In the great sport of baseball, there are a couple of very important things you must do in order to be the best that you can be: run fast, track down pop-flys or grounders, and throw as hard and accurately as you can. In this section of the page, we’re going to focus on the running part.
There are many factors that go into finding the right cleat that can make you perform to the best of your ability. The main factors that decide which cleat is good for you are bottom material, ankle support, and brand. Hopefully, at the end of this read, you know which cleat is the one for you.
What I mean by the bottom material is what the spikes at the bottom of your cleat are made out of. The spikes at the bottom of the cleat determine how much traction that you can get while you’re running, turning, or pivoting. The mistake that most players make is that they get the cleats with the highest traction and end up hurting themselves, even though they wanted the best traction. I do not want that happening to you so make sure you know what material is the one for you before you buy a cleat. The main thing you need to know is that you want a medium amount of traction if you’re the average player. High-traction can make you trip over yourself, or twist your ankle which can be a season-ending injury. On the other hand, you do not want too low of traction or else you will be slipping and sliding all over the place. This is why most players want a safe medium so that they don’t compromise safety for performance, or vice versa.
The first type of spikes in baseball that younger players tend to have more is rubber spikes. This is the safest type of cleat. This type tends to also be the safest, which is why younger players tend to use them more. With rubber bottoms, you tend to find these cleats with cheaper prices, more pliability, and also quicker wear and tear.
The reason that rubber cleats have the cheaper price out of the two different bottom materials is because of the cost of rubber versus the cost of metal, which is the other type of cleat. Rubber is most times cheaper than metal, because of the rarity and performance of each material. With the rubber material, it is more comfortable and you’re able to move your foot in the cleat more, but you compromise that for really digging into the ground. When I used to use rubber cleats I found myself to slide in stop-and-go situations, like if I was caught in a pickle or stealing. On the other hand, I did see that I can actually bend my foot in these types of cleats and that I would not trip over myself as when I would do when I first started wearing metal cleats.
One of the big things about choosing which type of cleat is the level of baseball you are playing at. If you are buying for someone in little league, then the best choice, in my opinion, is rubber cleats. This is also why there are more rubber cleats in children’s sizes than the metal option. If you feel that you are playing at a higher level in baseball, such as high school or college, then metal cleats might be for you. Again this is dependant on the experience level that you feel that you are at in baseball. One last thing that you can look at is the fields that you mostly play on. If you are in a rainy area and there is a lot of turf fields that you play at, the choice that is most your style is rubber. This is because with metal you can really grip the turf and many players twist their ankles because of this. If you feel like you play on a pretty dusty field and you need something to help with traction, then metal is the way to go.
The type of cleats that I recommend for the more experienced players is metal cleats. This is because by high school and college levels you should have the coordination to be able to wear these safely. At those levels, it can actually be a benefit to your speed and traction. When I first tried out metal cleats in high school, I saw a major difference in my performance. This is why I never went back to rubber cleats. When stealing with metal cleats, I was really able to push off and use them to the fullest potential.
There are really only two downsides to metal cleats. One downside is that more times than not, the metal cleats are more expensive than rubber cleats. This is just because of the performance boost, bigger sizes, and the quality. I am not saying that rubber cleats are made with lower quality, I am saying that there is more put into a metal baseball cleat rather than a rubber one. The other downside is that metal cleats are less comfortable than rubber cleats. In order to keep the metal in place from heavy stop-and-go situations, the sole has to be hard. Because of this, the cleat does not bed to your foot as a rubber cleat would, so just keep that in mind.
Ankle Support or No Ankle Support
So since you know now which bottom material will suit you best, we can move on to ankle support. This seems like such a basic add-on to a baseball cleat but it plays a big role in the protection of your ankle.
So we all know how it doesn’t feel good to be hit in the ankle with anything since it is basically just bone and skin. This is a reason why you would want the ankle support option in your baseball cleat. It doesn’t just act as support, but it is also protection from baseballs or bats. Another reason why you might want ankle support is that you have metal cleats. Ankle supports provide comfort when you are really breaking turns and bursting into a sprint. As you read above, metal cleats provide a lot of traction, which means that your body has to catch up with your feet which is what ankle support can do.
A reason not to have ankle support is that it can compromise speed for protection. Some players feel that they are at a point in their career that they know where to place their feet to not get injured, which is fine. This just means that you can wear cleats that give you maximum rotation around your ankle, which can improve speed. Some people also find this more comfortable because you like the light-weight feel instead of the bulky feel. Usually, there is no price difference between the two but again it is an addition to the cleat so companies can charge more so watch out.
Most people think that every single brand knows how to make cleats as much as the next one but in most cases, they are not. Why is Nike idolized in the sports world and Asics isn’t? They both create cleats that are pretty good right? The reason is that some shoes have higher prices or better quality is the brand, let me explain.
Please don’t get me wrong here, Nike is killing the game right now with the sports technologies and such. The only problem is that sometimes they are a little more expensive than other cleats. The reason for this is that they have to advertise and promote more to stay at the top. A brand like Akadema doesn’t advertise that much, therefore producing cheaper products. This does not mean that there is necessarily a gap in quality of each product, this just means that if you want Nike, you have to pay for it.
Another difference between brands is that since Nike is the company that’s higher up in the food chain, they can afford to have partnerships with special players like Bryce Harper. A brand like Mizuno is much smaller than the Nike empire so they can’t afford big partnerships with the biggest names in sports. Again, this is totally fine and I’m not saying that Mizuno is bad, but they do not have the best names on their cleats.
I’ll sort out all of my reviews that I have so you don’t have to go through all of them:
Rubber with ankle support
Rubber without ankle support
Metal with ankle support
Metal without ankle support