Best Baseball Cleats Reviewed for Performance
Legitimate baseball cleats are a critical piece of gear on the field. They will not only allow the player to move more efficiently but also provide the comfort needed for them to play effectively. Some say they are just as important as a proper baseball glove. That might be true because you are standing on your feet for the full game and maneuvering in ways that require a firm grip. The proper and highest rated baseball cleats will allow for such movements, giving an overall better performance.
But, if the cleat isn’t comfortable enough for an intense game of baseball you can throw performance out the window as your feet will tell you to slow down. Feet are easily irritated and sometimes bruised during baseball games. There is quite a bit of running, dodging and awkward movement that can be hard on the feet. Without the proper cushioning and design, not even the best spikes will keep you on top of your game for long. A poorly cushioned shoe may get you into the start of the game, but in the long run, will take their toll on your feet.
- New Balance L3000v3 Metal
- Metal Cleat
- New Balance L4040V3
- Mizuno Vapor Elite 7
- Padded Tongue
Don’t find yourself on the sidelines because of a poor quality or faulty pair of shoes. We carefully evaluated every single shoe reviewed in this article, and dug out their most unique features. We also let you know exactly how they earned their spot as one of the best baseball shoes.
10 Best Baseball Cleats
1. New Balance L3000v3 Metal
Metal cleats are prohibited in many places and by many leagues but they do offer superior grip on grass fields and the 8-cleat design on the outsole plate of this shoe has proven performance. The cleats are laser etched for accurate design.
This New Balance cleat uses their FantomFit technology to engineer a synthetic mesh upper that is lightweight and supportive at the same time. It will hug for feet without weighing you down.
Cost and Value
This shoe falls into the higher third of prices on our list, but they are worth the money. New Balance has designed them to fit you well and to perform like you were a first-round MLB draft pick. They are incredibly light and comfortable.
- Synthetic & Mesh Upper
- Comfort Collar
- Dual Density Midsole
- Debris-Free Tongue
- Metal Cleats
2. New Balance L4040V3
The upper is made of synthetic leather to stand up to sliding through the bases. It has some padding in the collar to resist blistering and to provide some comfort. It is also no-sew FantomFit for lightweight fit and support.
The tongue in the cleat is designed to keep debris out of your shoes during play. Nothing is more uncomfortable and will wear shoes faster than grit, sand and other debris getting inside.
Cost and Value
This is the most expensive baseball cleat in our line up but well worth the money for the performance you achieve and the hugging, lightweight fit.
- Synthetic leather
- Padded collar
- Very lightweight
- Sizes run large
3. Mizuno Vapor Elite 7
Mizuno’s standard is the 9 spike design that allows for grip, acceleration and stopping on any field surface. The metal cleats will provide improved traction on a grass field over plastics and rubbers but check the regs first to avoid being disqualified from your game.
The Proflex sole allows your forefoot to flex naturally through multiple flex zones. Natural flexing provides no-strain comfort while throwing, catching, running or hitting. When your team is up, you’re ready to go.
Cost and Value
This is the least expensive of the shoes on our list and that makes it an excellent value. You get all of Mizuno’s design know-how for a very, very reasonable price.
- Full-Length Midsole
- Padded Tongue & Collar
- Full Lace Closure
- Perforated Upper
4. New Balance 3000v3 Turf
New Balance technology always keeps new composition materials coming year after year to provide a comfortable ride, with support for activities tailored to where you need it most. Revlite Midsoles are comprised of a foam compound which allows structural stability and responsiveness, but with a lightweight build. Lighter load on your feet means quicker sprints, less foot fatigue after extended innings, and a more energized play!
Designed for turf only, the New Balance 3000v3 Turf still gives a superb traction with lugged pattern soles and grippy rubber. Low cut design allows for maximal mobility for quick movements and lunges. Tie it all off with lace up vamp with adjustable fit at the top, and a plush padded collar, you’ll be going those extra innings without irritation or sore feet!
Cost and Value
Slightly on the expensive side for a New Balance brand baseball cleat, it delivers quality performance on the turf. The New Balance 3000v3 Turf combines the comfort of a running sneaker with the traction and mobility of a cleat needed for baseball. Great for anyone playing on turf or taking up batting practice at the indoor cages.
5. Under Armour Deception
The Deception features a full-length midsole of charged foam for bounce back, comfort and shock absorption. You can play so hard in these, you’ll be tempted to run those bases twice.
