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How To Deal With Wearing Soccer Shoes on Hot Artificial Turf!

Playing on AG Surfaces

We are in the middle of summer and for most that means weekend tournaments and plenty of game time in beautiful weather conditions. It also means high temperatures and the potential of playing on blazing hot artificial turf pitches. I’ve been living in California for several years, and I’ve become quite familiar with playing on black rubber crumb surfaces – it has become the norm. According to figures from the Synthetic Turf Council, there are more than 11,000 synthetic turf sports fields in use across the U.S today. That is just a staggering number.

As much as I miss natural grass pitches, having a reliable year round surface is a definite positive. But, when I’m out playing as temperatures start to soar, I strongly feel like completely retracting that statement! There is nothing worse than playing on a scorching hot field, where those black rubber crumb seem to hold incredible heat and burn any body part they can come into contact with.

According to a study cited by the Las Vegas Sun in 2009, artificial turf above 122 degrees is considered unsafe for sustained athletic use and that, depending on the air temperature, turf can get as hot as 180 degrees. That number is not a misprint – 180 degrees in the most extreme conditions. If you’ve played on AG surfaces and encountered the searing pain caused by excessive heat, you will know it is something that can dramatically impact performance.

For that reason, I wanted to offer up some tips and advice that I’m hoping will prove beneficial as you take to AG surfaces for your tournaments over the summer months and beyond!

Nike Magista Soleplate + Stud Configuration

#1 – Look For Comfort Insoles

In general, comfort insoles are a little thicker and extra padded. That extra cushion between you and the surface can prove extremely beneficial when playing on hot surfaces. So many boots these days come with extremely thin, lightweight insoles and that is a real problem. They leave your foot pinned right against the footbed and exposed to increased heat. By adding a thicker insole, you not only add a more comfortable bounce but you also reduce exposure to heat.

#2 – Avoid Soaking Your Feet in Water!

In order to reduce the grueling pain of heat on the soles, I regularly see players douse their boots with water. Bad idea! Yes, it provides immediate pain relief, but over a longer period of time it can have a negative effects. Your feet can actually blister as your damp socks incrementally rise in temperature. A wet sock is actually far more risky than a dry sock. If you can, simply remove your boots for a minute or two to release any heat off the surface. All you need is 10 seconds of relief to really improve the feel as you continue to play. If you are going to wet your feet, try taking off your sock first for full effect.

#3 – Mid Cut Collars and Hot Turf Don’t Blend Well

As the surface heats up, it becomes a challenge keeping your boots and feet at a cool level. Well, add a constricted mid-cut collar and where is there for the hot air to go? From personal experience, there is no place for the hot air to go; no ventilation like you would find with a regular ankle cut boot. As a result, there is the potential to encounter even more excruciating pain due to overheating. This is primarily geared toward Nike’s range of collared boots. Instead, choose the lower tier versions that don’t feature a mid-cut collar. They are more economical and the regular ankle cut will allow more hot air to escape the boot as you play.

#4 – Lightweight Means Less Material

It should be a given – you need to avoid anything that is marketed as being lightweight. In order to create incredibly light shoes, I’m talking anything under 7oz here, brands reduce the amount of material being used in all the important spots. They look for ways to decrease the thickness of the soleplate and continue to thin out the insoles. That leaves your foot closer to the surface, exactly what you don’t want on hot turf. Instead, focus on boots that are geared toward “comfort”, where they are built to be a little thicker.

#5 – Carbon Fiber Soleplates Are a No-No

If you see a boot that advertises having a Carbon Fiber soleplate, avoid them! Under general circumstances, carbon fiber can really offer solid performance and flexibility through the soleplate of a boot. But it has the potential to heat up very quickly and cause excessive heat across the soles of your feet. Thankfully, there are not many boots currently on the market that feature the heat retaining material, but it is one to watch out for.

ACE15 Soleplate Turf

Recommended Boot Options

Finding the correct boot for you comes down to trial and error. Below is a rundown of the boots I’d recommend as solid options on hot turf surfaces. Each boot I’ve had the opportunity to wear and test. They do not reflect my opinions on what the top overall performing AG boots available to players are. Simple use them as a guide, and try match them with your style of play and what your expectations are for a boot.

If you have anything additional you would like to add or any tips that you proven successful for you, let us know in the comment section below.

About Bryan Byrne

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.

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  1. Also, if you can buy yourself a pair of ag boots. It’ll make your fg boots last much longer and you’ll be safer.
    If you can’t buy a pair of ag boots, get a fg boot with conical studs and low to the ground. Try to avoid bladed studs on ag because you can risk yourself with an injury.

  2. Normally I like having tight laces, however on hot turf, loosening them up allows for the hot air to leave the shoe.

  3. Another good tip is to try and not buy black cleats, which really make your cleat absorb even more heat from the blazing sun. Cleats like the Adidas Ace that aren’t all black do alright but completley black cleat, in my experience, make the turf feel even hotter.

  4. Is the Nike Vapor X the one with the carbon fibre sole plate that has to be avoided?

  5. Your article is well taken, but it should be noted in the article that this is discussing FG boots being used in an AG environment. Ace being the exception, a hybrid model. There are several AG specific boots that perform much better than the ones listed in the article. They can come without dynamic fit collars and have thicker sole plates for heat protection and durability. I understand that not everyone is interested in purchasing multiple boots, but comparatively speaking the equipment purchased for soccer is much less than most sports. If you are going to play on AG, have the proper equipment.

    • I get where you are coming from, and AG specific are definitely worth considering with plenty available. But across the board, soccer boots compared to other sports are far more expensive. For example, a high-end American Football boot costs $150. For soccer it is $220.

      • Will the cleats with collar also affect the sole plate glue? I wore my 4month old obras for about 15 minutes and the sole separated.

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