Artificial grass, or synthetic turf, is a great alternative to natural turf in athletic fields, sports arenas, or training centers. Synthetic turf also has the added benefits of being easy to install, requiring less maintenance, and being environmentally friendly. When wondering what to put under synthetic turf to make it safer and improve shock attenuation, the answer is a quality shock pad. A shock pad is a separate layer made of foam, rubber, polyethylene, or polypropylene, and it is used to create a more cushioned and shock absorbent surface. Installing turf with an underlayment will help protect people’s bodies during sports activities, athletic training, workouts, or any time there's a possibility of an athlete falling. 

Types of Shock Pads for Sports Turf

When shopping for synthetic turf and underlayment you'll find that there are many turf options and most recommend an install of an underlayment material or shock pad. While most underlayment materials provide some cushion to the surface, not all are created equal when comparing shock absorption performance. 

Beaded Padding

This type of shock pad system consists of multiple small polypropylene beads that are molded and fused together under pressure into different designs. They're manufactured in panels that can then be fitted together. 


  • Rapid drainage
  • Consistent shock attenuation
  • Various styles to meet budget and use


  • Difficult to install
  • Panels can fly away during installation

Closed Cell Foam Padding

Foam padding has been used in synthetic turf installation for decades and has proven performance. This type of shock pad provides excellent uniformity of thickness and density. Foam underlayment padding is affordable and easy to manufacture. 


  • Rapid Drainage
  • Consistent shock attenuation
  • Longevity of system
  • Easy to install
  • Can be used for more than one lifecycle


  • Seams need to be sewn (or taped) onsite

E-layer / Bound Rubber Crumb Padding

Underlayment pads made of bound crumb rubber are a heavy option that provides excellent durability and can be used for more than one lifecycle of a synthetic turf field. 


  • Superior durability and lifespan
  • Doesn't raise surface height very much


  • Delaminates over time
  • Outdoor use isn’t recommended 

Recycled Foam Padding

This type of padding system is made of recycled materials that are compacted or bound together which can be installed over both permeable and impermeable bases.  


  • Available in multiple thicknesses
  • Can hold heavy equipment 


  • Inconsistent performance due to recycled material
  • High impact play affects quality

Best Underlayment for Synthetic Sports Turf

Turf can experience wear and tear over time due to play, walking, running and other various impacts. These movements can shift rubber crumb infill around which over time can create hard spots on the turf surface. Adding a layer of padding underneath the sports turf will help alleviate this problem and provide users with more protection during activities. ArmaComp™ ArmaSport® turf underlayment shock pad stabilizes and cushions the playing surface providing consistent shock attenuation across the entire field. Unlike synthetic turf systems that depend on infill material for the shock absorbing system, ArmaSport pad installations provide protection across 100% of the field, all the time – without loss or migration of the cushioning material to the edges of the field. Supplied in rolls to prevent material fly-away and in a variety of densities and firmness to meet the strictest specifications, the long lengths and turf-carpet widths are all designed to make installation fast and easy. Our built-in drainage system or the optional enhanced drainage system (ridges) ensures fast and efficient water removal. For more than 35 years, our foam has been the preferred turf-underlayment shock pad for greater performance, consistent playing conditions, durability, and field longevity.

Product Characteristics

  • Tested to FIFA 2 Star and ASTM F355 test methods (turf / shock pad system)
  • Perforation / hole punch option available for water drainage 
  • Ridge pattern available for efficient water drainage
  • Low phthalate foam that meets the phthalate threshold requirements (<0.1%) of the CPSIA / CPSC Improvement Act of 2008 public law 110-114
  • Does not contain formaldehyde and meets the global REACH and RoHS requirements covering prohibited and reportable substances
  • Manufactured with an antimicrobial for protection against fungi, mold, and bacteria