Futsal Traction Pattern Design


Futsal is a modified form of soccer that is played with 5 players per side. Unlike other forms of soccer which are played on grass or astroturf fields, futsal is played on a hard court. Because of this key difference in playing surface, it is important to examine the role of traction on this surface.

One study from the Fukuoka University school of Sport Health and Performance performed a comprehensive analysis of various futsal tread patterns and their performance [1]. This study had 3 important findings:

  1. Improving traction benefits the performance of futsal players,

  2. Outsole traction patterns impact the mechanical traction of a shoe,

  3. Traction patterns make a bigger difference during cutting movements than during straight sprint movements.

These findings are confirmed by other studies that confirmed that traction patterns affect the measured mechanical traction [2] and that these traction patterns affect performance during sideways movements much more than during forwards movements [3].

It is also important to understand the movements done by futsal players. A study conducted during 8 matches of the 2014 AFF Futsal Championship categorized player movement to study what movements were most common [4]. As shown in Figure 1, Forward Translation was the most common, followed by side cuts and sideways translation.

Therefore, although traction patterns affect sprint performance less than sideways motion performance, traction patterns should still address forward movements as this is the most common movement in futsal.


  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/19424280.2020.1825534

  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/19424280.2019.1606051

  3. https://www.mdpi.com/2504-3900/49/1/17

  4. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Hiroyuki-Nunome/publication/352379139_The_effect_of_different_tournament_stages_on_the_movement_dynamics_of_futsal_players_while_in_ball-possession/links/6108fc3b1ca20f6f86f7128b/The-effect-of-different-tournament-stages-on-the-movement-dynamics-of-futsal-players-while-in-ball-possession.pdf

Figure 1: Most Common Player Movements during Futsal [4]

Competitor Analysis

Before designing a traction pattern for futsal shoes, it is important to first examine the existing traction patterns on the market.

A) Adidas Samba

B) Puma Iberro II

C) Adidas Nemeziz

D) Nike Elastico Finale II

Any analysis of futsal traction patterns should include the Samba, as this classic pattern is instantly recognizable to any soccer fan. The forefoot uses triangular patterns for grip during both lateral and forwards movements, with a "pivot point" under the ball of the foot provides omnidirectional grip. The rear of the foot features raised interlocking waves for grip when stoping.

Moving forwards to modern futsal shoes, some traction features have changed but some remain the same. The patterns on the forefoot still tries to provide a balance of traction for forwards sprints and traction for sideways movements, with a particular emphasis towards lateral movements under the ball of the foot. This is most obvious in the Nike Elastico Finale II, where the medial side of the shoe features rounded nubs for omnidirectional grip, and the lateral side of the pattern is more geared towards sprinting.

Additionally, these modern patterns feature distinct grooves throughout the outsole to improve the dynamic mobility of the shoe. In the Nemeziz, these grooves separate the heel, the arch, and the forefoot. In the Elastico Finale II, there is an additional groove along the first metatarsal. Nike claims that this groove provides additional flexibility, which "helps free up that part of the foot for a quicker first step to improve agility in tight spaces" [1]. The grooves provide flexibility which can improve performance, but having too many grooves can also hinder stability. Therefore, grooves should be implemented into modern futsal traction patterns, but their location must be considered carefully and with the biomechanics of the foot in mind.

  1. https://news.nike.com/news/nike-football-fc247

Patterns Used for Traction Design

I combined the following patterns/line types to form a functional and aesthetically interesting outsole:

Lines of Varied Thickness

Parallel Lines

Hatch Pattern

Zone Mapping

Based on futsal biomechanics and competitor research, I came up with the following outsole mapping, showing which movements each section should be optimized for.

2D Pattern