Most Padel players and practitioners do not know how to make snowshoes and what materials are used in the process. They are not aware of the advantages or disadvantages of using a racket model with this or that component. Here is the list of materials that can be found in a padel racket:

  • CARBON FIBER
  • FIBERGLASS
  • GRAPHENE
  • EVA GUM
  • FOAM
  • POLYETHYLENE
  • GRAPHITE
  • ALUMINUM FIBER
  • TITANIUM
  • KEVLAR
  • COMPOSITE
  • Epoxy
  • RUBBER
  • MASTIC

CARBON FIBER :

More familiarly, the essence of graphite particles. It is expensive, but it provides very good results in terms of lightness and strength, hence its use in Formula 1, motorcycle and many other sports. Few brands make 100% carbon rackets because the cost is very high.

To sum up: Quality, high cost, low weight, maximum strength.

FIBERGLASS :

The material par excellence in the manufacture of padel rackets, a little more flexible than carbon, but less lightweight. Combined with graphite or carbon it offers exceptional qualities with a very good resistance to shocks. It is more elastic than carbon fiber, so it provides more bullet output but less power. Possessing flexural qualities it is ideal to incorporate it on the surface of the rackets allowing to absorb in a little more the impacts and also on the frame as additional protection.

Fiberglass is used by most brands of padel.

To summarize: Cheaper, the most used for making rackets, usually incorporated on the surface of the racket.

GRAPHENE:

Graphene is a two-dimensional crystalline material of carbon. It is the finest component known (having a single atom thickness), the lightest (1 square meter of graphene weighs 0,77 milligrams), the best conductor of heat at room temperature and it is also the best conductor of electricity. Another property of graphene is its strength, it is the strongest material discovered with a much higher tensile strength than steel and Kevlar. Graphene is currently very expensive and difficult to obtain artificially although production techniques are constantly improving. While reducing costs and complexity.

Brands such as Head now feature high-end rackets incorporating Graphene.

To summarize: very resistant, very hard and very solid. Expensive and expensive.

EVA GUM:

With FOAM, the material most used in the manufacture of rackets. It is an eraser whose main property is that of shock absorption and its main component is latex, a resin that is extracted from trees or oil. We can meet an EVA racket with different densities and qualities, which makes it more or less compact, rigid, flexible, flexible, elastic ... The effects on a racket would be more or less flexible to impact with the ball, giving us different sensations of blows, power, control ... sometimes mixed with other materials finally to get more lightness, mixing will still lose its original properties against the absorption of shocks. In theory, EVA rackets have more control and longer life, because they are a less elastic material. They have a bullet output lower than rackets FOAM and Polyethylene. In the EVA gum, there are different hardnesses: EVA Hyperasoft (softer), EVA Supersoft ... the gum is deformed very little in contact with the ball, forcing us to hit harder to get the same ball speed, but with the advantage that we will not have a point of typing limit, compared to the speed we can print on the ball, as is the case with the FOAM. In addition, snowshoes are more durable and these finishes are of better quality.

To summarize: Hard rackets (less if the soft mix) controls, but with less bullet output, resistant.

FOAM

With EVA rubber, the material most used in the manufacture of rackets. This is a familiar term given to the synthetic resin obtained by condensation of different types of polyester, hence also called "Styrofoam" and is characterized by its low density. Technically FOAM is a polystyrene foam, a thermoplastic polymer obtained by polymerization of styrene. If we take this definition in the world of Padel, we get a touch softer than EVA gum and offers a good ball exit with less force. Indeed, polystyrene has a higher absorption capacity to further reduce vibration, which is particularly interesting for players who suffer from arm pain such as tendonitis, shoulder problems, etc. The FOAM rackets will have a good ball exit because the FOAM has a mechanism that looks like a spring during the impact of ball and thus accentuates the effects of balls. But this same effect causes a reduction in power because it absorbs much of the force we provide. They are less durable and the finishes are of poorer quality, since the material is not necessarily stable over time.

