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For soccer enthusiasts, the term Firm Ground (FG) is not something new. Firm ground, along with other types of fields is one of the most important considerations when choosing the best soccer cleat that matches a specific play. Given this, it is also essential to know the characteristics of this type of ground and how it differs from other surfaces such as artificial grass and hard ground. Here are some of the qualities of firm ground:
- Firm or dry natural grass
- Sometimes damp or slick
- Well-maintained natural grass surface
- Grass is kept short
It is important to note that each qualification or the combination of some are the main criteria when manufacturing firm ground soccer cleats. Although it is commonly considered as a “universal shoes”, it is best to wear it on appropriate surfaces to guarantee the best protection and performance.
What is a firm ground soccer cleat?
The prevailing notion that soccer cleats will make someone a better player has long been debated. One can argue that this can be coming from the advertising schemes of shoe manufacturers to entice people especially the average consumers. On the flip side, it may also contain a grain of truth to a certain extent.
Picking a cleat that matches a particular type of surface is like bringing the most appropriate weapon in a certain kind of war. In a soccer battle on a firm ground, what would be the most viable prerequisites?
- Studs made of molded plastic or hard rubber
- Combination of different types of studs
- Non-removable bladed or conical studs
- Medium Length studs
- Plastic, typically Polyurethane Soleplate
- 10-14 studs on average
Different types of firm ground studs
What sets firm ground soccer cleats from others is the type of studs used in the soleplate. These studs are tested to work better on the said surface. Depending on one’s needs, various studs can carry specific qualities that can enhance performance and even comfortability.
Conical studs - Half-Conical, Tear-drop shaped, Hexagonal, Triangular-conical; Examples: Mizuno Morelia, Adidas Eleven Pro
- Built for agility and rotational maneuverability
- Smooth turns when changing directions
- Provides lighter and comfortable sensation
- Less Traction
- Not as responsive as Bladed Studs
- Provides aggressive traction
- More responsive due to the large surface area hitting the ground
- May badly affect joints and ligaments due to its strong ground grip
Stud combination - Combination of bladed and conical studs arranged functionally in the soleplate; Examples: Nike Hypervenom Phantom III DF
- Studs are purposely placed in areas where it can work better
- Unable to provide 100% of its function
Factors to consider in finding the best soccer cleat for firm ground
Some may ask this question - How to find the best Firm Ground Soccer Cleat? Interestingly, there is no definite answer to this question. For the most part, it all boils down to personal preference. However, factors such as comfortability, technology, durability and playing style will help in searching the best firm ground soccer cleats for you.
The upper material of any soccer cleats plays a key role when it comes to comfort. This basic cleat part should allow freedom of movement for the foot. Consequently, injuries and pain-related issues such as blisters and tendonitis are prevented. That is why it is essential to look for an upper material that is suited to one’s preference.
Here are some of the popular upper material and their corresponding feel to the feet:
- Kangaroo Leather - K-leather is usually found in firm ground soccer cleat provides an exceptionally soft feel and is famous for conforming to the foot’s shape. It is also known to provide more durability compared to other materials
- Synthetic Leather - It is constructed to mimic the feel of leather with the use of synthetic materials. An example of this is Nike’s Kanga-Lite. The feel it provides is as close as the K-leather, but with ball touch, it is not as natural.
- Synthetic - This type of material is known for its thin and barefoot sensation but does not feel as stretchable compared to leather.
- Mesh - This kind of material is patterned with running shoe technology which is intended to create a lightweight sensation. It is usually paired with a wet-proof technology as it does not provide enough protection to the feet.
- Knit - Adidas PrimeKnit is an example of this. As the word suggests, this textile material is derived from the process of knitting. In terms of comfort, it provides elasticity that hugs the foot snugly. Just like mesh, it also needs to be incorporated into wet-proof technology as it does not have any protection against moisture.
Almost all of this upper material is also seen with other types of cleats fit for other types of surfaces. All materials are meant to offer comfort but the only variable when choosing is personal preference. It is always best to know about the kind of comfort that each material is intended for before purchasing your firm ground soccer cleats.
Boot speed, power, and control
Firm ground soccer cleats are often categorized based on the features it offers. Specific qualities call for a distinct purpose.
