What’s The Difference Between SG And FG Soccer Cleats?

Soccer players spend a lot of time running for the duration of a match and because of this, they need to be wearing comfortable footwear that isn't going to hinder their performance.

There are many factors to consider when looking to invest in new soccer footwear, one of the main factors being whether you require SG or FG cleats. You must determine what type of surface you will be playing on so that you can select the best style for playing in these conditions. 

Below we have identified the differences between SG and FG cleats so you can select the best type for the surface that you are going to be playing on.

What are SG cleats?

SG is an abbreviation for 'Soft Ground' and these cleats are intended for wear on more natural but slippery, cushioned surfaces such as grass and mud.

These cleats are designed with removable metal studs that can be adjusted according to the slipperiness of the surface.

The studs come in rubber, metal, or plastic variations. For good traction and grip onto the surface, the studs tend to be longer but not so long that they are uncomfortable to wear. 

What are FG cleats?

Fg is an abbreviation for 'Firm Ground' and as suggested these cleats should be worn on firmer playing surfaces.

While they are best suited to well-maintained fields with a firmer surface, they are more universal than SG cleats as they offer the versatility that makes them suitable for wear on more playing surfaces if needed.

Unlike SG cleats, the studs on FG cleats cannot be removed. They tend to be made with molded plastic studs for traction and ease when pivoting. 

When should each pair of cleats be worn?

As mentioned, SG cleats are worn when the playing surface is particularly wet and muddy. The studs of these cleats are longer and more effective in penetrating the ground that has a soft, cushiony feel.

Many modern cleats adopt a mid stud pattern for even distribution of pressure and improved wearer comfort. 

As the studs can be unscrewed for removal, players are provided with more freedom regarding the type that they use. For many, metal studs are the preferred option. This is because they provide great traction and allow for fast and easy movements when playing on slippery surfaces that would otherwise make it difficult to maintain a grip.

SG cleats are typically worn by advanced and professional players who are more likely to play on these softer surfaces. 

FG cleats are a popular style that is most effective when worn on hard and dry natural surfaces such as a grass playing field. An FG/AG rating will also indicate whether these cleats are suitable for wear on artificial grass surfaces.

Although predominantly worn on hard surfaces, they can handle moisture on the pitch and are suitable for wear during most seasons. FG cleats can also be worn on less maintained surfaces, for example, fields where the grass is a little longer, however, in this case, they should only be worn if the ground isn't saturated or holding a lot of water. 

FG cleats are made from the same material as the rest of the soleplate and they cannot be removed. This material typically tends to be plastic or rubber and the studs are more like a blade or cone in shape.

Though these studs cannot be removed, they have been placed in a way that will provide the player with plenty of speed and traction without compromising on comfort. 

Do players need both pairs of these cleats?

While some soccer players may want to be fully prepared for all conditions by investing in a pair of SG and FG cleats this isn't always necessary.

Although FG cleats are intended for firm surfaces they can be worn on softer surfaces if needs be. Because of the versatility of these cleats, they tend to be the most popular style owned by soccer players. Although some players may prefer to wear SG cleats on softer surfaces, FG cleats can be worn if necessary. 

SG cleats have been designed with studs that are solely intended to be worn on soft surfaces. They can be dangerous with a greater risk of injury if they are worn on surfaces that they are not designed for. 

Can FG or SG cleats be worn on artificial grass?

As mentioned, FG cleats can only be worn on artificial grass if they have an FG/AG rating that deems them suitable for both surfaces.

If they do not have this rating, you should avoid wearing your FG cleats and instead invest in a pair that are made for AG surfaces. 

For players who play on both of these surfaces regularly, it may be worth investing in a pair with an FG/AG rating so that you don't have to keep alternating between the shoes that you carry for each game. 

SG cleats should not be worn on any other surface apart from soft and cushion-like surfaces. Due to the solidness of these boots not only do they present the risk of injury to the wearer, but the studs can also damage the artificial grass. 

Do FG and SG cleats differ in price?

