One soleplate to rule them all. Or why HG soleplates should be ubiquitous.
With the rise of the popularity of the mixed SG/FG stud patterns over the years a recent problem has occurred as many players, in order to be the same as the heroes they idolise, they have begun to buy more boots with the mixed SG/FG stud pattern. The issue is, most people don’t really need these mixed plates.
There are parts of the world where this kind of soleplate is needed. Heck, I didn’t wear FG boots the whole time I lived in the UK because the pitches constantly resembled freshly ploughed farmland. The increase of the use of artificial fields and the fact many people don’t have the chance to on soft fields, even for matches It is because of this I believe that instead of mixed plate boots or even FG boots, HG boots should be the standard boots available.
I understand that FG boots are still the best-selling soleplate type and we’ve even seen an increase of professionals wearing FG boots over mixed stud patterns, but I think is partly because FG soleplates have been offering more grip than boots of the past. This allows pros to wear FG plates on their soft pitches. Outside of the professional game many of us don’t get that chance, and some of the nicer fields people tend to get to play on these days are artificial grass. I’m sure many of you have heard this elsewhere but do not use FG boots on artificial grass. You are risking serious injury if you do so.
We do have many AG boots these days that do a pretty good job working on normal grass pitches as well as the artificial grass pitches they are designed for. These do make for a safe bet. The problem I have with using AG boots on natural grass is when the pitches are slightly wet, and mud can clump up easily on AG plates since they have so many studs. This brings us to HG plates.
Boots with HG soleplates are designed to absorb more pressure into the soleplate without passing that pressure onto the foot. It is because of this that they provide a comfortable and stable ride even on artificial grass. Since boots with HG soleplates do not have as many studs as an AG boot, they won’t clump up mud when natural grass fields are wet. They also tend to be around to same height as AG studs, so the difference really comes down to when you are wearing HG boots on natural surfaces.
Where I live now, we mostly mainly use artificial grass fields for practice and matches but we do occasionally play on natural grass. Even when the natural fields are wet, the ground is still quite hard, which makes HG boots preferable. When I lived in Texas, I often wished that HG boots were available because the ground was so hard at the times that FG boots didn’t provide much grip. I’m not even going to get started on the amount of times I saw people wearing SG boots on the terrible North Texas pitches.
The other thing we should remember is that we can’t just think about the big markets in North America, Europe and Japan. A lot of the smaller markets carry similar products and we have players all over the world wearing FG boots that are completely unsuitable to the pitches they play on.
Unfortunately, until the big brands act towards a change, there’s not too much that we as consumers can do. HG soleplates aren’t readily available outside of Japan (and a few other markets) so its even harder to purchase a pair for many people. However, if we all continue to ask and push for change, then that change can happen.
Here’s to hoping it does.
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