There’s several Points to Make
There are a lot of good guides out there explaining which stud layouts are best for which surfaces. They all follow the rules that FG is for firm ground and some softer ground, SG is for the muddiest playing surfaces, HG is for some of the hardest ground and AG is for artificial surfaces. It is often noted that HG and AG stud layouts can be used on firm ground surfaces as well, since a lot of places around the world have firmer to hard playing surfaces. This is a pretty good, basic guide to follow. There is more than meets the eye, however, as some stud layouts may cause you issues even if they are being used on the recommended surface.
One of the prime issues people might have is general stud pressure. People’s feet vary and because of that, the pressure points on one’s feet might be different from someone else. For me, my heels are more sensitive. For others, the balls of their feet might be the most sensitive spot. Figuring out what part of your foot is most prone to pain or is the most sensitive is an important thing to figure out before you go about buying boots. For example, if you are prone to heel issues, you might want a boot that has shorter and/or bladed studs in the rear of the boot. This is because bladed studs tend to distribute pressure better in general more than rounded studs do.
For someone else whose balls of the feet are more sensitive, they might prefer a boot that has more studs in that area, or a stud layout that is designed to distribute pressure from that area better too. A good example of this is the stud layout on the Mizuno Rebula 3s. The studs that are located in the area that the ball of the foot rests on have elongated bases, which help relieve stud pressure. This is also another area in which a shorter, bladed stud might be beneficial since again, bladed studs have longer bases which allow them to distribute pressure better.
Obviously, this issue of stud pressure can be solved by getting some cushioned insoles. However, if the insoles are too thick, they can actually cause muscle strain while running. This is why it’s generally a bad idea to use insoles designed for running shoes in your football boots, since running insoles are not normally designed for sharp changes in direction. Therefore, you tend to lose some explosiveness when pushing off while wearing cushioned insoles.
Another thing to check before buying boots with certain stud layouts is the strength of your knees and ankles. If you have had a major injury in either, I normally recommend only stick to boots that have rounded studs only. The reason for this is that since bladed studs are designed to provide more grip, there is a chance that they will overgrip when you plant your foot and try to turn. Playing in a boot with a bladed stud layout after having injuries in your knees or ankles speeds up the deterioration of those joints. There are some people who wear boots with bladed studs after such injuries and never have any issues. However, to be on the safe side I recommend avoiding boots with bladed stud layouts.
It can also be argued that if you play a majority of your games on artificial ground, you should avoid using boots with bladed studs. Artificial pitches provide a lot of friction and grip as it is, so adding a boot with blades to that equation will compound the likelihood of issues arising. I would also argue that many bladed boots these days have studs long enough that can be used on softer pitches without much problem since its good for the ground to have a little bit of give while playing. This is again why artificial pitches can be so dangerous, because artificial grass doesn’t have a lot of give and a consequence of that is that it is much easier to become “stuck” on these kinds of pitches and allows for injuries to occur.
The Mizuno Wave Cup is one of the exceptions to this rule. The bladed studs word well on AG surfaces and because of the Wave system in the heel, it helps prevent pressure on the heels and makes it easier on your joints as well.
It’s also important that you wear a stud pattern than feels more natural to you when playing. There are some people out there for whom the Vapor also tends to work best for them on their ideal playing surface. Likewise, I know of people who almost think it’s a sin for them to have anything but rounded studs. Some people, like me, can go either way and it depends on the boots. I had personally used bladed studs almost exclusively when I was in high school but I have become older, I tend to prefer boots with rounded studs as there are a lot of good options out there of rounded studded boots that have good grip, like the Morelia 2 for example.
As an aside, there has been a rise in the past 10 years with triangle stud shaped boots, especially from adidas. In general, I have not encountered an issues on AG surfaces while using boots with triangle studs but that doesn’t seem to be the case for everyone. Also, as a quick aside, Nike deserves praise for the HG and AG stud layouts they’ve released over the past few years. As with the rest of this guide, the person who decides what does and doesn’t work for them is you.
An important point that has less to do with the studs and more to do with the soleplates themselves is that your soleplate should not be able to flex up and down too much down the middle. When soleplates have too much flexibility in the middle it increases the chances that your foot can sustain injury. I know of people who have had serious injuries because their boots overflexed in the middle. An easy way to check for this is that if a boot your wanting to buy flexes in places that your foot doesn’t, then you should avoid buying those boots.
This is just handy, general, guide for choosing the right stud layout and soleplate for you.
But what do you all think? Is there something that I missed? Please let me know in the comments below and make sure to follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!
Thanks to Kishispo/Kemari87 and Concave for the photos.