf care vehicles, and other types of equipment that must be rolled onto the track to access the infield area. Track protection is often an afterthought or not considered at all until damage occurs and costly repairs are required. Methods of protection used may include laying over some plywood tracks, carpet remnants, or some other product not designed to protect the substrate below.

Plywood is heavy, dries out over time and is not very attractive. Coaches or athletic directors need to “remember” to put down the plywood, remove it, and find someone to do this ongoing task. Plywood that warps presents a tripping hazard that can cause injury. After all, if your school has invested big dollars in track, stadium, field repainting, and big game decorations, warped plywood will take away from the whole experience.

Using carpet remnants can work sometimes but not for long. Carpet exposed to the elements will harden, soak up water and begin to deteriorate. Gusty winds can also destroy carpets and plywood. Mother’s temper is difficult to control. The answer to this problem is to use floor mats or rubber matting that has certain characteristics:

less attractive – Rubber mats must be thin to prevent tripping and to prevent wind from catching and whirling the product.

Portability – If the floor mats are too heavy, the weight creates another barrier to use. It would be preferable if the floor mats were rolled up for ease of use and carrying.

Durability – Mats must withstand cleats, lawn equipment and tractors. Rubber mats provide durability.

Safe COF – The COF coefficient of friction means that the floor mat should provide a safe walking surface that is not slippery – even when wet. Plywood can become slippery like carpet especially in wet or snowy conditions.

The use of floor mats can provide some protection for the field track. Most floor mats are low profile, portable and provide an acceptable coefficient of friction (COF). Unfortunately, there are hundreds of mats to choose from. What type or types of floor mats offer the best solution?

My suggestion would be to consider rubber mats only. Most floor mats have a backing that looks like rubber but is actually vinyl. Vinyl degrades over time, becoming brittle and breaking. Vinyl floor mats will lose memory and won’t lie flat if rolled and unrolled many times (especially after cooling). If you see floor mats with curled edges or cut edges, they are likely vinyl backed and not rubber mats.

Floor mats usually have a carpet or some type of fabric on the surface. This feature is great for adding color, but does nothing for the functionality of the product. I recommend using a rubber mat with no carpet or fabric on the surface.

Rubber mats offer an excellent coefficient of friction, are easy to roll (portability), are very durable and, when used in 1/8 inch or 1/4 inch gauge, provide a very low profile. Rubber mats are heavy enough to stay in place but not so heavy that they cannot be easily moved. Some rubber floor mats offer a ribbed or pyramid surface for “safety”. This is a feature that is not necessary because rubber already provides a safe walking surface. These nooks and crannies can actually hold water and create a slip hazard in icy conditions, especially in ribbed matting.

When choosing a product to protect your track, you’ll want to consider a rubber mat like Track Shield or some other thin rolled rubber floor mat. Products like these are durable and offer portability that allows floor mats to be used for a variety of applications when a floor or substrate needs to be protected.

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