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Grinding (グラインド Guraindo?) is a recurring gameplay technique in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. Grinding is the act of balancing on a rail or some rail-like object. By doing this, playable characters can gain more speed/momentum while on the rail or take shortcuts through the levels.


Grinding first appeared in Sonic Adventure 2 in which the only characters who could perform the technique were Sonic and Shadow. Even then, they wore customized shoes similar to the Hi-Speed Shoes to allow them to do so. Grinding is an essential element in this game, and is not only useful for cutting time off one's record, but was also necessary for crossing certain paths in levels and was also used as a mechanism by which to aid in defeating more difficult foes.

In all subsequent games starting with Sonic Heroes, all playable characters have made use of the technique, and have done so with ease. Moreover, Hi-Speed Shoes are no longer needed to facilitate the process. However, conscious effort in balancing on the grinding surface is required in order to maintain speed. By the time of the debut of Shadow the Hedgehog, this was no longer necessary.

Grinding is also present in the Sonic Riders series where the characters ride on Extreme Gears to perform the move. In Sonic Riders, only Speed Type characters (and other Type characters riding on certain Gears) were able to do so. In Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity, characters whose Gear were Skates or Boards with the Grind Gear Part were able to do so. In Sonic Free Riders, the Grind Skill Gear Part alone can be set for almost every Gear (save for certain Gears) including Bikes. In Sonic Generations, Grinding is also slightly faster than running (without using the Boost).[1]

Recurring mechanics of acceleration

In Sonic Adventure 2, if pressing DreamcastB, the character will crouch in order to gain speed. However, in Sonic Heroes, Shadow the Hedgehog, and Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), if the player presses XboxX/SNNBGAMECUBEDISCO/PSSquareButton, the character will do a 180 degree spin which will accelerate them on the rail. In Sonic Heroes, only maintaining the 180 degree position has the same effect as crouching in Sonic Adventure 2. In Sonic and the Black Knight, the player must swing his sword rapidly to grind faster. In Sonic Unleashed, Colors and Generations, Sonic can move through rails fast by using the Boost. In Sonic Unleashed (PS3/Xbox 360 version) and Sonic Generations (PC/console version), the 180 degree spin can be performed while grinding for no effect by pressing XboxB/PSObutton.

Grinding once again appears in all versions of Sonic Generations. However, it not only appears in stages that originally had rails, it appears in some stages without it in the past, such as Mushroom Hill.

In other media

Sonic X


Sonic grinding in Sonic X.

Grinding also appears in the Sonic X anime series, where it is only used by Sonic. Sonic's first usage of this move was in his battle against Chaos 6 when he grinds on his water tentacles. The move's next appearance was in "Desperately Seeking Sonic", only this time, Sonic used Chris' Hi-Speed Shoes to grind on long tree branches to reach Eggman.


  • According to Sega, the grinding mechanic's addition to the Sonic series was heavily inspired by the fact that they were working on Jet Set Radio, which originally used the mechanic, around the same time Sonic Adventure 2 was in development.[citation needed]
  • Classic Sonic does not "grind" in Sonic Generations, more he just rolls along the rail. Bizarrely, this still causes sparks and metallic scraping.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), Silver cannot grind in single player mode, but he can in multiplayer mode.


  1. BradyGames (1 November 2011). Sonic Generations: BradyGames Official Strategy Guide. BradyGames. p. 15. ISBN 978-0761555100.
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