These metal cleats are actually metal tips to provide the traction of metal but topped with molded Pebax for comfort. All the performance without the pressure.
Cost and Value
These performers will make any player happy. They are mid-ranged priced, comfortable and have fantastic shock absorption. With all that traction, you’ll be turning bases so tight the opposition won’t know what happened.
- Mesh & Synthetic Upper
- Lightweight & breathable
- Charged foam midsole
- Mid Dt upper
- Metal Tips
6. Nike Lunar Vapor
Flywire cables are built into the lacing system in this shoe to provide a dynamic fit that stretches when it needs to and comes back when it needs to. No need to adjust your laces time and time again while you’re playing.
Mixed media cleats
The cleats on this shoe offer up the best of both worlds. There are five metal and five molded blades that work together to give you the best traction possible on any field. Check the regs to be sure you can wear them.
Cost and Value
These shoes are mid-range priced. For the money, you are getting a shoe with great traction that will work well for batters and outfielders alike along with a dynamic fit that will stay comfortable as you move.
- Synthetic/mesh Upper
- Rubber Sole
- Flywire Fit
- Foam Footbed
- Lunarlon Midsole
- Poor Ankle Support
- Mixed Material Cleats
7. New Balance PL404v3 TPU
The New Balance PL4040v3 TPU is lined with TPU cleats along the forefoot and heel, made to withstand pressure, wear and tear, while making your cleats easier to clean and care for. You’ll be able to dig on into the ground for fast sprints and lunges, while maintaining stability during throws and batting. Revlite midsole runs the full length of the cleat, giving you a lightweight cushion and support on top of the cleats.
The uppers of the PL4040v3 TPU are synthetic in material, and have New Balance’s Fantom fit, which is designed to be super lightweight but protective and durable, giving you the best foot feel when wearing this cleat. A debris free tongue is found atop the lace up vamp, and teo protect does just what it implies-protects your toes from bumps with reinforcement in the cleat’s construction.
Cost and Value
Similar in price to many other New Balance baseball cleats, it’s quite averagely priced. For a durable and versatile pair of TPU cleats, it’s definitely a bargain. Available in a number of color options, you can pick one suited to your individual tastes, all while getting protection, durability, and grippy traction needed for the field. Great for beginners and enthusiasts alike, it’s sure to have you rounding bases your next game.
Lacks Adequate Heel Support
8. Nike Huarache 2KFilth
Cleats need to be durable if you’re going to be sliding into base, running on dirt and grass surface, and generally beating up your shoes. These shoes are made of TPU mesh and synthetic leather for durability.
Easy clean cleats
Dirt tends to cling to cleats making them more work to maintain and clean. These cleats feature geometric divots that provide a slick surface that will keep the dirt off, making it much easier.
Cost and Value
These shoes are priced in the mid-range but include a number of features that make them a great value. They are lightweight, easy to clean and maintain and feature Nike’s Flywire cables for fit. You won’t regret the investment in a solid pair of cleats.
- Geometric Divots
- Durable Upper
- Flywire Fit
- Sizes Run Small
9. Under Armour Ignite
These cleats have a variety of features to keep your feet comfortable. They’re perforated for breathability, have a padded tongue and collar, and a molded 4D Foam insole for great fit, comfort and shock absorption.
This shoe features a rotational traction configuration of the cleats which optimizes your rotational capability. This means you get maximum acceleration and power to hit those bases faster and harder.
Cost and Value
This shoe falls in the mid-range of prices for this list. It is a super-comfortable metal cleat that will help you get to home plate faster while staying stable. With the excellent shock absorption in this shoe, you will forget you are wearing cleats.
- Padded Collar & Tongue
- Perforated Leather Uppers
- Molded 4D Foam Insole
- Central Lacing System
- TPU Outsole
- Steel Cleats
10. Mizuno 9-Spike Classic
Along with the design of the 9-Spike Classic, Mizuno incorporated its Wave technology in the cleat, helping to increase durability and integrity of the cleat, as well as cushion, stability, and weight reduction. A lighter cleat means faster sprints! Proflex construction, unique to Mizuno, helps boost performance in movements that require some flex and give, such running and throwing.
