Best Baseball Cleats

Updated October 2020
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Buying guide for best baseball cleats

Baseball players playing offense or defense must be able to make sudden moves. A base stealer needs a sure and quick first step to avoid being tagged out. A defensive player has to be able to push off for a quick lunge to dive and catch a ground ball in the hole. Players need the right shoes to ensure good footing and have a better chance of success in the game. A great pair of baseball cleats won’t help you hit a curveball, but they can benefit you in lots of other ways.

Although the majority of baseball cleats may look similar at first glance, there are subtle differences between them. Understanding these variations will help you find just the right pair to match your style of play and your league’s rules.

We’ve compiled this buying guide to help you find your next pair of baseball cleats. From materials to price, it’s full of the information you need as you shop. We’ve included some of our favorites, too.

For properly fitting baseball cleats, look for shoes that fit snugly throughout the foot, with no slipping off the heel or sliding in the toe box.

Key considerations

Baseball cleats may look like football or soccer cleats, but the cleat pattern and material in those are a little different than in baseball cleats. Football and soccer cleats work best on grass, while baseball cleats need to be able to work on both grass and dirt.

You’ll find four types of baseball cleats: metal, molded, removable, and turf. Each type has a specific use case.

Metal

Metal cleats are thin and long. They easily dig into the ground and give players the best traction, especially on firm dirt or grass. However, some players don’t like the way metal cleats feel, and you may not find them the most comfortable choice. They’re also more expensive than other kinds of cleats.

Because metal cleats pose some danger to other players on the field, some leagues do not allow players to wear them. Always check with your league before purchasing metal cleats.

Molded

Molded cleats consist of rubber or a special type of plastic that’s molded into the bottom of the shoe. If the shoes use rubber cleats, it’s an extremely firm type of rubber, more like what you’d find on a studded truck tire, so it won’t wear down easily. The plastic cleats are usually thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU).

Molded cleats are more durable than metal cleats and typically cost less. They’re more comfortable to wear, too. However, they’re not as efficient as metal cleats at penetrating firm ground. Also, these cleats are thicker, more like football or soccer cleats, so they’re considered safer than metal cleats for baseball players to use around other players.

Removable

Some baseball shoes have removable cleats that screw into the bottom of the shoe using a cleat tool, similar to the cleats in track shoes. This type of shoe is appropriate for the player who wants to alternate between metal and TPU or rubber cleats. These shoes are a bit heavier than molded or metal cleats and not quite as comfortable.

Turf

Turf shoes don’t have long individual cleats. Instead, they have dozens of nubs on the bottom of the shoe made to give you a grippy surface for running across the field rather than digging into the ground. These baseball cleats are best for use on artificial turf. Longer spikes can get caught in turf, potentially causing you to trip or stumble. The nubs on the turf shoes don’t tangle in turf. Some players wear turf shoes during practice, especially if the coach doesn’t want the players to tear up the field with cleats. Note that if you wear turf shoes to play outfield defense on turf, you may want a second type of cleat for batting and running the bases on a dirt infield.

Features

Once you’ve decided on the type of baseball cleats you want, you can then focus on the features.

Height

Baseball cleats are available in a couple different heights, similar to basketball or football shoes.

Low-cut shoe: A low-cut or low-top shoe has a top collar that reaches to just under the ankle to allow maximum freedom of movement.

Mid/high-cut shoe: The mid/high-cut baseball shoe has a collar that extends over the ankle, which gives the foot maximum stability. Players have a little less freedom of movement, though.

Defensive position

If you play a defensive position, you may want to pick baseball cleats that best match that position.

Infielder: Because infielders play primarily on dirt, metal cleats are typically the best option. However, if the infield dirt at your home field is soft, you could consider plastic or rubber cleats.

Outfielder: Either metal or plastic/rubber cleats work for an outfielder in natural grass. A plastic cleat may be the better choice for an outfield that’s frequently damp or muddy.

Pitcher: Pitchers often wear metal cleats, which allow them to push off the pitching rubber successfully. However, if you sometimes stumble because of the length and size of the cleats, you might want to consider a turf shoe.

Understand that these are only suggestions. You certainly don’t have to wear the type of cleat listed here to play a certain defensive position. If you feel more comfortable wearing a different type of cleat, do so. Pitchers, especially, need a shoe they feel comfortable using to stride toward home plate without stumbling, so they may want to try a few different types of cleats.

Color

You can find baseball cleats in almost any color. Some players want to match the color of the shoes to the uniform. Others want a brightly colored shoe that clearly stands out from the uniform. For practicality, many players stick to black or navy baseball cleats. Baseball players play in wet grass and mud, which sticks to the shoes. A darker color shoe hides dirt and grass stains better than lighter colors.

Baseball cleats prices

Inexpensive: You can expect to pay $15 to $30 for a basic set of molded baseball cleats.

Mid-range: These baseball cleats cost $30 to $50. Most of these are molded, but you can find a few metal cleats in this price range. Anyone who needs to wear the shoes more than once a week will want to pay at least this much.

Expensive: These baseball cleats cost between $50 and $100. Many of these are metal. Shoes with removable cleats may fit in this price range, too. These baseball cleats are more durable and so better for those who play and practice several times a week. Pitchers looking for shoes with reinforced toes should look in this price range.

Tips

  • Avoid wearing your cleats on pavement. If you walk to the baseball field on pavement, wear shoes rather than your baseball cleats. Frequent contact with cement and asphalt can damage the cleats. You could also slip while wearing cleats on concrete.
  • Clean mud off your cleats. If mud builds up on the bottom of the shoes, the cleats will be less effective at providing traction. Use a brush to scrape off any mud. Don’t hit the bottom of the shoes with your bat, because the cleats will damage the bat over time.
  • Air-dry your cleats. After wearing your cleats, don’t leave them inside your baseball bag. They’re sure to be damp, and this could lead to the formation of mold and odor. Let the cleats air-dry before putting them away.
Softball players can wear baseball cleats as long as the design and material match the rules for your softball league. Very few softball leagues allow metal cleats.

FAQ

Q. Should I wear cleats during practice?
A.
If the coaches and the facility rules allow it, you can wear cleats at practice to break them in and practice running in them. However, cleats can tear up the infield and outfield, so some coaches don’t like to have players wear them in practice because it’s too hard on the field.
 

Q. Do I have to wear baseball cleats to play the game?
A.
No. Baseball cleats let you run without slipping, especially when you have to start running from a standstill, which happens regularly in baseball. You could slip on the dirt or grass in regular athletic shoes, but there are no rules in the game that force players to wear cleats.
 

Q. Can I wear metal cleats? Aren’t they dangerous?
A.
The majority of youth leagues don’t allow metal cleats. For players in middle school and high school, some leagues allow metal cleats. Adult players can nearly always wear metal cleats. Metal cleats can be dangerous, though. You could injure another player if you step on their foot while running the bases or hit their leg when sliding into a base.
 

Q. Is there anything I can do to protect the toe of the baseball cleats?
A.
Pitchers sometimes drag their toes as they push off the pitching rubber. This can cause the toe to wear out far more quickly than the rest of the shoe, eventually creating a hole. Some baseball cleats have a reinforced toe that slows the wear in this area.

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