Baseball and Softball Cleats Buying Guide

Construction of the Baseball Cleat

Baseball cleats are typically made of leather or synthetic material. Leather is more breathable, durable, and over time molds to one’s foot for more comfort. Synthetic tends to be easier to clean, more water resistant, and found to be at a more affordable price. Baseball cleats can be found in 3 different categories of ankle support: high tops, mid tops, and low tops. High tops provide the max amount of ankle support when moving in a lateral position. With low tops, they will not provide the same amount of ankle support, but optimizes speed when sprinting across the field or down the base path. The mid top combines both, offering moderate ankle support while providing speed for the athlete.


Molded cleats are typically more inexpensive than a metal cleat would be. These non-removable plastic or rubber studs are affixed to the sole of the shoe. They may last longer, but will not grip the ground as effectively as a metal cleat would. On the good side of that, when it comes to rainy weather conditions and a muddy ground they will not sink in as quickly. You can wear these cleats on most surfaces such as concrete or asphalt without it wearing down.


Metal cleats have the best traction when taking off or slowing down, effectively digging into dirt and grass fields. They work great for batters to dig a toe hold to avoid slipping when hitting. These are best suited for the level of high school play and above. They tend to be more expensive, but might not last as long if not worn on grass or dirt.


Turf trainers look the most like a normal sneaker, but provide grip when practicing on an artificial turf surface. You should never wear any other cleat on artificial turf. They have less of an aggressive tread pattern than a metal or molded spike would. This provides more comfort and safety when training on the field.

By Position

Depending on the position you play and condition of the field all determines which kind of baseball cleats you should wear. Whether it’s stealing bases, therefore needing a more flexible cleat or being a defensive specialist needing a cleat with multi-directional capability. What type of field are you playing on? All are important factors in deciding the right cleat for an athlete.


The position and type of surface you play on should determine what kind of baseball cleats you should wear. Metal cleats work better when it comes to a hard dirt surface, making this a great option for infielders. If the surface happens to be more muddy or soft then a molded cleat would be a better option. Infielders benefit from a low ankle height, this increases speed and agility around the diamond when making quick play decisions.


If the outfield is maintained properly then the recommendation would be metal cleats so it does not pick up large patches of grass like a molded cleat would. The metal cleat can help plant the players toes into the grass when catching fly balls to dig in and out effectively. On the other hand, looking for maximum comfort for an outfielder, then you would want to look at a molded cleat. Low ankle height cleats are also beneficial when a player needs to optimize speed to catch a deep fly ball.


A pitcher needs to generate enough power when pushing off the pitching rubber so they need stability and support. A metal or high tread molded cleat may be the best option. A mid to high ankle cleat  may benefit the best for them to execute their pitches. Fastpitch softball pitchers benefit from a cleat with a reinforced toe because of the toe drag.


The importance of proper footing is very prominent for a catcher. Molded spikes may be more comfortable, but a metal cleat will help you stand strong and secure your stance. They benefit from low top cleats to increase mobility and reduce blisters when crouching.

Sizing Cleats

When selecting a size keep in mind your toe should leave no more than one quarter inch from the end of the cleat, while the heel should fit snugly. If it comes to being in between two sizes go with the show that fits tighter than too loose. Breaking in the cleats over time will allow the shoe to expand and become more comfortable. Wearing a snug-fitting cleat provides support you need when making twists and movements.

Care & Maintenance

During a game your baseball/softball cleats can pick up a lot of dirt, grass or debris. Cleaning them immediately after is important to ensure long-lasting, maximum traction.

  1. Keep your cleats in the dugout and only wear them when playing. This helps prevent wear and tear on surfaces that are not the field, even when it is just a short distance.
  2. Consider sprinkling the inside of your cleats with baby or talcum powder, this acts as a temporary sweat-blocking barrier. It also will keep your feet cool and comfortable when playing in hot weather.
  3. Keep an extra pair of laces and socks in your baseball bag in case!
  4. Pick off the dirt from your cleats and run them under cold water, do not soak them.
  5. Air dry at room temperature, do not put them in direct sunlight or a clothing dryer. A tip is stuffing your cleats with newspaper, this can also help absorb extra moisture.
  6. Try to avoid leaving cleats in your gear bag or car. Your cleats need to be able to breathe and avoid hot/humid temperatures.
  7. Many players will own two or more pairs of cleats to rotate, one may be for practices and the other for games.
  8. If you are wearing metal spikes, make sure to check individual spikes for rusting and sturdiness to prevent broken or missing spikes.

Cleat Regulations

Metal cleats are allowed in high school baseball and in college softball. This led the NFHS to make a rule change in 2008 that permits high school softball players to wear metal cleats as well. However, three states—Maryland, New Jersey and Massachusetts—still ban metal cleats for softball. The ASA has also declined to adopt the rule. Lastly, nearly all youth baseball leagues prohibit the use of metal cleats. It’s best to check with your league to find out which cleats are legal.