Nike’s AG (Artificial Ground) Soleplate

Bryan Byrne April 17, 2012 36

Nike AG Soleplate

With so much soccer in the US currently taking place on Artificial grass, it only makes sense for companies to release stud configurations that match the requirements of the surface – and that is exactly the stance Nike has taken! Their latest AG soleplate is the most advanced we have seen and it has one of the unique profiles ever seen on a soleplate.

First off, lets tackle an important question: “Does playing on Artificial surfaces ruins my boots?” A decade ago, the answer would probably have been a resounding yes – but companies have come a long way over the past few years alone and the artificial grass now being installed offers a more realistic surface that continues to close the gap on the real thing. As long as you work on keeping your boots in top condition (by cleaning and allowing them to air dry) they will last a sufficient amount of time. Some older turf surfaces will break down the upper quicker – if you spot areas where the upper is wearing thin, it is time for a different style of boot.

With that out of the way, lets focus on Nike’s AG soleplate….

NikeID Tiempo AG

What Did I Test With an AG Soleplate?
Over the past 2 months, I have been lucky enough to test out a pair of personalized Tiempo IV and a pair of T90 Strike IV, both with the AG soleplate. My goal here was to see if there was a difference between a premium and economical boot that featured the unique artificial ground soleplate.

Stud Profile
The first thing you will notice is how different the profile of the studs are to other boots on the market. There are 3 different sized studs, with each being hollowed out. The concept behind the design is that each stud has enough area to capture the surface without creating too much drag. Turf pellets infiltrate the hollowed out studs and allow the boot to since in without getting lodged in.

NikeID Tiempo AG

What is with the Configuration?
Obviously Nike has done a lot of research in developing the actual configuration, and we don’t have a great deal of insight into what makes it effective. But, I have noticed that under the forefoot flex, the studs are longer and drop in profile on either side. On the heel region, there is a mid of large and small studs. The larger studs seem to form an x shape, creating an added level of stability through the region.

How do they Feel on Turf?
They feel great on turf and add an enormous amount of stability on the surface. I have always found that you get a slightly more bouncy feel on artificial surfaces, due to those black (or sometimes green) rubber pellets. FG works effectively as it breaks the surface, but AG molds into the shape of the surface, producing less drag and more control.

AG or FG – Which is Better?
Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t label a section “which is better”, but I am preparing myself for what I know will be a top question! Different players are going to view the performance of each soleplate differently and for valid reasons. The AG soleplate is the more natural choice and not only do they feel effective on the surface, but they also provide a higher level of stability, which reduces the opportunity of injury. For that reason, I recommend players use the AG configuration. But realistically, I haven’t ever encountered any obvious problem with FG configurations on modern artificial surfaces and a lot of players can’t afford two pairs of boots. You get a quite different level of stability as FG is designed to penetrate a surface rather than mold into it like the AG does.

T90 Strike AG

Can I use AG on Firm Ground?
If you do, you will be losing out in terms of performance. Anyone will tell you that you can get away with using an FG configuration on SG and AG – but you really can’t get away with using SG or AG on FG surfaces.

Having now had the opportunity to test the AG configuration, it is something I will be highly recommending for players going forward. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into testing, but I am definitely glad that I did test it. There is a lot of contention surrounding FG soleplates and their use on AG surfaces, but if you are an FG fan who finds that particular configuration to be effective – stick with it. But for players who want the real deal and a design that has been specifically researched for artificial surfaces, Nike has a soleplate that performs at the highest level! Is this the perfect AG design? Probably not, and I am sure that Nike will tweak it over time – but for now it is an effective solution that is pretty darn close.

Selection of AG boots to check out:

On a side note, artificial grass is not only easy to maintain, but it works out to be more cost efficient in the long run and can be used by teams year round. The companies that produce these surfaces continue to research and release even more realistic imitations of grass, and I can only see the number of fields being installed increased!

T90 Strike AG Stud


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Bryan Byrne

Expert Boot Reviewer

The mastermind behind the revolution that is SoccerCleats101. Bryan started this website back in 2008 and has been testing boots on a daily basis ever since.

Check out our About Page for more details on Bryan and the website.


  1. Erik April 17, 2012 at 4:43 pm - Reply

    Hey Bryan – How does this AG soleplate compare to the old multi-ground cleats? I have been looking for a soleplate that can replace the multi-ground configuration. Nike and Adidas have discontinued them. They were a great option for the hard and dry grass fields of Southern California where longer FG studs often just slide along the surface of the ground rather than digging in to the grass. I am curious if the AG soleplate fits this bill. Is it a half-way point between a turf shoe and a fg cleat? Also, does the softer stud material on the AG cleat provide any more cushion to the body than an FG cleat?

