It used to be easy. Lacrosse players needed two pairs of shoes: cleats for natural surfaces and turf shoes for artificial surfaces. Now with the proliferation of uber-plush artificial turf playing surfaces that mimic the best attributes of grass fields, many players opt for the simplicity of one pair of cleats that are effective regardless of surface. But there are some players hanging on to the old ways and using turf shoes as the superior shoe for artificial surfaces.
And it makes sense, too. Consider that regardless of position, on-field success is primarily predicated on two factors: speed to outrun opponents and quickness for explosive lateral movement. Your shoes provide the foundation of both. Since turf shoes are generally lighter and more flexible than cleats, some players believe they play faster and quicker while wearing them.
So if you want to give turf shoes a try, here’s what you need to know:
- Feel it in the sole: Turf shoes are immediately recognizable more for what they don’t have than what they do; namely, the large molded plastic nubs common on cleats. Instead, turf shoes feature treads more like that seen on other athletic shoes.
- Comfort is king: Not too loose, not too tight, but just right. Don’t be fooled into thinking that a particular brand is the best. They’re all good. But there is likely a make and model that feels best for you.
- Make the cut: Turf shoes generally come in two cuts: low and mid. This makes sense if you consider that the entire purpose of turf shoes is to reduce weight and maximize flexibility. Low-cut turf shoes will help players whose games rely on quick cuts and high speed while mid-cut turf shoes are for players who may require a little extra support.
Once you find the perfect pair of turf shoes you might find that the game has slowed down around you. Maybe your opponents are suddenly less nimble. While anything is possible, that’s probably not the case. What’s more likely is that you’re playing faster. Enjoy the benefit of turf shoes.