Which softball cleats are best?
If you’ve ever tried to get a quick start on loose dirt only to find yourself slipping and falling onto your face, then you understand how important softball cleats are to the game. The grip and control they provide not only helps you stay on your feet, the 1- or 2-second difference they make can win you the game.
Mizuno Women’s 9-Spike Advanced Finch Elite 3 Softball Cleat are quality softball cleats that are high-functioning and comfortable with thoughtfully placed cleats — plus they’re very affordable.
What to know before you buy softball cleats
Softball cleats, like baseball cleats (and unlike football and soccer cleats) are designed to be effective on both grass and dirt and can be made from several materials and come in various forms.
- Metal: Metal cleats are thin and sharp, and they provide the biggest boost in performance of all cleat types. As you’d expect, they’re also the most expensive. They can be some of the most uncomfortable types of cleats, and some softball leagues ban their use, as they can potentially damage others if stepped on.
- Molded: Molded cleats use special rubber or plastic that’s been molded to the bottom of the cleat. They’re more affordable and last longer than metal cleats, but they aren’t as effective.
- Specialty: Some cleats go beyond the standards, with two of the most common being removable and turf cleats. Removable cleats still utilize the same shapes and sizes as other cleats but feature screw-on nubs that can be swapped out. Turf cleats utilize little nubs dotted all over the bottom of the shoe and are best for artificial turf. They’re also popular to practice in, helping your good softball cleats last longer.
What to look for in quality softball cleats
Putting aside that every player has their own preferences, some softball cleats are better suited to certain defensive positions. Infield positions can benefit from metal or plastic/rubber cleats — the harder the infield dirt, the better for metal cleats. Outfield positions benefit from plastic/rubber cleats since they provide more grip on the grass. Pitchers benefit from metal cleats as they can provide extra grip to enhance their throws.
Some softball cleats are higher up on the ankle than others. The higher up the ankle a softball cleat goes, the more support and stability the foot receives. You sacrifice flexibility for the extra support, and some players find the extra height to be uncomfortable.
How much you can expect to spend on softball cleats
Softball cleats are available in a relatively narrow range of prices depending on size and quality. Most entry-level cleats run less than $50, with most options costing around the $50 mark. The best softball cleats can cost up to $100 or a little more.
Softball cleats FAQ
Is there a difference between baseball cleats and softball cleats?
A. Technically, yes, but in practice, no. Baseball cleats tend to be sized for men, while softball cleats are dominantly sized for women. The placement of the studs, the materials used in construction and the overall design are nearly identical. If you can’t find a softball cleat sized for men, then purchase a size up. Women can purchase a size down if they can’t find a baseball cleat sized for women.
Am I required to wear softball cleats to play?
A. That depends on the league you’re playing in. Stricter leagues not only require cleats but have restrictions on what kind of cleats you can wear. Others may not care if you wear cleats or not, but not wearing them will have a negative impact on your performance.
What are the best softball cleats to buy?
Top softball cleats
What you need to know: These Mizuno softball cleats combine fashion, function and comfort in one affordable package.
What you’ll love: Nine spikes are thoughtfully interspersed around the bottom of the cleat to provide maximum grip and performance. Specialized cushioning softens the impact of running without affecting your speed. Sizes five through 12 are available in five colors, though not all colors are available in all sizes.
What you should consider: The one area that these Mizuno softball cleats receive low marks is their durability, though they won’t start breaking down in your first season.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top softball cleats for the money
What you need to know: This is an excellent budget softball cleat that doesn’t negatively affect your performance.
What you’ll love: Metal cleats provide superior traction on grass and dirt over other styles. These softball cleats are durable enough to last for many seasons without sacrificing flexibility. Cushioning along the heel and tongue helps absorb the impact of running. Suede-like panels around this cleat provide increased breathability.
What you should consider: Consumers reported that the sizing of these softball cleats can be inconsistent, mainly running larger than expected. Some softball organizations don’t allow metal cleats.
Worth checking out
What you need to know: These metal stud softball cleats are a little more expensive, but they’re available in a huge range of sizes and colors.
What you’ll love: The sizing of this softball cleat runs between five and 17 with wide variants for every size, plus it’s available in 17 color options. Extra cushioning around the ankle provides support and increased comfort. Metal studs dig deeper into turf for more control.
What you should consider: Some consumers reported that these softball cleats are less comfortable than other options, and that the wide size variants aren’t as wide as hoped.
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Jordan Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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