    • jpizzO April 17, 2012 at 5:29 pm - Reply


      The AG soleplate isn't soft – its quite hard – simliar to hard ground but shorter. I've worn flats, turf soles all on the artificial (3-G) turf and this and the Nike Bomba FInale Pro AG sole are the best on the market. FG makes "you skate" on 3-G pitches. Turfs don't allow you to go thru the grass and can get stuck as you kick (Turf Monster). That's why the AG soleplate is a mixture of varying stud lengths and Hardness to allow you to "cut" through the grass. Cannot recommend the AG's any more highly to players.

      • ErinC April 18, 2012 at 12:54 pm - Reply

        Ok but does the AG work on hard, dry grass surface?

        • nicolas April 21, 2012 at 1:53 pm - Reply

          im sorry but no. they do not dig into the grass

  2. Pavel April 17, 2012 at 7:26 pm - Reply

    I swear by AG soleplates as well as the ones seen on Nike Bomba line for use on artificial grass/turf surfaces. Benefit over FG studs has been noted in the review, but there is also an advantage over traditional turf shoes since there is no heel cushioning (instead, the studs 'mold' to surface as Bryan notes) that sometimes has adverse effect on touch and control of the ball.

    • Roark April 20, 2012 at 7:32 am - Reply

      I think the reason for that is the Bomba's are made specifically for short sided matches in which changes of direction are more important than a 40 yard dash. This means the Bombas make you feel a little more flat footed with less of a heel counter and a softer sole plate. These seem to be designed specifically for outdoor 11v11 because of the harder sole plate. Not that you can't use them for both, its just interesting.

  3. football head April 18, 2012 at 1:57 am - Reply

    i think nike kind of developed the soleplate tech based on their nike 5 bomba series

    • Roark April 20, 2012 at 7:28 am - Reply

      I agree, especially with the hollowed out studs. I've worn the bombas and really liked the dynamics of their stud configuration, they've just always been too wide for my feet.

  4. Lucas April 18, 2012 at 12:00 pm - Reply

    These have actually been out for a while in Europe and Asia. I have Tiempo IIIs with this soleplate and find them optimal for artificial turf. I some times use my CTR360 FG if it is a little wet since they over grip to the surface making it easier to cut. One setback to using FG's on artificial turf is dead ball striking especially if you like to get under the ball with inside of your foot. Since the studs are higher of the FG soleplate I find i cant hit the ball like I want with the same frequency. I also hear the tiempo iv fg are also great on turf can anyone confirm that?? Great article.

    • Jimmy November 2, 2013 at 2:29 pm - Reply

      I have used tiempo legend IV’s FG on 3G pitches and they work great.

  5. e April 18, 2012 at 12:52 pm - Reply

    I would also like to know if the AG would work good on really hard dry grass field. Your feet get really tired and you slip alot when you play with FG shoes on that type of field

  6. Brandon April 18, 2012 at 8:23 pm - Reply

    do a review on custom T90's with the hybrid soleplate!

  7. Roark April 20, 2012 at 7:25 am - Reply

    I like the design, it provides the response and traction of a HG boot with the stud pressure of a turf boot. I think stud pressure/comfort is the main issue with HG boots on artificial astroturf, which has driven me to only use bladed configurations on it in the first place. Now if I could get these in my preferred brand I would definitely try them out (not trying to flame NIke).

  8. OLA May 2, 2012 at 11:13 pm - Reply

    are you going to try other AG offerings? adidas is using a new one on the LZ preds and adipure too.

  9. badike023 June 9, 2012 at 12:55 am - Reply

    I know you said this doesn't perform well on firm ground, but what about hard ground? I play keeper and my field has a rock hard goalmouth. Would these be sufficient?

  10. Imo August 19, 2012 at 7:34 am - Reply

    Iv just bought the adidas ag offering will be interesting to see how they perform. Iv used puma powercat HG boots on the 3g turf and found i could do the Ronaldo shot a lot as i couldnt naturally get under the ball. Bryan any chance you could do a few reviews with the adidas AG soleplates and see how they compare?

  11. Gene Bell October 23, 2012 at 10:18 pm - Reply

    Most of the fields nowadays use artificial grass. This is because of the cost of maintenance. It's excellent that Nike took this factor in consideration.

  12. LHSSstriker7 January 13, 2013 at 12:40 am - Reply

    So…u mean we can use AG in Firm ground as like regular grass field but it will be losing out in tems of performance…. Im really considering that using total90 strike IV AG cleats on regular grass field…:( is it really matter? bad for cleats? doesn't stable? and does AG cleats break easily on grass field?

