Soccer is played on many different surfaces, some natural, some artificial. The majority of soccer cleats are designed for dry, firm surfaces, but what if the soccer pitches where you play are softer? In our review of the best soft ground soccer cleats, we’ll help you discover the right footwear for these conditions.
The Correct Way To Choose The Best Soft Ground Soccer Cleats
Choosing the best soft ground pair of soccer cleats requires the same amount of thought as for any type of surface. The main priority is to ensure that the grip is suitable for soft ground and that the studs or cleats used are appropriate.
To help soccer players to identify the sort of ground each pair of soccer cleats is suitable for the products are normally allocated a two-letter code. The codes are as follows
IN: Indoor: Indoor soccer courts and halls
AT: Turf: Artificial soccer surfaces such as ‘Astroturf’
HG: Hard Ground: Dry, hard surfaces
FG: Firm Ground: Firm, dry surfaces
AG: Artificial Ground: Artificial soccer pitches such as ‘Astrograss’
SG: Soft Ground: Softer soccer pitches with moisture
Naturally, you should be looking for soccer cleats with ‘SG’ to signify they are for soft ground. The other thing to look for is the studs underneath the shoe. Soccer footwear uses combinations of round studs and cleats of various shapes such as straight blades, triangles, and hexagons. Normally for softer ground round studs are the most suitable so check for this when looking at the products.
It has to be pointed out that getting the grip right on soft ground is more critical than for harder surfaces. When the ground is soft, moist or even wet, the likelihood of slipping is increased enormously. Accordingly, the chances of being injured are increased too, especially from strains and muscle pulls.
Getting injured on the soccer field isn’t always as a result of a bad tackle from your opponent. Often the injury comes from something as innocuous as your foot slipping just as you kick the ball. The problems with this are either the way it forces your body to adjust unnaturally or for excess weight to be placed on a weaker part of your body.
Stopper Or Scorer? It Makes A Difference
We are going to assume that you like to play in a certain position based on your skills, speed, agility and strength. If so, then you will know that the position you play requires attributes that are different from the other positions. Although the goal scorers often get all the glory, every position is vital, as is the footwear that is worn in that position.
Your choice of soft ground soccer cleats should take into account your normal position as they will need to offer a combination of features that aid and support your ability to play there. Here are some pointers based on the various positions.
Goalkeeper: It is vital that you get the best grip possible on softer ground so sacrifice aspects like control and touch for a pair of cleats which give the maximum traction underneath.
Defender: Grip is also at a premium for a defender on soft ground so make sure this is top of your agenda, plus seek footwear with a good degree of protection for when you’re tackling opponents.
Midfielder: Plenty of running needed to play in this position so getting a pair of soccer cleats that have lots of cushioning for comfort is highly recommended.
Forwards: These guys need to be agile so a pair of soccer cleats which are lightweight and flexible fits the bill perfectly. Strikers should also look for soccer cleats with the maximum kicking area on the front of the shoe for when they are shooting at goal.
Soccer Cleats Upper Materials Define The Footwear
For decades soccer cleats were made of one material only and that was leather. They were thick, heavy and hardly promoted fast running and nimble footwork. Today, leather is still widely used but the differences with the sort used in yesteryear are enormous. Modern soccer cleats also use synthetic materials for the uppers so there is a choice to be made.
Synthetic Uppers: Soccer cleats made from synthetic materials tend to be comfortable and also very durable. They may lack the natural feel of leather when in contact with the ball, but modern manufacturing techniques get them pretty close.
Full-Grain Leather Uppers: A very durable material which offers extreme comfort and ball touch. Prices can vary a lot depending on the quality of the leather.
Kangaroo Leather Uppers: K-Leather is very soft and the thickness of it gives soccer players a touch and a feel for the ball that is hard to beat. It is extremely soft so does not offer the best protection if that is important to you.
Goat Leather Uppers: Goat leather is becoming increasingly popular and offers similar benefits to k-leather.
Synthetic Leather Uppers: This hybrid material has many different versions as each brand tends to have its own. The intention is to take the best merits of both leather and synthetic and combine them.
Recommended Soft Ground Soccer Cleats
When looking for the best soft ground soccer cleats the temptation might be to compromise on the performance of your footwear in terms of ball control and comfort and instead concentrate only on the grip. With Nike Tiempo Legend V SG-Pro you get the best of both worlds in terms of excellent grip and prime performance.
These Nike soccer cleats are constructed using kangaroo leather uppers. K-leather is lightweight but more importantly, it gives players a touch and a feel for the ball that few other materials can offer. This is enhanced by Nike’s ‘all-weather control’ technology which will be especially welcome when the weather takes a turn for the worse.
The interior of the shoe utilizes Nike’s ‘Hypershield’ which helps prevent moisture ingress when playing in wet conditions. This prevents excess weight and also keeps players comfortable instead of trudging around in soggy socks. Staying within the shoe there is a molded EVA sock which protects the sole of the foot from excess pressure and supports the arch.
A TPU footplate is used to form the base of the shoes with its characteristics of flexibility and strength the ideal combination for a pair of soccer cleats.
Providing the grip in wet or muddy conditions are a combination of fixed and removable studs. The concept here is that players can alter the length of the studs they are wearing depending on how soft the ground underneath them is.