For many, the cost is going to influence the pair that they select and the brand that they purchase from. Well known brands tend to make more expensive cleats.

Both FG and SG cleats tend to retail within a similar price range so you are unlikely to notice a huge increase in the amount that you spend. Some may find FG cleats to be the most cost-effective option because of the versatility that they offer. 

How to Choose the Right Pair of Soccer Cleats

For many, the process of purchasing the best pair of soccer cleats can be rather challenging. Considering many factors beforehand will make this process much easier.

You must ensure that you fully understand the differences between both types of cleats so that you buy the right ones for the surfaces that you play on. Purchasing the incorrect type will likely affect your performance. 

One of the most noticeable differences between the feel of SG and FG cleats is the weight as the aforementioned are heavier. This is because SG cleats typically have metal studs that add more weight to the shoe.

Despite this, it is unlikely that you will notice a huge difference when you are wearing them and playing a game of soccer. Both pairs of cleats feature studs that have been carefully placed to enhance performance and distribute the pressure so that they can be worn comfortably. 

Other factors to be cautious of are the size of the cleats. They should fit comfortably without putting a lot of pressure onto your feet.

Also, consider the quality and the durability of the cleats regardless of whether they are intended for firm ground or soft ground surfaces. This is because they are likely to come into contact with a lot of mud so they need to be made from high-quality materials that can withstand these elements along with tough impact. 

What about players who play on SG and FG surfaces?

For players who play on SG and FG surfaces, investing in multiple pairs of cleats can be quite an expense. The last thing you want is to invest in the latest release of cleats from a well-known brand only for them to get ruined after a few games.

Your experience and dedication to the game can be a deciding factor as to whether you require a few pairs of cleats or whether one will suffice. 

Serious professional players will likely benefit from investing in both types of cleats and this is an expense that is likely to be expected for something that is going to benefit their performance and progression in the game. Having a pair of SG and FG cleats available will allow you to perform to the best of your ability on both surfaces.

For beginners and more casual players, it is likely that you will want to save your money when possible, so you will likely get away with having a pair of FG cleats that can be worn on all of the surfaces that you play on.

It is unlikely that you will participate in a soccer match on a heavily waterlogged and extremely muddy pitch, so FG cleats are likely to endure these conditions without deterioration in quality. 

What are the other types of soccer cleats?

Although our primary focus has been to discuss the differences between FG and SG cleats, there are also many other styles to be aware of.

In total, there are 5 different types of soccer cleats available, each of which is better suited to particular surfaces and playing conditions. These are HG cleats, Indoor cleats, turf shoes and MG cleats. 

Final Thoughts

Many differences can be identified in the design of SG and FG cleats, the most prominent being the surfaces that they are made for. For those looking for versatility without compromising on performance, FG cleats are the most viable option.

For those who are only going to be playing on soft surfaces, SG cleats are the best option. As identified throughout this guide, there are limitations regarding how these cleats can be worn.

SG cleats can only be worn on softer natural surfaces, however, FG cleats are intended for tough grounds, soft grounds if needed, and also artificial grounds if they come with the rating that states they are suitable for both surfaces.  T

he studs on SG cleats can also be unscrewed and positioned at the most practical length required for the surface that you are playing on while ensuring that they remain comfortable without putting too much pressure onto your feet.

While many differences can be identified between FG and SG cleats, they both provide plenty of traction and grip when they are worn on the correct surface. Because of this, you don't have to worry about them having any unwanted effects on the quality of your performance.

Wearing SG cleats in the incorrect environment can present many dangers to your own safety, but can also affect the quality and state of the surface that you are playing on. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you replace SG studs with FG studs?

Yes, it is possible to change the studs on your SG cleats as there are FG/AG cleats available that are suitable for an SG soleplate. 

Can you wear turf cleats indoors?

Just like FG cleats, turf cleats are rather versatile in how they can be worn. They can be worn indoors as well as outdoors and on concrete surfaces too.

Can you wear FG cleats indoors?

Despite FG cleats being suitable for wear on a range of surfaces, unfortunately, they should not be worn indoors. 

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