Artificial Grass vs. Turf

Soccer has been gaining popularity in the recent years, with more soccer brands investing in different boot soleplates for the different kinds of playing surfaces for the game of soccer. Have you wondered what the difference is between Artificial Grass and Turf when it comes to soccer? We are here to elaborate! 

However, you may sometimes get confused about the difference between the different surfaces and hence the different soleplates associated with them. You may even confuse them as the same and not recognize the suitability of the surface with reference to the type of accessory you need for the game.

The Confusion

One such confusion arises when it comes to the topic of artificial grass and turf. We often struggle to find out which is better and what the difference between them is.

Well, to start with, both the Artificial Grass and Turf are ‘artificial’ or in other words, not natural grass. They are installed differently, and come in different levels of quality, resulting in difference in the performance. 

When it comes to brands like Nike and Adidas, they refer to Artificial Grass or AG as the Third Generation AG while Turf is referred to as First Generation AG. And mind you, they both are very different from one another. 

Artificial Grass (AG) 

If you want to know what the top-most quality synthetic grass is in the market today, it is, with no doubt, Artificial Grass (AG). Given the power of this artificial material to give the feeling of the natural grass, it is one of the leaders in the market for playing surfaces for soccer today. 

This is the kind of material or grass you usually will be seeing in the fields of the large soccer stadiums or playing grounds where most professional soccer players train. When looking from a distance, you might even mistake it for natural grass. However, it is quite different from anything natural.

The Artificial Grass fields provide a rougher surface than the natural grass in the game of soccer. This also implies that when and if you fall on the ground, your body is likely to suffer from extended friction with the abrasive surface, risking the chance of getting burnt or scratched.

Upon taking a closer look at the artificial surface, you can see that the grass lengths are pretty long. This is certainly something to appreciate. Why so? Well, it provides a good level of depth to the playing ground.

Furthermore, when it is installed on the ground, the Artificial Grass meets the requirements of the FIFA game. What do these requirements entail? The ground must contain a specific level of sand, sufficient amount of rubber, as well as other materials below it, in order to give a very cushiony feel to stimulate a natural grass ground. This also ensures that the ball can naturally bounce in the Artificial Grass Fields. 

What kind of soleplates must be used in Artificial Grass fields?

When asking the question about the right boot or cleat to wear during the soccer games in an Artificial Grass field, you will need to take a look at the special kinds of soleplates specifically made for the AG grounds.

These soleplates must contain rubber studs of a specific length which is important to provide support in such surfaces.

You may also go for the Firm Ground soleplates in such Artificial Grass surfaces. Adidas comes with the option to choose soleplates which are AG/FG compatible. This means, these soleplates will work just fine in both the kinds of surfaces. 

What you must keep in mind is that, you can, in no case, make use of Soft Ground (SG) soleplates because they come with metal studs. Such studs are quite risky for Artificial Grass grounds and can be detrimental to the surface.

Turf

Turf, also known as Artificial Turf, is known as the First Generation Artificial Grass. This is another kind of playing ground for soccer. However, these kinds of surfaces are pretty old and sometimes obsolete in the world of today. But, you will see them existing anyway, becoming less popular with every passing day.

The quality of these kinds of artificial ground is quite poor. Lot of players dislikes playing on such a surface. When you look from a distance, the turf will appear like a shallow, rough carpet. The lengths of the so-called ‘grass’ in these kinds of surfaces are also much shorter than the Artificial Grass (AG) surface.

Such shallow grounds will provide very negligible or no cushioning to the soccer field. Furthermore, you will feel it as soon you get on the surface. Actually, the moment you tap on the field using the palm of your hand, you can feel the hardness of the surface.

If we want to talk about the kind off bounce this type of ground produces, you will be disappointed by the answer. The bounce will not come out as natural at all and in fact, it will be difficult to predict as well.

If you fall on the ground of a turf field, you are bound to get injured badly. Why so? Well, as mentioned before, this is a very hard and rough ground with little or no cushioning. Moreover, because the roughness of the surface is way more than that in AG, your risk of getting a burn or scratch by falling is much higher. You will not be able to tackle it well.

The Artificial Grass field is hot for sure, but this kind of turf surfaces are get much hotter and hence are an absolute no-go in scorching heat. It is quite difficult to play in such fields on sunny days.

This mostly results from the level of rubber the surface includes. The turf surfaces consist of almost double the amount of black rubber balls than that in the Artificial Grass surfaces. This adds to the heat and the roughness of the surface, discouraging such grounds for soccer games even further.

What kind of soleplates must be used in Turf fields?

If you are considering playing in the Turf fields anyway, you should pick shoes with specific turf soleplates of course. Why so? Well, there are several reasons to choosing Turf soleplates in Turf fields, besides the compatibility of course. 

Firstly, these kinds of soleplates usually come with intense amount of cushioning, which is a must for such hard grounds. You are likely to feel way more comfortable that way.

Second, these soleplates are constructed from rubber. Rubber is highly suitable in this case because they are more long-lasting than any other material on such rough grounds. Because of the abrasiveness of the turf fields, you must be aware that you will be encountering quite a lot of friction. 

Moreover, the turf soleplates come with short studs. These kinds of studs are suitable for shallow grounds such as the turf surface. The soleplates also come with a good number of studs. This ensures that your weight is evenly distributed throughout the soleplate.

Why is this necessary? Well, when your weight is spread out in the soleplate, you will be able to remove any kind of potential stud pressure, thereby increasing your stability in the ground.

While turf fields are low in quality, do not assume turf shoes to belong to low-end as well. You will see lots of renowned brands launching the turf shoes which come at a premium quality. Many a times, these shoes are of the same tier as the high-end shoes for the Firm ground, endorsed by professional soccer players, only with a turf soleplate.

Sometimes you may wonder if AG soleplates can work on turf grounds. The direct answer to this is a yes. You should remind yourself that the Artificial Ground shoes come with rounded studs. This means these studs are unable to get through the rough grounds. Hence, you will have no risk of getting your feet jammed on the surface or getting injured in a trapped field. 

However, you need to be aware of one drawback in using the Artificial Ground shoes on Turf grounds. The Artificial Ground soleplates in turf fields will not protect you from the pressure of the stud, given the extreme hardness and roughness of the ground. Nevertheless, in most of the cases, they work pretty well. 

What you do need to avoid on turf grounds are shoes with Firm Ground and/or Soft Ground soleplates. These shoes are absolutely not made for turf and you will rather be risking the studs getting trapped on the rough surface, thereby leading to severe injuries in the ankle, knew or even your hip during the game. Furthermore, the stud of these soleplates might even break in such hard surfaces, causing the expensive shoe to go to a waste.

Concluding Remarks

You are now aware of the distinction between the two kinds of surfaces that are used for soccer games. Both Artificial Grass and Turf surfaces have very distinct features and will require you to pay close attention to the shoe you choose for those grounds.  

Read: Why do Soccer Players flop?

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