Dealers and athletic teams alike have been wondering how traction mat imitators stack up against the original Slipp-Nott. We thought we would take the time to post a few facts and images along with descriptions to better inform our current and future customers.
Slipp-Nott manufactures traction mats with one underlying goal — to provide our customers with the BEST TRACTION ENHANCING, INJURY PREVENTION SYSTEM AVAILABLE AT ANY PRICE. The first and foremost goal is to provide products that we feel provide results unattainable with what is currently available. We then design and manufacture them to last because the simple truth is, we don’t like problems. So when we design and manufacture a product, we use the best materials we can find and constantly look for ways to improve the process, reduce production time, reduce packing costs all the while trying to keep our customer’s expectations and needs in mind. Let’s take the small Slipp-Nott base for example. We mold it because it is by far the most popular size we make and with over 40,000 units sold, we wanted to cut down on manual labor. We use the virgin resins because after using ABS regrinds for years, our suppliers told us that they could no longer guarantee the quality of our base surfaces if we continued to request regrind material. Virgin ABS is much more expensive but we made the tough decision to go back to virgin ABS because our bases are designed and guaranteed to last a lifetime and rather than saving a few dollars per base, we opted to continue to offer a product that customers would be able to continue to use for the next 15 years without a problem.
The bottom of the base also presented an opportunity for savings, we could have opted to downgrade and either use vinyl or save even more and use foam carpet padding. The vinyl looks very similar to rubber but suffers from plasticizer migration and thus eventually ends up causing a sticky mess on the bottom since it does not allow the adhesive to ever dry. Foam area rug padding provides good friction against sliding along the floor but only while it holds together. Foam is not very strong because it is not meant to be used a foundation for something that will constantly be moving around and will start to deteriorate and flake apart as soon as one starts to use it. Area rug padding is basically a thin, lightweight netting of foam and those are great qualities when you want to hold an area rug in place without adding any thickness. A base needs to be heavy enough to resist being picked up as an athlete is walking off of the traction mat. Our internal tests indicate that the weight of a small base should be approximately 3.75 pounds or more. A base that uses a foam pad to keep it from sliding weighs approximately 3.2 pounds.
The edges of Slipp-Nott bases have ALWAYS been finished to be comfortable from the very first bases in 1987. When we first started making bases, we used a table router with a 45º chamfer bit to get rid of the sharp edges. After a few years, we went to a CNC machine with a custom designed over and under bits that would round the edges and trim the rubber. In 2007 our molding process rounded all the edges. Rounded edges are safer and feel better in the hand when one has to transport the base so we design them into all our bases.
How do you feel when a company:
- pays a company to cut off the shelf plastic to the identical shape and dimensions as the original
- slaps a red decal on that sheet of plastic instead of printing full instructions
- leaves the edges sharp around the outside edge AND inside the handle
- glues cheap, almost disposable foam to do the job of rubber
- pays no attention to the weight of the total product with respect to athletic safety
- offers no warranty
…then sets their price just a few dollars below an original Slipp-Nott?
Do you feel like you are getting what you pay for? Do you really feel like you ‘saved’ some money? A company that sells you something so blatantly and visibly inferior for a few dollars less would certainly try to make up for it by giving you a great deal on the mats, RIGHT? We’ll tackle the mats in another post for now, let the pictures tell the rest of the story…