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Differences Between SG & FG Soccer Cleats

Soccer cleats are an essential part of playing the sport, so it makes a lot of sense for people to invest in the right option. There are a few choices out there in style, but getting the right fit for a surface matters as well.

The two most common options are SG and FG soccer cleats. What are the differences between the two? Although they might seem very similar at first, it is crucial to get a pair for that specific surface.

What’s the difference between SG and FG soccer cleats? The differences between SG and FG soccer cleats mainly comes down to the stud patterns. FG soccer cleats are designed to provide traction on natural grass fields, while the stud patterns on SG soccer cleats are longer for added traction on wet and muddy fields.

Defining SG & FG Soccer Cleats

  • SG=Soft Ground
  • FG=Firm Ground

Before getting started, it is important to know the differences between SG and FG. SG stands for soft ground soccer cleats, and these are usually reserved for pretty well taken care of soccer pitches around the world. Soccer cleats will penetrate the ground a little bit more compared to firmer ground, which is why it is vital to have the style of cleat.

For FG, which stands for firm ground, players on natural grass fields with a harder base and a drier surface overall will benefit the most. Cleats do not have to penetrate the ground since it is a firm surface, so the cleats need to be placed and shaped differently.

There is no guessing game with figuring out soccer cleats. Manufacturers will make sure that everything is properly labeled for the shopper on the box. Since virtually any player at one point will play on firm ground, those who are not sure should begin with a pair of these cleats.

What Do Most Players Use?

The more casual option is FG soccer cleats, since that is where amateurs are likely going to play their games. It is usually a matter of money more than anything, as it is much easier to maintain a natural grass surface that is a bit firmer than a soft ground pitch.

For a soft ground field to be used consistently, people must regularly maintain the field daily. Most places simply do not have that type of budget to put that amount of work in consistently.

As a player moves up in levels, they will likely come across more and more SG playing opportunities. Professional teams play on pretty soft ground overall, and even some college teams will have very well-manicured fields. As long as teams are willing to allow for SG cleats, most players will opt for them.

The Advantages of FG Soccer Cleats

  • Works better on other surfaces
  • Usually cheaper

Since firm ground soccer fields are much more prevalent than soft ground soccer fields at the amateur level, most people will purchase their first cleats in FG soleplate style. They are the more versatile than two, and they will be just fine on multiple surfaces as well.

They can be used on firm ground, soft ground, and even some longer artificial grass options. If the ground is too soft, it might be putting a player at a bit of a disadvantage, but most people will still be fine for the most part.

FG cleats are also a little easier to find in shops and online, giving people an advantage when hunting for a good deal. That usually drives prices down a little bit more, which is a great thing for people to deal with as well. All the top brands have multiple options for FG cleats, so they do not have to settle for anything in particular.

Finally, since the cleats are plastic instead of metal, it is a little bit safer to play with FG soccer cleats. Both cleats are relatively safe since they are not all that sharp, but the FG options have a lower chance of breaking an opponent’s skin or causing a significant injury.

Here’s my up-to-date FG soccer cleat recommendations.

The Advantages of SG Soccer Cleats

  • Traction
  • Works better on wet & muddy fields

Players who end up playing a lot of soccer are probably going to invest in SG soccer cleats at some point. Not only are they great for those well-manicured fields that have a little bit of give to them, but they also come in handy in a totally different situation.

If the field is very soft and muddy after a rain, soft ground cleats give players a little bit more traction overall. They can be much more aggressive with their cuts and still feel like they are going where they want to.

It is a little bit of an expense, but having that extra pair around will undoubtedly come in handy at one point or another. The firm ground cleats will be worn more consistently, but soft ground cleats can undoubtedly bring some value to the table.

Are There Any Differences In Durability & Weight?

SG and FG soccer cleats are designed basically the same, with the only difference coming down to the actual cleats being used.

Since FG soccer cleats use a plastic for their cleats in most scenarios, and SG boots use metal studs, they will be slightly heavier. It is not going to be that noticeable at all, as even people holding both simultaneously will find it hard to notice too much of a difference.

The cleats designed for firm ground also tend to last slightly longer, simply because they are not dealing with the toughest elements. Since many people wear soft cleats when they are playing in less than ideal conditions, they can start to show their age a little bit more quickly.

Other than that, both cleats have the exact same uppers and other technology hidden within the shoe.

Are These Cleats Capable of Being Used on Turf & Indoor?

Players should avoid cleats of any kind on these flatter surfaces. Not only will places have signs that say that they are not allowed by any means, but it could also be a health risk for players.

If there is no give to the surface for the cleats to sink into, there is a chance of causing injury while moving around. It also provides no additional benefits to traction whatsoever. In fact, players would end up slipping around much more than with other options.

There are specific shoes designed to give a little bit of traction for turf while largely mimicking what a cleat should look like. They still have the design on the upper like a normal soccer cleat, but there is not nearly the same amount of length as on FG and SG cleats.

Indoor shoes largely look like shoes made for tennis or basketball in many ways, at least on the sole. Again, these indoor surfaces are much harder, and they do not allow for a cleat to sink into the ground.

The good news is that the sport’s popularity has made shopping for footwear so much easier than ever before when playing any type of soccer. There is no reason to buy shoes not made for tennis, as the top companies also have indoor, street, turf, and more options.

For turf and indoor check out one of these posts instead:

Final Tips on Finding The Right Soccer Cleats

Figuring out what type of surface players will use the cleat is just one of the first steps to making a quality purchase. There also needs to be considerations such as brand, color, fit, durability, and more.

A lot of choices can seem overwhelming at first, but shoppers usually tend to gravitate towards something as they keep looking. Having at least a pair of dependable soccer cleats can help players move confidently around the pitch and control all aspects of the game as much as possible. Having solid, dependable footwork is the base of any great player.

Most companies do a great job of providing options at different price points so that all levels of players can find what they need.

Keep in mind that the cheapest options are almost always built for FG, simply because those are the most versatile. Most SG cleats tend to be a little more expensive in general, but they are roughly the same price as the same FG cleats styled similarly.  

All in all, a great pair of cleats will do a lot for a player’s confidence on the pitch. Faster movement will lead to better overall performance.