In the modern era, finding softball cleats has only gotten more and more difficult. This isn’t because of poor quality, rather is it down to the fact that there are so many choices currently being offered on the market. Today, we’ll help you comb through the endless companies and choices by going over what to look for in a cleat. Then, we’ll give you the top ten cleats that are available for purchase this year!
Top Softball Cleats Comparison Chart
Softball Cleat Buying Guide
Finding the Right Fit
Figuring out how the cleats are supposed to fit is just as big of an issue as finding the right look or bottoms. Cleats are supposed to fit you well. They are not meant to be something that you look past. So, if you are thinking you’ll just buy something that feels just “alright,” then you are making a big mistake. Cleats need to be worn at the perfect fit. This is crucial because if you do not do this, you will see blistering or you may see other health issues result from wearing them incorrectly. Cleats need to fit snugly, but not too tightly. If they are not snug enough, the feet will move up and down. Not only can this cause blisters, but it can also cause them to fly off unexpectedly. No one wants to be running the bases when their shoes come flying off. If the cleats are too small, though, you can also cause blistering because the ends of the toes will rub up against the liner of the shoes. This is absolutely no good, either. This is why it is so important to not always used hand-me-downs, and it’s also important to make sure you try them on before purchasing! Even if you plan to shop online, it is always a good idea to go to a store and try something on first.
For those out there that want to buy cleats that they will “grow into,” you are doing it all wrong. This is a terrible thing to do. If you are at an age where you are growing, you’ll likely need a new pair after the season is over anyway. So why not get something that fits well and actually protects the feet like they are intended to do? If you absolutely must buy something that is a little larger, then just go a half size up. This will be a good compromise as it still won’t be too much of a ridiculous fit.
Also, another thing that helps is to take the socks you’ll be wearing or something similar when you try them on. Softball socks can be thicker than most normal socks that people wear, so this can play a role in how you feel and how the shoes will wear.
Types of Cleat
We realize this term can be a bit confusing for some. We refer to shoes used for most outdoor sports as “cleats” simply because they have cleats on the bottom of them. So, in this section we’re going to look at the different cleat types that you can see on the bottoms of various shoes.
The first type is the most commonly seen and accepted. It is the molded cleat. The molded cleat can be made from any number of materials. The higher the price goes, the better the quality and the less forgiving they get as well. At the low price points, they are very forgiving since these are for younger players. As a result, these cleats usually are grown out of relatively soon. The higher priced molded cleats are made from a stiff rubber-like plastic substance which is the best form of traction you can get from a molded cleat. Molded cleats are preferred and required in many leagues because they are much less dangerous than metal ones, for obvious reasons. You wouldn’t want six year old Billy to have metal cleats considering he has a hard time walking and chewing his gum at the same time! Another advantage to molded cleats is that they are typically very comfortable because the cleats are spread out evenly and have many cleats on the bottom, so the pressure points aren’t affected as drastically. Also, molded cleats are good on any surface. They are best on grass and dirt, but they can be worn to decent effect on turf if absolutely necessary (and allowed).
Metal cleats are the best in terms of traction that you can find. This is because they are very thin, which means they can penetrate into the ground much easier. These are intended for grass and dirt only, not on turf. They can rip up turf, but they also will make you slide around if you don’t dig into the turf itself. Some may do this, but it is certainly not something we encourage here. Metal cleats, unlike molded ones, are used at only the highest levels of competition. This is almost a privilege to wear them as it really is quite the responsibility to take care of yourself and your fellow players. There are some junior leagues that will allow you to use them, but you should always check with the league before purchasing. Sliding can be very dangerous with them on, so a lot of leagues- kids and adults alike- do not allow them.
Turf cleats are used for, well, turf. They are also very comfortable, so they are usually worn by players when they are not on the fields but still practicing. Turf shoes are worn on turf because they will scratch or ruin the turf, which is a huge deal because turf is quite expensive to have installed. Turf cleats offer much more traction on turf than basketball shoes or regular tennis shoes possibly could because they have many, many tiny grooves on the bottom to help give you enough grip to run comfortably. If you play in a slow pitch league, these could also be an option for you on grass and on dirt since they will provide enough grip for you and the comfort to stand and play all day if needed.