To summarize: Soft rackets, less control and power, but more bullet output. Less durable too but very effective to fight and avoid arm injuries.

POLYETHYLENE:

It is one of the most used materials in the industry in general (bags, bottles, suitcases, ... and snowshoes). It is a harder component than FOAM, but more flexible than EVA gum. Snowshoes with this material have more punch, less bullet output than FOAM, but a longer life. They have an intermediate control between FOAM and EVA gum.

It is used mainly in the Argentine industry, although curiously polyethylene is imported from England.

To summarize: Intermediate solution between FOAM and EVA gum, trying to mitigate the shortcomings of the former, with more durability, power and control. Very good absorption of vibrations.

GRAPHITE :

Graphite is made of pure carbon. Their different qualities, thicknesses and combinations make them a very light and durable material. It is used for racket or fiberglass frames as a reinforcement in the snowshoe areas where we want to have extra rigidity in the frame, the core and the torsion zones ... But on the other hand on a direct impact and dry it breaks easily enough.

To summarize: Material used very little today.

ALUMINUM FIBER:

Also called Alufiber, it is a harder material than fiberglass, but more flexible than carbon. Mixed with carbon, this fiber offers very good results in power as well as in control, producing a very characteristic metallic noise.

To summarize: Little used, depends a lot on the mixes to which the fiber is mixed.

TITANIUM :

It is a metal that comes from rutile, ilmenite and titanite. Because of its low weight and melting at high temperatures, titanium is even used in the construction of jet engines. Padel can be added to the racket in the form of powder mixed with paint on the term titanate. In paddle rackets it provides firmness and strength without increasing its overall weight, providing greater durability. It is usually applied as a powder mixed with paint.

To summarize: Low weight, little used now.

KEVLAR:

It is a fabric with a special treatment that gives it a very strong resistance, one of the strongest materials. Being very rigid, it is very expensive to work with this material, but it can be added as additional reinforcement in part of the racket. Carbon braided kevlar gives outstanding durability results. Currently only a few brands use it because it is too hard to work with, but given its much stronger strength than carbon and glass, it gives extraordinary power and good control. On the other hand no elasticity and thus of effect of balls (exit of ball).

To summarize: Maximum power, good control but very little bullet output. Difficult to work it.

COMPOSITES:

It is a "composition" of resin materials that is applied to strengthen the structure of the racket. The qualities of the composite material may vary depending on the resins that apply to it. Most sports in which a hard material is used incorporate the composite in different areas.

To sum up: Retouching material or for the completion of a racket, this is not a predominant material in a paddle racket.

EPOXY:

Dense liquid resin formed by liquid and viscous composites used for the compact formation of fibers. In the production line of a paddle racket, it is applied on all the fibers constituting the racket, before being introduced into the oven. It allows to have a racket whose block is homogeneous. Once the racket comes out of the oven, the hardness of the epoxy is remarkable. It is also used in varnish and added paint to make snowshoes more resistant and waterproof. It's easy to find in DIY stores and can be used to repair rackets.

To summarize: Material used for racket finishing, retouching material.

RUBBER:

Material from sulfur vulcanized latex. It was discovered by Charles Goodyear in the late eighteenth century. It is harder and heavier than EVA gum It has been used in the past in paddle rackets. It transmits vibrations because it does not have the qualities to absorb shocks.

To summarize: Almost more used.

MASTIC:

White or yellowish semi-clay material used in the process of making a racket to cover small imperfections before undergoing the process of painting and finishing. Its main characteristics are ease of application, dry hardness and good adhesion.

To summarize: Material used for the completion of rackets, retouching material.

Axel Sabalete - PADEL MAGAZINE

Franck Binisti

Franck Binisti discovers the padel at the Pyramid Club in 2009 in the Paris region. Since then padel is part of his life. You often see him touring France by going to cover the big French paddle events.