What are the best football boots for 3G & Astro Turf?
This guide helps you find the perfect boots for 2G, 3G and 4G artificial grass pitches.
Everyone needs to wear the right kind of football boots, and those playing on astro turf are certainly no exception.
After all, wearing the wrong kind of footwear can cause serious damage to the playing surface, and what was initially a quick game at Powerleague will quickly turn into an expensive nightmare. To avoid such an eye-watering bill and, of course, any serious injuries, you need to head onto the pitch in a suitable pair of astro turf boots.
But there’s just one problem. These pitches are rapidly becoming more advanced, with new types of artificial turf popping up all over the country. The current range of 2G, 3G and 4G pitches leaves many of us feeling unsure of which boots we’re allowed to wear, and in some cases you might not be entirely sure of what type of grass you’re even playing on.
It’s all very confusing, especially since new fancy boots are being released on a daily basis. So, to save you any chronic headaches, I’ve put together this complete guide on what boots you can wear on astro turf, 3G and 4G pitches - as well as the differences between each playing surface.
Astro Turf vs Artificial Grass Pitches
When booking a game of five-a-side or dropping your kids off at training, the pitch will probably be labelled as astro turf or artificial grass. Some people use these terms interchangeably, but there are actually some huge differences between them which you need to be aware of.
Let me make this clear: astro turf and artificial grass are NOT the same thing, and you’ll need a particular type of boot for each surface.
To make matters even more confusing, these pitches will also be marked as either 2G, 3G or 4G - and this has absolutely nothing to do with your mobile network. Instead, this refers to the “generation” of artificial grass being used, as these pitches continue to evolve and improve in quality.
For example, “4G” stands for “fourth generation”, and is more advanced than the older 2G and 3G surfaces. Before buying any boots, you’ll need to find out which of these surfaces you’re actually playing on:
2G Astro Turf
2G is your traditional astro turf surface. Much firmer and shorter than 3G and 4G, this is a sand or water-based artificial grass which has been around for decades now.
Although they’re more commonly used for games of hockey, football is still sometimes played on 2G pitches up and down the country. Figuring out whether you’re playing on this type of astro turf is incredibly simple: you’ll be picking sand out of your boot bag from now until the end of time. Good luck to the parents out there.
So, when you hear the phrase “astro turf” here in the UK, it’s usually referring to these old-school 2G artificial grass surfaces.
You Should Wear: Astro turf football boots are by far the superior option here. These will be labelled as “Turf” in the product description.
You Shouldn’t Wear: Indoor or AG football boots. Astro turf isn’t hard enough for an indoor soleplate, but it’s also not soft enough for artificial grass boots. They simply won’t provide the traction you need to perform well.
You Definitely Can’t Wear: Boots with blades or full metal studs. This will cause incredible damage to the playing surface and you’ll more than likely get injured. The thought of catching a stud when running at full pelt doesn’t even bear thinking about. Shudder.
READ | Our ultimate guide on all the different types of football boots.
3G Artificial Grass
3G is now the most common type of artificial football pitch. This features longer synthetic grass than 2G surfaces, and also happens to be much safer and softer. In 2020, this is the type of artificial grass you’re most likely to be playing on.
While it still uses plastic fibres, the main difference here is the use of a black rubber crumb infill, rather than sand. This is a much plusher, more weather-resistant playing surface which is far better suited to the beautiful game, with its shock-absorbing qualities seriously reducing the risk of injury.
It basically feels much closer to playing on natural grass, with a more realistic bounce of the football and much more cushioning underfoot. If your boot bag is now filled with tiny rubber pellets, then the chances are you’re playing on a 3G football pitch.
You Can Wear: Artificial grass (AG) football boots are the best option if you’re solely playing on 3G, but you can also get away with wearing firm-ground and astro-turf boots. Basically, you’ll usually be safe wearing anything with a plastic soleplate or moulded studs.
You Shouldn’t Wear: Indoor football boots don’t really provide the traction required on 3G pitches, so I personally wouldn’t wear them. However, if the pitch is absolutely dry, then you should be okay - you won’t damage the pitch at least.
You Definitely Can’t Wear: Boots with metal studs or blades. As with 2G surfaces, these boots are completely unsuitable for 3G pitches, risking both damage to the pitch and a nasty injury.
4G Artificial Grass
4G is artificial grass but without the rubber crumbing infill. This is purely synthetic grass, marking the latest advancement in artificial turf and providing the most authentic playing surface yet. The main difference from a 3G pitch is the increased plastic fibres, which reduces the need for any rubber filling.
It’s worth noting that 4G hasn’t yet been recognised as an official playing surface or technology. They do exist in very small numbers, but most pitches are usually labelled as 4G as a way of saying “top quality artificial grass”. This is a bit of a misleading marketing ploy, so the chances are you’ll still just be playing on 3G.
If you see anyone claiming to have 5G, 6G or 1000G - well, now they’re just being silly.
Check out our guide on the best boots for 4G if you are playing on a surface without the rubber crumb!
What Football Boots are Suitable for 3G and Astro Turf?
There are four types of football boots which can realistically be worn on artificial surfaces, these are: astro turf, artificial grass, indoor and firm-ground boots. Before you go ahead and buy something, you’ll need to understand the differences between each one and how to identify them.