The last type of cleat we’ll look at is the interchangeable cleat. Interchangeable cleats are simply cleats that you can convert yourself. These types of cleats allow you to change them over from molded to metal and back again, depending on your specific needs. So rather than having two pairs of cleats- one of each- you’d have this one pair that you could switch over. This is an option for people that would play in all kinds of environments, but it’s certainly geared more toward the serious players out there. They are oftentimes quite a bit more expensive than other cleats, but it makes sense because it’s essentially a two-in-one deal.
Length of Your Studs
Because some people are going to have two or three pairs of cleats, or because they are going to have the interchangeable ones, this section is necessary. To keep it very short and sweet, longer studs are best for shorter and/or softer fields. So if it has rained there recently, or it’s just a well-maintained field, that may be the way t go. Shorter studs are best for harder and/or longer grass fields. A hard field with a long cleat is a recipe for disaster that we certainly do not encourage!
High or Low Top Cleats
In softball, there are two choices in terms of ankle protection: high and low. Low top cleats are meant for quicker players and those that want more freedom or movement. They are also meant for those that are not as injury prone, and those that are in positions that are less likely to get hit with the ball. You are a little more likely, unfortunately, to roll your ankles when you wear these, but that is the risk you take. This is the type of cleat that would be great for outfielders, middle infielders, and pitchers as well.
High-top cleats offer much more protection than low tops do, but they are also much more binding than low tops. This is because they are seeking to help people with ankle issues. They are also much more protective of batted balls and even for people potentially stepping or sliding into you. Because of this fact, catchers and first basemen are very good candidates to wear this type of cleat. They are a bit heavier as well, but that is the trade off that you have to make for increased protection.
One thing that needs to be said is that a pitcher should never wear high-top cleats. This is something that is very dangerous because the pitcher, while on the mound, has to drag their toes. And this is scary when you are sitting up so much higher! So, just stay away from this if you are going to be doing the pitching!
Materials Used to Make Cleats
As is the case with most sports equipment today, there are largely two choices: leather and synthetic. Leather is the old-guard that we used to see very frequently back in the older days. But technology has allowed synthetics to be used much more regularly.
Leather was once preferred in all cases because it was essentially the only option to use. Leather offers a great feel and level of comfort that even the best synthetics cannot touch, but they are gaining ground on the leathers. Leather does have different grades, so the higher the price you see the better the leather is. Keep in mind that leather is not the world’s greatest material at protecting you from the elements. Leather, as a result, does wear out a little quicker.
Synthetics are materials that man makes that are meant to mimic leathers. They are typically cheaper because they can be made any time a company wants them produced. Synthetics are excellent at protecting you from the elements and holding up over time. That is the one major advantage that you see, besides them being cheaper. So many sports have gone toward synthetics, and it’s usually seen as better simply because of the price and comfort. They are also quite moldable, so people have really taken to them.
Best Softball Cleats Reviews
Mizuno has been a major player in softball bats and gloves for decades, so don’t expect this to be the only one on the list. With this cleat, Mizuno gives you a cleat that is designed for fastpitch and it’s for use on either hard ground or leagues where metal spikes are not allowed, as it has molded cleats. It nearly all synthetics- both inside and out. It offers what we’d say is a medium level of ankle protection as well, and it comes at a reasonable price no matter the size.
- Good price
- Good for hard surfaces
- Gives ankles protection and ability to move
- They do run a little small
Mizuno comes back at #2 with essentially the same cleat, but this one has metal cleats at the bottom. This will allow you to dig into soft surfaces much better, if you are allowed to do so. It’s important to check the rules for your league as metal cleats may be cause more injuries than the molded variation. Like it molded counterpart, it is synthetic. One of the differences is that this one appears to have many more colors to choose from. You do have to pay quite a bit more, though, so that may be a consideration for some.
- Great for soft ground
- Mesh included to help foot breathe
- Many colors to choose
- The price is a little higher
- Not great for narrow feet
Nike comes onto the list with a cleat made for the softer fields or for older adults who won’t be sliding as much. This cleat has a nice, catchy design to it. Depending on the size, its price ranges from very reasonable to pretty high. This cleat is partially made from leather, with the rest of it being synthetic. It offers very little ankle protection as it is low cut cleat, so be aware of that.
- Best for agile players
- Great comfort
- Good for soft fields
- Offer little ankle protection to those that need it
- Price might be a concern for some
Mizuno’s domination of the list continues with another metal offering. This cleat is definitely what we’d consider to be a high cut, so it will give you much more ankle protection than many others. It does come at a moderate to middle higher-end price point. It is made from synthetics and other fabric, as well as having a foam insole as well. A very sturdy cleat!
