words // Zack Schlemmer

AstroTurf, although doing murder to players' bodies, was the standard articial turf for baseball and football stadiums from the time the Houston Astros first used it in 1966.  Due to its hardness, pro football players were able to play games without using cleats and instead played in football cross trainers and, as you'll see here, even basketball shoes.  The early to mid-1990's was the height of this trend, as players wore everything from the Nike Air Speed Turf to the Air Jordan XI on game day.  

AstroTurf saw its demise as other better, and much softer, forms of artificial turf were developed.  You'll unfortunately no longer get to see, say, Adrian Peterson in a pair of Lebrons on the field, so you'll have to enjoy the following images from the times when AstroTurf and sneaker heat combined.


Legendary running backs Barry Sanders and Marshall Faulk lead the way, who both seem to have the best on-field shoe sightings.

Barry Sanders

Nike Air Force V

Nike Air Max 2 Uptempo

Nike Air Max 2 Uptempo, and teammate in Nike Air Flight One

Nike Zoom Turf '96

Nike Zoom Flight '96

Nike Zoom Jet Turf '97

Marshall Faulk

Nike Air Up

Nike Air DT Max '96

Anthony Munoz - Reebok Twilight Zone Pump


Greg Lloyd - Nike Air Veer


Ernie Mills -- Nike Air Barrage


Paul Justin -- Nike Air Barrage


Darick Holmes -- Reebok TD Threat

Rufus Porter - Nike Air Flight One


Ray Seals -- Converse R.A.W. Energy


Bam Morris -- Reebok Reckless


Simeon Rice -- NIke Air Penny


Darnay Scott -- Nike Air Much Uptempo

Nike Air Max Speed Turf

The Speed Turf was a very popular shoe among NFL players.  Here's a small sample of colorways.

Tyrone Wheatley

Amp Lee


Bryan Cox and Cincinnati Bengals Player

Jeff Hostetler

Who would've thought nerdy, mustachioed quarterback Jeff Hostetler would have been rocking heat?

Nike Air Up Scottie Pippen PE

Air Jordan XI Low IE

Manny Martin -- Reebok Bump N' Run


Emmitt Smith -- Reebok ES-22


Rod Woodson -- Nike Air Bowl Trainer


Larry Tharpe -- Nike Air Max Uptempo III


Ki-Jana Carter -- Nike Zoom Flight '96


Nike Zoom Turf '96

Just like the Air Max Speed Turf, the Zoom Turf (seen earlier on Barry Sanders) was another shoe popular with many Nike sponsored players.

Brett Favre


Jeff Blake


Jerome Bettis

Tyrone Wheatley -- Nike Pro Streak Max


Deion Sanders -- Modified Nike DT Max '96


Chris Warren -- DT Max '96


Johnnie Morton -- DT Max '96


Jamal Anderson -- Nike Air Griffey Max


Aaron Taylor -- Reebok Kamikaze II


Unidentified Dolphins Players in the Air Jordan XI and Reebok TD Threat


Reggie White (R.I.P.) Cheesin' in the Air Jordan XI