Some boots are better for astro turf surfaces, some are better on 3G, while certain soleplates can actually be worn on multiple surfaces, offering excellent value for money if you play on various pitches. The golden rule here is to wear something with a rubber or plastic sole, and to avoid metal studs or blades at all costs.
Choosing the right soleplate is pivotal to your performance on artificial turf, and you have a few options to choose from:
Astro Turf Football Boots
What Are Astro Turf Boots?
Astro turf boots feature little rubber pellets on the sole, which provide plenty of grip on firmer, flatter 2G surfaces. These will be labelled as “Turf” (or simply “TF”) when you’re browsing online, but always look out for the tiny studs if you still aren’t completely sure - if you’re seeing longer studs or even blades, then you’re looking at the wrong thing.
They can even be worn on most 3G artificial grass surfaces, although it’s worth pointing out that they won’t provide quite as much grip as a pair of AG boots. In fact, you should always check with the owner of the pitch, since some places can be funny about you wearing them, and there’s nothing more frustrating than being told you can’t play.
But astro turf boots are undoubtedly the most versatile option here. They perform best on 2G, work well on 3G, and can even be worn indoors or on dry grass surfaces. If you play on multiple surfaces, this is 100% the best option for you.
Wear Them On: 2G astro turf and most 3G artificial grass surfaces. You can also wear astro turf boots on concrete.
Try Them On: Indoor surfaces. Though they won’t be as good as a dedicated indoor shoe.
DON’T Wear Them On: Natural grass surfaces, especially if it’s wet. Astro turf boots just don’t provide enough traction.
Artificial Grass Football Boots
What Are AG Boots?
While astro turf boots feature little rubber pellets, artificial grass boots instead make use of rubber studs or blades. These are specifically designed for the longer grass of 3G pitches, digging into the turf and providing much better grip and cushioning.
You’ll mainly see these labelled as “AG” in the description, but some brands also offer an “FG/AG” or “MG” (multi-ground) model, which is an artificial ground boot also suitable for firm-ground surfaces. These boots basically feature mixed studs, and this is the ideal choice if you tend to switch between artificial and dry grass pitches.
However, if you also regularly play indoors, on concrete or on sand-based astro turf, then you’re much better off going for astro trainers instead. Unless, of course, you fancy forking out for several different pairs. You can check out our rundown of the best football boots for 4G pitches if you’re in need of a little inspiration!
Wear Them On: 3G and 4G artificial grass surfaces.
Try Them On: Dry natural grass, though they won’t be as effective as typical firm-ground (FG) boots.
DON’T Wear Them On: Concrete, indoor courts, soft grass or 2G astro turf. This would just be an injury waiting to happen.
Indoor Football Boots
What are Indoor Boots?
Indoor football boots will use non-marking flat rubber soles. They are, quite obviously, specifically designed for indoor playing courts and sports halls, providing the best grip possible on these much harder surfaces.
These soles will typically feature grooves and ridges (hence the grip), and they’ll feel more like you’re just wearing a normal pair of trainers. By all means, feel free to wear these around the town, the house or wherever else you might be going, I just wouldn’t necessarily advise wearing indoor shoes on any other kind of football pitch, though.
You could get away with wearing them on dry 3G or 4G surfaces, but this isn’t really an ideal solution since the grip is pretty poor. Still, if you’re an indoor player wanting to join in on a quick game on 3G, you’d usually be okay.
Wear Them On: Indoor playing courts. You can also use indoor trainers on concrete surfaces.
Try Them On: Dry artificial grass. Not when it’s wet.
DON’T Wear Them On: Anything else really. Indoor trainers are completely unsuitable to astro turf, firm-ground and soft-ground pitches.
Firm-Ground Football Boots
What are FG Boots?
Firm ground football boots make use of plastic or moulded studs, and they undoubtedly perform best on hard natural grass. However, the lack of any metal studs means they can also be suitable for 3G artificial grass, although they don’t provide as much grip as dedicated AG boots.
Although most modern firm-ground boots will be absolutely fine on artificial grass (again, check with the pitch owner), not all of them are actually suitable. This depends largely on the length of the moulds used, since anything too long could actually damage the surface.
If you aren’t sure what to go for, the big brands have actually started producing split FG/AG models, which have been configured to work well on both surfaces. Both Puma and adidas make use of the FG/AG tag, while Nike label there’s as “MG” (multi-ground) football boots.
Wear Them On: Firm natural grass surfaces.
Try Them On: 3G or 4G artificial turf.
DON’T Wear Them On: 2G astro turf, concrete or indoor pitches.
How to Choose the Best Astro Turf Boots
Your choice of astro turf boots depends not only on where you’re playing, but also on your own playstyle. Once you’ve figured out what kind of soleplate you should go for, you also need to consider the comfort, design and performance of the boots you’re looking at.
While comfort will always be the most important factor, the way you play will also have a major impact, since your boots should ideally complement your style. For example, those focused more on passing and control could go for something like the adidas Predator, while any speedsters out there would be more interested in the Nike Mercurial.
Whether you’re playing five-a-side or training with your club, your football boots should always be breathable and comfortable. In an ideal world, they’d also look pretty damn good, too.
You can find cheap astro turf boots today at FOOTY.COM, as we compare prices on everything you need for 2G, 3G and 4G surfaces. Explore discounts on men’s and kids’ sizes today to make sure you bag a fantastic deal!