The Right Cleats for Your Game
A lot goes into choosing the best cleat for your style of play. First, find out what your league allows as some prohibit metal spikes on the field. Next, match the design to your ability level – younger players and beginners may not want an aggressive metal spike. Also take into consideration the amount of ankle support you need, whether the shoe material breathes enough for you, and how much cushioning you want in a cleat. Here we’ll outline the different types of studs to help you pick the best type for maximizing your performance.
Rubber Molded Cleats
Used by: Beginner to intermediate players
Used on: Dry grass & loose shale
Designed for youth athletes and older beginners, these introductory style cleats utilize hard rubber studs molded into one complete piece. The less aggressive design reduces the chances of injury during slides as well as abrupt take-offs and stops. When getting used to wearing cleats, many beginners find less aggressive rubber cleats easier to transition into compared to sharp metal cleats.
Rubber molded cleats still help you get a good grip on shale and grass when you need to take off running at full speed or come to a full stop. If it’s your first time wearing cleats or your league doesn’t allow metal spike cleats, choose cleats with a rubber molded plate from brands like Nike, Under Armour and Easton to get a serious advantage over players wearing regular athletic shoes.
Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) Cleats
Used by: Intermediate to advanced players
Used on: Lush grass, turf & groomed shale
Harder than rubber but lighter than metal, cleats made with TPU offer their own unique advantages to your game. The hard-molded plastic sole and studs of these cleats are designed to give your feet the traction they need whether you’re sprinting to first, chasing down fly balls, pitching a no-hitter or crushing fastballs. Intermediate players and advanced athletes alike wear TPU cleats when they need a lightweight shoe that offers stability on shale and grass without the added challenge some players find when playing in aggressive metal spikes.
Recently, some major league players started wearing TPU cleats from brands like Nike and New Balance rather than the more common metal spikes worn in the big leagues. The drop in weight is said to offer major advantages in the long term to these advanced athletes who spend hundreds of hours on the field every year.
Used by: Advanced players
Used on: Well-groomed shale
These are ball player’s cleats. You’ll find most professional baseball players and more advanced athletes wearing cleats with aggressive metal spikes designed to deliver ultimate control on groomed shale and grass. When the difference between being there to make the play or not comes down to a matter of seconds, the added traction you get with aggressive metal spikes makes them a natural choice.
Because the studs on metal spikes are not only made from material harder than plastic but are also longer and thinner than other studs, you’re able to sink deeper into shale and grass. This gives you a solid base to push off from when taking off and a serious amount of control when stopping.
When you need to perform at your peak even in the worst conditions, pick metal cleats from top baseball brands like Nike and Under Armour designed to rip into grass and shale.
Used by: Beginner, intermediate and advanced players
Used on: Turf, grass, shale
Designed for maximum comfort and great overall traction on turf fields, turf shoes are engineered to mimic a training or running shoe when it comes to fit and features shorter studs on the sole to increase stability and grip. Athletes at all skill levels should utilize turf shoes when training indoors and even doing other types of training outdoors. While they’re designed for turf, these lightweight shoes have been known to still perform well on shale and grass and recently some softball players have started wearing them during regular outdoor games.