Best Soft Ground
When playing on softer pitches, especially during the winter months when you are more likely to be playing in the rain, you are going to want a pair of Soft Ground football boots, with removable metal football boot studs. Check out the most popular pairs on the site below:
Soft Ground & Muddy Pitch Boots
Now standard on all Nike Elite level soft ground boots, anti-clog technology resists mud, meaning it struggles to stick to the bottom of your boot, improving your traction in difficult pitch conditions. Maybe Elite level players don't often need it, but on some of those dodgy Sunday morning pitches, this will be a gaming changer in you getting around the park.
Soft ground boots are prepared for wet and muddy pitches. When the ground is wet and muddy, or to a certain extent is composed of very tall grasses, the pitch loses its ability to provide cushioning and bounce back to sprints. Certain attributes make the SG useful for these conditions. They are usually made up of longer studs to get more bite on the softer plane. The main difference though, aside from the length of the studs, comes into the use of metal studs, which are usually designed to be screwable and interchangeable. This allows any accumulated mud to be wiped off from the studs. For muddy, sticky, wet surfaces, metal does a better job in providing grip and stability.
Can you wear FG on SG pitches?
The metal studs of soft ground boots will struggle to penetrate the harder firm ground, giving you an unstable footing and off-balanced foot, this can also lead to an increase in blisters on the feet and the chances of a rolled ankle or twisted knee and should be avoided at all costs. Consider buying replacement plastic studs, to make your boots firm ground suitable, adidas stocks TPU studs, whilst you will need to buy aftermarket generic ones to fit Nike and other brands thread size.Can you wear SG boots on AG or artificial grass/turf?
The short answer is no, firstly they can damage the pitch and you won't be very popular with the owners or managers of the field. They can not penetrate the ground properly so you find the same issues as FG as above, you should consider a specific AG-Pro pair or switching out your metal studs for a plastic alternative.
Nike Soft Ground Boots
Nike have soft ground versions for all their existing silos of Mercurials, Phantom, and Tiempo. However, Nike have two variations: the SG-PRO and the SG-PRO Anti Clog for the Mercurial and Phantom, which look similar but perfrom in very different ways.
Elite SG-Pro models have the usual Aerotrak spine and the open-arched Hyperquick of the Mercurials and Phantom GT filled in with long conical metal studs, in essence the Firm Ground soleplate, with removable and metal studs added in six places.
What is Anti Clog for Soft Ground?
Technology-wise, Nike introduced in 2016 its Anti-Clog soleplates (AC SG) for Nike’s SG boots. They are made up of an adaptive polymer material that, in the words of Dr Jeremy Walker, moves away from repelling water to being compliant to it, resulting in a lubricious layer without sacrificing traction. The layer of the Anti-Clog soleplates is when in contact with mud & water a slick, slimy surface, that feels almost like a goo or watery, it is best to apply some water, just pour some from your drinks bottle, over the soleplate before you walk onto the pitch, to activate the sole & stop the mud sticking, Anti Clog boots work best when wet.
Be aware that you should never use Anti Clog boots on an artificial, dry ground or sand slip pitch, as the special anti-clog coating on the soleplate can get scratched by these surfaces, reducing its effectiveness in future.
The SG-Pro Anti Clog, still have a split soleplate design for the Mercurials and an open-arch one for the Phantom GT, but the difference now is that there is a different soleplate material, that has the special hydrophobic coating application to avoid mud from accumulating on the sole.
The Anti Clog on the Mercurials and the Phantom GT only covers the central area of their plates' structures, usually leaving out the sides. The SG-PRO Anti Clog of the Tiempo Legend 8 still uses the first version of the technology where the Anti Clog sits on a full-length soleplate.
Why Pros Don't Like Anti Clog
1. Anti Clog, when it was first released, added even more weight to soft ground soleplates and reduced the flexibility of the sole for players.
2. Pros play on good quality pitches, where the problem of mud sticking to the sole is considerably reduced compared to the poorer quality social pitches, where they can be more mud that grass.
3. Nike started to reduce the availablity of the standard SG-Pro boots as the pushed the Anti Clog tech throughout their range, making it harder for pros to get their preferred boots.
Nike have now tried to address the weight issue, at least for the Mercurials and Phantom GT, by limiting the coating to the central areas while maintaining the split sole construction, thus adding much less weight than before. They also appear to be incresing the availablility of the SG-Pro plates to meet demand.
How Many Studs Do SG boots have?
Traditionally, SGs had used a 6-stud configuration. The boots have now evolved and have increased in the number of studs employed as well as shapes, usually mirroring the stud patterns of their FG counterparts whenever possible, with SG-Pro being a combination of the six metal studs, with smaller plastic studs used also.
SGs are then worn during rainy seasons and most of the winter when extreme moisture has already built up on the pitch, making it wet and muddy to play on.
adidas and Puma currently only offer two types of sole plate, the PRO version which includes a combination of changeable metal studs and fixed plastic studs, the cheaper versions of soleplates, included only six changeable metal studs, rather than the mixed sole option perferred by pros. Whilst that pro set up is ideal for quality pitches, you may find a six stud combination works best on the average Sunday league pitch.
Save yourself some cash and get two pairs of boots for one with adidas boots, as their metal studs can be switched our for screw in plastic studs, converting any soft ground adidas pair in to a firm ground pair, with the help of your stud key!
Boots for soft pitches have removable studs, which means depending on the conditions you can change the studs to give yourself more or less grip as the field requires. By changing the studs you make one pair of boots usable in multiple conditions, saving yourself money in the long run. Studs usually come in three different lengths, mixing shorter studs at the front with longer studs at the back. In really bad conditions you'll need to use the longest metal studs provided.
If the ground is very hard you may want to consider a pair of firm ground boots, or changing to those plastic studs, but usually through the winter months of the season you will want to stick to your soft ground boots.