The Mizuno 9-Spike Classic gives you ‘cleat triads’ to help dig into the ground for lateral movements, running, throwing, and batting. Three spikes can be found at the heel, and 6 in the forefoot, all of which are further cushioned through VS-1 compound. VS-1 compound helps to absorb shock and impact and is found at the forefoot and heel. Top it all off with snug lace up closure and overlaying tongue, padded collar for comfort, and synthetic uppers for easy cleaning and durability, and you have one solid cleat!
Cost and Value
One of the budget friendly options on our list of baseball cleats, the Mizuno 9-Spike Classic brings a cleat packed full of Mizuno brand comfort and support into a performance driven baseball cleat. The construction of the 9-Spike Classic gives great stability and lateral support, and is perfect for those looking for an outdoor cleat, both novice or veteran alike!
Entry Level Cleat
Remember, there are some aspects to consider when looking for the ideal pair of baseball cleats. The first is whether the specific cleat is allowed in competition, and in what types of competition is it not, if any. If you’re a competing baseball player, it would be a poor choice to have obtained a pair of cleats not allowed in competition. You also want to consider whether they are supportive enough. How much they allow the ankle to flex versus how much support they provide for the ankle is a huge factor. Ask yourself what you need.
Think about how the build of the whole shoe should be and not just the cleats. Is the shoe constructed properly? There are also different types of cleats available. That makes yet another factor to consider. The age range and sizing are typical. Just make sure you know your size. Lastly, you must choose based on your specific style of play. Are you a pitcher? Do you typically slide bases? These are factors that come into play in the perfect shoe. Below we explain each factor, and how they are beneficial to you as a baseball player.
Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Baseball Cleats
Just like other sporting activities, baseball happens to be a game of full-on inches, ranging from the painting of the corner by a pitcher to beating out the tag by a runner. These inches at the end of the day will play a part in determining the winner and the loser. With this in mind, players always thrive to take advantage of any opportunity that might arise. That’s why as a baseball player you will look for a cleat that will give you swift movement with ample flexibility. This means you will have the ability to make fast explosive movements while in the field. Cleats offering you superior traction will be given more consideration compared to others with less traction. Players look for cleats that offer maximum support around the ankle hence no possible injuries.
With all these in mind, it narrows down to having the best pair of cleats that you can buy. When picking our list we looked at the factors that many players take into consideration when buying cleats. These factors help you in understanding the functionality and effectiveness of a pair of cleats. The first is material:
Most baseball cleats will be made from genuine leather or synthetic leather. However, in our shoe collection, we have noticed that cleats made from synthetic materials have been more preferred because of the advanced technology they have. Nevertheless genuine leather has survived for long because they are supple, durable and also breathable. Genuine leather is definitely a plus compared to the synthetic leather and it’s also more costly and that’s why it’s rarely used in making many baseball cleats. Leather is indeed superior in quality but also it has a heavy price tag. The synthetic fabric, on the other hand, offers extra support to the foot, especially at the ankle part of the foot. They are also more affordable compared to cleats made from genuine leather. You will find all types of cleats when shopping mostly price determined by the price of the material used in the construction. Go for cleats that you can buy, however, be cautious of the very cheap cleats since they are not comfortable nor are they durable.
Support and Drag
When looking at the ankle support offered by baseball cleats, you have to take into consideration the type of baseball cleats you will be buying. We have three categories of baseball cleats:
- High Tops: tend to extend upwards until they reach the ankle hence offer additional support to the foot especially when a player is moving laterally. The only challenge is that they can restrict a player’s movement but then they will surely provide maximum protection from any ankle injuries.
- Mid Tops: if you a player who wants to enjoy easy movement and still have average ankle reinforcement, then these are the best cleats for your baseball game.
- Low tops: they offer maximum speed with less stability, they enable the player to make very fast lateral movements. Since they are minimalistic in nature, then a player can sprint easily across the pitch or while going down the pitch’s base with a quicker speed.
Toe drag is very important for a baseball player, especially for one who has to spend plenty of time mounding. The perfect cleats for pitchers are those that have a toe area that is reinforced. This is due to the rubber being pushed off when the player is delivering. This unique issue or experience is only experienced by pitchers and if the toe section is not reinforced then the cleats will start wearing out fast. If you are a player looking for cleats that have reinforced toe parts then you will find plenty of options to work with.
