What is a hard ground?
Hard Ground is described as an extremely dry natural grass pitch or synthetic grass. It can also be in the form of abrasive dirt or gravel. It is not as common as the other surface types and therefore, requires non-traditional stud pattern that would produce the right traction for hard terrain.
Hard ground soccer cleats
Hard Ground Soccer cleats are mainly designed to work with immensely dry natural surfaces. They are engineered to produce the appropriate traction for hard ground, to provide its optimal performance and lessen the chances of injuries. For both professional and amateur players, it is always wise to choose a cleat suitable for a surface type even if that would mean having multiples sets of cleats.
The following will be your guide in knowing the appropriate qualities for a hard ground soccer cleat:
- Due to extreme abrasion, hard ground soccer cleats are engineered to have more durable and harder soleplates to prevent premature damages to the cleats. The soleplate is usually made from a more compact TPU (Thermoplastic PolyUrethane) compound that is known for its abrasion resistance qualities. Unlike firm ground cleats, the hard ground soleplate is a bit denser and is not as flexible due to its moulded construction.
- Studs of the regular length such as in the Firm ground soccer cleats are not necessarily required for hard surfaces as there is no firm ground to dig into. Due to this, hard ground soccer cleat studs are designed to be slightly shorter than the firm ground cleats.
- Hard ground soccer cleats are composed of twelve fixed studs on average. The multiple studs create an equal distribution of pressure on the soleplate which is ideal for dry and abrasive surfaces.
- The studs of hard ground soccer cleats are dispersed equally and are usually grouped into four. Four studs are arranged on the toe area, another four on the heels and four in the middle. The player’s weight is balanced with the stud disbursement, making each motion comfortable on the footbed.
- Hard ground studs are usually bladed or moulded that is aimed to generate proper ground grip. Furthermore, the studs are multi-directional to prevent ankle injuries.
- The anatomy of hard ground soccer cleats is built for hard, dry natural surfaces. It is also recommended to work well in synthetic grass particularly in the third-generation artificial turf. However, it is never ideal to use for soft natural ground.
Hard ground soccer cleats vs other surface types
Below shows the difference between cleats in terms of Studs and Surface
Firm ground soccer shoes
- Surface – firm natural grass, can be damp of slick
- Studs – moulded studs, 10 to 14 studs on average, studs are wide and longer to allow proper ground penetration
Soft ground soccer shoes
- Surface – soft to muddy natural grass
- Studs – detachable screw-in studs (either plastic or metal), 6 to 8 studs on average
Hard ground soccer shoes
- Surface – hard, dry natural grass or synthetic grass particularly first-generation artificial turf
- Studs – shorter conical studs, lesser studs compared to artificial grass soccer cleats, four studs near the toes, four on the heels and four between the arch and the balls of the foot (on average) but can have more than 12 studs
Artificial grass soccer shoes
- Surface – 3G or 4G grass, water or sand-based AstroTurf
- Studs – multiple studs, more than firm ground or soft ground studs, dense stud disbursement, shorter studs as it is not necessary to penetrate on synthetic grass
The pros and cons of hard ground soccer shoes and other surface types
Firm ground soccer cleats
- Suitable for almost all types of grass pitche
- Firm ground cleats are classified as “Universal Cleat”
- The risk of using firm ground cleat on artificial grass is high
- Boot durability is at stake if used in artificial grass surface
Soft ground soccer cleats
- Soft ground soccer shoes are suitable for wet muddy surface
- Less risk when used in a slippery ground
- It can bring inconvenience when studs go missing, damaged or detached.
- The cleats feel heavy due to the metal studs
Hard ground soccer cleats
- Thicker soleplate material
- Great for hard dirt or gravel surface
- Less flexible soleplate
- Rarely available
- Heavier among all cleats
Artificial grass soccer cleats
- Denser and more durable soleplate
- Suitable for artificial and turf pitches
- Not suitable for other types of surface particularly firm ground
- Not as common as firm ground cleats
What are the brands that offer hard ground soccer cleats?
Among all other brands, Umbro has been the most dedicated to manufacturing hard ground soccer cleats. Its collections are composed of cleats that are specifically designed for extremely dry natural surface. At a glance, Umbro’s hard ground soccer cleats show resemblance with their firm ground cleats. However, Umbro engineered these shoes to be suitable for hard ground and in some cases, can double as an artificial grass cleat.
Both Adidas and Nike also offer hard ground soccer cleats. However, they are only available in selected countries such as Japan where playing in hard ground is more common. The Adidas F50 Adizero TRX hard ground is one of their hard ground soccer cleats released in Australia and Japan. Nike, on the other hand, released their Japan-exclusive hard ground version of their cleats including the Mercurial Vapor XI Neymar and the Tiempo Ligera IV. These Nike cleats are set to be opened globally soon.
Where can I find hard ground soccer cleats? Why is it rare to find?
Searching for hard ground cleats online may be a frustrating task. Not much available information nor shoe lists are available for hard ground soccer cleats. However, it does not mean that it is no longer existing. hard ground soccer cleats are common in a few countries such as Australia and Japan. Searching for these cleats will require you to change the country settings for the manufacturer’s site. Some of these hard ground soccer cleats can be shipped internationally.
Another reason why hard ground cleats have become less prevalent is due to the advent of artificial cleats that can double as an Hard Ground soccer cleat. However, cleats that are designed for hard ground is still the ideal cleat to work with an extremely dry natural surface.
Manufacturers such as Umbro, Adidas, and Puma have come up with innovations that produced cleats applicable for more than one surface type. Umbro’s hard ground soccer cleats are suitable for both hard and artificial grass surface while Puma’s All Around turf shoe is also recommended for hard ground. Adidas has cleats that are known to be FxG which means “flexible” ground. As what the name suggests, these are applicable for more than one type of ground. However, it is only available in selected countries.
What are the shoe technologies used in hard ground cleats?
The distinct innovations found in hard ground soccer cleats are usually found in the soleplate. Here are some of the technology examples specific to brand:
Umbro hard ground soccer cleats
- Umbro’s Speed Outsole made from Pebax material bring stability to Medusae cleats’ soleplate. It is a lightweight outsole intended for agility.
- Its unique stud configuration is engineered for hard ground and artificial grass. The stud pattern in this collection is composed of a combination of diamond and conical studs to optimize speed on hard surfaces.
- Diamond facets are carved in the outsole to develop flexibility in the forefoot and midfoot.
Adidas hard ground soccer cleats
- TPU Frame is the outsole material for the cleats. It is known for providing lateral stability and durability especially needed in a hard, dry surface.
- The Sprintframe geometrical construction strengthens hard ground stability while being lightweight.
- The HG triangular-shaped studs are positioned to produce optimum traction on dry surfaces.
Adidas FxG soccer cleats
- The outsole for the cleats under this category is designed with a unique stud configuration that is responsive to various surfaces. It is composed of twelve geometric studs arranged to produce traction great for artificial and hard ground.
Nike hard ground soccer cleats
- Hard Ground Vapor stud configuration is composed of bladed studs arranged to produce the best grip for hard surfaces. Ten studs are installed in the forefoot side while four more are in the heel area.
1 best hard ground soccer cleats
- Diadora Forza Moulded Indoor
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