At Shaw, we’re focused on what we call “sustain[HUMAN]ability”—developing and promoting solutions that are designed for people and the planet. In the sporting world, that means providing teams with a field that aids performance and helps the environment.

When we introduced our latest innovation, the NXTPlay Performance Shock Pad, we had that exact mission in mind. With playability at the forefront of all our turf team’s product development efforts, NXTPlay Performance Shock Pad provides superior performance intentionally designed for the people who play on our fields. It’s also designed with an emphasis on sustainability. NXTPlay shock pad is made from reclaimed and recycled turf fields, giving what’s historically been waste into a valuable asset through a next cycle of use. Each field of NXTPlay shock pad we produce diverts one turf field from the landfill.

Additionally, this innovative shock pad has undergone material health and environmental assessments to ensure that how it’s made and what it’s made with are also designed with people and the planet in mind.

You might be wondering, why would an athletic field need a shock pad? Let me explain.

Why Should Turf Fields Include Shock Padding?

NXTPlay was designed from the start to be both a superior performing shock pad and meet our high sustainability standards. It has shown excellent results in all measurable performance attributes using Shaw Sports Turf’s patent-pending playability tool.

Shaw Sports Turf has been extensively benchmarking data on fields at the highest level for several years. The data obtained then led to the development of Shaw Sports Turf’s Playability Assessment Tool. The tool tests a surface for ideal ranges in seven metrics. These seven metrics objectively measure surface attributes related to stability, impact and rebound. The playability of a sports surface can be adjusted with changes to one or more of these aspects.

Shaw Sports Turf has delved into new territory for artificial surfaces and has strived to make playing fields that mimic high-end natural grass. In 2019, the introduction of B1K for baseball was a step in that direction and was quickly adopted by several Major League Baseball teams. NXTPlay furthers the goal to not only be the best artificial surface but to be the best playing surface, period.

With the introduction of NXTPlay shock pad, Shaw offers a one-stop source for every component of an artificial turf system, from the pad up. This system approach gives the athlete freedom to focus on their craft, not the playing surface.

“NXTPlay is just another example of how Shaw Sports Turf continues to lead the synthetic turf industry in research and development, bringing new innovations and solutions to the market while providing the next level in performance to customers,” says Chuck McClurg, vice president of the turf division at Shaw. “This is just the latest in our commitment to creating ‘more than a field.’”

Do Shock Pads Increase Player Safety?

NXTPlay shock pad takes into account the whole athlete. With strong performance in HIC and gmax testing, as well as assessment of rotational traction, force reduction, energy rebound and other metrics, NXTPlay shock pad provides a head-to-toe approach to playability and safety. The shock pad helps create a firm, natural feel underfoot, as well as natural ball-to-surface and player-surface interaction.

shock pad shaw sports turf gbd magazine gbdpro

NXTPlay shock pad installs two times faster than other underlayments thanks to its large roll format. Photo courtesy of Shaw Sports Turf

How are Shock Pads Installed?

In addition to sustainability and performance attributes, the pad is reliable and easy to install. Testing illustrates a resistance to freeze-thaw climates as well as superior drainage. Further, NXTPlay shock pad installs two times faster than other underlayments on the market. Its large roll format allows for quicker installation, creates fewer seams, and reduces waste material.

The well-tested pad has already been installed in an impressive list of high-profile locations, including the Toronto Blue Jays training field, the Georgia Institute of Technology’s football field, and Globe Life Park, home of the XFL’s Dallas Renegades.

Shaw’s Sustainability Mission

Shaw’s commitment to sustainability is reflected in the almost 1 billion pounds of carpet reclaimed and recycled since 2006, as well as the more than 1.6 billion pounds of raw material assessed for material health in 2019. Our team is dedicated to efficiently using of energy and water in our manufacturing processes, reclaiming products at the end of their use, and finding creative uses for plastic beverage bottles so they don’t wind up in the ocean. These are just a few examples of Shaw’s efforts to create a better future.

Shaw has been actively engaged in Cradle to Cradle design for more than 20 years and focuses on the five pillars of Cradle to Cradle, which includes material health, product circularity, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship, and social fairness. The company believes in creating sustainable products from the right materials. By offering better transparency into the products created and the materials used, the hope is that we give you the insights you need to make the right choices for your space.

At Shaw, sustainability means sustaining human ability. The spaces where people work, play, learn, create, and come together to solve our greatest challenges have a significant impact on human experience. In all of our products and processes, we ask ourselves, “How can we minimize our impact on the environment and maximize human potential?” We are perpetually taking the next step forward, across every element of our sustainability strategy, starting with the human element.

shaw sports turf logo
Learn more about Shaw Sports Turf


gb&dPRO members are recognized experts in their fields and contribute opinion columns as one of their member benefits. The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and may not reflect the view of gb&d. We are committed to a diversity of voices advocating for high-performing, sustainable built environment practices. We’d like to hear what you think about this article or any of our other coverage. Send us an email at [email protected].