Softball is a popular sport for people of all ages, and women’s softball is increasing in its popularity. The National Collegiate Athletic Association reported that women’s softball is its fastest-growing sport in terms of annual revenue and television viewership. Millions of women across the country play softball professionally or for fun.
Having the right pair of softball cleats is important for catching fly balls, fielding grounders, running the bases and standing firm in the batter’s box. There are many cleats available, but for their innovative inside-out design, the best softball cleats are the Mizuno 9-Spike Finch Elite 3 Softball Shoes.
Softball players are on their feet for several hours during a game. Cleats shouldn’t cause pain and tiredness in your legs and feet but prevent any discomfort. Most softball cleats are designed with a combination of synthetic leather and mesh to provide a combination of support and breathability. You have both traction and cushion no matter how long the game lasts.
Softball players react quickly to oncoming pitches or sharply hit balls. The game is filled with split-second decisions that often require instant lateral movement. Having cleats with reliable traction allows the player to confidently respond, knowing their feet will remain planted as they react to the ball in play.
Softball diamonds are built with a combination of grass, dirt and artificial turf. Without the proper cleats, you risk avoidable injuries when running or moving laterally. Wearing shoes without any cleats leaves you vulnerable to slipping or twisting an ankle. Protecting your feet and ankles is one of the best benefits of wearing cleats.
There are two primary types of softball cleats. Metal cleats are the most popular and usually found in higher athletic levels from high school and above. They are stiffer and more expensive, but they are the best at gaining traction on grass and dirt. Molded cleats are a less expensive alternative that have excellent longevity. The molded cleats don’t break easily and provide good grip on multiple surfaces. There are also softball training shoes available that are designed for everyday practice.
Softball cleats are usually made from synthetic leather or mesh material. They are known for being breathable and flexible, yet stand up well to weather and field conditions. They provide support and plenty of freedom to move.
Cleats come in three different heights. For players who run frequently, low-top cleats won’t slow you down. They are lightweight and flexible but don’t provide a lot of support for your ankles. Mid- and high-top cleats weigh more and limit your mobility, but they are comfortable and offer greater support for your ankles.
Don’t overlook the importance of the tongue. Tongues that are wider and thicker keep dirt from entering your shoe. They also keep your shoelaces from becoming untied and interfering with your movement.
Women’s softball cleats run a wide range from $35-$150. Basic cleats and training shoes are $35-$60. Low-top molded cleats are $50-$90, and mid- and high-top cleats (both molded and metal) run $60-$150, with the metal cleats being the most expensive.
A. Softball cleats have a smaller toe box than baseball cleats. They also have a rectangular pattern for the cleats, while baseball cleats can have any pattern for the sole.
A. Metal cleats — if allowed by your league — are best for outfielders who have to quickly plant and run in the outfield. Molded cleats work well for infielders, but if you're playing on packed-down dirt, metal cleats are best. Pitchers should look at low-top shoes to allow for greater flexibility in their follow-through.
A. Turf shoes are becoming more popular. They don’t have as much traction as cleats, but they are good for practice and to keep your game cleats clean. Some softball players actually prefer turf shoes’ comfort for all-day tournaments when they are playing multiple games.
What you need to know: This shoe has a tough exterior with generous cushion making it comfortable and durable.
What you’ll love: Designed for fast pitch softball, it has a nine-spike advanced outsole made from thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) cleats. Mizuno’s wave technology provides stability. Additional comfort comes from a padded booty tongue.
What you should consider: There were concerns that the shoe wears down more quickly than expected.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
What you need to know: With a focus on comfort, this shoe feels good when you put it on and after a long practice or game.
What you’ll love: The shoe features suede-like panels for breathing with synthetic uppers that feel like a sneaker. The TPU film on the toe cap protects against abrasions. A plush sockliner conforms to your foot.
What you should consider: Some concerns reported about inaccurate sizing.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
What you need to know: These metal cleats provide superior traction and a lightweight feel around the diamond.
What you’ll love: Made with a rubber sole and perforated synthetic upper, the shoe is both functional and breathable. The Fresh Foam midsole is designed for comfort. A lace cage tucks away shoelaces for a clean look. They come in a wide array of bold colors.
What you should consider: These cleats are more expensive than many similar options.
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Steve Ganger writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.