Baseball requires precision, second-by-second performance that trumps the competition. Inch-by-inch, every action a baseball player makes has a direct impact on the game. And if a player misses just one step, the team will suffer.
Quick tips for picking cleats are provided in this video by Josh Muecke.
But let’s go a little deeper to learn what it really takes to find cleats that provide your foot with the support and freedom you need to propel your game to new heights.
Types of Cleats
There are different types of cleats to choose from, and each cleat comes with its own benefits. The cleats you choose need to match your position and where you’ll be playing. The main types of cleats that Baseball Monkey mentions are:
- Molded cleats, which are made from varying material. These cleats are ideal for younger players. They are versatile, and their high number of cleats allows for even pressure distribution on the foot to maximize comfort.
- Metal cleats are known for providing the best traction, but these cleats can be dangerous and are often recommended for high school and older players. These cleats are great on grass and dirt, but when sliding, they can be very dangerous.
- Turf cleats are designed a little differently and are meant for play on turf – obviously. These cleats provide maximum comfort while offering slightly less traction and control. These shoes are often preferred in softball, too.
- Interchangeable cleats are both molded and metal cleats. Screws attach the actual cleat to the shoe and allow you to remove the cleats and change them out for your desired position and play. This is a great option for new players who may play on a variety of different terrains and may explore different positions.
In general, most players will choose either the molded or metal options.
But you’ll also want to pay close attention to your position and circumstances before picking a cleat for yourself. The cleats you choose must be able to match your position and needs.
If you’re a catcher
Catchers need to be quick and agile, and cleats need to match the catcher’s position. The entire game requires a catcher to make catches and react quickly to keep runs to a minimum. Catchers need lightweight cleats that offer:
Molded cleats are ideal if you suffer from pain due to the metal cleats, according to users from HS Baseball Web.
Metal spikes may also not be allowed to be worn, depending on where the player is playing. A player who is playing indoors or for a middle school team may be forced to wear molded cleats that are less dangerous than their metal counterparts.
If you’re a pitcher
Pitchers need to have the most precision on the field, and a lot of their power comes from pushing off their foot. Power and support are what cleats offer a pitcher, and if the cleat doesn’t provide enough traction, their pitches will suffer.
Low top cleats are preferred since they allow for a better foot pivot when playing.
Metal-studded cleats work best for most pitchers thanks to the increased traction on turf and outside fields.
If you have wide feet
Wide feet is a problem for a lot of players because cleats that are too tight can cause pressure, pain and discomfort on the field. No one can play to their fullest extent when they’re hobbling in pain.
If you have wide feet, you just need to determine how wide your feet are.
A store associate will be able to help you, but if you’re buying your cleats online, you should take a look at your current shoes. If you notice that your shoes are an E, for example, this means that they’re 1/8-inch wider than regular shoes.
Every “E” in a shoe’s width represents an additional 1/8 inch in shoe width.
Healthy Feet Store explains that:
- EEEEEEE (7E) shoes are 6/8-inches wider than a traditional E
But it’s difficult to find shoes that are wider than 4E, so when looking for cleats, the process becomes even more difficult. My recommendation is to try and measure your foot to find it’s true width needs.
If you’re looking for speed
Speed is essential on the field, and this will require two main things:
- Lightweight design
You’ll want to pay close attention to the weight of the cleat if you want a cleat for speed. We have reviews of the best baseball cleats for speed that will help make your choice a little easier.
Every cleat is different, too. Some manufacturers have designed their cleats to be meant for velocity or speed, so keep this in mind when making your choice. A cleat designed for speed is a good option.
If you mainly play in the outfield
Outfielders will want to play with primarily metal spikes because they allow for more traction and less turf pull in the process. Metal cleats provide added stability to the pitcher and will be sure to provide the traction needed for an abrupt stop when trying to catch fly balls.
Of course, if you’ll be playing on turf, you may be able to use molded cleats or interchangeable cleats, which are also great options.
If you’re a child (or you’re buying for one)
Kids will want to play with molded cleats. When sliding, metal cleats provide too much of a risk, which may result in a child getting hurt. Metal cleats are meant for adults and teens who tend to be more responsible and understand the ramifications of metal cleats digging into the leg.
And lightweight options are also great.
Low- or high-top cleats are another option, but this is a preferential option rather than a strategic one. If the child needs more ankle support, the high-top options work best, although they tend to cause rubbing and irritation.
3 Tips When Choosing Cleats
Baseball cleats are a must-have when playing baseball, and a few tips that can go a long way in helping you decide which cleat to purchase are:
- Rulebook. The rulebook is a must-read and will let you know the rules your league requires for cleats. The MLB has their own rules on cleats, and so does the league you play in. This will help you choose cleats that fall within the rulebook.
- Tops: The tops of the cleat mean a lot. There are three main top options: high, mid and low. Low-top cleats are the lightest weight, while high-top cleats provide the wearer with the most support for their ankles.
- Opt for a Snug Fit: Unless you have very wide feet, choose a snug fit. The snug fit will allow you to make faster movement and turns while providing added support. Cleats will expand as you break them in, so a snug fit is better than a loose fit that provides little-to-no ankle support.
Another great tip provided by Ankle Foot MD is to run in your cleats. Practice running and sliding to get accustomed to your new cleats and ensure that you don’t have issues with the cleat getting stuck or losing traction.
Breaking in your cleats and getting accustomed to the feel of the cleats will allow you to have the most comfortable, reliable cleat possible.