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Football boots: studs vs. blades [what they are & where to buy]

What are studs and blades on football boots? We tell you everything, as well as where to find the perfect pair for your game.

football boots studs vs blades what they are and where to buy

Most new boot technology is laid bare for the eye to see. From up in the stands we can see the modern vamps, uppers, colourways and silo designs included in the football boots on the feet of our favourite players.

But underneath the surface, hiding out of sight, lies one of the most important aspects of a football boot: the soleplate and its stud configuration.

Without the soleplate, a football boot would be useless. We’d have no grip on the surface we were playing on, so we wouldn’t be able to change direction without slipping. Essentially, we’d lose any agility that is required to play the modern game.

A lot has changed in this area over the last couple of decades. Players are now given a choice of stud configurations, specially designed to perform on a number of different surfaces. From soft ground, to 3G and 4G artificial grass through to indoor to astro turf.

To understand fully, we need to compare studs vs. blades and take a closer look at the individual sole types you’ll find in stores today…


What are conical stud football boots?

adidas world cup and puma king football boots with metal conical studs
Images from Unisport.

Conical studs most closely resemble the typical football studs you’d find on more classic boot models. We’re thinking (fondly) of adidas World Cup, Puma King and Pantofola d’Oro boots.

They use studs of a conical shape that can either be fixed or moulded onto the actual soleplate, or like boots of old, can be attached by screwing them into the soleplate by hand.

Modern players tend to opt for fixed/moulded studs to avoid the age-old problem of losing a handful of studs to the suction of a muddy pitch, each and every time they play.

No matter how tight we thought we’d secured them into the boot, twisting and turning through 90 minutes could always dislodge a couple of studs from the soleplate, lost forever to the pitch.

Conical studs are always the trusted choice for soft ground boots, with players needing a larger surface area of stud to gain traction on the muddy surface.

Shop soft ground boots >

What are blades on football boots?

nike adidas and puma football boots showing plastic blades soles
Images from Unisport.

The first metal blades were the ones used on Craig Johnstone and adidas’ Predator Accelerator in 1998. Football boot blades are a wider, fin-shaped form of studs. They often come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

They are suited to harder ground by providing more points of contact between the bottom of your foot and pitch over a larger surface area, resulting in better traction.

Running on hard ground with pointed, conical studs can cause the studs to stab upwards into your feet rather than sinking into the turf and if you’re running around for a long time, this can become uncomfortable.

In the modern game, plastic or rubber (scientifically researched) blades are forged onto the soleplate of firm ground football boots, giving maximum stability and performance for players.

Shop firm ground boots >

Are metal blades on football boots banned in the UK?

adidas powerswerve 2009 football boots in white with metal blades
Images from Classic Football Shirts.

Early bladed stud configurations posed some safety matters, as they were screwed into the soleplate with no flexibility, unlike plastic and rubber. You'll likely remember this style from the earlier adidas Predator models.

This meant that if a player tried to turn their foot when it was planted in the ground, it could have too much traction, embedding itself and causing the famous ‘ACL damage’ as the knee turned without the foot.

Whilst the banning of metal blade boots isn’t written in the laws of the game by the FA, it’s certainly frowned upon.

You’d be hard pressed to find a manufacturer that's produced these dangerous studs since 2013, after Sir Alex Ferguson condemned the technology as far back as 2005 and famously banned his own players from wearing them.

Today, modern blade configurations arrange specially designed square, triangular and/or chevron blades in such a way that when the foot is planted, it can still turn freely allowing explosive movement from different angles. Even Fergie would approve, we’re sure.

Shop boots with plastic blades >

Can you wear studs or blades on artificial grass pitches?

nike adidas and puma football boots with artificial grass moulded stud soles
Images from Unisport.

You can wear plastic bladed (FG) football boots on artificial turf, but it’s not recommended. You should never wear metal studs though. This is because manufacturers have researched and created a new type of soleplate (AG), especially for those modern surfaces.

The term ‘AG football boots’ refers to boots suitable for artificial ground or artificial grass. The popularity of artificial pitches has risen exponentially across the UK, where harsh weather has been known to lay waste to large parts of the grassroots season.

Whether it’s 3G or 4G turf, boots designed with an AG soleplate give maximum traction on what can become a slippery, greasy surface in the wet.

They often comprise of smaller, smoother plastic studs which can easily be inserted and removed whilst twisting and turning on fake turf.

The smaller studs help to avoid potential injuries brought on by wearing larger firm ground (FG) moulded studs on artificial turf, but ultimately AG offers far more traction than astro turf trainers.

Shop artificial grass boots >

What are mixed stud football boots?

nike adidas and puma football boots with metal studs and plastic blades mixed soles
Images from Unisport.

More often now, soft ground stud configurations try to combine the benefits of both conical and bladed studs into one hybrid soleplate. Nike’s Anti-Clog tech, for example.

These can be a combination of moulded conical and bladed studs or a mixture of screw in metal and rubber studs alongside fixed studs and blades.

With a raft of elite players using this stud configuration, it would seem that this tech is proven to perform on all types of grass pitches.

Shop mixed stud boots >

Find out more about boot surface types

If you're still struggling to choose which way to go in terms of boot surface types, we've got plenty of content to help you get to grips with it.

For a deeper look at the choice of surface types within the boot world, look no further than our complete guide to the different types of football boots. And we've even taken a deeper look into firm ground vs. soft ground boots too.

If you're looking specifically for information on FG and AG boots, glance over our article which answers the key question: what are moulded football boots?

When it comes to choosing the perfect boots for your season, we've picked out the best boots for soft ground, the best boots for 3G and also the best boots for 4G pitches too.

Read our boot blog >

Where to buy football boots with blades

At FOOTY.COM, it’s our job to gather the best prices from leading retailers. And that includes the prices for all football boots with blades on them too!

We compare prices from trusted boot stockists such as Pro:Direct Soccer, Nike, adidas, Puma, Lovell Soccer, Sports Direct and more to show you the best deals for your next pair of boots.

Find football boot deals >

Kevan Thorpe

Quintessential grassroots journeyman. I've had more "you look like Gareth Barry" comments than I have career goals.