Football Boot Soleplates
Different soleplates should be chosen depending on the pitch and conditions you are expecting to be playing in.
As grass based pitches are the primary setting for football matches, football boots come with protrusions at the outsole so that players can get a good footing and avoid slipping. The outsole itself needs to be harder to both support the player and the protrusions called studs. This long piece of hard material at the bottom of football boots is what you call the soleplate, and it has different types depending on your playing surface and which model of boot you are wearing and which brand it is from.
Types of Soleplate
Firm Ground soleplates are those applicable to natural grass surfaces, a type of ground that usually forms during summer or, to a certain extent, during the coldest of winter. This relatively solid ground requires a certain amount of penetration for a stable footing, thus causing FG soleplates to have a plastic make with mostly bladed studs (possibly with few conicals in some boots).
The studs are usually moulded as part of the plate itself and have the same material composition (with some opting for rubber). Nowadays, to reduce weight, silos like the Nike Mercurial and the adidas Predator have a split soleplate construction covering just the forefoot and the rearfoot, all supported by an internal chassis. The unique, open-arched Hyperquick soleplate of the Nike Phantom GT takes a different approach and sees its ribbed soleplate form along the edges of the sole except for the medial side.
Artificial Ground soleplates house more studs than the FG soleplate, with the studs being mainly conical in shape, this is because artificial pitches, while built to replicate natural surfaces, are harder and denser, allowing less penetration and more requiring more pressure distribution to be comortable. The studs, like those in FG, are also moulded and take up the material of the base plate.
Soft Ground soleplates are relatively heavy compared to the other two, since wet and muddy pitches require the most penetration possible, SG soleplates have screw-in holes for elongated metallic studs. The screw-in configuration means studs of SG soleplates are replaceable. While replacement studs are also metallic, adidas, in particular, offer plastic TPU studs for those wanting to wear their boots on both FG, AG & SG pitches. Nike's contributions to Soft Ground soleplates are their SG-PRO and SG-PRO Anti Clog. SG-PRO refers to the stud configuration featuring the long metallic studs combined with the shorter blades and conicals of an FG plate. Nike Anti Clog technology is a hydrophobic layer on the plate that prevents mud from sticking, it was originally released in 2016 as a special edition pack, before making it's way onto Elite models and then on to almost all softground Nike boots.