- Speed - Some firm ground soccer cleats are created for Speed. Most these are made of simple, minimalist design to maintain its lightness. Most of its construction is particularly targeted for agility.
- Power - Some firm ground soccer cleats are built for Power. It is mainly characterized by an upper material that can enhance ball control, especially in strike zones.
- Control - Similarly, firm ground soccer cleats for Control are also constructed to improve ball contact but is more focused on passes and ball manipulation.
Notable firm ground soccer cleats features/ technologies
Soccer cleat manufacturers have come up with various revolutionary technology to produce biodynamically sound soccer cleats. Each feature targets several aspects but mostly are created for comfort and performance.
There can never be a perfect cleat due to some contrasting functions. A soccer cleat that is built for control may not be as comfortable. That is why manufacturers attempt to create hybrid models that are constructed for players to experience a balance of features.
Playing style may also play a significant role. Some roles may require more traction and ball control than others. On the other hand, some roles require speed and solid passes.
Below are some of the popular brand technology and their corresponding functions. Note that some of these innovations may serve more than one purpose can be seen in various parts of the cleats anatomy.
- Speed: Sprint Frame FG, Total Control Stud Alignment
- Control: PowerPulse, Non-Stop Grip (NSG), PureCut laceless sock
- Comfort: 360 Agility Bandage System, Techfit Compression
- Speed: 3D Speed Plate, Chevron Cleat Pattern, Micro-textured Synthetic
- Power: Hyperreactive Texture, Asymmetrical lacing
- Comfort: EVA sock liner
- Control: Speed Ribs
- Speed: Pebax outsole
- Power: powerCELL, evoPower
- Comfort: evoKnit Sock, Spandex mesh upper
- Speed: Dupont Kevlar
- Comfort: Bfit Stretch
- Power: Weave-free cap
- Control: PU and Calfskin upper
- Comfort: Puntoflex
- Control: Moulded Injection Outsole
- Comfort: Solyte Midsole, SpEVA sock liner, Trusstic System, External Heel Counter
Firm ground soccer shoe durability
Boot durability is such a multi-faceted feature of a firm ground soccer cleat. A shoe may malfunction due to several variables and more often than not, it is not necessarily a manufacturer flaw. Numerous factors can shorten a cleat’s lifespan that most consumers may not even be aware of.
Here are some tips and points to remember when dealing with soccer cleat durability:
Soccer shoes expensive rate is not necessarily equivalent to durability.
A firm ground soccer cleat becomes high-rated if it is constructed with a much more advanced technology. These innovations are not necessarily intended for durability but mostly for performance and comfort.
There are cleats created with a thinner and lighter material as it improves speed and comfort. However, a more delicate upper that provides a pleasant sock-like sensation may easily be damaged even after a few matches. Contrastingly, not all expensive shoes are sturdy. Testing is done to guarantee the quality of these soccer cleats.
To ensure you are getting the bang for your buck:
- Be particular with the cleat features before purchasing it.
- Maintenance would also do the trick. For cleats with leather upper, using a leather cream will help maintain its natural features.
- Cleaning the shoes regularly and keeping it dry every after play will also help in extending its lifespan and prevent any damage.
Differentiate normal wear and tear from manufacturer’s flaw.
It is undeniable that mass-produced soccer cleats can have defects. However, in many cases, cleats eventually become fragile after excessive use or even after just a few sessions. It does not mean that the cleat is not durable.
Using your firm ground soccer cleats in more than one match can already make it susceptible to damage. It is due to several factors such as your movement style, wrong sizing, and excessive use. Players may experience outsole separation from their cleats due to their body pressure or ball contact.
To extend your cleat lifespan:
- Have more than one pair of firm ground soccer cleats because it lessens the chances of premature wear out.
- These defects are at times the responsibility of the manufacturers. If this is the case, one should be aware of the return policies of manufacturers and retailers, especially if these defects are seen straight out of the box.
Do not use firm ground soccer cleats in other types of surfaces.
When firm ground soccer cleats are used in other surfaces such as in soft ground or artificial grass, it can have damaging repercussions. Firm ground anatomy has been tested to perform on surfaces other than natural grass. To avoid this, always thoroughly check if the soccer cleat you are purchasing is meant for a certain surface.