When shopping for a new pair of baseball shoes, you will find yourself bumping into three types of cleats. The cleats are differentiated depending on the materials used in making the studs. This is a closer look at the types:
- Metal Cleats: these cleats are known to offer the highest level of traction, this is because they have the ability to firmly dig into fields that are hard. This means they also have very firm grips. The grip offered works well even if you are running or just standing. For the batter, the metal cleats are very useful since it helps them in digging a firm toehold, hence they will not slip when hitting the ball. The only challenge is that since they have is that they are known to cause injury due to the limited flexibility, they don’t permit sudden change of direction by players. If you wear them on other surfaces that are not made of dirt or grass then they will wear down very fast.
- Molded Plastic Cleats: they are normally made of rubber or plastic. They are also permanently designed to be fixed to the shoes’ sole. They are strong and stable and can be worn in all types of surfaces even on concrete without the fear that they will wear down. Compared to the metal ones, the plastic cleats are cheaper and also more durable, however, they do not offer the same amount of grip offered by the metal cleats. Hence they are more worn and preferred when the ground is muddy or soft since they will easily bounce off ( allow a player to continue going with ample flexibility instead of getting stuck in a muddy field).
- The Turf/Trainer Shoes: turf shoes are also common among baseball players are highly recommended when going for training or practice (though not encouraged for a game). For those who have their practices on training platforms that are not the usual playing fields, then turfs would be the perfect footwear. The turf will be more comfortable and they will not damage the training grounds compared to the metal cleats. The other thing to note is that when you wear the turfs they should also be worn together with artificial turf so that you are able to enjoy the amount of grip offered if the surface is a little hard. They offer maximum traction by keeping the feet and the ground very close. There will be very minimal chances of one getting injured. When wearing plastic spikes don’t add artificial turfs on them, since you will be subjecting your feet to possible injury. They will also not offer any amount of traction for your feet because the studs will not be able to have any grip on the ground.
Baseball cleats are also determined by the position/ role that a player will be playing in the field. Taking into consideration the varieties of surfaces that players play on. Remember a base stealer will need a cleat that is very flexible allowing him/her to easily move from one base to another very fast. While a cleat that offers multi-directional ability will best suit a player who is playing the defense position. The field also has to be well maintained. Before each player laces up and heads to the field, they need to have a pair of cleats that fit their playing position.
- Infielders: if you are an infielder you will have to pick between plastic cleats and metal cleats. When picking cleats it’s good to always take into consideration that the field is well maintained. A compact ground that is dense will be perfect, infielders will have to stay away from plastic studs since they can gather excess dirt. This will prove to be very problematic since the soles can collect gravel and sand hence making it difficult to navigate around. When playing such fields then it’s best to go for metal cleats.
- Outfielders: in case you will be playing in an outfield that has been properly maintained, (firm and lush), then metal spikes ought to be used, this is because they will not be able to pick patches of dirt or grass (which normally happens when molded cleats are used). When chasing a fly ball, an outfielder will have to plant his toes very hard and extra deep into, hence they will need metal cleats as they will dig in and outside the surface of the field more effectively and easily.
- Pitchers: pitchers depend on their push-off foot, in order to throw a good stuff. Support and power are used to make sure this is possible. In case the cleats fail to stick then the base of the cleats will be very unstable (hence can be very wild when playing). If the ground you are playing on is densely packed you will need the maximum stability that can only be provided by baseball cleats that are metal studded. It’s also recommended that pitchers go for the low top cleats since the shoe’s side travels down to the bone of the ankle. The high top cleats can cause rubbing.
- Youth/ Kids Cleats: kids playing baseball will require high-quality cleats because they are stylish or because their pals have the same cleats. Of course, these are not the ideal reasons why someone should be buying baseball cleats and that’s why it’s good for parents to understand the importance of their kids having high-quality cleats. Comfort, flexibility, and durability happen to be the main factors. This is because having the incorrect pair of cleats will not only make the whole game uncomfortable and unbearable for your kid but then they will possibly cause an injury to your child’s foot. That’s why when looking for cool cleats for your kid it’s good to make sure that they are very comfortable and that they fit properly. However, it’s good to note that a kid can enjoy a game much better if he/ she is wearing the shoes they like
Getting the Correct Sizing
When shopping for a new pair of cleats, it’s good to check on the size. With cleats when looking at correct sizing, you have to check how much room is left around your toe (ideal space should never exceed ¼ inch from the cleat’s end). The heel needs to have a snug fit. If you can’t pick the correct size or you are in a dilemma about what size to go for, pick then one that has a tight fit instead of the one with the loose fit. This is because after breaking in the shoes will be able to expand and hence give you a more comfortable feel. With a shoe that fits snugly, you will be offered enough support hence be able to make quick movements and twists. With the correct sizing comes ample cushioning, with good cushioning and the correct foot type, then the fit will be perfect.
