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Hard/Firm Ground

Dean Ariola

Firm Ground (FG) boots are ideally suited for hard natural ground surfaces. Because of the weather you’ll mainly wear them in spring or summer, but if you happen to be somewhere drier you may get use of them all season. Below we have the most popular Hard/Firm boots right now:

What is an FG or Firm Ground boot?

One of the specifications of boots is whether or not they apply to a certain type of football ground. Given that football is generally played outdoors on grassy pitches, you need to prepare for the kind of surface that you are going to play on. Otherwise, you may find yourself slipping when you play, affecting your game & worst still injuries might occur. That is why football brands have different stud configurations and construction in that they are adapted to the type of pitch they are assigned to. With that said, you need to understand whether you are playing on firm ground or soft ground and choose an appropriate boot for that.

Firm Ground refers to the playing surface with the natural firmness and density of soil. However pack and flat it is, Firm Ground still breaks with force, causing slippage to footwear with flat soles. Thus, Firm Ground boots are those with a plastic solepplate that house moulded protruding studs. They literally act like a set of teeth that bites into the ground to maintain your stability and balance even in high-speed situations.

Can you wear FG on AG (Artificial Grass/Turf)?

Firm ground boots are the most common type and work best in dry, hard natural grass surfaces. They can also be played on artificial grass as long as the boots have an FG/AG rating. This is certainly because artificial grasses have different textures and materials that might affect traction. AG grounds are 100% made of synthetic grass and based on the increasing grass height and infill requirement could be classified into 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G, and 6G. 2Gs are usually just for recreational football while the 3G with its sand and rubber infill are used by football associations sports. 4G to 6G pitches which are yet to be recognized by football governing bodies do not have any infill. Nowadays, there are what we call hybrid pitches where there is usually a 95%-5% split between natural and artificial grass respectively and are present in the pitches of the English premier league.

In terms of seasons, summer is the best time to use this type of boots but can also be worn in winter when the pitch is frozen or hard. A little moisture on a pitch isn’t usually a problem for FG cleats. While they might work well in sand-based turf pitches, it is best to avoid using FG boots there as the studs might wear down faster than expected. And for the obvious reason that there are protruded studs, FGs are not intended to be used indoors, you won’t be able to stand up safely or properly with them.

What studs are on Firm Ground boots?

The studs on the soleplates of firm ground boots come in all kinds and shapes, be it conical, bladed, chevron or mixed, and are either in plastic or rubber material. And while there are different configurations out in the market, they are generally designed to provide perfect penetration to firm ground surfaces. The studs are generally non-removable in FG boots. The studs are usually placed strategically across the plate to evenly distribute the pressure.

We do have more of a range of hard and firm ground boots, but you will need to search by the boot type and look out for the FG icon next to the boots which indicates they are suitable for playing football on firm and hard surfaces.

Can you Wear FG on SG pitches?

When playing on hard or firm ground you are going to need a pair of boots with a little less grip than if you were out on a slippery, wet or muddy pitch when you’d need to wear soft ground boots, that have metal studs that penetrate deeper for you and will give you better grip.

The most common sole types of Hard Ground (HG) boots are with either blades or moulded studs. The blades are mouldes soles that face in multiple directions to maximise grip and minimise ankle injury. Nike make a MG sole plate which is designed to be used on firm or artificial pitches and is found on the scaled down cheaper products.

Firm Ground Soleplate Innovations

You have read about FG/AG, a soleplate playable in both natural and artificial pitches. But lately the big brands have been introducing technologies on the FG soleplates of their speed boots to double down on their pacey and explosive attributes.

adidas and Puma add aggressive snapback to their soleplates to have that responsive sensation in each step of your acceleration. The energy return is above-average for both the carbon fibre-reinforced Speedframe outsole of the adidas X Speedportal and the dual-density Speedplate of the Puma Ultra Ultimate. Nike for its part utilises its trademark Zoom Air technology, a cushioning system that uses pressurised air and tensile fibres, absorbing impact and snapping back to shape real fast to give you that bouncy sensation. The energy-return is not as aggressive as the first two technologies, but the comfort level is top-notch and makes the transition from one step to the other that much smoother and effortless.


Dean Ariola

Dean has worked Chief writer at the Black & Orange team since 2020, he has an indepth knowledge of all the soccer shoes from the big brands, you have him to thank for all the updates to our Boot Secrets guide and he is first on the scene with all the new releases for you!