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.
FG: Firm Ground
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 adidas Predator have a split soleplate construction covering just the forefoot and the rearfoot, all supported by an internal chassis. Others like that of the Nike Tiempo Legend opts for a lightweight plastic for the entire soleplate itself.
Nike MG: Multi Ground
Nike offer a multiground soleplate option, which is often found on their Jr. boots designed for children as well as the Academy takedowns. It gives you the flexibility of playing on artificial turf surfaces as well as grass pitches, it is a combination of their firm ground soleplates, but with the studs adapted to be playable on the artificial pitch, giving you the best of both world’s without the specific focus of a specialist sole on either, it is a great value for money choice.
AG: Artificial Ground
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 comfortable. The studs, like those in FG, are also moulded and take up the material of the base plate.
This is mostly seen in Nike, as adidas and Puma often have their AG boots more or less take on the stud layout as the FG, just with a different material that’s more suitable to artificial grounds.
See the variety of replaceable football studs, either metal or plastic (TPU) for a variety of conditions and surfaces.
SG: Soft Ground
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. Anti Clog has moved on from generic outsole design into a more varied construction that helps it adopt the FG layout of its concerned Nike silo.