What's the best gym floor? What's the best finish? What's the best surface for my needs? 


Choosing the perfect floor can be stressful and full of questions. At Foster Specialty Floors, we want to alleviate some of that stress by answering some of your most commonly asked ones


You ask; we answer. 

Have a question that is not answered below? Contact a member of our team. 

Most Commonly asked questions about "Best Floor"

What is the best gym floor?

The better question is “what is the best gym floor for YOU?” Generally, the best gym floor for you is one that has been specifically designed for the weight of the athlete that will provide a safe shock absorption value and uniformity of play.

There are dozens of different construction designs of gym floors, using either wood or synthetic components. These designs have taken into account the end user’s body mass from 50 to 260+ pounds. The physics of shock absorption is based on the impact of the user generating 2 to 2 ½ times body mass at the point of contact with the floor surface. Therefore, a design that is perfect for an NCAA player is far too stiff for an Elementary School child to be safe. Thus, the weight of the user is critical in the selection and design of what is best for you.

Moreover, years of biometric studies have shown that uniformity of play is the key factor in injury and fatigue reduction. Our brains, subconsciously, use about three steps of consistent surface resistance to establish “muscle memory” for our future steps. (This “muscle memory” is commonly shown by walking down a staircase in total darkness, without the last step visible, we always stumble at the bottom.) Athletic flooring selection should take these two key performance criteria into consideration when
selecting the best gym floor for you.

What is the best wood gym floor?

Almost all wood gym floors are made from maple flooring as the surface material. From the top, maple gym floors pretty much look the same. It is the subfloor design underneath that creates the safety and performance necessary to establish uniformity and reduce injuries. The best maple gym floors are ones that have been designed for the weight of the end user and tested for safety and performance by a third-party laboratory.


There are dozens of different subfloor designs of maple gym floors. These designs have taken into account the end user’s body mass, vertical deflection / shock absorption, uniformity of play, area of deflection, ball bounce, coefficient of friction, and rolling load resistance. Currently the most stringent testing protocols have been developed by the Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association. These the known as the PUR Standards. (Performance and Uniformity Rating.)
 

The physics of shock absorption / vertical deflection is based on the impact of the user generating 2 to 2½ times body mass at the point of contact with the floor surface. In order to absorb the impact forces of the user, the floor system must be able to deflect immediately and vertically directly under the point of impact. Therefore, a design that is perfect for an NCAA player is far too stiff for an Elementary School child to be safe. Thus, the weight of the user and force reduction ability of the system is critical in the
selection and design of what is best for you.


Moreover, years of biometric studies have shown that uniformity of play is the key factor in injury and fatigue reduction. Our brains, subconsciously, use about three steps of consistent surface resistance to establish “muscle memory” for our future steps. (This “muscle memory” is commonly shown by walking down a staircase in total darkness, without the last step visible, we always stumble at the bottom.) Athletic flooring selection should take these two key performance criteria into consideration when selecting the best gym floor for you.


Area of deflection is the testing protocol that requires the deflecting area of the floor immediately around the point of impact is limited in size as to not reduce the force reduction ability of the floor for the user just adjacent to the impacting body mass. This limited area of deflection is one of the most difficult testing protocols to achieve. This is critical in all activities that have more than one user at a time.
 

Ball bounce return and uniformity is critical for those activities such as basketball, pickleball, and racquetball. Testing protocols require these results to be adequate for playability and uniformity.

 

The coefficient of friction is the measured amount of “slide” of the finish used on the maple floor. All Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association approved finishes have been laboratory tested to have a safe coefficient of friction.
 

Rolling load resistance is the ability of the flooring system to withstand heavy rolling loads. For example, this is critical in facilities that will have large bleacher stacks.
 

Foster Specialty Floors generally recommends a maple gym floor design that is PUR Compliant for safety, uniformity, and performance.