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Selecting Your Baseball or Softball Cleat

We are here to fuel your needs with proud, authentic, and inspiring performance for success. You play to win and so does DICK'S Sporting Goods. Step into our world and find your winning spirit! There are a number of factors to consider when purchasing baseball or softball footwear including the level of your game, the league you play in, along with the types of fields you play on. Most leagues require you to wear the proper cleats during play. You can check with your coach or local league association for details.

In this baseball cleat guide, we will navigate you through cleat traction, metal and plastic materials, along with the field types that work best with the cleat you choose. Become your team's Most Valuable Player with the cleats that are right for your feet.

Links to Cleat Information
Types of Cleats
Determine your Cleat Size
Youth Cleats
Softball Cleats
Caring for your cleats
Baseball Cleat League Regulations
Frequently Asked Questions

Shoe Style

There are three styles of shoes with cleats determined by the height of the ankle. High tops have the highest ankle that hits right above the ankle bone, while mid tops are about average height. Both of these styles are good choices if you have ever experienced problems with your ankles or have had recent sprains or breaks. Mid tops have the advantage when it comes to weight, as do low tops. Here are the primary differences:

  • High-tops: extend up the ankle to provide extra support, especially for lateral movements.
  • Mid-cut: offers more support while still allowing maneuverability.
  • Low-cut: provides extra maneuverability to allow you to make quick cuts on the field.

Cleat Construction

Cleats are either made from leather or synthetic materials. When it comes to selecting your baseball cleat, the materials that put together your footwear is crucial. Get the ultimate advantage. Technology is constantly changing and here at DICK'S Sporting Goods we are at the forefront of advancement and innovation:

  • Leather: Breathes well, which helps keep your feet more comfortable, generally more flexible, and very durable.
  • Synthetics: Won't give you the breathability and durability of leather, but features strong reinforcement and additional support in the forefoot, mid-foot and ankle.

Types of Cleats

There are two main types of cleats: plastic and metal. Not all cleats are made the same or meant for the same purpose. If you are buying for someone in Little League, the most important thing to know is that metal cleats are NOT allowed for safety reasons.

Plastic (Molded)
Turf ShoesMolded Cleats
Turf shoes contain various raised patterns on the bottom in place of studs.Molded baseball cleats have non-removable rubber or hard plastic cleats formed on the bottom of the shoe.
For use on harder outdoor surfaces and on artificial turf.They are stable and strong, able to be worn on and off the field without a problem.
Good training shoes that could serve as a back-up game pair for hard-surface conditions.Also required by many youth programs for safety reasons.

Metal
Metal CleatsInterchangeable Cleats
Have permanent metal spike configuration.Interchangeable cleats feature studs on the bottom that can be screwed on and off and replaced easily.
Usually prohibited in most youth and amateur softball organizations.Allows the user to replace worn cleats instead of buying new shoes.
Used at high school, college, and pro levels.Can be made of Metal, PVC or rubber.

Determine Your Cleat Size

Determining your proper shoe size is essential to a comfortable fit for your baseball cleats. Don't assume your shoe size is the same as it always has been. For the perfect fitting baseball cleat, determine your shoe size by looking at the size section on our product page when browsing. Here are the different features for metal and rubber (plastic) cleats:

  • Design: Both are designed to play on unstable surfaces like Astroturf, natural grass or dirt.
  • Traction: Metal cleats have better traction, so they can be preferred by players who like to steal bases. Rubber cleats don't have as much traction or stability as metal, especially when playing on Astroturf.
  • Weight: Metal cleats are lighter than rubber cleats, which make it easier for players to get off to a quick start.
  • Wear and Tear: Rubber cleats will break down more quickly than metal cleats because rubber is not as durable.
  • Safety: Metal cleats will cause more damage to someone if a player slides into them. Rubber cleats have rounder, softer edges, which makes it safer to slide into the opponent.

Youth Cleats

When your youth is looking to break into the game of baseball, the proper footwear provides the safety, security, and performance needed for a fun and successful start to America's past time.

Having the right pair of cleats can mean the difference between stealing second base or being thrown out by the catcher. You do not want a pair of cleats that hurt your feet or causes discomfort while playing. For youth's feet that are still growing, allow no more than a finger length of space in the toe of the cleat for them to grow into.

8 Tips for Beginners

  • The cleats should be flexible enough to allow your youth to make fast and swift movements.
  • Tight cleats are extremely uncomfortable and painful negatively affecting performance.
  • Choose cleats that make use of Velcro straps instead of shoestrings. Velcro straps are easier to adjust and will not come untied during a game.
  • Short rubber studs are ideal for dry or wet field covered with grass, while longer studs are ideal for muddy or soft field grounds.
  • Do not buy a pair that is one size bigger as this may cause injury.
  • Look for a reinforced toe that can extend the life of the cleats.
  • Find out what type of cleats are allowed in your baseball leagues.
  • Determine the type of surface the games will be played on.

Find your Place for the Proper Footwear

Pitchers

Often need extra toe support on their push-off foot. The angular positioning of the foot against the rubber can be uncomfortable. They have a plastic toe cup over the front of the toe box. Whether you'll want plastic or metal will depend on the quality of the field and its upkeep.

Infielders

Can also make their decision based on the quality of the dirt they spend most of the game on. If the infield is well taken-care of it might be more densely packed. If so, metal spikes will work best.

Outfielders

On a well-maintained field, the outfield grass is lush and firm. But it is still grass and it has dirt supporting it. Metal spikes won't pick up large patches of grass the way plastic molded cleats can. Many times outfielders need to be able to plant their toes hard and deep into the outfield grass when sprinting to get to a ball.