- Classical design
- Great ankle protection
- Tongue and collar are padded
- Price could be a little high for some
- Not great for narrow feet
The Spine Glyde offers an excellent value in a good-looking cleat that performs with the best. It’s not a METAL CLEAT, so please keep this in mind. Metal is technically better for grip since its cleats are thinner and enter the turf or dirt easier. However, for most players there won’t be an appreciable difference between the two other than the molded cleats are easier to walk around with on a hard surface like asphalt or concrete. The Spine Glyde TPU offers Thermoplastic Polyurethane cleats which excel way beyond metal in the category of safety.
The Spine chassis midsole cushions are stellar when it comes to supporting your every move! If you’re a younger player, TPU is the way to go. If you are a slap hitter/outfielder, these would be perfect for you. It has a molded foam insole to give you added comfort, which is something everyone loves having. If you are an advanced player in a competitive league, we’d suggest going with metal cleats if they’re even allowable or legal in your league.
- Agile players will love them
- Insole gives comfort
- Much safer than metal cleats
- Won’t offer as much grip as metal cleats
- Not good for those with ankle problems
An option for the young ladies is represented by Nike’s Hyperdiamond. The Hyperdiamond is a low top cleat built with longevity and durability in mind. It features 12 cleats for unparalleled traction. It is also a molded cleat, which shouldn’t be a surprise due to the age of the intended player. They have a nice catchy color scheme (at least seven different colorways), a low to moderate ranging price, and they are made from synthetic materials.
- For young players
- Catchy colors
- Not for older players
- May be too restrictive for elite players
- Low top design does not protect ankles
Under Armour has another cleat built for the speedier player with the Glyde RM. Like the previous Glyde, this one is a low cut, but it only seems to come in one color: black and white. The upper is made from synthetics to allow it to be a lighter option compared to leather cleats. This is a molded cleat, so it is essentially the comfortable option of #6 due to the way the cleats are separated.
- Great for harder fields
- Good comfort
- For speedy players
- Not much ankle protection
- Price can get a little high
this cleat is the catchiest yet simple design on the list as it is just the classic all-white look. This is a synthetic cleat with metal spikes on the bottom, but they are positioned to give you better comfort. It is what we’d call a medium level of ankle support as it doesn’t go all the way up or just hug the bottoms. It is in the high range of price, no matter the size.
- Classic look
- Good comfort
- Dominate soft grounds
- Neither protects ankles nor gives total freedom
for whatever reason, it is hard to find turf cleats/shoes that are in women’s sizes. This is a very good turf shoe, though, so just keep in mind you’d have to convert sizes. Depending on the size, the price can be very reasonable or quite expensive, but they are very comfortable as they have lot of tiny grooves and are made from synthetics.
- Very comfortable
- Different color choices
- Great for long practices
- In men’s sizes
- Durability isn’t the greatest
Adidas makes the list at #10 with the PowerAlley, a high top cleat that is made from synthetics and has five color choices, each with a metallic undertone. The price range runs from very reasonable to mid-range, and it has metal cleats.
- Cool metallic design
- Decent pricing
- Good on soft ground
- Runs a little big
- A little bulky, likely due to being high tops
Horrible Quality Video, But Good Tip for Cleaning Cleats!
Before we leave you, here are some ways to extend the life our your cleats. Just as important as materials and feel is how well you take care of your cleats. No matter how high the price or quality, you will end up buying a new pair more frequently if you do not take care of them. After you choose the right pair for your situation. Here are a few tips for making sure you treat them well:
- Never put on your cleats before you get to the field. In fact, make sure you put them on in the dugout. This is a big no-no for us. It’s disrespectful and dirty to put cleats, of any kind, on in a car or indoors. It’s also bad for your cleats because you’re probably going to be walking on a hard ground. Cleats do not mix well with pavement, asphalt, or concrete. They wear out quicker when you do this, and you have a much higher chance of falling because you will have no traction whatsoever
- After each use, make sure you clean your cleats. This isn’t nearly as disgusting as it sounds. Just make sure you find a way to clean them off. Especially, at the bottoms. One way you can do this is by taking the cleats, to an area that is outside and away from people, and banging them together. This should eliminate quite a bit of the mud from in between them. You can then get the bigger chunks. This really does help preserve the life of them.
- When you are all done playing, make sure to let your cleats air out. This will keep them from smelling bad, but also makes sure that they don’t begin to mold, which will help them fall apart on your quicker.