Science of Football Cleats


The reason you slip while walking or running is a lack of friction with the ground under your feet.  Friction is the force that happens when two objects are rubbed together which gets you moving forward, backward, whatever direction you push. Cleats are designed to give a player more friction with the ground. There are two types of friction, static friction and kinetic friction.

Static friction is the force between two objects that are not moving relative to each other. This means in order to move you must be able to overcome the initial force. This is the force and friction a wide receiver must overcome when he breaks off the line. If the force trying to move the object is less than the force of the static friction, then the object trying to move will not be able to go anywhere.

Kinetic friction is the force between two surfaces that are moving relative to each other. Once an object has overcome static friction and is moving it then has kinetic friction acting on it resisting it’s motion. Cleats help football players maintain traction when kinetic friction is acting on them.

Traction is the friction between an object and the surface they are moving on. To increase traction you must maximize friction. If you apply more force to the surface you are moving on, you will increase the friction between you and the surface, this provides you with more traction.

Cleats are designed to increase the traction of a football player on the ground and protect the player from muscle injury. In the event that a player does slip, the cleats are designed to help protect the muscles in a player’s feet to help keep them from injury.