Feature Article - March 2018
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Surface Area

Options Abound for Indoor Sports Flooring & Fitness Surfaces

By Deborah L. Vence

The Latest Trends

Indoor sports flooring and fitness surfaces are all trending toward multi-use surfaces. "Facilities are looking for a versatile product that can be used for basketball, volleyball, yoga, indoor cycling and more," Moller said. "The more activities that can take place on one floor, the better the ROI. There is also a trend for customization of indoor sports surfaces using custom color options, logos, etc."

One of the current trends in the rubber flooring market is that manufacturers are embracing the concept of making products that are thicker in profile and provide more comfort underfoot for end users. "Much of the time this is accomplished by vulcanizing two or three layers of material into the final product," Hayes said.

He added that from the wood floor perspective, "much of the industry is focused on how to improve the biomechanical benefits of a floor's performance (and improve the end users' experience/safety). In many ways the entire industry is working equally hard to improve owner comfort and safety while continuing to improve performance needs."

The immersion of synthetic flooring is another trend in indoor sports flooring. "Synthetic flooring has been around for decades, the athletic community embraced this product because of all the pros it contains," Proud said. "It gives athletes a comfortable surface to play on, and can be used for many different activities," she said. "Most institutions today are looking for flooring that can withstand years of foot traffic and sports performances."

In a case example involving synthetic flooring, Proud's company installed its pad and pour flooring product at Millersville University Student Rec Center in Pennsylvania. The university needed a new student rec center court. The previous floor had reached the end of its life, and students were eager for a new floor for the heavy-traffic area in the Student Memorial Center. Millersville turned to a 14-millimeter point elastic poured floor system that would be resilient, durable, long-lasting, easy to clean and maintain, and aesthetically pleasing.

The Student Memorial Center Rec Center court hosts many of Millersville University's student events. The new flooring system will be able to withstand heavy traffic from concerts, chairs and tables from job and internship fairs, and even a stage for semester concerts. It is a puncture-resistant, highly shock-absorbent, premium surface.

Barber noted that fitness is evolving, and current fitness trends are moving away from stationary cardio and selectorized equipment to members working out in more open areas for functional training and group fitness.

"These new spaces allow members to tailor body-centric movement. This trend puts more emphasis on the flooring, because it really becomes the primary piece of equipment," he said. "If your members matter, then the flooring they train on matters. A surface that provides safety, ergonomics and acoustic benefits becomes paramount."