If looks are important to you when buying sporting gear, then the PUMA Men’s Evospeed 1.2 Mixed Soft Ground Soccer Shoe is certainly a very eye-catching addition to your soccer kit. They have a smooth and sleek profile which makes them look like running shoes.
Puma has used a synthetic upper for these soccer cleats and on first viewing, the uppers look totally smooth. On closer inspection, however, you’ll see they have subtle dimpling across the toe section and thin lines running down the sides. The texturing should help you with ball control and also accuracy when passing.
In keeping with the lightweight nature of these soccer cleats, the padding around the inner shoe is very thin. The tongue is also thin and has perforations to help cool your feet when playing. The insole is made from cushioned EVA and provides the means of reducing upward pressure on your feet from the studs underneath.
The structure of the inner cage is called ‘Everfit’ and is Puma’s own bespoke method of shrouding your feet for both comfort and stability. For added protection, a sturdy heel cup surrounds the rear of the shoe, so any impact in this area does not cause injury.
The synthetic chassis provides a high degree of flexibility whilst at the same time providing a secure platform for the footwear. To ensure your grip is at its best on softer grounds, the configuration underneath uses a total of twelve rounded studs.
The dream of any aspiring soccer players must be to play for their country and where better to do that than at the FIFA World Cup. The reality for most of us is, the closest we’ll come to doing that is via a video game, and there is also the consolation of wearing soccer cleats bearing the name ‘World Cup’. The footwear in question is the Adidas Performance Men’s World Cup Soccer Cleats so let’s see if they are ‘champions’ or not.
Adidas use kangaroo leather to create the upper of this footwear which has a premium softness and gives players exceptional touch on the ball. The other advantage of k-leather is how snuggly it fits around the foot to provide stability and comfort.
The core of the Adidas Performance soccer cleats is a TPU chassis that gives the flexibility required for players to move and turn without hindrance, whilst providing a firm, stable base for the shoe
You are looking for the best soft ground soccer cleats so the most important element is going to be how well they help you keep your grip. The beauty of the Adidas soccer cleats is all studs are screw-in. In effect what this means is you can buy various sets of studs of differing lengths and diameters. This way you can interchange studs depending on the underfoot conditions, even during a match if you have to.
The finishing touch to these soccer cleats is the extended tongue, which can be folded down over the laces to provide a better surface area to strike the ball.
Any soccer players who can control the ball in both dry and wet conditions have the edge over their opponents. Nike’s Hypervenom Phantom SG Pro soccer cleats are designed to make that control even easier with their ‘All Condition Control’ feature. This technology is designed to help soccer players bring the ball under control quicker and more effectively in all weather conditions.
A major element of ‘ACC’ is the honeycomb textured upper which gives players extra time to control the ball and pass it before the opposition players have even thought about tackling. The upper is designed to shape itself to the shape of your foot providing optimum stability and excellent feel on the ball.
This element of the footwear securing itself around your foot is further enhanced by the inner sock which effectively locks your foot in place. Again, this added stability is vital in giving players the confidence when passing and shooting.
The chassis of these soccer cleats is made from flexible fiberglass to aid agility and sprinting speeds. To gain the best possible traction on softer grounds screw in nylon studs are utilized.
There is no doubt that the styling on the Puma King XL SG Men’s Leather Soccer Cleats is of a traditional nature. They have very classical lines running along the length of the shoe in the form of the stitching and trim. Whilst they may look ‘old-school’ on further inspection they have features that even the most modern of soccer cleats lack.
The uppers are made from a full grain leather, but unlike some, this leather is surprisingly soft which bodes well for their ability to enhance touch and control. This is amplified by the stitching lines running down the sides of the shoe and the subtle perforations which are present on the instep.
The soccer cleats incorporate Puma’s branded inner cage system known as ‘Puma AptoLast’. The concept seeks to mold the shoe to the curvatures of the wearer’s foot to provide a snug, stable and comfortable fit. The other advantage of this system is that it reduces the breaking in time that is sometimes required with leather footwear.
Providing the chassis of the shoe is a TPU outsole which has the optimum characteristics to give the shoe the flexibility players are looking for in order for them to make quick turns, twists and runs.
With the key to playing on soft ground being grip, these Puma soccer cleats provide that in abundance with their traditional screw-in rounded studs which are interchangeable if dryer conditions occur.
One final point is the fact that Puma provides you with a free bag for you to keep your soccer cleats separate from your other kit.
In picking the winner of the best soft ground soccer cleat it would have been easy to simply to have gone for the one with the best grip. Whilst grip is important in soft ground a soccer player needs their cleats to offer more with regards to performance. With this in mind, we have chosen the Nike Tiempo Legend V SG-Pro.
This is a classy pair of soccer cleats not least because of the premium kangaroo leather upper which any player should welcome, as it gives them the best chance of controlling the ball.
In addition, Nike’s ‘Hypershield’ technology provides protection from moisture ingress which you are bound to come up against playing in soft and wet conditions.
The Nike Tiempo soccer cleats are strong but also are flexible enough to assist rather than hinder a player’s agility.
Finally, there is the grip, which on soft ground, is at a premium. Nike has cleverly configured the studs to be a combination of fixed and removable. This gives player options to optimize the traction they have underneath by swapping out different stud lengths and types.