    • soccercleats101 January 14, 2013 at 1:33 pm - Reply

      The problem is traction – you will definitely notice a difference with stability in play. I strongly recommend using FG boots on natural grass only.

  13. Josh March 4, 2013 at 7:34 pm - Reply

    I purchased the AG Trequartista NikeiD and i love them..!! I started playing at a new indoor facility with artificial turf (with little black pieces of rubber within it) and the people who run the place said i cant wear them..!! I assume they are worried about them tearing up the turf, but arent they designed not to..? Lol just would like some others thoughts on this, as i dont know how to convince them they are made for that surface lol thanks for any reply

  14. Cynthia March 14, 2013 at 9:27 pm - Reply

    What do you recommend for high school atletes playing on both grass and some turf? Our home field is grass but some of our opponents have turf. Thanks

    What do you recommend for high school students who play mainly on grass but some turf…AG, FG etc?????

    • soccercleats101 March 17, 2013 at 1:42 pm - Reply

      My initial recommendation is to get a pair for both surfaces – but if that is not feasible, going for a pair of FG boots is the best option. Look for boots with round, conical studs rather than boots with blades as they will provide the most equal traction on both surfaces!

  15. ANdrew March 19, 2013 at 4:48 am - Reply

    Can i use the ag cleats on astroturf?? Thnks.

  16. PJVedder9 May 6, 2013 at 3:32 pm - Reply

    Hey, at the beginning of the review you mentioned your goal was to compare economical vs premium versions of the AG soleplate ("My goal here was to see if there was a difference between a premium and economical boot that featured the unique artificial ground soleplate."), and unless I just skimmed to fast, I don't think I saw a conclusion about the comparison between any premium vs economical shoe, just a review and Q&A regarding the shoe type. So do you have a conclusion on spending more, and a comparison of the two shoes you tried? Thx.

    • soccercleats101 May 6, 2013 at 7:16 pm - Reply

      The primary difference is in the upper, but it is tough to compare since they are different silos – Tiempo being the upper class boot. The actual soleplate on both is pretty much the same and there is no difference in terms of performance.

  17. Blog Só Chuteiras May 6, 2013 at 4:45 pm - Reply

    I've used the Trequartista 3 AG in natural grass too… They worked pretty good, and it was very confortable…

  18. jesss May 6, 2013 at 5:32 pm - Reply

    Adidas’s sprintframe works for me. I’ve been using my synthetic fg adizero’s for about 2 years almost exclusively on turf and they’ve held up wonderfully.

  19. Roger May 6, 2013 at 5:59 pm - Reply

    How do these help against the heat from the turf field? What shoes would be the best to help against this problem?

    • soccercleats101 May 6, 2013 at 7:18 pm - Reply

      The key is to stay away from thin soleplates and try to get something with a solid insole. In other words, anything with a Carbon Fiber soleplate is going to heat up and anything with a lightweight insole won't help. These work out pretty well compared to the market.

    • shubho May 26, 2013 at 1:37 pm - Reply

      thanks for asking this question. the adidas predator absolions FG are impossible to play on turf when sun is shinning during summer. the shoe coated with black rubber just seems to melt away.

  20. Nashon May 7, 2013 at 1:47 pm - Reply

    Personally I have 3 AG nike sole plates and 1 Adidas AG sole plate.
    2 Mercurials and 1 T90. As for Adidas it is the 11pro ag.

    In Singapore the best pitches are artificial due to our terrible weather.

    I've never slipped from AG, nor do I get stuck in the turf. This even during wet weather.
    It doesn't make sense but somehow AG plates from nike work best for me.

    (torrential rain followed by huge dry spells lead to barren plains for grass pitches here)

    • Dan.g May 17, 2013 at 9:33 pm - Reply

      Hi Nash , i could not fine any Nike’s AG (Artificial Ground) Soleplate mode on Web , can you provide me where to buy this ?

  21. Hoyoung September 12, 2013 at 11:17 pm - Reply

    Does AG also work on old turf fields (the ones without pellets)? Specifically, do they work as well as the TF shoes on the old turf fields? I look forward to your reply.

    • soccercleats101 September 15, 2013 at 9:32 pm - Reply

      Not so much – if it is carpet style, then definitely not. That is where you are going to want to use a TF configurations.

  22. William November 15, 2013 at 7:37 am - Reply

    Im consedering to buy the vapor ix fg but can i play it on ag?
    Thanks for answer please.

  23. Bullseye November 15, 2013 at 7:49 am - Reply

    Im consedering to buy the Nike Mercurial Vapor ix on fg but i play mostly on ag. Can i buy the fg ?

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