For firm ground cleats, it is typically labeled with FG. To be accurate, it is always best to check the manufacturer’s website.
Frequently asked questions
Can you wear a firm ground soccer cleat for rugby?
Not all firm ground soccer cleats qualify for a rugby match and vice-versa. However, manufacturers, nowadays are gradually transforming their technologies similar to that of a soccer cleat. It is due to a high demand for a soccer cleat construction in a rugby cleat which has qualities such as lightness and stability needed for the latter sport.
With professional matches, specific cleat guidelines are to be followed which limit players to stick with a cleat that is constructed specifically for the sport. For one, Kitemark certification has to be present in a rugby cleat in order to qualify in some countries.
The two sports call for different cleat functions. FG Soccer cleats are designed for excellent ball touch while rugby cleats are made for power especially during rucking and mauling.
Another key difference is the width of the cleat platform. For rugby cleats, it has to be wider to improve traction when using force from the front of the foot.
For soccer, different patterns of smaller studs can be used so long as it can provide proper traction when running or kicking the ball. In contrary, rugby follows sets of rules for the stud configuration specific to a forward or a back. Forwards should wear eight-studded cleats while the backs require six studs.
In conclusion, it would be more beneficial to use cleats built for the sport. These are proven and tested to the dynamics of the sport to prevent any unwanted injuries. Ultimately, the optimal potential of a cleat works best in its appropriate play
Can firm ground soccer cleats be used in artificial grass (AG)?
The recommended type of firm ground foot cleats that can be used in AG are the ones with rounded or conical studs. It promotes a rotational movement that reduces pressure on a synthetic surface. In this way, movement is not restricted and is more likely to be safe.
Although firm ground soccer cleats are regarded to be the most versatile among cleats, there are still cases when it becomes inappropriate and can potentially cause harm when used on a wrong surface. For example, firm ground soccer cleats with bladed and metal studs are not ideal for artificial grass surfaces. Wearing them on artificial grass can cause one to put in unnecessary body pressure that may lead to injuries.
Can firm ground soccer cleats be used in soft ground?
Firm ground soccer cleats are built to withstand slightly wet conditions. Spring and Autumn would be the ideal seasons to wear firm ground cleats. It is especially true for wetter countries. For soft to extremely soft grounds, it is highly recommended to wear soft ground cleats. It is engineered to produce the proper grip to avoid unwanted slippages in muddy surfaces.
How do I determine my size in a firm ground soccer cleat?
If you feel constriction in any area of the cleat, then it is definitely not the right fit. It will most likely cause blisters when in use. There should be enough space in the toe box to make your toes move. It should not press against the end of the forefoot. Uncomfortable sensation of pressure coming from the heels in your ankles is also a no-no.
A cleat that fits like a glove especially in the heel and toe area can bring about a more natural feel when controlling the ball.
It is also important to identify the width of your foot. If you are wide-footed, choose the wide variation of the cleat if it is available. Not all manufacturers produce wide versions of their FG cleats.
The upper material is also a key factor when knowing the best fit. Some materials can overstretch, or some may take some time to conform to the shape of the foot.
What is the most efficient way of breaking in my firm ground soccer cleats?
It is potentially unsafe and uncomfortable when you wear your cleats in a game straight out of the box. Breaking in the cleat is an essential process in ensuring comfort while playing. This will also help you determine if you have chosen the right size.
Before you bring your cleat to the field, try to break in by using it during training sessions. In this way, you will prevent the formation of blisters.
15 best firm ground soccer cleats
- Nike Mercurial Vapor 13 Elite Firm Ground
- Adidas Predator 19.3 Firm Ground
- Adidas Predator 18.1 Firm Ground
- Nike Mercurial Superfly VI Elite Firm Ground
- Adidas X 17+ Purespeed Firm Ground
- Adidas Predator 19+ Firm Ground
- Adidas Predator 18+ Firm Ground
- Nike Tiempo Legend VII Elite Firm Ground
- Adidas X 18.3 Firm Ground
- Adidas Copa 19+ Firm Ground
- Adidas X 17.1 Firm Ground
- Adidas Predator 19.1 Firm Ground
- Adidas Predator 19.2 Firm Ground
- Nike Premier II Firm Ground
- Nike Phantom Vision Elite DF Firm Ground
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