The Stud Length of the Cleat
Some players will take into consideration the length of the studs/ spikes. If it’s not their preferred height or length then they will seek to change the length. This is because they will have a different playing field and each field needs a different stud length in order for the player to enjoy a comfortable and fun game. Harder fields require shorter studs. While softer fields will need studs that are longer. Longer studs have the ability to dig more into the surface.
Care Tips for Cleats
In order to make sure your cleats have a long life, it’s good to that good care tips are implemented.
- Always wear the cleats while you are still in the dug-out section. When you are in the field, you can wear sneakers or sandals. Avoid hard surfaces when you have your cleats on. This will reduce the chances of your cleats wearing out much faster. Apart from that, they won’t be slipping when you are running or walking on hard surfaces.
- After using your cleats, clean them perfectly, carefully remove all the sand and dirt from the cleats. Look at the bottom part of the cleats and also the side parts. If you have mud stuck between the spikes, wait till the mud has dried then using a stick carefully remove the mud. When your cleats are free from dirt then the fabric construction will last longer.
- After each session (playing or training) allow the cleats to aerate as this will prevent any moisture in the shoe from accumulating. Moisture in the shoes can cause mold and bad odor.
- Pitchers should look for baseball cleats, which have been constructed with a toe box that is reinforced. This will enhance the durability of the cleats because the toe drag done by the pitchers will be unique. If your favorite cleats do not have the reinforced toe box, then you can look for accessories that can be used to prevent the cleat from early wear and tear.
- Pitchers should keep off the cleats with high top since they will limit the flexibility of the ankle when the player is pitching.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Are there regulations on what type of cleats to use, and if so, what are the Cleat Regulations?
A. In 2008 the NFHS permitted the wear of metal cleats when playing baseball in high school and college. But then there are still some states like Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Maryland still prevent wearing metal cleats in high school and college baseball. The rule has also not been adopted by ASA. However many baseball leagues for the youths have not embraced using metal cleats when playing baseball.
Q. What are Interchangeable Cleats?
A. These are just normal cleats, the difference is that they are a blend of molded cleats and metal cleats. The interchangeable cleats come as an option of having only a single pair of baseball cleats and avoid the hustle of carrying two pairs for players who have to play in leagues that are different. Screws are used to attach the cleats and they can be changed very easily using a tool that is normally provided. The only challenges that they are not lightweight since the cleats will have extra hardware.
Q. What is there to know about the correct cleat sizing?
A. Sizing is very important when looking for an effective sporting shoe. When looking at the sizing of a cleat, it’s very similar to the sizing of a sneaker or trainer. The major difference comes in when looking at the tightness of the fit, cleats are supposed to have a tighter fit than your regular sneakers. The tight fit will prevent the cleats from any sliding hence no blisters. But for kids, don’t overcompensate since there will always be room for growth. Make sure your kids get cleats that fit them and are true to their size, (recommended to go a ½ size large). Make sure the room left by the shoes doesn’t exceed a finger size. If you are unable to find the correct size of metal cleats in the men’s section, try looking at the female sections they tend to fit the same.
Q. Between the low-cut cleats and the high-cut cleats, which one is the best?
A. When shopping you will notice that there are different types of cleats, but then you can be in a dilemma on whether to pick the high cut or the low cut cleats. So far none of the two has turned out to be more functional than the other cleat. The stability to be enjoyed when playing and flexibility will totally be determined by the option that you will go for. So what does each of the two types of cleats have to offer to you as a buyer?
The Low-Cut design Cleats: they are styled and offer ample opportunity for a quick player to thrive. They are lightweight and allow plenty of flexibility with no restriction on the ankles. The only challenge with these cleats is that when they are worn by a player, there are high chances of the player rolling their ankle. Little protection is offered for the ankle part so there is a possible injury of the ankle.
The High-Cut design Cleats: ankle problems can be reduced with these cleats. They offer plenty of ankle support compared to the low cut cleats. They have extra fabric construction hence they are not lightweight. But some players don’t mind the extra weight.
So if you are planning on picking either a low cut or a high cut, then consider what exactly you are looking for. While many players will focus on what style and type the cleat is, there are some other things to look at when buying your next baseball cleats.