Baseball cleats are shoes with metal, rubber, or plastic spikes that help gain traction on the field. There is a huge variety on the market and a lot of different designs that highlight spike placement, lace alignment, ankle support and volume of cushion.
When deciding on the right pair of cleats, keep your primary position in mind and if you spend more time on dirt or grass as that can help you decide how many spikes is ideal. Let’s lace up, keep our eye on the ball, and find the right cleats for you.
Best Metal Cleat
New Balance Men’s 3000v4 Metal Baseball Shoe
- Two spike plates might allow the cleats to be more flexible.
- Extra padding around the Achilles.
- Breathable mesh top helps prevent blisters.
- Pricer than comparable options available.
- On the heavier end of the market at 4lbs total.
The New Balance Men’s 3000v4 Metal Baseball Shoe is made of a synthetic material with a breathable mesh on the top of the foot. These cleats are equipped with two separate spike plates with a separation where the balls of the foot are positioned. Intended to look like a normal shoe rather than a cleat, the 3000v4 is available in eight different colors.
Contender Metal Cleat
adidas Men’s Icon Bounce Baseball Cleats
- The bounce cushion may make these easier to break in quickly.
- Spike positions may make changing directions sharply easier on the ankles.
- Breathable section on top of the cleat to help prevent feet from sweating.
- On the more affordable end of the market.
- Sizing tends to run narrow (going a half size up is recommended).
- May feel tight around the toes.
The adidas Men’s Icon Bounce Baseball Cleats feature an Ironskin toe-cap for protection and bounce cushion for comfort and support. It comes equipped with a Stealtrax outsole plate for added traction. Available up to size US17 in eleven different color combinations.
Best on Turf
New Balance Men’s 3000v4 Turf Baseball Shoe
- Nubs on the sole of the shoes may allow for a better grip when moving on turf.
- Aesthetically similar to more conventional new balance design.
- Mesh top allows the foot breath when playing in warmer environments.
- Extra room around the toes.
- Sizing may not be comfortable for athletes with wider feet.
- The front of the sole may separate from the shoe over time.
The New Balance Men’s 3000v4 Turf Baseball Shoe has a rubber sole and synthetic mesh covering the top of the foot. Nubs are molded onto the sole to replicate the feeling of metal cleats while staying safe on turf. They are available in sixteen different color combinations.
Best for Softball
Mizuno Women’s 9 Spike ADV Finch Molded Softball Cleat
- Lighter than most comparable options on the market at only two pounds total.
- Nine spikes can allow for stronger traction on both dirt and turf.
- The spikes are flat rather than pointed to ensure safety.
- Inner sole is thin and may need an additional sole cushion over time.
- May feel stiff until thoroughly broken in.
The Mizuno Women’s 9 Spike ADV Finch Molded Softball Cleats have a rubber sole with nine strategically positioned rubber spikes. The sole supports a diagonal rubber bar across the mid-foot to assist sharp changes in direction. They are available in three different color combinations.
Best for Youth
Nike Boy’s Vapor Ultrafly 2 Keystone BG Baseball Cleat
- Asymmetrical lacing may help prevent cleats from coming untied.
- Flat-top plastic studs are more likely to promote safety when on the field.
- Sizing is divided into “little kid” and “big kid” categories, but neither category is clearly defined which might lead to difficulty choosing the correct fit.
The Nike Boy’s Vapor Ultrafly 2 Keystone BG Baseball Cleat features a foam cushion inner sole and twelve plastic flat-top spikes across the outsole. The design positions eight of the spikes on the front of the foot for stronger traction when running on the field and along the baselines. They are available in five colors.
Not all brands will design their cleats to the same size as another brand’s. For example, a size eight from one brand may fit fine, while a size eight from another may not. The key things to look out for when finding a good fit is how tight the cleat feels and how much space is around the toes.
Cleats should be snug to the foot but at no point should they cause discomfort. If there is too much area around the toes, it might lead to tripping while running on the field.
Similar to sizing, there is no universal standard for spike placement on the outsole of a cleat. Spike position varies from cleat to cleat, as does the number of spikes. Although not a steadfast rule, it is likely safe to assume that the more spikes on a cleat, the stronger the traction that cleat will have on the field.
That might imply that it is better to go for an option that supplies more spikes but that is not always the case. Too much traction for some athletes might cause the spikes to stick to the ground when moving on the field. That has the potential to lead to injury in the spikes stick at an inopportune time.
Baseball and softball are both played in warmer weather and if your cleats don’t breathe, the likelihood for blisters or discomfort on the field increases. Most cleats will have some kind of breathable mesh but the effectiveness can vary based on the main material the shoe is designed with. If a cleat is made primarily of leather, it will likely need more mesh or sections that breath than cleats made of a more synthetic material.
Breathability in a cleat also boils down to the comfort preferences of the athlete. Most baseball and softball players wear high socks when competing. If you know what kind of socks you are going to where when playing, that can help isolate the more suitable breathable cleat options.
Good cleats are important for any baseball or softball players equipment bag. Be sure to find the pair that fits comfortable and will help you feel confident both in the field and on the base paths. With so much variety and available options on the market, there is almost surely to be an ideal pair for you.