Over the past few seasons we’ve seen brands push the edge of the envelope and taking the boot world to the newest and greatest of heights. However, one innovation that has remained untouched until now is addressing one of football’s most simple and common problems – clogged up soleplates. If you’ve got a Ferrari with poor tyres, you ain’t winning any races. Step in Nike and their Anti-Clog technology. Aimed at eliminating the problem. So, does it work?

No matter what your skill level is or what pair of boots you have on your feet, a soggy pitch immediately brings every player the same fear: am I going to slip? The closest fix that we’ve seen on the market, up to this point, is the addition of long metal studs to dig a bit deeper into the ground and provide better traction in wet conditions. Still, any player knows that metal studs aren’t enough. The mud and loose grass quickly accumulates on the soleplate and, no matter how aggressive the studs happen to be, you'll no doubt find yourself on the deck at a crucial time, as you go to shoot or prevent the last man from going through on goal. Just ask Steven Gerrard.

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Can Anti-Clog fix all of these problems?

After getting in the Anti-Clog boots, the first thing we’d like to mention is that the boot sitting atop the soleplate is unchanged. This is merely a tech addition to the soleplate and has zero bearing on comfort or feel for the ball.

The biggest thing about Anti-Clog is that it isn’t a change to how long the studs are or how much grip a standard SG soleplate would provide. Having used Nike’s SG-Pro set-up in the past on many occasions, newcomers to Anti-Clog won’t notice any real change. The change is in what Nike has done to the actual plate on the Nike Anti-Clog boots.  As soon as the boot comes into contact with water, the plate forms a thin, liquid barrier between itself and anything that comes into contact with the boot. Sounds bit sci-fi, right? Surprisingly, there has to be some truth to it because, well, it works a treat!

We took to the pitch wearing Nike Anti-Clog boots while a teammate wore the SG-Pro plate on the same heavy pitch. After about fifteen minutes of wear, the SG-Pro had managed to snag enough mud and grass to plant a pitch of our own in the office. The Anti-Clog boot? Apart from some small snippets of grass blades? Nothing. In fact, it had the sheen of a boot that had just come straight out the box. After about an hour, the SG-Pro boots needed the mud picked from them about six times, while the Anti-Clog boots still looks like we had merely sprayed them with a water bottle (except for the upper that showed typical “one-hour-on-a-disastrous-pitch” level use). Considering our reticence to get on board with a technology that truly sounded too good to be true, we consider this a big-time win for Nike.

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However, we do have a few thoughts and caveats to add.

Firstly, we want to make sure that you understand that this technology only stops those slips that you’d experience because you had gotten too much garbage built up on the bottom of your boots. Slipping because a huge chunk of the earth decided to give way the second you’re lining up for the thirty yard screamer? Yeah, that’s still going to happen. Don’t think we’re bashing Anti-Clog, because it certainly will stop the slips you always got because your soleplate looked like it was actually made of dirt, but it isn’t a miracle slip cure. It’s Anti-Clog remember, not Anti-Slip.

Secondly, we want to see this tech rolled out on FG soleplate as well before we really shout Nike Anti-Clog from the rooftops. Why? Well, considering how much our wallet would thank us, any player on a budget is always looking for a boot that can be as versatile as possible.  Depending on where you are, it might be an SG boot that you can use 90% of the time, but most places will probably say that FG is what they’ll need for the bulk of their games. If the pitch is only slightly wet, the water needed to let the Anti-Clog work would be present and we wouldn’t have to opt for studs. Considering that the “accumulation slip” is something we experience just as much with FG boots as with SG, we think the tech would be beneficial here.

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Lastly, how long until this tech becomes like ACC and is standard? We definitely are believers in the tech working, but what would it say for Nike to keep rolling out standard SG-Pro in the future and have Anti-Clog be a separate option? As typical human beings, we aren’t fans of the blatant cash grab… so we hope that wouldn’t be the case. Plus, we’d also question Anti-Clog a bit simply because, if Nike hasn’t gone all-in on the tech, how could we possibly be expected to? Pro player support wouldn’t go a miss.

If you’re a weekend warrior slogging on soggy fields or hitting the pitch every day on watered down pitches, it’s a big thumbs up from us on turning you in the direction of Anti-Clog. It will keep your studs uncluttered and help keep you from slipping once all that muds turns your boots into a pair of slick skate shoes. Plus, who wouldn’t mind avoiding that awkward one leg hop we all do to pick out the gunk from our studs so that we avoid sitting down on the wet grass? The only thing to really know is that Anti-Clog isn’t going to fix every slip or dip, which, in defence of Nike, isn’t what the tech is meant to do. If you’re looking to upgrade your boots winter then Anti-Clog is currently the best way to move forward.

Want a pair? Take your pick here.