What’s The Difference Between Artificial Grass and Turf? A Soccer Player’s Guide.

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If you’ve ever played soccer on artificial grass or turf, you know how different one is from the other. But what exactly are those differences? Which one is better? Which football boots do you need for each surface?

As a soccer player, you may want to better understand what sets artificial grass and turf apart from each other in order to choose the right boots and kit for your next match.

Let’s dig into this topic with a look at how artificial grass and turf compare! 

Artificial Grass vs. Turf: A Soccer Player’s Guide 

Whether you’re a soccer player, soccer fan, or just someone who enjoys being outdoors, chances are you’ve heard of artificial grass and turf.

But what’s the difference between these two synthetic surfaces? It turns out, a lot. We’re here to break it down for you.

What is an Artificial Grass pitch? 

Artificial grass pitch is just what it sounds like—it looks and feels like natural grass, but it’s made of synthetic fibers that are specifically designed for sports surfaces.

They’re Third and Fourth generation football surfaces known as 3G or 4G. If you’re playing on these surfaces, you’ll come home with all those rubber black bits in your shoes!

Artificial grass is meant to simulate natural grass, so it often has longer blades that give you more cushioning than turf does. This can lead to less fatigue on your feet after long hours of training or playing in a game. 

Artificial grass has many advantages over natural grass, such as less maintenance costs and a longer lifespan.

You also won’t get muddy!

It also tends to be harder than natural grass and may require more energy to play on because of its stiffness. 

what's the difference between artificial grass and turf - artificial grass 3G pitch

What type of boots do you need to play on Artificial Grass pitches?

Want to play soccer on Artificial Grass pitches? Keep in mind that the type of boot you’re wearing makes a difference.

AG boots and FG boots are designed with the intent to help prevent slipping and provide comfort when playing on Artificial Grass.

AG (Artificial Grass) boots have shorter, more durable studs and can really help your game by allowing you to accelerate quickly in any direction.

FG (Firm Ground) boots also have shorter studs and feel comfortable on artificial grass but permit less grip than AG boots.

The decision ultimately lies with you — pick your style of play, decide which feats of agility you’d like to achieve, and choose which style of boot best suit this!

Watch and learn: What’s the difference between artificial grass and turf pitches?

Here’s a great video that shows you the difference between artificial grass and turf pitches:

What is a Turf soccer pitch? 

Turf aka Astroturf is a First Generation artificial surface that consists of plastic blades woven together that typically mimic the feel of natural grass.

The shorter strands of plastic-based fibers are built with durability in mind but can be rougher on your feet! It’s a little bit like a carpet.

Those who play on turf regularly become used to the feel and will often prefer it over natural grass because of its consistent texture throughout the entire field or pitch. 

Unfortunately, turf can get hot quickly in direct sunlight, so it’s important to keep hydrated when playing on this type of surface since dehydration can set in quickly due to higher temperatures.

The ball also bounces like crazy and can be harder to get under control.

That said, turf does not require as much maintenance as natural or artificial grass does and can be cheaper upfront than both alternatives—which makes it an attractive option for budget-conscious soccer players or teams!  

What's the difference between artificial grass and turf - astroturf pitch

What type of boots do you need to play on Turf pitches?

Turf boots (TF) are specifically designed for optimum grip, comfort and stability on artificial turf surfaces.

These types of boot have shorter and more durable studs that are perfect for giving you better control when playing quick-fire passes or dribbling around defenders.

Astroturf boots also provide breathability which is great if the surface gets hot as it helps keep your feet cool. 

You can also use AG soleplates to play on turf, but be aware that the softer material might not provide as much grip.

NEVER use FG or SG soleplates in turf – you will cause damage to the surface and probably yourself! Long studs are not good for turf pitches AT ALL.

Is grass or astroturf better for soccer?

When it comes to soccer, the best surface really depends on the type of game you’re playing.

If you’re playing a full-fledged, 11-a-side match with plenty of running, grass is your best bet.

There’s nothing like that feeling when your cleats sink into the grass as you make your way across the field! There’ll be fewer injuries with a natural surface, and you’ll have more control of the soccer ball due to its softer, spongier nature.

On the other hand, if you’re playing 5-a-side or a casual match, astroturf is usually preferred.

It’s easier on your feet, you can play in all weather conditions and it won’t require much maintenance. Plus, it has a consistent texture throughout that some players find more comfortable than natural grass! 

At the end of the day, there isn’t one definitive answer when it comes to which surface is better for soccer —it really depends on what type of game you’re playing and who’s playing it!

Ultimately, do what works best for you and your team.

Do professional soccer players play on artificial grass?

No, professional soccer players don’t hit the pitch on artificial turf.

Big clubs have plenty of dough to invest in keeping their natural grass pitches looking pristine and gorgeous all year round.

Professional football has always been played on grass football pitches and it’s more conducive to an intense game of footy.

For all the recreational sports, school teams and lower leagues out there who need a place to play, artificial grass is more cost effective and requires less maintenance than real grass, so it’s a great option for them!

Why was artificial turf invented?

Artificial turf was invented to provide a more durable and consistent playing surface compared to natural grass.

The original artificial turf was invented in the 1960s by chemists James M. Faria and Robert T. Wright, who set out to create a low-maintenance synthetic grass for use on athletic fields.

The idea quickly caught on with other sports teams, schools, and recreational areas looking for an easy-to-care-for solution that would reduce the cost associated with maintaining real grass surfaces.

Artificial turf allows people to play sports outdoors all year round, even in cold climates or during times of drought when natural grass may not be ideal.

It also reduces water consumption as well as wear and tear from overuse.

The final score

Choosing the right surface for your soccer game is important. Whether you’re playing on natural grass, artificial turf or astroturf there are pros and cons to each that need to be taken into consideration.

What matters most though is finding the right boots appropriate for each of the surfaces so that you can play at your best without worrying about slipping, feeling uncomfortable or risking injury!

With the right footwear, any surface can become a great place to show off your skills. So get out there and have fun!  

This article was written by

  • Anna Adams, Creative Director & Content Lead

    Hi there! I'm Anna Adams, your go-to source for all things women's soccer. I've been crazy about soccer for over 20 years, ever since I was kicking a ball around with my brothers as a kid. I've turned my passion into a career where I get to share all the cool stuff about soccer with you. As a content lead, I've had the awesome opportunity to work with various sports brands and publications. Whether it's the latest gear, pro tips, or just some cool soccer trivia, I'm all about making soccer ac...