Difference Between Soft-Ground Football Boot and Firm Ground Football Boot

Introduction

Football boots, called cleats or soccer shoes in North America, are an item of footwear worn when playing association football. Those designed for grass pitches have studs on the outsole to aid grip. From simple and humble beginnings football boots have come a long way and today find themselves subject to much research, development, sponsorship, and marketing at the heart of a multi-national global industry. Modern “boots” are no longer truly boots in that they do not cover the ankle – like most other types of specialist sports footwear, their basic design and appearance have converged with that of sneakers since the 1960s.

Depending on the type of surface, kind of sport, and even the wearer’s position or role in the game, different styles of the boot and particularly stud configurations are available. For hard pitches, amateur participants may wear a sneaker shoe or a plastic-stud boot (known as a “moulded sole” or “firm ground” boot); in most sports and positions this is adequate, although, on a well-grassed or sodden field, screw-in studs are recommended for more grip; these may be metal, rubber or plastic and are called “soft ground” boots. When playing on this kind of pitch, some players favor using a boot with screw-in studs in their non-dominant (supporting) foot to provide grip, and a boot with short rubber or plastic studs in the dominant (kicking/passing) foot to provide accuracy. However, most players opt for a consistent configuration on both boots.

For indoor football, indoor boots are used. These come with rubber soles, meant to maximize grip on the floor. Some are built on the design of firm-ground football boots, and some are specifically designed for indoor game. For football on turf or artificial grass, some players wear regular firm ground football boots. But wearing regular football boots on turf greatly reduces the life of the boot, so companies such as Nike have developed football boots for artificial grass (AG), which have smaller circular studs.

Soft Ground Football Boot

Peter Beardsley Hand Signed Football Boot Liverpool F.C. AFTAL Photo COA

 

 

 

 

 

When playing on grass, firm ground boots will be absolutely fine most of the time. However, when the pitch is particularly wet or muddy, you’ll need to make sure you’re equipped with a pair of soft ground boots instead.

This soleplate features much longer studs, which will bite into the softer turf and make sure you’ve got plenty of grips. More traditional boots (such as the Puma King, for example), utilize a classic 6-stud configuration, but modern designs are instead opting for a mixed-stud pattern, which is almost identical to the layout of a firm ground boot and distributes pressure much more evenly.

Aside from their larger size, the main difference here comes from the use of metal studs, which are usually interchangeable and unscrewable. The metal basically provides the traction and stability you’ll need while playing, allowing you to make quick turns and darting runs even when you’re playing in a sticky, slippery swamp.

Unless you’re really unlucky with the weather or have the worst groundsman in history, most of the time you won’t be playing on this kind of surface. However, having a pair of soft ground boots in your locker is essential, since a firm ground sole-plate will completely clog up with mud in such conditions, and you could quickly do yourself a nasty injury.

Ideal for: wet, muddy, or soft natural grass surfaces.

Unsuitable for: Every other type of playing surface. These boots are made solely for softer pitches, and I really wouldn’t recommend wearing them on anything else.

When to Buy: Soft ground boots are mainly used in the winter, when the weather’s even wetter than usual and every pitch looks like a proper mud bath.

Firm Ground Football Boot

Roberto Soldado Tottenham Hand Signed Football Boot

 

 

 

 

Currently, the most common type of football boot, firm ground football boots (often shortened to FG) typically feature conical or bladed studs, which are usually made of either plastic or hard rubber. While they’re certainly capable of handling a little moisture, these boots are at their best when gliding across dry, hard natural grass surfaces. If you regularly play on grass, then these are the boots you’ll be wearing more often than not.

The stud configuration is designed to improve traction, balance, and speed while out on the pitch, featuring strategically-placed studs and evenly distributing weight across the foot. Whether you opt for conical, bladed, or any other shape, they’re designed to perfectly penetrate firm ground surfaces and are typically non-removable – which is great, since you won’t have to worry about losing any during a match.

Suitable for: Dry, hard, or slightly wet natural grass pitches. Most modern designs can also be worn on 3G and 4G artificial grass pitches – just look out for “FG/AG” in the product description.

Unsuitable for: Wet or muddy natural grass pitches, traditional sand-based astroturf, and indoor playing courts.

When to buy: You’re probably most likely to wear firm ground boots during the summer months, when the sun’s made the pitch dry and hard. However, you could also make use of these in the winter, since they’re ideal for frozen natural grass pitches.

Difference Between Soft-Ground Football Boot and Firm Ground Football Boot

The main difference between firm and soft ground boots is the soleplate. On the surface, these boots will look very much the same, but the studs underneath will be designed a little differently to improve grip and traction on each surface.

Firm ground boots feature plastic studs in all shapes and sizes, whereas modern soft ground soleplates feature a mixed stud configuration and interchangeable metal studs. Your choice of which one to go for depends entirely on the playing surface – whether it’s a dry, hard pitch, or a muddy swamp.

Soft ground boots are custom-built for those harsh conditions where you need a lot of extra traction just to stay on your feet, whilst firm ground football boots are a much better all-rounder and are better suited to a wider range of surfaces and conditions.

It’s worth noting that the differences here really are restricted to the soleplates. Whether you’re buying the FG or SG version, the upper, materials, and technology included will be exactly the same. So, you don’t need to worry about missing out on a fancy new feature by opting for one over the other.

There are different outsoles meant to be used on different playing surfaces. SG is an outsole with screwed-in removable metal studs meant to be used in cushioned, wet natural grass fields. On the other hand, FG is an outsole made to be used in natural grass pitches with a harder, rougher, dryer, and less treated surface

Conclusion

Soft ground boots are custom-built for those harsh conditions where you need a lot of extra traction just to stay on your feet, whilst firm ground football boots are a much better all-rounder and are better suited to a wider range of surfaces and conditions.

It is important you completely understand the differences between each one so you can buy the right pair for your case. Choosing the wrong outsole can totally ruin your playing experience with the shoe and can put you in danger of suffering an injury. Besides the outsole, you also need to consider the different uppers, soccer cleat feels, among others.

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