Are you trying to decide if you should purchase a pair of turf soccer shoes or indoor soccer shoes but don’t really know what the difference is? This article will seek to provide a comprehensive guide and overview on the topic of turf soccer shoes versus indoor soccer shoes (or football, for the rest of the world). This guide will subsequently provide a brief explanation of why there are different types of soccer shoes.
We will provide an overview and brief description of each type of shoe (i.e., turf and indoor soccer shoes) and which type is ideal/better suited for a specific type of terrain. Read on to learn more about each type of soccer shoe and hopefully see which is best for you, be it a pair of turf shoes or indoor shoes.
The differences between soccer shoes and the types you buy often come down to the type of soccer field, court, or surface on which the game is being played. The majority of soccer games are played on natural grass fields due to it being the most traditional and preferred type for the majority of clubs and leagues.
However, a few other types of soccer fields exist, such as AstroTurf fields, which are partially or fully artificial. That said, an artificial turf field is more or less the same as an artificial grass field. The only difference is that AstroTurf is the official product name for the artificial grass created by an American company. In contrast, artificial grass is a widely-used umbrella name for all synthetic grass or turf fields.
Aside from grass fields, be they real or not, you have indoor fields or indoor courts, which are often more rigid and made with floorboards of varnished wood or other types of synthetic materials. Due to these different types of soccer courts, we have more than one type of soccer shoe, which can broadly be split between indoor shoes (sometimes called Futsal shoes) and outdoor shoes.
Both types are made differently, with attributes that will better suit their respective courts. The one constant between the two is that most modern soccer shoes are made from the same combination of cotton, leather, or synthetic materials for their bodies and with rubber soles.
That said, modern leather shoes generally only have the outer body of the shoe made out of leather, a big difference from those classic leather boots that players used to wear decades ago. Also, modern leather shoes are made from a more forgiving leather material that allows them to be more flexible than their older counterparts.
Outdoor soccer shoes, the category under which turf shoes fall, is split into a handful of types, with each type being better suited to a particular type of surface or field. Due to turf shoes being the focus of this article, we will refrain from mentioning the other non-turf types. When it comes to shoes for turf soccer, you get shoes labeled as Artificial Ground (AG) or Artificial Turf/AstroTurf (AT), both of which are designed for artificial courts/fields.
While there is not much difference between Astro and AG courts, there is enough difference for professionals that necessitated having different shoes designed for both. AG courts have higher stands of synthetic grass than Astro fields and are less firm as well.
Either way, the main difference between turf and indoor shoes is that outdoor shoes have small studded tips or rubber balls on the soles of the shoes. These studs or rubber balls are needed to give the player some grip and security as they dig into the field, improving their traction and reducing the risk of slipping.
These would not be ideal for indoor floors due to (1) that they would scratch the floorboards and (2) that they would not be conformable on the even and smooth surfaces that do not have the cushioning that the outdoor fields have.
Instead, indoor soccer shoes (labeled as IN) have almost entirely flat-soled shoes made out of gum rubber and generally have patterned soles that are made to provide some degree of grip on the smooth floors. Similar to how outdoor shoes are not ideal for indoor courts, so are indoor shoes not ideal for outdoor fields. The main reason is that the outdoor field and courts have more of an abrasive surface, which will wear away at the flat gum rubber sole and grips of indoor shoes.
Ultimately, the question being: Turf vs. Indoor Soccer Shoes is not a very fair one as both shoes are specifically made for their unique fields or courts that they were designed to be played.
Indoor refers to any pair of shoes that are made to be played on non-grass or non-synthetic grass fields such as wooden floors as well as ceramic gym floors or even concrete floors. The rough surfaces of indoor floors, as you can imagine, are much more rigid and flatter and are not ideal for outdoor-type shoes that will scratch the surface and won’t provide any grip or security.
This means that any differences between the two are moot as it would be comparable to an article that discusses the difference between rugby boots and tennis shoes. That said, the question is fair enough as people have often asked about the differences between the different types of shoes on the different types of tennis courts.
However, the question would perhaps be redefined as: turf versus indoor courts/fields, as this would allow for a more in-depth about the differences between the two types of soccer and, consequently, would answer the question regarding the differences between the two shoes.
Having said that, we acknowledge that such an article would not be ideal for many who are seeking a quicker answer to their question. So, this article will attempt to provide the difference between the two while asking that you keep in mind that it is not entirely a fair comparison.
As already mentioned, the most significant difference between turf and indoor shoes is the different sole types they have. Outdoor soccer shoes have cleats, spiked studs, or hard rubber studs, whereas indoor soccer shoes have flat surfaces with dotted and patterned soles. The complex design of these shoes is made, as they are, to offer their wearer the most amount of grip, extra traction, and security that they can.
Some players may not like one of the two types, preferring the flat soles of indoor shoes versus the clunkier studded soles of outdoor soles, whereas others prefer the opposite. Your preference towards either type of shoe will determine whether you play on indoor or outdoor fields/courts.
Indoor shoes are typically only meant for rigid and completely dry surfaces; any degree of moisture carries the risk of causing slipping due to the lack of grip of the flat sole of indoor shoes, with the muddy ground being hazardous. Outdoor shoes do not have that issue as they rely on the spiked studs to dig into the pitch and provide excellent grip.
Similarly, the studs on the outdoor shoes would unbalance the wearer on the smooth indoor surface, which will also increase the risk of slipping and falling. In both cases, wearing the wrong shoe type on the wrong type of surface can lead to foot injury or worse. This makes indoor shoes a better option than everyday street shoes if you need them, as you don’t have to worry about the awkward and uncomfortable bladed studs of outdoor shoes.
Lastly, one could ultimately argue that indoor soccer is friendlier for beginner soccer players due to them not having to worry about the bladed cleats of soccer turf shoes. Linking to that, they are arguably much better for beginner players or entry-level players to wear for ball training. Likewise, they should be excellent for most casual league games.
However, indoor shoes possibly provide less ankle support due to the shoe having a lower ankle profile as it is meant to be closer to the foot and also the ground. This absence of ankle support is something to keep in mind.
Alternatively, you could argue that they give the wearer a greater degree of ankle movement, which can be both a pro and a con.
In contrast, outdoor shoes have a higher ankle profile, which means that they protect more of the player’s ankle bone due to providing more ankle coverage. The flip side is that they do not allow for as great a range of motion due to more of the player’s ankle being covered. This being said, the collar’s fit is also subject to each player.
Ultimately, you want to ensure that you only purchase a pair of shoes that consist of quality materials, fit your style of play, provide you with a firm grip, that accommodates your foot type, and that they are comfortable to wear for longer periods.
The point about quality and the choice of material that the shoe is made from is very important, as a pair of shoes (regardless of what they are made for) will always serve you better and last longer if they are made of a durable material and not a cheaper material and include a more complex design.
Hopefully, this article has been of great use to you and it will serve to inform your decision as you debate which of the two types of soccer you want to enjoy playing.