Softball Cleats

"I'm willing to give up a lot for softball. I go to school early to practice, and stay late to play. Sometimes I miss out on other stuff, but it's worth it." - Vandela Collam, high school softball

DICK'S Sporting Goods offers premier cushioning and midsole technology with a narrower player heel to better fit a woman's foot. We also provide higher instep for better support and a higher arch for increased comfort. When selecting your softball cleats, keep in mind the design. Softball cleats are almost always molded plastic cleats. These cleats are significantly shorter, anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 inch less than baseball. Softball cleats are specifically designed to create traction across both dirt and grass surfaces, while sustaining a great amount of wear and tear. The right equipment will enhance your performance and improve technique.

The following are the three important factors to ensure your softball cleat gives you superior performance on the field:

1. Design

  • Wide cleats along the perimeter of the foot serve a purpose of cutting into the dirt to maintain stability in the batter's box.
  • On the interior of the shoe, smaller cleats provide traction, but allow the player to move quickly.
  • A number of cleats are designed to repel water from absorbing into the player's shoe.
  • A thick tongue folds over the tops of the laces to keep dirt out of the shoe.

2. Toe Plate

  • The dynamics of Fastpitch softball call for the pitcher to constantly drag her foot along the mound and through the dirt. As a result, shoes became worn out quickly and some pitchers even experience toe injuries from the constant repetitions.
  • To accommodate pitchers, softball organizations allow for shoe manufacturers to insert a metal toe plate across the front tip of the shoe.
  • This enhancement results in greater durability among softball cleats and fewer toe-related injuries.

3. Customization

  • When looking to purchase a softball cleat, players should compare their playing style to a particular cleat.
  • For example, a pitcher may benefit from a metal toe cleat, whereas an outfielder would have no use for one.
  • Outfielders also may want a water-resistant shoe, whereas an infielder may prefer one with better protection against dirt.

Caring For Your Cleats

While the cleat is working for you, it also needs some TLC back. Below are some helpful hints for keeping your cleat in first-class condition:

  • Remove dirt and mud from your cleats after use.
  • Let the mud dry and then chisel it off with a stick or fingers.
  • Should your cleats get wet, dry them naturally or by using a dehumidifier.
  • Stuff your cleats with newspaper to help them maintain their shape.
  • Make sure your cleats are clean before wearing them again.

Shop our great selection of Baseball and Softball Cleats Here.

League Regulations

Little League: Metal cleats are NOT allowed for safety reasons.

College Softball: The National Collegiate Athletic Association allows metal softball cleats in addition to soft or hard rubber cleats. The organization does regulate the shape of the metal cleats, saying that the spikes must be rectangular in shape. The spikes cannot be round. Spikes also cannot be any longer than 3/4 inch.

High School Softball: Individual states and local sections and league do create some of their own unique rules, but for the most part, a rule that is put in place by the NFHS is generally accepted and enforced across the board. In 2008, the NFHS changed its stance on metal cleats for high school softball players and lifted the ban that had been in place. High school players are now allowed to wear metal cleats that match similar criteria to what is acceptable in college. NFHS made the change for what it deemed to be player safety issues as it felt that players could get better traction with metal spikes.

Youth Softball: Most youth fast-pitch softball teams follow rules put in place by the Amateur Softball Association, which also allows a form of metal cleats. The ASA rulebook states that shoes can either be flat on the bottom or have soft or hard rubber cleats. It also allows for shoes with metal sole or heel plates as long as the studs are 3/4-inch long or shorter. Shoes with round metal cleats are not allowed, nor are shoes with replaceable cleats that screw onto studs in the shoe. Replacement cleats must screw into the sole of the shoe to be acceptable. The ASA rules do ban the use of metal cleats for Junior Olympic fast-pitch and slow-pitch softball and also for co-ed and senior slow-pitch softball.

All league regulation standards are subject to change.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.What kind of surface determines the kind of cleat? Rubber cleats are generally more beneficial when you are playing on hard surfaces. Detachable cleats have studs that can be removed or replaced. They may be rubber, plastic or metal. These types of cleats are ideal for players who play on a wide variety of fields or in a wide variety of weather conditions. Combination cleats come in a wide variety of shapes and lengths. They may use metal and plastic cleats. Players who play in areas that experience heavy amounts of rain often use these types of cleats as they are ideal for wet and muddy surfaces. They provide traction and allow for control as you move about the field.

2.Does Cleat Stud size matter? Yes. It's important to choose a cleat with an appropriate stud size, which depends on the type of field you are playing on. Short studs are useful on hard surfaces, dense grass and artificial turf. Longer studs are beneficial for play on soft soil. Long studs sink into the soil, allowing for better traction. Most baseball cleats have a stud length of 1/2 inch. Youth cleats tend to be shorter.

3.What is the benefit of having VELCRO straps? VELCRO straps can be an advantage over shoelaces because shoelaces tend to loosen after a while and can affect your game.

4.What kind of leather cleat should I be looking for? Baseball cleats are usually leather or synthetic. Leather is breathable and fairly durable. Synthetic is often better for younger players, since it's easier to clean.

5.What are the most important features for cleat comfort? A Cushioned feel, breathability, traction, and stability.

6.What accessories do I need with my cleats? At DICK'S Sporting Goods, we offer turf cleats for superior traction, tuff toe for stability on the pitcher's mound, and cleat spats which will eliminate the need for taping and will keep your shoe laces tight.

The true athlete knows the skillful edge that comes from wearing proper equipment while providing a cool style and unquestionable comfort. Now that you've found the perfect baseball cleat, it's time to take the field with confidence!

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