Firm Ground (FG) Cleats vs Soft Ground Cleats – Which Pair Is Right For You?

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If you’re an avid soccer player, you know that the right pair of cleats can make or break your game. Investing in the right cleats can help you take your performance to the next level in comfort and style. But what’s the difference between firm ground and soft ground cleats?

With so many types of cleats on the market, it can be hard to know which is best for you. So let’s talk about firm ground cleats vs soft ground – here’s everything you need to know!

What is the difference between firm and soft ground cleats?

Firm ground cleats (FG) provide better traction and support on firm, natural surfaces like dry grass or dirt while Soft Ground cleats (SG) are designed for wetter and muddier conditions like those found in winter months.

Firm ground cleats (FG) vs soft ground cleats (SG).

Firm ground cleats (FG) and soft ground cleats (SG) are the two most common options you’ll see in any sports store, but what’s the difference between them?

Let’s break down why it’s important to know the difference between firm ground cleats and soft ground cleats to choose the right option for your style of play. 

What are Firm Ground Cleats (FG)?

Firm ground cleats vs soft ground cleats - FG= Firm ground

Firm ground cleats, known in the soccer world as FG, offer your feet comfort and stability like no other shoe.

With their molded rubber or synthetic outsoles designed for shorter studs, these shoes help keep your footing strong on firm, natural surfaces like dry grass or dirt.

Perfect for practice drills and big games alike, FG cleats provide enhanced traction without compromising your sense of style.

If you mostly play on natural grass pitches, these are for you.

Firm ground cleats are best for:

  • Firm, natural grass surfaces
  • Flat, dry fields with minimal ground debris.

What are Soft Ground Cleats (SG)?

Soft ground SG boots

Soft ground cleats are designed for wetter and muddier conditions like those found in winter months when natural grass fields become saturated with rain and snow melt.

These shoes typically feature longer metal or rubber studs that offer more control and traction when playing on wet surfaces as compared to firm ground cleats.

The metal studs provide maximum grip while still allowing players to pivot quickly and easily during playtime – something that’s important if you want to stay ahead of your competition!

SG shoes may also be more expensive than FG cleats depending on their construction material, but they’re well worth it if you plan on playing in wetter conditions this season. 

Soft Ground Cleats are Best for:

  • Wet and muddy surfaces like those found in winter months

Watch and learn: Firm Ground boots vs Soft Ground boots

Here’s a great video that shows you when you need Soft Ground boots over FIrm ground and why!

firm ground cleats vs soft ground cleats infographic:
Weight:  FG cleats- lighter. SG cleats - heavier.

Traction: FG cleats - more speed. SG cleats - more grip. 

Surface: FG cleats are suitable for firm, natural ground surfaces, 3G and 4G. SG cleats are designed for muddy, wetter conditions. 

Price: FG shoes may be cheaper. SG shoes more expensive depending on materials.

Studs: FG cleats have shorter studs. SG cleats have longer studs providing more control and traction.

Materials: FG cleats often have molded rubber or synthetic outsoles. SG cleats may have metal studs for maximum grip.

Can you wear soft ground cleats on firm ground?

Soft ground cleats are perfect for wet, muddy fields and can provide the stability needed for training or playing in those conditions.

These types of cleats are designed with removable longer studs that dig deeper and provide excellent traction on wet or muddy pitches – so wearing them for dry or solid field conditions will be like having your tires overinflated! 

Firm ground cleats are the go-to for drier turf and artificial surfaces.

So, if you find yourself playing or practicing on hard or artificial grounds, do your feet a favor by using firm ground cleats – they give a firmer grip that just won’t cut it in wetter areas. 

Can you wear firm ground cleats on soft ground?

Yes, you can wear firm ground cleats on soft ground, but we wouldn’t recommend it!

The studs on firm ground cleats are shorter, so they don’t provide the same amount of grip and stability when playing on wet or muddy pitches.

You may find yourself slipping around more often which can put you at risk for an injury.

If you plan to play on soft ground, opt for shoes with longer studs that will give extra traction and help keep you safe from slips.

Soft ground cleats are specifically designed for these types of surfaces – so you won’t have to worry about sliding around!

Other types of soccer cleats.

Soccer cleats come in many varieties, from classic all-purpose cleats, to specialized boot types for different field conditions.

AG (artificial grass) cleats offer reliable traction on 3G and 4G surfaces but can also be worn on natural grass – perfect for the player that is always on the go.

IC (indoor court) cleats are built for indoor soccer and futsal with agility and controlled movements in mind – essential for mastering those tight maneuvers on hard floors.

TF (turf) cleats are for use on astroturf. Their lightweight construction that allows you to get lightning fast while decreasing the stress on your feet.

MG (multi-ground) cleats are for players who need the versatility of playing on a variety of fields. With their variety of stud shapes, MG cleats offer reliable traction in all conditions.

Investing in multiple types of soccer cleats can be daunting, so make sure you pick boots that best fit your playing style; after all, you’ll be spending a lot of time with them out there!

How to choose the right soccer cleats for you.

Choosing the right pair of soccer cleats is essential if you want to be able to perform at your best on the pitch.

By considering your playing style, position, foot shape and size, and budget, you can find the perfect pair of soccer cleats that will help you take your game to the next level. 

Playing Style

Your playing style is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing between SG and FG soccer cleats.

If you are a defender or a goalie who often plays on a wet or muddy field, SG soccer cleats are the better option.

They have longer studs and provide better traction on soft, wet ground.

But if you are an attacker or midfielder who likes to move quickly, FG soccer cleats are a better option. They have shorter studs and are more ideal for dry, firm ground.


Another important factor to consider is your position on the field.

Strikers and midfielders tend to do more running and quick movements, while defenders tend to focus more on stability and positioning.

SG cleats provide better stability on soft ground and are great for defenders.

FG cleats are more ideal for strikers and midfielders who need speed and agility on firm, dry ground.

Foot Shape and Size

Your foot shape and size also plays a crucial role in the type of soccer cleats you need.

If you have wider feet or high arches, SG soccer cleats are a better option as they provide more support and comfort.

If you have narrow feet, FG cleats are a better option as they provide a snug fit and enhance agility.


Of course, your budget is also an important thing to think about.

SG cleats tend to be more expensive than FG cleats due to the added materials and longer studs.

If you’re on a tight budget, FG cleats are a better option.

However, investing in a high-quality pair of soccer cleats can make a significant difference in your performance on the field and can help prevent injuries.

The final score.

Choosing a pair of cleats can be an intimidating task, not least because there are so many different types available!

If you play on firm surfaces like grass, hard ground or artificial surfaces then you’ll need to wear firm ground (FG) cleats.

On the other hand, if you prefer playing on wet, soft or muddy grounds then soft ground (SG) cleats should be your go-to option.

Ultimately, it all comes down to where and how you play – so make sure you get the best pair for your needs!

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...